Soup’s on!

What a snowstorm yesterday!  It was a day of shoveling at my house … it started at 7:30am and didn’t end until 5pm.  After all that snow, it was time to think about dinner.  Soup sounded perfect.  I had cooked up a turkey breast the day before so there was plenty of meat in the refrigerator plus I had a box of chicken bone broth on the shelf and vegetables in the refrigerator.  All I needed was my pressure cooker and some seasonings and dinner would be ready in about 20 minutes.  I know so many people who are afraid to use a pressure cooker, but I just love mine.  It is the only way I make soup.  Something that might take 30-40 minutes cooked in a regular pot, only takes 10-15 minutes in my pressure cooker.  And it’s not just about time, but about flavor.  A pressure cooker locks in all of the steam and therefore all of the flavor.  I rarely follow a recipe when I make soup.  Basically I use whatever vegetables I have on hand, broth if I have it, water if not, and then some spices.  It’s hard for me to duplicate a recipe, but I never mind.  I like the variety.  Here is what came out of my pressure cooker yesterday:

Pesto Turkey Vegetable Soup

6 medium carrots

6 stalks celery

2 small zucchini

1/2 head of cabbage (small to medium)

1 box chicken bone broth

2 cups chopped turkey or chicken meat

1/4 cup pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or pressure cooker over medium high heat.  Wash and chop the carrots and celery into bite sized pieces and add to the pot.  Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile core and chop the cabbage into bite sized pieces.  Add to the pot and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Add the bone broth and bring to a boil.  Add the zucchini.  If you are using a pressure cooker, allow the soup to come to pressure and then lower the heat.  Cook for 7 minutes. (If you are cooking the soup in a regular pot, lower the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft.)  Bring down the pressure and check to make sure the vegetables are soft.  Add the chopped turkey or chicken meat and the pesto.  Simmer for an additional 3 minutes to warm the meat.  Serve and Enjoy!

 

 

Kitchen Experiments – Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

I love soup! I love soup in the winter, spring, summer or fall. I love soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Any time of day, any time of year! I love brothy soups, creamy soups, or loaded with stuff soup. I just plain love soup! I am usually not a follow the recipe kind of a soup maker, I am usually just a throw it in the pot and see what happens kind of a soup maker. However, there are several recipes that have made it into my repertoire when I am in the mood to follow a recipe. The “Creamy Broccoli Soup” by Cynthia Lair from her Feeding the Whole Family cookbook has been one of my favorites since I had Cynthia as a teacher at Bastyr University while getting my masters in nutrition. The only problem that I had with this recipe was that it did not have a significant amount of protein in it. As I said, I like to have soup for breakfast, especially when I am working, but I like it to have protein so that it holds me over for the morning and I don’t spike my blood sugar. So, I decided to tweak the recipe just a little.

soup

Creamy Beany Broccoli Soup

2 large stems of broccoli with flowerets

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 leeks, white part mainly with 1 inch of green top, cleaned and chopped

1/2 t. sea salt

1 tsp. coriander

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

5 celery stalks, chopped

4 – 4 ½ c. water

2 Tbs. cashew butter

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Cut off the broccoli flowerets, cut into bite-sized pieces. Place flowerets in small saucepan with a little water on the bottom. Steam for 5 minutes, until the color just starts to change. Peel the broccoli stems and dice into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a 3-quart pot. Add onions, leeks, salt, and coriander. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion/leek mixture cooks down to a nice mush (10 to 15 minutes).
  3. Add the broccoli stem pieces, potatoes, cannellini beans, celery, and water to the onion mush; cover and simmer until the potatoes are soft (15 to 20 minutes).
  4. Put the soup mixture in a blender, or use a hand blender, with cashew butter and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 servings

I hope that you will try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I do for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Happy cooking!

Kitchen Experiment – Lentil Loaf with Zucchini Latkes

I love it when you forget about something that you used to cook all the time and it suddenly pops into your head again! That is what happened the other night. We are still doing a 4 day rotation for the ALCAT diet and it was lentil night. Suddenly, lentil loaf popped into my head! I used to make it all of the time and it works for day 2 of my rotation. It is so easy to make and you can vary it depending upon which vegetables you have on hand. On our diet, day 2 is celery, scallions, and beet greens – so that is what I used. Prior to the diet I may have added onions or carrots and often spinach. I am not good at measuring so it is a recipe that you just have to eye. I used 1 cup of dry lentils and cooked them with 2 cups of water, oregano and a bay leaf. I often would could the vegetables right in with the lentils but I was running behind so I quickly threw the lentils in the pot and while they were cooking, sautéed the scallions, celery and beet greens in a separate pan. Once the lentils were cooked, I combined the lentils and vegetables in a large bowl and added rolled oats, 2 eggs, grated almond cheese and salt and pepper. I mix it all together and cooked it in my cast iron skillet. Usually, as the name implies, I would have cooked it in a bread pan, but I was in a rush and wanted it to cook a little faster. I placed it in a preheated 375 degree oven and baked it for about 30 minutes. In a loaf pan it probably would have taken about 45 minutes.

While that was cooking in the oven, I moved onto the zucchini latkes. I shredded 1 potato and 2 small zucchini and added them to a small colander. I added a little salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes. I squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could and then placed them in a bowl. I added 2 tablespoons of oat flour, 3 tablespoons of oat bran, along with salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 2 eggs. I mixed it all together and heated my skillet over medium heat. I dropped the batter by the spoonfuls and cooked them for about 8-10 minutes, flipping them after about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, I quickly sautéed some shiitake mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and added a little tamari for salt. I had a gravy in the freezer that I had defrosted and added to the shiitake mushrooms. And there was dinner!

lentil loaf Lentil Loaf with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

latkes Zucchini Latkes

lentil and latkesDinner!

It was quite tasty! Until next time … Good Eating!

Kitchen Experiments – Lentils with Spinach and Shitake Mushrooms

I really like lentils – red, black or green – soup, stew, loaf – almost anyway you cook them, I love them!  Once again this recipe came out of the necessity of finding something to eat for dinner that was different but easy and definitely delicious.  I had made something similar to this previously before we started the Alcat diet, so I will offer some changes at the end that you can try at home.

My first step in this recipe was to cook the lentils.  I sautéed my scallions and celery first in some olive oil and then added the black lentils.  I always like to sauté them together for just a minute before adding the water.  I added only enough water to cover the lentils because I did not want a lot of extra broth since this was not a soup recipe.  My mom always added oregano and a bay leaf when she cooked her lentil soup, so of course I always do the same. I cooked the lentils until almost all of the water was absorbed – about 30-40 minutes.

While the lentils continued to cook, I took my cast iron skillet and added olive oil and shiitake mushrooms and cooked them for several minutes until the mushrooms were soft.  I added the spinach and turned off the heat with a lid on to wilt the spinach and wait for the lentils to be cooked.

In a separate skillet, I sautéed potatoes until brown and crispy on all sides.

When the lentils were cooked, I added them to the cast iron skillet with the mushrooms and spinach.  I tossed it all together until it was well mixed.

lentilsI cannot eat potatoes, but my husband can.  When I made this recipe before, I would toss the potatoes right into the skillet as well and mix it all together and top it would some goat cheese!  Yummy, I can’t wait until I can eat goat cheese again.  This time, I put some potatoes on my husband’s plate and some oat groats on mine and topped them both with the lentil mixture.  It was a very delicious dinner once again! If you have never tried lentils and potatoes together, I encourage you to try them! Good cooking!

Kitchen Experiments – Lentil Loaf with Gravy

Well, it was another day 2 in the ALCAT diet plan and I did not know what to make again.  Some days are harder than others.  While I do eat meat, more than once a week is tough for me.  We had turkey the night before and so I was not in the mood for chicken.  So what to make?  Then it came to me!  I had thought about it a few weeks ago and then forgot again – Lentil Loaf!

I used to make it on occasion and I would use lentils, vegetables, oats, soy or rice cheese, and bind it all together with eggs.  Well, I was in luck because almost all of those things were on my day 2 list.  So, I cooked up my lentils with water and oregano and then I let them cool.  I sautéed scallions, celery and beet greens and then added them to the lentils.  I used some gluten-free oats like I would use breadcrumbs, and then I added some vegan soy cheese mozzarella style and then bound it all up with eggs!  I mixed it until it was all nice and moist and placed it in an 8’x8′ pan and popped it in the oven at 375.   I would often put it in a bread pan but I did not have as much time to let it cook so the 8″x8″ pan allowed it to cook much more quickly. I would say it was cooked in about 35 to 40 minutes.

While it was cooking, I took a little olive oil and put it in a small sauce pan.  I ground up some oats to make oat flour and added that to the pan as well. I cooked it over medium heat just for a minute to make a roux and then slowly added my chicken broth.  I cooked it over medium heat for several minutes until it began to thicken and there I had my chicken gravy!

lentil loafI sliced up some lentil loaf put it on the plate and topped it with the chicken gravy!  I must say it was another delicious meal!  I will remember this one the next time day 2 rolls around and I don’t know what to make!