Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

This soup isn’t healthy in the least, and I make no apologies for it. The more butter, the merrier. And don’t forget the heavy whipping cream! This is an easy recipe to follow and can be on the table in about 35-40 minutes. Save it for those bitter cold winter days when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket. Makes about 6 servings.

What you will need:
3 large baking potatoes
lots and lots of butter. I didn’t measure here, so I’m assuming maybe 3 T? Maybe more??!
1 leek
1/2 a bunch of lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 packets of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
3 1/2- 4 c water
1 c potato flakes

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add them to the boiling water (cutting them into smaller pieces before boiling them cuts down on cooking time). Boil for about 15- 20 minutes, or until they are done. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Chop the leeks and add them to the pot. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the kale into 1/8 inch pieces. Once the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the pot with the leeks, along with the kale, heavy whipping cream, water, and the packets of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix. Turn the heat up to medium, add the potato flakes and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve garnished with scallions.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

This roasted red pepper bisque is made of fresh herbs and veggies, with a little bit of heavy whipping cream and delicious Asiago cheese and goat cheese- no need for veggie broth here. It’s best when slow cooked over low heat, letting all of the flavors infuse and come together. This bisque also works great as pasta sauce. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
4-5 large red peppers
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/2 of a red onion
a couple pinches of fresh parsley
a couple pinches of fresh rosemary
a pinch of fresh thyme
lots of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
1 c heavy whipping cream
3 oz goat cheese
5 oz shredded asiago cheese
a dash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
a pinch of sea salt (if you don’t have Bragg’s, just add more salt according to taste)

Preheat oven on the broil setting. Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and seeds, and place directly on the top oven rack. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to char. In a food processor, combine the celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, and fresh herbs along with all but one of the red peppers and blend until somewhat smooth. Transfer to a medium side pot and start to cook over low heat. In the food processor, take the last roasted red pepper and pulse it to a salsa consistency, being careful not to over blend it. Add it to the pot along with the heavy whipping cream, Bragg’s liquid amino acids, shredded asiago cheese and goat cheese and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Continue to cook over low heat for at least an hour and a half, letting all of the flavors combine and the veggies soften. Serve with crusty, toasted bread and shredded asiago cheese.

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

This slightly spicy soup is bursting with flavor from Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth, a hint of peanuts, almost 10 oz of mushrooms, chunks of tofu, and handfuls upon handfuls of spinach. And, it’s ridiculously easy to make! This soup is hearty and can be served as a main dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes! Makes about 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
oil for sauteing (I highly recommend coconut oil)
4 oz shittake mushrooms
32 oz carton of Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth (kudos to Swanson for that one, by the way!)
3 well rounded spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (not creamy!)
16 oz of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (if you can find it. It goes above and beyond the calls of extra firm tofu. Trust me.)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 oz beech mushrooms
large handfuls of spinach (I used about 5)

In a medium or large pot, melt the coconut oil. Remove most of the stem from the shittake mushrooms and cut any of the larger mushrooms in half. Add them to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into small cubes and remove the woody ends of the enoki and beech mushrooms. Add the spoonfuls of peanut butter to the soup along with the tofu, enoki, and beech mushrooms. Then, start adding the handfuls of spinach, letting each handful wilt a little bit before adding the next, until you have your desired amount of spinach. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts or scallions.

Skillet Baked Eggs with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Skillet Baked Eggs with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This is an easy recipe that only involves 4 ingredients- butter, spinach, goat cheese and eggs. Of course you can add fresh herbs, hot sauce, onions, and all sorts of other veggies, but I felt like keeping it simple today. If you have a big appetite, you might be able to finish this yourself, but this meal is best when shared between two people.

This recipe can also be made without a cast iron skillet. Check out the * at the bottom of this recipe for instructions on how to use a frying pan in place of cast iron.

What you will need:
a cast iron skillet
butter for sauteing
handfuls of spinach
goat cheese
3 eggs (or more if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach by the handfuls and stir until it starts to wilt, no longer then 3 or 4 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese and then start to carefully crack the eggs into the skillet, making sure not to break the yolks. Transfer to the oven and cook until the egg white start to set, about 10-15 minutes.

