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Monday, June 21, 2010

Caribbean Shrimp Po' Boy Sandwich

The distinct flavor of the Caribbean comes alive when mango, lime, shrimp and just a hint of jalapeno are combined to create this tasty sandwich.  Serve with Spicy Guacamole and chips for a quick summer dinner.

1 lb Shrimp, peeled and cooked
1 medium Mango, seeded, peeled and diced
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1 Serrano or Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp finely minced Lime Zest
1 TB Lime Juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1 24-inch French Baguette
4 Bibb or Romaine Lettuce Leaves

Coarsely chop the cooked shrimp.

In a medium bowl combine shrimp, mango, mayo, serrano or jalapeno pepper, green onion, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover and chill up to 1 hour.

Cut baguette into 4 equal rolls. Slice in half lengthwise. Remove some of the bread from the bottom half of each roll, leaving a thick shell. Place all rolls, sliced side up, on a broiler pan or baking sheet; broil 3 - 4 minutes or until toasted.

Place lettuce leaf on bottom of each roll. Spoon shrimp mixture onto lettuce, replace top bun and serve.

Hot Chili Sauce

6 oz Hot Chiles (try using Cayenne, Fresnos, Habanero, Jalapeno, Serrano, Thai, or a combination of these), stemmed and chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 TB Sugar
1 1/2 TB Distilled White Vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar. Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a vigorous simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator.

Makes 2/3 cup. Use within one month.

Lasagna with Spinach & Italian Sausage

This recipe is a slightly lighter version of the Italian Classic, with only 1 layer of noodles and some healthy spinach in the center.

10 oz Chopped Spinach, frozen
15 oz Ricotta Cheese, part-skim
8 oz Mozzarella Chese, shredded
4 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 lb Italian Sausage
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 jar Ragu Parmesan/Romano spaghetti sauce
8 - 10 Lasagna Noodles
2 Basil Cubes (See Recipe) or 2 TB chopped fresh Basil

In a large skillet, brown the sausage and crumble. While the sausage cooks, defrost spinach and squeeze out excess water. In a bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, garlic powder and oregano. Set aside.

Drain the sausage and add the spaghetti sauce to the skillet. Bring sauce to a simmer and add 2 Basil Cubes and stir until cubes dissolve (or add fresh basil).

Pour all of the sausage mixture into the bottom of a 13 x9 inch baking pan and top with 2 layers of the cooked lasagna noodles, creating 3 rows. (This will make it easy to slice when cooked.) Smooth the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles, and top with Mozzarella cheese, then the cheddar.

Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Skillet Pasta Primavera

8 oz ( 2-1/3 cups) Uncooked Penne Pasta
2 TB Light Butter
1 medium Onion, Chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 tsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
2 medium Zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices, then halved *
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium Yellow Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 medium Tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 TB Fresh Basil, chopped (or 2 tsp Dried Basil)
4 oz (about 1 cup) Reduced-Fat Swiss Cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to the package directions, then drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a deep, 12-inch skillet; stir in onion, garlic and salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned (about 4 - 5 minutes). Add zucchini, red and yellow peppers. continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and basil. Continue cooking until tomatoes are heated through. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese, cover and let stand 1 - 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

* Substitutions: You can also use sliced eggplant in place of the zucchini. In place of the tomatoes, you can also use 8-10 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters. Serves 6.

Sweet 'n Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

This recipe tastes so much like takeout Sweet-n-Sour Chicken, you will never order it again!

2 TB Rice Vinegar
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 TB Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Minced Fresh Ginger
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
8 oz Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, thinly sliced
1 tsp Peanut Oil
3 Green Onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
1 cup Snow Peas
1 TB Cornstarch
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
2 TB Apricot Fruit Spread
1 can (20 oz) Pineapple Chunks
2 cup Hot Cooked Rice

Combine vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes in medium bowl. Toss chicken with vinegar mixture. Marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain chicken; reserve marinade. Add chicken to wok and stir fry 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in onions, green pepper and snow peas. Stir fry 3 minutes longer.

