Beef and Vegetable Soup

 

 

I’ve been terribly ill the last week, but I attribute this delicious soup to my recovery. Real bone broth packs a ton of healing properties. Store bought broth is not cooked the same way, and therefore is used just for flavor – unfortunately it does not have much nutritional value. When we can, we follow the Nourishing Traditions recipe for making beef or chicken broth – but if you live here in the San Jose area, you can get already made beef broth from grass fed cows at the Campbell’s Farmer’s Market! But if you aren’t close, and don’t want to make your own broth, take heart. You can order “real” bone broth on the internet!

Check it out: http://www.wisechoicemarket.com/real-organic-bone-broth-sampler-2-packs/

Andrew’s work shared this yummy recipe with us. I like to add quinoa or brown rice at the end (already cooked) to make the meal more filling.

 

Beef and Veggie Soup

1 beef chuck [cut into cubes]..[or you can buy already cut beef stew meat from a local grocery store]

1-2 cups chopped yellow onions

3 large carrots [peeled and diced] [you don’t necessarily need to peel carrots-they have waaay more nutritional value with their skin on  ]

3 celery ribs [diced]

Red wine [always cook with something you are willing to drink yourself]

1Ž4 c. minced garlic

Beef stock or broth [we use veal stock here..but beef stock or broth will work just fine]

1bunch thyme [chopped]

1 bunch oregano [chopped]

2 bay leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

[again you can always up the ante on the vegetables]

Preparation:

Brown off beef in stock pot over medium high heat [in batches depending on how much you have-to achieve nice color] in oil [preferably vegetable oil, rice oil, or canola oil…olive oil will burn up too fast], remove from pot and allow to drain off any excess grease, reserve beef for later. In the same pot over medium heat, add in your diced onions, carrots and celery with your bay leaves. Allow to cook til onions become slightly translucent. Then add in your minced garlic [I personally LOVE garlic, so feel free to add in a lil more if you love garlic as much as I do] let cook for about a minute, try to avoid browning the garlic as it will become bitter once it hits that stage. Deglaze with red wine, about a cup or so and reduce out the alcohol. [You can always tell when the alcohol is cooked out by smelling it…if it burns your nose hairs…theres still alcohol left In the pot..if not..you are good to move on to the next step J] add in about half of your chopped herbs and return meat back to pot. Add in your stock [to cover] and simmer away until beef is tender. Season up with salt and pepper as needed and at this point depending on how much you like herbs, you can finish with the rest of your herbs and skim off whatever fat or grease that may have been released over the simmering process…and viola!!!! You have beef and vegetable soup!! J

Things to keep in mind:

you can easily turn this into a stew by adding potatoes and letting them break down a lil to give the soup a thicker heartier feel.

You can also add in other seasonal vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips [to give it a lil peppery taste to it], yams, etc..in the spring/summer time, you can add tomatoes, corn, peas, green beans..or any type of dried bean year round..the possibilities are endless!! J

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The Jen Hatmaker Sandwich

 

 

I follow the blogger/writer Jen Hatmaker and love her. The other day she posted this sandwich she makes on “grocery store” days – you know, the days when you go grocery shopping and then come home and don’t feel like touching food to cook for dinner because you are done. with. food. (I get it). Her description of this sandwich was so easy and yummy that I had to try it! Everyone in the family loved it!

The Jen Hatmaker Sandwich

1 loaf ciabatta bread
Pesto
Marinara Sauce
Mozarella Cheese, sliced
Salami
Ham
Lettuce
Tomato
Basil

Slice the ciabatta bread in half. Spread the pesto, then layer with meat and cheese. Next layer the veggies and top with spoonfuls of marinara sauce. Place in a baking dish and cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Enjoy with a side bowl of marinara for dipping.

Yogurt Chicken Salad

 

 

I will admit – I LOVE mayonnaise. Not just any mayo, but the Best Foods straight up bad stuff. I used to adore white sourdough sandwiches layered thick with mayo and salami. Mmmmm … but ever since learning how bad store bought mayo is, I have cut it out of my diet. (note, real mayo made at home or with real ingredients is just fine). The mayo I like from the store is made from soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, etc. All of these come from GMO crops. Your body can’t break down soybean oil well and treats it as a toxin, sending it straight to the liver. Anyways, this is a conversation for another day … I digress.

At the gym, I try to pretend I don’t know about store bought mayo and I often get myself a treat: the chicken salad snack. It’s soooo good. I KNOW it’s made with the addictive Best Foods mayo.  So I decided I have to take matters into my own hands and find a way to recreate this yummy dish without the mayo at home. Right now, I don’t have the time or interest to make my own mayo – although maybe someday I will and I will use the previous link when I do!  So for now,  I wanted to try a quick yogurt alternative. I played around, and this recipe is very similar and quite tasty. Would be excellent to make a huge batch and have it ready to go throughout the week for an easy healthy lunch.