*In a medium size frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add spinach by the handfuls and stir until it starts to wilt, no longer then 3 or 4 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese and then start to carefully crack the eggs into the pan, making sure not to break the yolks. Cover with lid and continue to cook until the egg whites have set, about 4-6 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

With ingredients like hot Jamaican yellow curry, cooling cucumber and mint tzatziki sauce, Asian slaw and sweet pineapple- these tacos are infused with flavor that’s bursting at the seams! And they’re gluten free! The Hot Jamaican Yellow Curry Hot Sauce used in this recipe from my good friend, Cowboy George, at Blaze Gourmet, will have you running home crying for yo momma. That’s where the fresh mint leaves and tzatziki come into play. Without them, you might really run home crying to yo momma.

Also, follow these tips on how to freeze and thaw tofu to achieve the best texture and flavor. Don’t skip this step. It’ll give you the best tasting tofu you’ve ever had!

What you will need:
oil for sauteing
1 lb extra firm tofu
1/2 c yellow curry sauce (I recommend Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce)
1/4 c Blaze Gourmet Hot Jamaican Curry Hot Sauce
Asian coleslaw (you can buy this prepackaged at just about any grocery store. Most of them already have the Asian slaw dressing included. If not, look for an Asian ginger salad dressing)
canned pineapple tidbits, drained

tzatziki sauce
red onion, sliced
fresh mint leaves
romaine lettuce leaves

First, follow these tips on how to freeze, thaw and drain tofu. Crumble the tofu into a scrambled egg consistency and fry in a greased frying pan over medium heat, letting the tofu get crispy on the outside. Mix the two different curry sauces in a bowl and add to the frying pan, making sure to coat every piece of tofu in the sauce. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Asian slaw. Then, start filling your romaine lettuce leaves, starting with tzatziki, then the curried tofu, Asian slaw, red onion, pineapple tidbits, and mint leaves. Serve with tequila for your next Taco Tuesday night!

Warm Lentil Salad

Warm Lentil Salad

This warm salad is an easy, one pot, recipe that will be done and ready to eat in less than 25 minutes. It makes for a great lunch or dinner on the go (just throw it in a container and grab a fork!), and you can switch up the seasons to your liking. And, you can always freeze the leftovers! The measuring is up to you, so make as much or as little as you want, measuring isn’t important here!

What you will need:
lentils
kale
carrots
celery
onion
seasonings (I used a few twists of the lemon pepper grinder, a pinch of green curry powder, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and garlic powder. Other great suggestions- yellow curry sauce, bbq sauce and hot sauce mixed, a cube of vegetable bouillon, or Italian seasoning.)

In a medium size pot, bring water to a boil and add lentils. Chop the kale into small leaves and chop the carrots, celery, and onion and add to the pot of lentils. Continue to boil for 20- 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. If there’s any excess water, drain it. Add seasonings and serve!

Mushroom, Lentil and Kale Stew (Vegan!)

SAM_4809This hearty stew is full of fresh veggies like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and kale. And it’s vegan, too! Lentils are full of fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and help keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. I like to make this stew with intentions of freezing half of it for when I don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook. This recipe yields a lot of stew, so I’d recommend freezing some of it if you don’t have intentions of eating it throughout the week. This is also a great recipe to make on the weekend when you have a Saturday afternoon free since this crock pot recipe is time consuming.

What you will need:
a large crock pot and medium pot
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
1 c red lentils
1 c green lentils
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 of an onion
5 c vegetable broth (preferably mushroom based)
1/4- 1/2 lb of kale

Turn crock pot on high heat and start to melt the butter. Cut the crimini mushrooms in half and add to the crock pot, stir and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the red and green lentils to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and drain any excess water. You can also chop the onion, celery and carrots while the lentils cook. Set lentils aside. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 45 minutes, add the onions, celery and carrots and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale into thin slices, then cut those slices in 3rds. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the crock pot and add the kale and cooked lentils. Continue to cook for about another hour and a half or until the kale has wilted and the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with crusty, buttery toast on a chilly winter day.