Stir cornstarch into the reserved marinade. Stir broth, fruit spread and marinade mixture into wok. Cook and stir 1 minute or until sauce boils and thickens. Add pineapple and heat through. Serve over rice.

Crock Pot Guinness Beef Stew

This is a hearty meal that you can make in the crockpot and it's ready to eat when you arrive home after work.

4 TB Olive Oil
1-1/2 - 2 pounds Boneless Beef Chuck, cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 large Onion, chopped
1 - 2 Baking Potatoes or 5-6 Red Potatoes, chopped
3 large Carrots, coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 16-ounce Guinness Stout
1 TB Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 15.5-oz can Beef Broth
3 TB Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. In a bowl toss meat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with flour, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat all pieces. Arrange the meat in a single layer in the heated skillet. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side, just browning the outside.

Next, toss the onions, potatoes, carrots and garlic into a crockpot. Pour the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce over the veggies, sprinkle the thyme on top, and drop in the bay leaf. When all your meat is browned, place it in the crockpot, on top of the veggies.

Return the skillet to the stove and pour in the can of beef broth. Stir in the tomato paste, and use a wooden spoon to scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the broth. Those flavorful brown bits add a lot of flavor to this stew! Add the beef broth mixture to the crockpot, and top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.Stir gently to combine.

Place the lid on the crockpot and set on LOW for 7 - 8 hours or on HIGH for about 5 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Mixed Greens & Pasta Soup

For the mixed leafy greens choose any combination of mustard, kale, collard, or swiss chard. Greens have an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals, are very low in fat and calories and taste great.

2 TB Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 pound Mixed Leafy Greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
3 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock diluted with 3 cups water
2 tsp Salt, or more to taste
3/4 cup Small Pasta Shapes (such as riso or stars), or 1 cup Cooked Rice
1 tsp Sherry Vinegar, more to taste
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
6 TB grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Heat olive oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat and cook onions until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 2 minutes. Add the coarsely chopped greens to the pot, one handful at a time, and let them wilt, stirring constantly.

Add the diluted stock and the salt and slowly bring to a simmer, then cook until the greens are just soft (but not darkened or faded), about 10 minutes.

While the greens are cooking, cook the pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until the soup is done.

Coarsely shred the greens with a handheld immersion blender. Some will become puréed, but mostly they should be shredded. If you don't have an immersion blender, a food processor will do a better job than a stand blender. Transfer half the greens and liquid to a food processor and carefully purée until the greens are finely chopped. Reserve in a mixing bowl and repeat with the remaining greens and liquid. Wipe out the soup pot and return the greens and liquid to it.

Bring the soup to a simmer, and stir in the cooked pasta and 1 teaspoon vinegar. If the pasta clumps together (it probably will), let it warm and stir it again to break it up. Season with pepper. Taste, and add more salt or vinegar if needed.

To serve, ladle the soup into heated shallow bowls and garnish with a generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Each serving (approx): 192 calories; 5 grams protein; 28 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 890 mg. sodium.

9-Bean Soup

This is a great winter soup recipe. Once the dry beans are combined, you will have several extras bags ready for the next soup night. Serve with warm cornbread.

Step 1 - Prepare bean mixture.

1 pound Black Beans
1 pound Red Kidney Beans
1 pound Barley Pearls
1 pound Pinto Beans
1 pound Great Northern Beans
1 pound Navy Beans
1 pound Lentils
1 pound Yellow Split Peas
1 pound Green Split Peas
1 pound Black-Eyed Peas

Combine all varieties of beans and divide into Ziploc baggies of 2 1/2 cups each.

Step 2 - Prepare the Soup

1 package (2-1/2 cups) Nine Bean Soup Mix
1 pound Smoked Ham, diced
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, grated
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 28 oz can Diced Tomatoes include the juice
1 4 oz can Diced Green Chilies
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chopped Cilantro, if desired.

