Tag Archives: healthy meal

White Bean, Kale, and Tomato Stew

Apparently I cannot get enough soups and stews this season. But what’s wrong with that? They’re filling, comforting, and many times, can be healthy. Take this stew, for example. It’s vegetarian. (Vegan, even, if you omit the Parmesan.) It’s gluten-free. It’s packed with fiber and nutrition. But that’s not even the best part. It’s cheap to make, and it’s fast and easy! If your December has been as busy as mine has, this will be a blessing! I made this the other night for dinner, which left me with plenty of time to wrap presents. It was delicious and so guilt-free that I even had seconds.

I’m a bit ahead of schedule for New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve already decided on one resolution – to incorporate more vegetarian and vegan meals into our diet. The reasons are plentiful – swapping more plant-based foods for the meats means our grocery bill will be lighter. Meals can be healthier. And our carbon footprint will be smaller. While I am not aspiring to become a vegetarian full-time, I do acknowledge and appreciate the benefits that healthy vegetarian meals can provide. (Healthy being the key word here – while french fries, ice cream, and candy can be vegetarian, I am not opting to pick up a steady diet of such things.) This will be a bit of a change of mindset for me. I am accustomed to making a grocery list and planning meals according to what proteins (aka meat) is on sale that week, or what meat I have in our freezer. I will have to make a concerted effort to plan for at least one meatless dinner every week. I’m excited about it. I hope to share with you some meatless, gluten-free meal options very soon!

For now, I hope you’ll enjoy this quick stew.

White Bean, Kale, and Tomato Stew, adapted from Serious Eats

1 ½ lbs kale, larger stems removed, and leaves chopped (can substitute swiss chard or other leafy greens)

¼ c olive oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ t crushed red pepper

1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes

1 15-oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan

Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Bring to a boil and then toss in the kale leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes or until leaves are tender (not mushy). Drain leaves in a colander.

Wipe out any excess water from the pot. Place back on burner and turn to medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and broth, and bring to a boil again. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add the kale. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Parmesan.

Serves 2-3.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup and Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits

pumpkin soupA few weeks back, I picked up this lovely pumpkin from Good Earth Organic Farm’s booth at the farmer’s market. I was told it was called a Cinderella Pumpkin. It was a lovely gourd, and it graced my kitchen for a while, bringing autumn charm into the house. However, it was time to do something more with my pumpkin. Since it was not a pie pumpkin, I thought a pumpkin soup would be lovely, especially if it were graced with coconut milk (one of my favorite ingredients).

pumpkin

I started to browse around for ideas on how to elevate my pumpkin and coconut milk soup, and came across Heidi’s simple recipe at 101 Cookbooks. I took cues from her recipe, and made this soup my own, adding a few spices and loosely measuring. What resulted was a lovely creamy, warming, flavorful soup – filling enough to be a main course (we did just that!), and wonderful when it’s dreary and/or cold outside. What’s even better? While this is not a super-fast recipe (although you could make it so, with canned pumpkin), it’s really easy, there is not a lot of time actively cooking, and it’s really hard to mess up. It also reheats beautifully for lunch the next day.

chive biscuits

And last week, I spotted a wonderful biscuit recipe over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free. I thought these biscuits would be a wonderful accompaniment to soup, so I threw together a batch. I changed up the recipe some, only because I wanted to use what gluten-free flours I had on hand, and I wanted to use only chives in the biscuits. But wow – just, wow! Amy sure does know her way around a biscuit! These were simply the best biscuits that ever have graced my kitchen, gluten-free or otherwise. I ate well more than my fair share of them. They will definitely be making another appearance soon!

And lastly, before I share the recipes, I am excited to share with you that I have received 2 Blog Awards, given to me by two wonderful fellow food bloggers! Simply Life awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award, and Diana at Spain in Iowa gave me a Tasty Award! What can I say about these two wonderful bloggers? Thank you both so much! If you haven’t checked out these two blogs, take a moment and do so! Simply Life has a wonderful collection of tasty recipes, ranging from the fancy smoked salmon and pear on baquettes, to a lot of wondeful, family-friendly comfort food such as sweet potato risotto. Spain in Iowa has a wonderful collection of Spanish and Latin recipes, such as this pimientos asados recipe, to recipes using local ingredients, such as methods for preserving peaches. (She’s been preserving a lot of this summer’s bounty, check it out!) Thank you both for sharing these awards with me.

 

lovelyblog

Tasty-2For the One Lovely Blog Award, I am supposed to tell you all seven things you don’t already know about me, and pass this award along to ten other bloggers. So, here goes:

1. I have two dogs, Rocky and Jack. They are both Chihuahua mixes, and look like they could be brothers. However, they aren’t – Rocky is mixed with Manchester terrier (we think) and we adopted him in 2003. Jack is mixed with who-knows-what (we’ve considered a Corgi), and we adopted him in 2007. We adopted both of them at Operation Kindness, North Texas’ oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter. If you are local, and considering adopting a dog or cat, check them out. They’re located in Carrollton. (Not to get on a soapbox, but I’m a big proponent of adopting rescue animals. I personally choose to rescue an animal that might otherwise be euthanized, and give them a second chance at life, and do my part to keep the over-population of unwanted pets down. That’s all, I won’t get into this topic here!) Rocky and Jack are wonderful friends, and are always happy when I’m in the kitchen, waiting for a treat! They’re especially fond of carrots.