Pomegranate and Pistachio Kale Salad with a Honey Goat Cheese and Fig Balsamic Dressing

Pomegrantate and Pistachio Kale Salad with a Honey Goat Cheese Fig Balsamic Dressing

Start off the new year right with this colorful, easy to make, simple salad that’s rich with antioxidants and vitamins from chia seeds, pomegranate seeds and kale. An aged fig balsamic vinegar acts as the perfect base for the dressing, but any rich, flavorful balsamic vinegar will do. This salad will last for a couple of days in the fridge, too, so you can eat healthy all week!

What you will need:
The Dressing
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/8 c olive oil
2 oz honey goat cheese (if honey goat cheese isn’t readily available, add about a spoonful or less of honey to the dressing.)

juice of 1/2 lemon

The Salad
1 bunch of kale (about 1 lb)
seeds from 1/2 of a pomegranate
a few handfuls of pistachios (shells removed!)
a handful or two of chia seeds
2 oz honey goat cheese

In a small mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the salad dressing and whisk until the goat cheese is mixed in (there will be little pieces of goat cheese in the dressing and that’s fine). Chop kale into bite size pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. “Massage” the kale between your hands. This breaks down the cellulose wall making it less bitter and tough while making it easier to eat. A good 5 minute rubdown should do the trick. You can add the dressing before or right after this step, it just depends on how messy you want to get. Add the chia seeds, pomegranate seeds and pistachios and mix. Serve in a bowl with the remaining honey goat cheese crumbled on top.

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

This hearty and savory mushroom gravy holds its own against it’s meaty counterparts. Arrowroot powder substitutes flour in this recipe and also makes it safe to eat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Cornstarch would also be a great alternative if you can’t find arrowroot powder. So vegans and the gluten intolerant, don’t spend another holiday meal suffering through dry mashed potatoes! Smother them with this gravy that both meat eaters and vegans alike will love! Makes 2 cups of gravy.

What you will need:
medium to large pot
10 oz of your favorite mix of mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), sliced or chopped. If using shiitake or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems as well.
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread
1 1/2c vegetable stock
1/2c almond milk
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4c nutritional yeast
2 tbs Bragg’s liquid amino acids
1 tbs Italian seasoning
a twist or two of the lemon pepper grinder (if you don’t have this ingredient, that’s ok)
fresh sprig of rosemary
liquid smoke

In a pot over medium heat, melt earth balance buttery spread. Add your sliced mushrooms and onions and continue to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to reduce and release some of their liquid. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add your vegetable stock. Turn the heat on high and let the gravy start to boil. While continually stirring, slowly add the arrowroot powder, making sure to not let it stick and clump together. Once the powder is mixed in, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, Bragg’s, lemon pepper, rosemary and a couple of drops of liquid smoke and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve over mashed potatoes or any other part of your holiday dinner.

Acorn Squash Baked with Eggs in a Savory Basil Rosemary Mushroom Sauce

Acorn Squash Baked with Eggs in a Savory Basil Rosemary Mushroom Sauce

Here’s another recipe from the ongoing series called “Eggs in Holes”! Acorn squash is a very easy squash to work with; you can use all sorts of different butters and sauces with it (a creamy spinach sauce would work great, too) AND it already comes with it’s own perfect little serving bowl. Leftover cream of mushroom soup works as a great base for the sauce (btw, the sauce for this turned out AMAZING). You can doll it up with fresh herbs and a little lemon garlic sea salt from the herb grinder. You can also go for a sweeter version by making a sauce out of honey, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Recipe makes 1 acorn squash.

What you will need:
roasting pan
1 acorn squash
1 egg

The sauce:
1/8 c olive oil
1/4 c (well rounded) Amy’s condensed cream of mushroom soup
fresh basil
fresh rosemary
a couple turns of the lemon garlic and pepper grinder
a sprinkle of asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully cut the top off of the acorn squash, remove the seeds, and place both pieces face down in a baking sheet filled with 1/4 inch water (we don’t want the acorn squash drying out!). Bake for an hour or until squash is soft. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce, stir, and set aside. Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Use a spatula to turn the squash over (careful, it will be really hot!) and start scooping the squash away from the flesh. Combine the squash with the sauce. Leave a “hole” for the egg and crack the egg over the squash. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes at 350 or until the egg is white and set. Garnish with fresh rosemary and serve as a main course.