Wash and sort beans, discarding any damaged beans. Place in a Dutch oven or large soup pot and cover with water 2 inches above beans. Let soak overnight.

Drain beans and rinse well. Cover with water, and add the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours until the beans are done. Stir occasionally and add a little bit of water as needed. Add salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of cilantro if desired.

Black Bean Soup with Asparagus

Black beans are one of the most important health foods you should be adding to your diet. Not only are beans a great source of fiber and many nutrients, they also make an inexpensive meal.

This recipe is fast, flexible and easy to make. Adjust the amount of cumin used or use a spicy version of salsa. The flavors can be adjusted to suit your own taste.

1 19 oz can Black Beans
2 cups Salsa, or Crushed or Diced Tomatoes,
1 TB Olive Oil
1/2 to 1 tsp Cumin Seed, crushed
1 to 1 1/2 cups Water, Vegetable or Chicken Broth or Asparagus Cooking Water
1/2 pound Asparagus

Drain the beans, but save the liquid to thin the soup, if needed. Put the beans in a blender with the salsa.

Crush the cumin seed and cook it in a small skillet in the olive oil, until it sizzles and the aromas begin to release. Add the cumin see to the blender. Add about 1/2 cup bean liquid, water or broth. Purée until very smooth. Pour soup into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Cut off the tips, then cut the rest of it into fairly small pieces, about the same in length as the asparagus is thick. Cook the asparagus in a separate pot until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Reserve the asparagus tips and use them to garnish the soup. Put the rest of the asparagus into the soup, and thin the soup with some of the asparagus cooking water if it is too thick. Test and adjust the seasonings. Be careful not to overdo the salt; some of the ingredients called for can have quite a bit. A little pepper may be all that's needed. Serve the soup when it is hot, garnished with the asparagus tips.

Serves 4.

Italian Minestrone Soup

The ingredient list may seem long, but once you're savoring this soup on a cold day, it'll seem well worth it! The addition of spaghetti sauce provides rich flavor without a long simmering time.

1/3 cup Olive Oil
5 Bacon Strips, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup Celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup Carrots, sliced
1 can (6 oz) Tomato Paste
1 TB Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1 can (28 oz) Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Parmesan/Romano Spaghetti Sauce (or another flavor)
1 can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup Frozen Peas
1 cup Frozen Green Beans
1 (15 oz) can Beef Broth
6 cups Water
2 cups Ditalini Pasta, uncooked
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Fresh Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

Heat oil in 5-quart saucepan. Add bacon, cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots, and sauté for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add all remaining ingredients except pasta. Stir until ingredients are blended. Bring to boil and reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add uncooked pasta and simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve in large soup bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Beer Cheese Soup

This is a rich and hearty soup that would be perfect for dinner on a cold and snowy night. Serve with a loaf of crusty french bread and a good dark beer.

4-1/2 cups Chicken Broth, divided
1-1/4 cups Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 slices Bacon, diced
2 TB Butter
1/2 cup Onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Celery, finely diced
1/2 cup Carrot, finely diced
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Flour
2 - 1/2 cups 1% Milk
3/4 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 (12 oz) can Beer (nothing too dark)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Simmer 2 cups broth and potatoes in a small saucepan. Cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Transfer potato mixture to a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid to avoid spills. Blend until smooth. Set mixture aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook bacon until slightly crisp and drain drippings. Add butter to the pan, then add onion, celery and carrots to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level flour with a knife. Combine flour, remaining 2 1/2 cups broth and milk in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pan and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened; stir constantly with a whisk. Add potato mixture, both cheddar cheeses, and Worcestershire, pepper, and salt to the pan; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Add beer to pan and bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with black pepper and a sprinkle of cheese, if desired. Serves 4-6.

Chicken Soup with Wild Rice

2 quarts Chicken Broth with Garlic Seasoning
3 Carrots, thinly sliced
3 Celery Stalks, diced
1/2 cup Onion, diced
1-1/4 pounds Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Raw Wild Rice
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Salt and pepper to Taste

Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker, cover and set temp to low. Cook 6 to 7 hours.