Chopped cooked chicken breast (i used a costco rotisserie chicken)
Chopped red or green onions
Dried cranberries (trader joes and costco both carry brands that do not add sugar to their dried fruit!)
Sliced grapes
Chopped apple
Sliced almonds
Garlic powder or salt
Black pepper
Plain yogurt

Mix and determine amounts as needed. You can see my amounts in the picture. Play around with what suits your taste buds. Enjoy on bread or wrapped in lettuce!

Annemieke’s Dutch Meatballs

My lovely friend Annemieke is Dutch, and when Alice was born she made us these amazing Dutch meatballs! I’ve been craving them ever since, and yesterday my Christmas wish came true and Mieke gave me a Dutch seasoning packet and the recipe to her famous meatballs. You’ve got to try these. Delicious!! You DO have to buy the dutch seasonings online. I’m sure you could make your own, but I used the pack that Mieke gave me. You can purchase the same one here.

Picture Credit: Alice lovin’ her meatball!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Bread Crumbs (don’t do progresso, just plain simple bread crumbs like panko)
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 stick butter
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 seasoning packet (salt, corriander, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamon, chile, majoram)

Directions:

Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning packet together. Beat egg with ketchup. Mix all ingredients with meat and make 4-6 large meatballs. Heat butter on medium heat until melted. Place meatballs in pan. Sear for 4 minutes on top, then 4 minutes on bottom. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Served with potatoes or over rice.

Picture Step by Step Chicken Soup Tutorial

Here is a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your own nourishing chicken soup.  In our house, we use quinoa instead of noodles, but Chicken Quinoa Soup just doesn’t have the same ring to it ask Chicken Noodle Soup!  So, if you prefer noodles, go ahead and skip the quinoa prep parts, but I do highly recommend you try it with quinoa instead because of the wonderful nutritious value of this super grain.

Do youself a favor when you make this – make it BIG so that you have some to freeze for the future, when you are feeling under the weather, and you need a quick hardy soup on hand.  I always feel infinitely happier when I know there is frozen soup in my freezer!!

And forgive the quality of my pictures.  I’m not going for a food blog award here.  These are iPhone photos taken in my small messy kitchen with poor lighting.  It’s real life folks.  Real life.

And onward to the soup!!

Step 1: Peel and chop half an onion.  Ignore the Safeway receipt.  

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Step 2: Sauté chopped onion with a few pats of butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.

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Step 3: Peel and mince a few cloves of garlic, add to the sautéing onions


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Step 4: Toast 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan for about 6 minutes. Just quinoa in the pan, nothing else. You will know it’s done toasting when you can smell it. Don’t let it go too long or it will burn. If you need to, put a timer on it!


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Step 5: Chop several stalks of celery

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Step 6: Add chopped carrots. These are extra carrots and green beans that I had over the summer, so I chopped them up and tossed in a freezer bag. Perfect and easy to put in soups when you are short on time! I put them in the soup completely frozen. Freezing pre-chopped veggies is amazing and so helpful.  How did I just learn about it?  Life changing!!


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Step 7: Add herbs. Here I am using fresh parsley. If you have it, great. If you don’t, no worries. Allow veggies to cook until softened.  Also add some salt.


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Step 8: By this time, you should smell your quinoa toasting up nicely. Measure 1 3/4 cups water, preferably boiling hot, but it’s ok if it’s not.

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Step 9: Add the water to your quinoa

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Step 10: Add a tbsp of olive oil to the pot with the water and quinoa. I don’t measure, just a quick pour.

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Step 11: Add a tsp of salt to the quinoa. 

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Step 12:  Bring quinoa to a boil, then down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Step 13:  Revisit your veggies.  Add spices.  These are my favorite cast of characters.  Just a pinch or two of the turmeric will give a nice flavor.  I like to be generous with the garlic salt and other seasonings.  Other yummies to add are dried onion, onion salt, thyme.

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Step 14:  Add your cooked chopped chicken.  Stir to get them covered with the flavors and cook for a minute.  This is where already cooked chicken from the freezer comes in very handy – preferably if you made a roast chicken and shredded the extra meat!  Also another great way to save $, one whole chicken can make several meals if you roast it, then shred it, make broth, and soup.  Our family of 5 can use one 4 lb chicken for 3 meals.  You rock, roast chicken! 

(here it is out of the fridge)

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(then chopped and in the soup!)

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Step 15:  Add your homemade chicken broth until the veggies are completely covered, and then some.  Yes, homemade broth.  It’s where all the nutrients and healing “powers” of the soup come from.  Store bought broth does not have the same nutritional qualities.  But if you are pressed, store bought is OK.  Just promise me next time you’ll do homemade, ok?  

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Step 16:  Bring to a boil.

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Step 17:  Once your quinoa is done, it should look like this.  Add to your soup.  I like to add all of it.  I think it makes a hearty soup and keeps you full longer.  Of course, if you are doing noodles instead, add the cooked noodles now.