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

Rocky (on the left), and Jack

2. I play indoor soccer. I’m by no means an accomplished player (I started playing at the age of 22), but it’s great fun, and I am always learning. I love my teammates – everyone encourages one another, and it’s a great way to relax and stay in shape.

3. I cannot stand chocolate-covered donuts. (this precedes going gluten-free) I am generally not a picky eater by any means, but the thought of eating a chocolate-covered donut, or an eclair, makes me gag.

4. On the weekdays, I wake up at 5am. This allows me to get a little workout in before I get ready for the day, and arrive to work by 7am. (Unfortunately, keeping this schedule makes it difficult for me to sleep in on the weekends past about 7-8am, even if I’m out way too late the night before with the soccer team!)

5. I’m not much for “chick flick” movies. I would rather pass most of them by than waste money to see them. But give me a sports movie – where the main character (or characters) is the underdog or otherwise has to overcome some big hurdle, and in the end, that character wins the game (but of course, learns a lot about himself along the way) – I’m so there. (Think Hoosiers, Rudy, Chariots of Fire, Remember the Titans, even Miracle on Ice.)

6. I have little patience for most of the shows on the Food Network. It seems that over the years, they’ve changed their tune, and most of their shows are just not my style. Of course, it’s somewhat hypocritical for me to say that many aren’t about the food or cooking…because I watch Hell’s Kitchen and Top Chef, and sometimes, those shows are not about the food either! (I do like Alton Brown though.)

7. I like Velveeta. I know, I know, it’s practically not even real food. It’s artificially dyed and flavored. It’s horrible for you. I can only imagine that it likely does something awful to your insides, like if you eat too much, when you die, it will still be there, thousands of years later…but it seems that especially in Texas, you just can’t make queso without it. Velveeta+Rotel=YUM! Good thing I only eat it like once or twice a year.

And, to share this award, I’ll pass it along to ten bloggers that I truly admire and appreciate!

1. Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free – she is always SO willing to give me feedback on my posts, is available to answer questions, and besides, she has WONDERFUL recipes on her blog!

2. Amanda at Amanda’s Cookin’ – she really goes above and beyond to enhance the blogger community. She’s created a Yahoo Group for food bloggers, which has been an endless source of valuable information! She posts so many gorgeous baked goods and desserts as well!

3. The folks at Food o’ del Mundo – Wonderful dishes, and always so inspiring! Not to mention, recently they went out of their way to help me out on posting to Foodbuzz, so I could be sure I get optimum results. What a friend!

4. Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang – Awesome, inexpensive, gluten-free, healthy living meals! She continually comes up with great, simple ideas to feed a family, even with dietary restrictions.

5. Katie at Eat This. – Katie and I both went gluten-free (for similar reasons) at about the same time, so together we’ve come to understand what lovely and amazing gluten-free food options are available to us. She is definitely a wonderful resource for alternative grains, and sings the praises of millet, teff, and quinoa! She always has healthy and delicious recipes available on her blog.

6. Paula at Bell’alimento – What a lovely blog! She has delicious recipes, and she’s always available and willing to help someone out, even if it means “Stumbling” their blog that day!

7. Cindy at Jacob’s Reward – Cindy is an awesome blogger, even though it’s not a “food” blog. She diligently blogs nearly every day about the goings on at the Jacob’s Reward farm, is always friendly and available to help, and she’s more dedicated to her CSA and that farm than anyone I’ve ever seen! That, and her chickens give our family the BEST eggs…I’ve learned so much from her!

8. Jenn at Bread + Butter – Jenn’s recipes ALWAYS look drool-worthy. A few days ago, she posted about grilled cheese, which makes me nostalgic! She’s also a huge supporter of Tasty Eats At Home.

9. Marilyn at Just Making Noise – Marilyn’s recipes look so good, and they’re always healthy, with natural ingredients. She supports local produce and farmers as much as she can, which is pretty awesome, in my book!

10. Natalie at Natalie’s Killer Cuisine – Natalie makes decadent dishes, most of which cause me to gain weight just thinking about them! But seriously, her recipes are delicious, and she shows tremendous talent.

Thank you again to Simply Life and Spain in Iowa, I’m honored!

And now, to the recipes!

hawaiian and soup and biscuits 041

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup, adapted from 101 Cookbooks:

1 large pumpkin, 8-10 lbs, cut in half and seeds removed (or you could use two large cans of pumpkin, or a butternut squash or two)

salt and pepper

2 T butter, melted

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t grated fresh ginger

1/2 t ground coriander

2 t Thai red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen, which is gluten-free, and available at a lot of standard grocery stores)

1 14-oz can coconut milk

2 c vegetable broth

minced chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly season pumpkin halves with salt and pepper, and brush with butter. (can use olive oil if you prefer) Place skin-side down on a baking sheet, and allow to roast until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Remove and allow to cool.