This recipe can also be made on the stovetop. Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot and simmer on low until the vegetables and wild rice are tender, about 90 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Southwest Chicken Soup

1/2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 TB Olive Oil
1 (15 oz) can Corn, drained
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can Chicken Broth with Garlic
1 (10-oz) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies, undrained
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Sour Cream
Fresh Cilantro, chopped

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic and saute until just tender. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the corn, beans, broth, tomatoes, cumin, salt, chili powder, and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with a spoonful of sour cream in the center and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Serves 4.

Asian Spinach Soup

This makes a great side dish for any Asian meal. It's light flavors also blend well with precooked chicken or shrimp, which can be added to make this soup into a meal.

2 - 14 to 15 oz cans Vegetable Broth
1-1/2 cups Water
2 TB Soy Sauce
2 TB Rice Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
1 TB Oriental Sesame Oil
1 TB Minced Garlic
1 TB Minced and Peeled Fresh Ginger
2 cups Thinly Sliced Button or Baby Bella Mushrooms
1/2 pound Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a 10 ounce Bag of Fresh Spinach Leaves
3 Green Onions, chopped

Combine first 7 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add tofu, spinach and green onions and simmer until spinach wilts and tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Cream of Lentil Soup

Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, and are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out.

2 cups Dried Lentils
1 quart Water
2 quarts Beef Stock or Beef Broth
4 slices Bacon, diced
4 stalks Celery, diced
2 Yellow Onions, peeled and diced
1/2 Green Pepper, diced
Worcestershire Sauce, to taste
Tabasco Sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups Cream OR half-and-half
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 TB Fresh Rosemary OR 1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
Fresh Chives or Green Onions for Garnish
1/4 cup Dry Sherry

Place the lentils, water and beef stock in a large soup pot, cover and bring to a simmer. In a skillet, saute bacon and chopped vegetables until soft, about 6 minutes. Add this mixture to the soup pot. Cover and simmer until the lentils are soft. Working in small batches, puree the soup, and return to the pot.

Add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cream and gently simmer while you prepare the onion and rosemary garnish.

In a skillet, saute the sliced onions, rosemary and chives until the onion is tender. Set aside.

Add the sherry to the soup and stir. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of the onion and rosemary mixture.  Serves 8.

Easy Green Pea Soup

This soup is quick, easy and economical.   It makes a great dinner soup served along with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.

1 cup Frozen Green Peas, thawed
1 small Onion, chopped
1 small Potato, diced
1 TB Butter
1 cup Water or Chicken Stock
1 cup Milk or Cream *
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

*If using cream, add more water or stock and use half a cup of cream.

In a medium pot, melt butter and saute onion and potato for 1 minute. Add green peas and water or stock. Bring to boil and let it simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add milk, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer soup to the blender, and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot and bring to a simmer. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream on top, if desired.

Makes 2 - 3 generous servings.

Pumpkin-Black Bean Soup

This Caribbean-inspired soup combines pumpkin, black beans, tomatoes and sherry, with a sprinkle of queso fresco to top it off. A delicious soup for Halloween evening or even Thanksgiving Day.

1 1/2 cups Diced Canned Tomatoes, drained
2 (15 oz) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp Olive Oil
Cooking Spray
1 1/2 cups Onions, finely chopped
1 tsp Cumin
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 cups Fat-Free Chicken Broth
2 TB Sherry Vinegar
1/2 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
2 TB Dry Sherry
1 cup (4 oz) Queso Fresco* , crumbled (or substitute Feta cheese)
1/2 cup Green Onions, sliced
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Place tomatoes and beans in a food processor; process until about half of the beans are smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion to the pan; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add cumin and garlic; saute 1 minute. Add bean mixture, broth, vinegar, pepper and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in sherry. Ladle about 1 cup of soup into each of 6 bowls, and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons queso fresco and 1 tablespoon green onions each. Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Serves 6.