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Step 18: Check your flavors.  Taste, adjust, taste taste, adjust more!!  I always end up adding more salt and seasonings.  Just use a clean spoon for every taste.   🙂  And voila!  Your soup is done!  Super healthy, warms up up inside (which helps fight germs, too!), veggies, bone broth gelatinous goodness to keep your immunity up, and all the delights of the complete protein, high calcium, magnesium, and iron of the lovely hardy gain quinoa.  Eat!  Enjoy!  (remember to stir well when serving because the quinoa is heavy and sinks to the bottom).

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Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

 

 

I just discovered this incredibly easy way to prepare a whole chicken! Seriously, no prep AT ALL! Love it. The chicken is tender and great for shredding into tacos, soups, salads, etc.

4 lb Whole Chicken

Salt Chicken

Place in crockpot, add in lemons and garlic if you have it – if not, no problem!

Cook on High for 3 hours. If 5 lb bird, cook 3.5 hrs.

Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before cutting into it. The skin will not be crisp like a roasted chicken, but the meat will be moist and tender!

Don’t forget to use that chicken later for homemade chicken broth!!

Susie’s Chicken Enchilada Soup

 

Susie inspired me with her talk about chicken enchilada soup! I did my best to recreate her vision after she visited us. Thankfully, soups are forgiving and you can play around with this recipe using a few simple ideas as a base.

Sautee in butter or olive oil:

Onions, garlic, bell peppers

Add in:

Enchilada Sauce

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Shredded cooked chicken (about 2 breasts)

Corn or canned cream corn

Beans (black)

Cheese (a few handfuls of a hearty cheddar)

Adjust flavor with spices:

Cumin, Garlic Salt, Chili Powder, Salt, Salsa

If you soup is too thick, thin it out with some milk/water combo.

Serve with chips, cheese, green onions, cilantro on top!

 

Pumpkin Chili

A delicious fall dish – lovely combo of flavors! I was able to do a bit of freezer clean out too! I don’t remember who told me about chopping up extra summer veggies (like the abundance of bell peppers we had this year) and freezing them – but whoever did is a lifesaver! Didn’t need to chop up a single veggie for this dish – all was pre-chopped in my freezer and ready to go. Same with the precooked frozen beans! So so easy and cheap. Love things like that!

Because I made this without going to the grocery store first, I made adjustments as you will see. Originally thought I would be halving the recipe because I didn’t have 2 lbs of meat, but I think in hindsight I could have used the full amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spices and it would have been just fine! However if you are nervous about the idea of the pumpkin flavor, you can keep it in half like I did and it will taste more like a traditional chili.

Thanks to Jessie at Bites for this fun fall dish!

2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.3 lbs)
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced (Used a medley of colored peppers)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained (instead 2 cups black beans, 2 pinto)
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (Didn’t have much of this, subbed in a cup or two of chicken broth, added a small can of v8)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree (I used half although I wish I had used more)
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (also used half since my pumpkin use was half, but could have done more)
1/4 cup chili powder (taste your chili first before you add in the chili powder, you might prefer more or less)
2 t. cumin (used half)
2 T. white sugar (did not use sugar, instead a small spoonful of honey)

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps

 

 

My chef like friend Kassidy passed along this website and recipe and we LOVED it! Plus this was an easy one to throw together and make modifications where needed. I didn’t have mushrooms or broccoli slow, so I did grated carrots and zucchini instead. And we wrapped ours in big cabbage leaves instead of lettuce. Instead of coconut aminos I used organic soy sauce. The flavor was wonderful! I added a bit of brown rice for the kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of ground meat (I used grass fed ground beef)
  • 1 lb of thinly sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups of broccoli slaw (I use the organic slaw from Trader Joe’s)
  • ½ cup of shredded carrots (I use the ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • a handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut aminos
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Chop in a food processor onions until super fine, sautee in large pan with pat of butter. Cook until translucent. Add mushrroms, cook until softened. Add garlic, cook for 1 more minute.

Add ground beef, mixing and cooking until all chunks are broken and beef is cooked with no more pink. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in equal amounts the soy sauce (coconut aminos), fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar

Add carrots and broccoli slaw. Cook and stir until softened.

Add green onions and cilantro, mix, and serve in lettuce leaves!

Thai Chicken Quinoa Salad

The best part of this salad is the dressing! Yum! Salads are great because you can pick and chose what to include based on what you have. I wanted to use up our leafy greens, so I added them – but didn’t have carrots, edamame, or cilantro. We didn’t miss those too much! The quinoa and chicken made this salad a hearty meal.

Thanks to Bites and Mel’s Kitchen for this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 lime juiced, about 2 tablespoons
  • Pinch of ground ginger

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. I usually cook quinoa in low-sodium chicken broth: 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups liquid.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure and whisk to combine (or pulse in a blender). When the quinoa finishes cooking, scoop it into a large bowl. Stir in the sauce and mix well. Stir in the chicken, carrots, edamame, red pepper, green onions, peanuts and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.