Sunday, August 14, 2011

Souper Simple Soup Starter

If you keep these three ingredients in the kitchen, you can always make yourself a nice pot of healthy soup! Cannellini Beans are high in protein and fiber, so this can be the start to a great healthy vegetarian soup. This is a minestrone-type soup, but feel free to add whatever vegetables and meats you have on hand, to these three basic starting ingredients:

1 32 oz. Carton Vegetable Broth
1 14 to 18 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Cannellini Beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

My favorite way to prepare this soup is to first put a little oil in a pot (about 4 quart). Chop up a handful of onion and garlic, (no, I am not very precise in my measurements) and saute in the oil, stirring occasionally while gathering and cutting other veggies. You could also cut up celery and carrots and saute them with the onions and garlic.

When the onions are soft, stir in the Broth and the Tomatoes.
Add the rinsed and drained Beans.
Stir in your favorite Herbs (parsley, basil, marjoram and oregano are all good).
To add some heat, you can add Crushed Red Pepper Flakes.
Stir in the fresh or frozen vegetables you have on hand. Broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, peas, zucchini are all good options. Shelled Edamame (soy) beans are good too, and add even more vegetarian protein.

If you don't want to depend on the bean protein, feel free to stir in cooked chicken or beef, or even meatballs. (Trader Joe's Frozen Turkey Meatballs are good in here. Sometimes I cut them in quarters so they'll heat faster)

If the soup starts to get too thick, just stir in a little water, or a little red wine.
You could add small pasta early on (when you first pour in the broth), but allow more time for the pasta to cook through (smaller pasta cooks faster).

Keep a spoon handy, so you can taste as you go, and add more herbs or salt and pepper, if it needs it. (I don't use much salt, but I know many people do.) It's fun to improvise and add your favorite flavors.

Cook until the vegetables are tender, ladle into bowls, and top with shredded Parmesan Cheese.

Simple, delicious, hearty and healthy!

Easy Peachy a la Mode

Peaches are in season right now. Picking out ripe fruit is not something I'm very good at. It's always a bit of a gamble when I get them home and cut them open. This week I was very pleased with my peach selection; they were juicy and sweet.

Of course they're delicious just eaten fresh and raw.
But I also have a fast and easy way to get the flavor of peach pie a la mode. (without the crust)

Easy Peachy a la Mode
Peel and slice Fresh Peaches. Place in a microwave safe bowl.
(if fresh peaches are not in season, just use a bag of Frozen Peach Slices)
Sprinkle liberally with Cinnamon.
Microwave for just a minute or so, until they're hot and juicy.
(Exact time depends on how many peaches you are using)
Remove bowl from microwave and top the hot peach slices with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.
If you really miss pie crust, you can always eat a few vanilla wafers or butter cookies with the hot peaches and melting ice cream.

Simple and delicious!