* The U.S. version of queso fresco is soft, moist, mild and crumbly cheese for sprinkling over enchiladas or black bean soup or crumbling onto a salad. Sadly, most of the versions in the U.S. do not melt very well. In Mexico the cheese is used to stuff chiles or for quesadillas.

Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

This spicy soup gets it's zesty flavor from green chilies and red curry paste. But don't let the spicy ingredients scare you, adjust the seasonings down just a bit for a milder flavor. Also, if you would like to make this soup a whole meal, add a can of black beans. See note below.

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Red Curry Paste
1 15-oz can Pumpkin
1 15-oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1 heaping cup Roasted Corn Kernels
1/2 cup Frontera Jalapeno- Cilantro Salsa
1 cup Chicken Broth
1 14-oz. can Coconut Milk, as needed
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Chopped Cilantro, dried or fresh, to taste
1 tsp Raw Agave Nectar (or substitute maple syrup or raw sugar to taste)
Juice from 1 Fresh Lime

Heat the olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-low heat and add the garlic, cumin and curry paste; stir for one minute. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes with green chiles, roasted corn, and salsa. Stir to combine.

Add the broth. Heat through to a simmer, and begin adding the coconut milk; start with one cup. If you like it creamy, add more. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, and cilantro. Heat through gently and bring to a slow simmer.

Taste test and add the fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor. Stir. Add more spice if you need more heat; add more agave (or maple syrup if substituting) and/or coconut milk if you need less heat.

Serve with organic blue corn tortilla chips. Makes four servings.
** Optional: Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans for more protein.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

This is a very adaptable recipe and tastes much better than tomato soup from a can. Try adding diced jalapeno peppers for a little more zesty flavor, or even skip the addition of sour cream and add cream to the final recipe. Also, if you are short on prep time, substitute a jar of roasted red peppers and a large can of peeled and diced tomatoes for the fresh vegetables.

2 tsp Olive Oil, divided
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Red Bell Peppers
4 large Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
2 tsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Sugar
6 cups Chicken Broth (regular or low sodium)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pinch Ground Cayenne Pepper
1 dash Hot Pepper Sauce
2 TB Butter
1-1/2 TB All-Purpose Flour
6 TB Sour Cream

To roast the peppers: Rub 1 teaspoon olive oil on peppers and place under the broiler until blackened, turning peppers to get all sides evenly roasted. Carefully place peppers into a paper bag and seal. Let rest for 15 minutes, remove from bag and peel off the skins, and remove core and seeds. Dice the peppers, reserving one cup; set aside.

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, bell peppers (except reserved), thyme, paprika, and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

Stir in chicken stock, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Strain soup, reserving broth. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside the pot of broth.

Strain soup, reserving broth. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside the pot of broth.

In the soup pot, melt butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stirring slowly, add puree and broth back to the pot. Add reserved chopped peppers and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of sour cream to the center of each bowl. For a lighter soup, this is also delicious without the sour cream.

Ladle into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of sour cream to the center of each bowl. For a lighter soup, this is also delicious without the sour cream. Serves 6.

Roasted Squash Soup

This delicious and creamy soup would be perfect served as a first-course for Thanksgiving dinner. Acorn Squash makes a great substitute if Butternut Squash is not available.

1 TB Olive Oil
1 large Butternut Squash (about 3 pounds), halved and seeded
3/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
6 cloves Garlic
4 Thyme Sprigs
3 TB Unsalted Butter
1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth
1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 TB Unsalted Butter
1 cup 1/2-inch Diced White Bread
1 TB Sour Cream
1 TB Fresh Minced Chives

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the olive oil over the cut side of the squash and season with a 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Place the squash, cut side down, on the prepared pan. Tuck the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs under the cavity of the squash. Roast the squash 50 to 60 minutes, until soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reserve the garlic cloves and discard the thyme. Scoop the butternut squash flesh from the skin, coarsely chop, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and shallots for 7 to 10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the roasted butternut squash, the reserved garlic cloves, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the squash begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Purée the soup until smooth with a hand-held blender or in a food processor. Return it to the pan and add the cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

For the croutons: Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Stir in the cubes of bread and toast, stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into warmed shallow bowls, dollop each with 1/2 teaspoon of sour cream, sprinkle with the croutons and chives. Serves 4 or 6 servings as a first course.