In a large stock pot, bring olive oil to medium heat and add garlic, ginger, curry paste, and coriander. Allow to cook for a minute or two, stirring, just until it becomes fragrant. Add pumpkin and coconut milk and stir, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat, and puree. (I used a hand blender, but if you don’t have one, you can blend in batches with your blender or food processor.) Place back on heat and stir in broth, a little at a time, until the soup is at the desired consistency. Taste, and add salt and pepper as necessary. Keep at a simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish with minced chives. Serves 5-6.

Gluten-Free Chive Biscuits, adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

2 c gluten-free flour blend (your favorite, or view the blend I adapted from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free below)

1 T baking powder

1 t kosher salt

1/4 lb (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced

1 c 2 % milk

1/4 c chopped fresh chives

1 egg mixed with 1 T water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Sift together flour blend and baking powder. Stir in salt to mix. Add cold butter, and either using a stand mixer on low, or even using a spoon or your hands, mix until the butter is the size of peas. Add milk and beat until just mixed together. Add chives and mix until just combined.

Drop dough in large spoonfuls onto parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, if desired. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until browned and puffy. Makes 8 biscuits.

Gluten-free Flour Blend

1 c brown rice flour

1 c sorghum flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c arrowroot starch/flour

1 t xanthan gum

Mix together well and store in an airtight container.

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Filed under Baked goods, Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian

Vegetarian Bean and Pumpkin Chili, plus a Gluten-Free Cheddar Serrano Biscuit

veggie chili

Dear Summer: It’s not that I don’t love what you bring…bountiful produce, long days, and barbeque parties by the pool. I love these things, I really do. It’s just time to move on. As you always do around here (in Texas), you overstay your welcome, and you don’t allow Autumn enough time to play. So please, let’s just part ways for the year. No hard feelings? I’ll welcome you with open arms next June, I promise!

It’s 95 degrees today here in North Texas. Hot and humid. There is a cold front in sight, they say, bringing cooler temperatures for the weekend. In my mind, it can’t get here fast enough. Apparently, my appetite agrees. My husband and I have been craving cool-weather dishes, as evidenced by my last few posts. (Shepherd’s pie just doesn’t cross most people’s minds when it’s hot outside.) When I was planning meals this past weekend, I decided upon a vegetarian chili – cool weather or not. Even if it won’t act like fall outside, I can still pretend, right?

This chili will likely reappear at our home in some version several times in the coming months. It was a snap to make, with minimal prep the night before, and a long, unattended simmer in the slow cooker. (Not to mention it was super-budget friendly!) Once it was nearing dinnertime, I had so little to prepare, I decided that an attempt at a gluten-free biscuit was needed.

Last week, I came across a gorgeous gluten-free biscuit recipe from Shelley at This Primal Life. (Shelley has a wonderful blog filled with healthy, gluten-free, grain-free recipes.) Gluten-free biscuits? Yes, it can be done. These babies were tender, with a delicious, cheesy flavor, and a very mild bite from the peppers. Oh, man. They were a dream. And for those of you that are watching your carb intake, these are right up your alley, as they’re made with almond flour. These are about as healthy a biscuit as they come, but you’d swear they were sinful. And they paired with the chili perfectly.

So if it’s still hot where you are, then feel free to pocket this recipe for a few weeks, until the air is crisp and those chili cravings set in. Or do like we did, and pretend.

For the chili:

1 1/2 lbs mixed variety of dried beans (I used yellow eye, African red beans, and flageolet – but I would think a mix of black, kidney, and pinto beans would work well)

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

2 serrano chiles, minced

3 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced

4 c vegetable stock

1-2 c water

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 T cumin

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 t ground coriander

2-3 t salt (taste)

1 1/2 T chili powder

Several dashes of Tabasco

Garnishes:

Shredded cheese (omit or use dairy-free cheese if dairy-free/vegan)

Cilantro

Sour cream

Rinse the beans, and soak overnight. Rinse again and place beans in slow cooker. Add rest of ingredients and stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours or until beans are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve topped with desired garnishes. Serves 8.

cheddar jalapeno biscuit rounds

For the biscuit rounds, adapted from This Primal Life:

3 c almond flour

1 t baking soda

big pinch of salt

6 oz of cheddar cheese, grated

2 fresh serrano chiles, minced

3 eggs

1/4 c sour cream

1/2 c water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Mix in grated cheese and serranos. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, and water. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until they just come together. Drop batter in large spoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Makes 12 rounds.

Hungry for more? This recipe and other Slightly Indulgent recipes are available on Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, as part of the weekly Slightly Indulgent Mondays, and also is linked to Miz Helen’s Chili Cookoff!

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Filed under Baked goods, Beans, Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetarian