Thursday, September 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Skinny Loaded Potato Soup

I love fall, it's my favorite season -- but now that we've in between fall and summer losing the natural light long before my dinner time makes taking photos for the blog really difficult. These two photos are the only good ones out of probably about ten. Seriously, when it comes to photographing food natural lighting is everything.

I'm currently back to counting calories/on what I'm calling my wedding diet, during 2015 I lost quite a bit of weight and during 2016 I was pretty...well.. lazy. This slow cooker potato soup is easy to make and really cuts down on the calories of traditional potato soup. It has enough dairy in it to make it seem rich, but in actuality it's not loaded with cream and cheese.

Recipe from the Cookie Rookie.

-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-40 ounces vegetable broth
-1-teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
-1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
-2-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon basil
-1 teaspoon dill
-1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
-1 1/2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese,
-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For Garnish:
-6 pieces vegan bacon, cooked and crumbled
-green onions, thinly sliced
-chives, chopped

Spray the inside of slow cooker with cooking spray and set the temperature to HIGH. Add the diced potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, vegetable stock, salt, pepper and red pepper into the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or until potatoes have softened.

Using a potato masher, mash part of the cooked vegetables while they are still in the slow cooker. Only mash down on the vegetables a few times, you want there to be some whole vegetable pieces. Add herbs, half-and-half, cheese and chives. Mix well.
Once the cheese has melted ladle into a bowl and enjoy with additional chives, cheese, and vegan bacon. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Curried Beet Soup with Tandoori Chickpeas

We ended up with a bunch of beets from my parent's garden again this year and I was intrigued by using them to make a curried soup. Although this is probably more appropriate for winter or fall since it's a hearty soup and relatively warm due to all of the spices. I made four large portions out of it, but you probably could easily do six smaller portions.

If you're not worried about keeping this vegan, we found that it was very tasty with a large helping of sour cream. It was also very delicious served with naan.

Recipe from Minimalist Baker.

-1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained + dried in a clean towel
-1 tablespoon olive oil 
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-2 tablespoons tandoori masala spice blend 

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 shallots, thinly diced 
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon minced ginger
-6 small-medium beets, quartered
-Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
-1 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste 
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (optional: more for serving)
-2 cups vegetable broth

Chickpeas:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and add rinsed and dried chickpeas to a small mixing bowl. Top with olive oil, salt, and tandoori masala. Toss to combine. Spread onto a bare baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Soup: Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, shallots, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add beets, salt and pepper, curry paste, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Stir everything to coat the beets in the spices, then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, and coconut sugar.
Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until beets are fork tender. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until it is creamy and smooth. 

Serve with an extra drizzle of coconut milk and one fourth of the tandoori chickpeas.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Zucchini Risotto with Goat Cheese

We're dealing with an overload of zucchini, last year it rained too much and the zucchini in my parent's garden couldn't thrive. This year they're giving us more zucchini than we know what to do with. We've been trying to come up with new recipes to use the zucchini in fun and different ways. I wouldn't have thought to include zucchini in risotto, but we were very happy with how this recipe turned out.

Recipe from A Family Feast

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-4 cups vegetable stock,
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 pound zucchini, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch pieces
-4 medium garlic cloves, thickly sliced
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to your preference)
-1/2 cup yellow onion, diced fine
-1 cup Aborio rice
-1 cup white wine
-1 tablespoon each of fresh basil and parsley, minced
-2 plum tomatoes, seeded, cored and diced small
-4 ounce package goat cheese
-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium pot, heat the vegetable stock until it's warmed through, you'll want it to be hot, but not boiling.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and add zucchini -- cook for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Next add the garlic slices and pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add onions and cook for 6-7 minutes until soft.

Add rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add wine and cook until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Once the wine is almost absorbed, add herbs and one cup of the hot stock and cook and stir until absorbed. Repeat by adding the tomatoes and one more cup of stock, cook until almost absorbed.
Repeat this for two more cups of stock, one cup at a time and letting that absorb before adding the next. All of this hot stock absorption is where the magic of risotto happens.

The last two cups of stock should be added one quarter cup at a time, cooking between each addition. You'll want the rice to be creamy, but not drowning in liquid. If the rice is cooked and creamy, you may not need to add the last cup of stock -- I find that almost always when making risotto that I do not use the last cup of stock.

Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.