Potato-Leek Soup

3 TB Butter
2 cups Sliced Leeks
2 cups Sliced Onions
3 TB All-Purpose Flour
2 quarts Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 cups Potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Parsley or Chives, chopped

In a large skillet melt the butter and saute the leeks and onions without browning. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Blend the soup in a food processor, if desired. Add the cream just before serving. Garnish with parsley. Serves 6-8.

Spicy Carrot Peanut Soup

This is a delicious Moosewood Restaurant soup that has a lot to offer -- a mildly sweet flavor, with just a bit of nutty and salty taste and a little sour from the lime juice.

1 TB Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, chopped
2 lbs Carrots, peeled and diced
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Chinese Chili Paste (such as Sriracha)
6 cups Water or Stock, vegetable or chicken
2 TB Peanut Butter
3 TB Soy Sauce
2 TB Lime Juice

In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, salt and chili paste and cook, stirring often, on high heat for 5 minutes.

Add the water or stock to the vegetable mixture, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.

Stir in the remaining ingredients – peanut butter, soy sauce and lime juice – and then allow to cool slightly. In a blender, puree the soup until silky smooth. Reheat if desired, and season to taste. For a little crunch, top with finely chopped roasted peanuts.

Creamy Vegetable Chowder

This is a great fall soup that includes a variety of vegetables and a creamy cheddar cheese base.

2 cups Chopped Onions
1 TB Butter
1 TB Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 Celery Stalks, diced
1 cup Peeled and Diced Carrots
1 1/2 cups Diced Potatoes
3 cups Water or Vegetable Stock
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper (or use Ground White Pepper)
1/2 cup Green Beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup Diced Red Bell Peppers
1 cup Diced Zucchini
1/2 cup Fresh or Frozen Green Peas (you can also substitute frozen corn, which works great)
2 TB Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 cups Milk
1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 oz Neufchatel or Ccream Cheese

Optional: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little extra spice, or add a sprinkle of grated cheddar cheese or even parmesan cheese on top of the soup.

In a large soup, sauté the onions in the butter and oil for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat. Add the celery, cover, and cook until just soft, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, potatoes, water or stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. With a strainer or slotted spoon, remove about 1 1/2 cups of the cooked vegetables and carefully pour into a blender or food processor. Set aside until ready to puree.

Add the green beans, bell peppers, and zucchini to the pot and cook until the green beans are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley, simmer for 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

Puree the reserved vegetables with the milk and cheeses to make a smooth sauce, stir the sauce into the soup and gently reheat. Serve with crusty French bread and a salad.  Serves about 8.

Blueberry Peach Smoothie

Blueberries are delicious and healthy! They are naturally high in antioxidants for disease protection, they help to improve memory, and are heart healthy. A powerful superfood!

1 whole Banana -- frozen
1 cup frozen Peach Slices
1/4 cup fresh or frozen Blueberries or Raspberries
1/2 cup Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
1 TB Wheat Germ

Place banana, frozen peach slices, blueberries, yogurt and wheat germ in a blender and process until smooth.

Serves 2.

Ginger Smoothies (5)

Have your own smoothie bar at home with these delicious and easy to prepare smoothie recipes. Try different fruits, use juices or milk, add a spoonful of sugar-free jam or protein powder and change the flavors each day. The varieties are endless and yummy.

