Tag Archives: spinach

Homemade Italian Style Vegetable Soup

9 May

The sudden arrival of Spring means two things. One, the weather gets warmer so that frolicking outdoors starts to seem more appealing than slaving away in the kitchen.  Two, the farmer’s markets are full of the freshest, cheapest delicious produce. To take full advantage of the best of both situation, I highly suggest that you make this soup!

Now I know that making soup just as it’s finally starting to get warmer out may seem counterintuitive, but I promise, this really is a good idea… This soup is chock full of delicious vegetables to provide you with energy without weighing you down. By making this soup now, you can have it stored away in your freezer for easy, nutritious meals all summer long. My logic is, stock up now so that you don’t have to think about it later!

Homemade broth

This soup makes a veggie-filled accompaniment to any lunch or dinner. Store it in individually-portioned glass jars in your freezer, so that you can take it out the night before and have a delicious, preservative-free soup ready when you want in.

Mishmash of delicious veggies

This is an incredibly flexible soup to which you can add any vegetables, herbs, or spices that you have on hand. Feel free to add beans and pasta to make it more of a traditional Minestrone. Or top the soup with a bit of pesto to give it a French provincial flavor. You can even substitute the basil, oregano, and thyme for some miso paste and siracha sauce to give it a slightly Asian taste.

Delicious and nutritious and ready to go!

Homemade Italian Style Vegetable Soup

Servings: 8

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of assorted vegetables in less than pristine condition (onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, leeks, ect)
  •  2 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves of garlic, lightly chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemarry or other herbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 leeks, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen green beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspooon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach or kale, defrosted

Directions

  1. Dump your assorted vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and herbs into a large stock pot and fill the pot with enough water to just barely cover the vegetables. With the stove on high, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. In the mean time chop up and prepare all of your vegetables for the soup itself. Use a strainer to remove the vegetables, and then set the remaining vegetable broth aside. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time, you could skip this step altogether and use boxed or frozen vegetable broth.
  2. Using the same stock pot as before, lightly saute your celery, onion, leeks, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add your carrots and zucchini and continue to lightly saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes, green beans, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth (from step one).
  4. Allow soup to simmer for 30-45 minutes, then add in the spinach or kale, and allow it to cool for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve (or freeze). Enjoy!

Date Night: Pizza Two Ways

29 Feb

Goose and I have very different food preferences to say the least. He enjoys starchy comfort food, while I prefer exotic, produce-based meals. Often we try to meet somewhere in the middle when we go out to eat. This past Valentine’s Day when I cooked dinner for us at my house, I decided that neither of us should have compromise our tastes on this special because we could both get to eat what we enjoy by whipping up two quick and easy dishes. We minimized the prep by using pre-made bases and similar ingredients to make two different variations on pizza.

Ingredients for Goose's pizza

I love that pizza is so infinitely adaptable that by tweaking the base and the toppings, you can come up with countless delicious combinations to please any taste palate.

Ingredients for my pizza

For Goose I made a thick-crust cheese pizza shaped like a heart. For myself I made spinach-filled pizza toast topped with kale. For me it was the perfect night of  romance, because we both thoroughly enjoyed our individual pizzas, and then as we cuddled and watched A Beautiful Night, we shared a chocolately dessert. So next time you are planning a romantic night in, don’t feel pressured to come up with a meal to split. You and your partner will both end up happier if you get to eat something you truly enjoy.

Goose’s Pizza

Crust

Add tomato sauce and garlic seasoning

Top with cheese

Bake for 10-13 minutes

Finished cheese pizza made with love

Ingredient:

  • 1 Pillsbury Pizza Crust Classic. Feel free to go all out and make homemade pizza dough; 101 Cookbooks has a great recipe
  • 1 Tbs + 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 cup Pizza Sauce (I used Ragu)
  • 1 Cup Milk Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Open the can of dough and roll it out. For thick crust, double it up. Optional: pinch the bottom together and make a cut in the top, then mold it into the shape of a heart, or make it look like the shape of your choice.
  3. Sprinkle the dough with garlic powder, then add a thin layer of tomato sauce. Top it off with a generous sprinkle of each of the cheeses. Feel free to use whatever types of cheese you have on hand, this is just what was in my refrigerator at the time.
  4. Bake pizza for about 12 minutes, and serve!

Modern Alice Pizza

Boloni with both tomato sauces, herbs, and spices

Add cheese, then top with kale

Microwave or toast it, then done!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spinach Bolani like the one from East and West, or you can use whole wheat pita
  • 1/2 Cup Dave’s Organic Spicy Heirloom Tomato Sauce. You can try swapping half of it for Cup Dave’s Organic Wild Mushroom Sauce. Or use your favorite store bought or homemade tomato sauce, like this one from The Innocent Primate Vegan Blog.
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or 1/3 cup reduced fat Mozzarella
  • 1/8 Tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp dried basil (or 5 leaves of fresh basil if you have it)
  • 2/3 Cup shredded kale

Directions

  1. Top your bolani with both types of tomato sauce, cheese, basil, cayenne pepper, and as much shredded kale as you can pile on
  2. Toast the veggie-packed “pizza” for 3-5 minutes for crisper crust, or microwave it for 45 second. That’s it…eat up!

Whichever way you like your pizza, make sure to really enjoy it. Take the time to savor your pizza with someone you really love, don’t just scarf it down in front of a computer screen. Enjoy lovely readers!