1 Banana, cut into chunks
1 cup Ice Cubes
1/2 cup Bottled Carrot Juice
1/2 cup Plain Low-Fat Yogurt
3/4-inch piece Fresh Ginger, peeled

Nutritional Info: 233 calories, 2.5 gr fat, 1.4g sat. fat, 8.9g protein, 47.2g carbs, 4.1g fiber

Hawaiian Smoothie with Ginger
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1/2 cup Frozen Pineapple Chunks
1/2 cup Frozen Mango Chunks
a good sized piece of fresh ginger

Put all ingredients in a blender, and blend 'til smooth. Serves 2.

Strawberry Ginger Smoothie
2 cups Frozen Strawberries
1/2 cup Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 cup Milk
2 TB Honey
1 tsp Chopped Ginger

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. Add a bit more milk if desired, until you have the preferred consistency. Serves 2.

Papaya Ginger Smoothie
2 1/2 cups Papaya, chilled and cut into chunks
1 cup Ice Cubes
2/3 cup Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
1 TB Finely Chopped and Peeled Fresh Ginger
1 TB Honey
Juice of 2 Lemons
16 Fresh Mint Leaves plus 4 sprigs for garnish

Blend papaya, ice, yogurt, ginger, honey, and lemon juice in a blender. Add up to 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is smooth and thinned to desired consistency. Blend in mint leaves and garnish with mint sprigs.  Serves 4.

Ginger, Kiwi and Banana Smoothie
2 Kiwis, cut into chunks
1 Banana, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp Ginger, chopped
1 cup Low-Fat Milk

Place kiwi, banana and ginger into blend. Pulse until smooth, then add milk to desired consistency. Serves 1.

Double Berry Smoothie

1 cup Lowfat Vanilla Yogurt
1 small ripe Banana, cut up
2 TB Honey
1 cup fresh or frozen Strawberries
1 cup fresh or frozen Raspberries
1/2 cup Raspberry Sherbet or Sorbet

Combine all ingredients in a blender until thick and smooth. Serves 2.

Crock Pot Split Pea & Ham Soup

Serve with garlic toast or crusty french bread and a salad for a delicious and healthy meal.

2 TB Butter
12 - 14 oz Smoked Cooked Ham, diced (or Ham Bone with Meat)
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Chicken Broth
1 quart Water
16 oz dried Split Peas, sorted and rinsed
2 to 3 medium Carrots, diced
2 ribs Celery, sliced
2 large Potatoes, cubed
1/2 tsp Dried Marjoram Leaves, crumbled
1 Bay Leaf

Place a skillet over medium heat; add butter, ham, and onion, cook until onion is tender and ham is slightly browned. Combine ham mixture and remaining ingredients in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for 6 - 8 hours, or until split peas are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Serves 8.

Grilled Prosciutto-Stuffed Pork Chops

The combination of tangy balsamic vinegar and the sweet molasses create a delicate balance with the spicy rub.

4 Pitted Dried Plums, halved
2 very thin slices Prosciutto (about 3/4 ounce), halved
1/2 tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Chopped Fresh Sage
1/2 tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4 (4 oz) boneless Center-Cut Loin Pork Chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
Cooking spray
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp Molasses

Prepare grill.

Soak the pitted dried plum halves in boiling water 5 minutes. Drain plums. Wrap 2 of the plum halves in each prosciutto piece.

Combine next 6 ingredients (through freshly ground black pepper) in a small bowl.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each pork chop to form a pocket. Stuff 1 prosciutto wrap into each pocket. Sprinkle pork chops with spice mixture. Place pork chops on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Combine vinegar and molasses; brush over pork chops.

Boneless Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Thyme

This tasty dinner for two is low-carb and heart-healthy. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to serve for a family meal.
2 (5 oz each) boneless, Center-Cut Pork Loin Chops
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium Shallot, minced
1 1/2 cups sliced Mushrooms (about 4 oz)
1/2 cup Dry Vermouth (or substitute unsweetened apple juice)
1 TB Dijon Mustard
2 tsp chopped Fresh Thyme

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to 2 serving plates; tent with foil to keep warm.

Add remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan, add shallot and cook, stirring, until tender, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add vermouth and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in mustard, thyme and any juices that have accumulated from the pork; cook until the sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately.