Creamy Broccoli Soup (Dairy Free!)

I didn’t expect this to be as tasty as it was!!  There was no cheese, no cream cheese, no milk…and yet it was still super creamy and flavorful.  I was amazed at the fantastic taste that came simply from the veggies in this soup!!  Cause it really was…just veggies!  But they were soooo good!!!  Beautiful taste, beautiful texture…warm and comforting for these last few snowy days…yummmm!  And seriously…if I didn’t care about health and gluten…I would scoop this into bread bowls and it would be heavenly!!!!  Observe…

Adapted from perfectweightamerica.com.

 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 C Broccoli, Roughly Chopped.
  • 1 C Celery, chopped
  • 3-4 Carrots, chopped
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 C Chicken Broth
  • 4 C Water
  • 2 Leaves Basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Prep your veggies!  
  2. Melt your butter over medium heat in a soup pot.
  3. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broccoli and saute a few more minutes.
  5. Sprinkle in your herbs and give it a stir.
  6. Add in the liquids, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  7. Blend with an immersible blender, or scoop the veggies with a little broth into a regular blender and blend until creamy…in batches if necessary. Stir it all up, then spoon into bowls and enjoy.  Sooooo creamy!  And sooo healthy!!!!

 

 

Start by prepping your veggies!! Aren’t they pretty?  Love me some veggies!

Broccoli Soup 2Keep your broccoli separate cause it goes in later 😉

Broccoli Soup 3Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots in butter for about 5 minutes.

Broccoli Soup 4Add the broccoli and saute about 3 more minutes.

Broccoli Soup 5Add your herbs and liquids…bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Broccoli Soup 6Now blend it until creamy with an immersible blender, or in batches with a regular blender.  Look at how creamy it is!

Broccoli Soup 7Then scoop it up, serve it, and enjoy!!!

Broccoli Soup 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fantastic Pear and Cheese Ball Salad

I recently was reading a friend’s Facebook post, and he was sharing that he detests vegetables and any kind of salad.  I, personally, think that is madness!!!  And have to wonder if he would change his mind if he tried this beauty!!  In fact…the last time I made this (yes, I have made it multiple times its so good!!) was on a day we were helping out at church.  Those days are tricky…being there by 7:30, leaving at 2:30…and full of food temptation.  Our pastor is generous enough to provide food for all the volunteers…and, seeing as he owns the local Cici’s Pizza restaurant…it is always greasy, cheesy, fantastically tempting pizza.  In DROVES!  Occasionally, they also provide a salad from Cici’s…but it usually includes processed dressing, meats that I am certain contain pork and nitrites…lots of fun stuff.  It really does look tasty.  But here is the best part…as everyone else was downing pizza and the fancy processed salad, I brought in this fresh salad for Mr. Rodgers and I…and everyone stopped, looked…and said things such as “Now that’s a salad,”  “You are such a good little cook,” (which cracked me up, cause there is obviously SO much cooking involved in making a salad,) and “WHAT?!  You got avocados?!”  It cracked me up, and made me feel proud.  Especially as their forks kept entering our bowl, to pick off avocados and cheese balls.  The memory still makes me smile 😉

Are you intrigued?  I swear by it…it is definitely worth trying 😀  And making…again and again and again!  Let’s get to it!

This recipe was so good as is, I stuck pretty close to the directions!!  So I must admit, it is just ever so slightly adapted from perfectweightamerica.com.

Note: this is a recipe that requires a bit of planning ahead!  For best results, go through your first 3 steps an hour before serving 🙂

Here’s what you need:

For the Salad:

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Pear
  • 2 Hearts of Romaine (Or lettuce of choice!)
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 12 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 C Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 Green Onions, sliced
  •  1/2 C Almonds

Dressing:

A recipe of your favorite vinaigrette, or if you want to keep it simple and healthy, you can make the “Maker’s Diet Basic Vinaigrette” with

  •  1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Flaxseed Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Herbamare Seasoning

If you have never heard of Herbamare Seasoning…it is quite magical and you should try it!!!  It is like salt kicked up a notch…and totally natural!!  Here’s what you’re looking for 🙂

Grilled Chicken Chickpea Salad 1

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Take your almonds, and place them in a small food processor, and pulse until they are very finely chopped.  Dump into a shallow bowl.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, mustard, cheddar, and green onion.
  3. Take small spoonfuls of the cheese mixture, roll it into balls.  This works surprisingly well..I expected it to get all over my hands.  But it was barely messy and rolled very well!!
  4. Take each cheese ball and roll it in the almonds to make a coating 🙂  Place them in a single layer on a platter and put them in the fridge.  Let chill for an hour or so.
  5. Get your romaine, and chop into bite sized pieces.
  6. Whisk together your vinaigrette!
  7. Slice the avocado and pear right before serving, or if you are using a vinaigrette with lemon juice in it…you can slice the avocado and pear earlier in the process, and cover them with the vinaigrette to prevent browning.
  8. Place the lettuce on your serving plates, top with avocado and pear slices and your crusted cheese balls…drizzle on some dressing…and impress the hungry people at your table 🙂  Enjoy salad like you have never had it before!!

Start by processing your almonds, so they will make a nice fine, crunchy coating for your cheese balls.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad

Put the Ricotta, cheddar, Dijon, and green onions together in a bowl.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 2Stir it together till combined well.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 3

Roll mixture into balls, and roll in the almonds to create a coating.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 5

Place in a single layer and let  chill in refrigerator for about an hour.  This is about half of what my recipe made.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 4

Thinly slice avocado and pear.  If you are not serving immediately, cover with a vinaigrette that has lemon in it.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 6

Place your lettuce on serving plates and top with avocado, pear, and cheese balls, and drizzle with dressing.

Pear, Avocado, Cheese Ball Salad 7

Isn’t it pretty?!  Here’s a close up of the deliciousness that you NEED to partake in 😉

Pear, Avocado, Chees Ball Salad 8

So fresh and tasty!  The sweetness of the pear against the creaminess of the cheese.  You know…sour cream and onion is one of my favorite junk food flavors…perhaps that is why I love these cheese balls…the green onion with the Ricotta is reminiscent of a healthier version of it.  And of course, the avocado is a gem…which was evidenced by the thieves sticking their forks into our salad bowl 😉  I do so hope you enjoy!! 🙂

Turkey Sausage Fritatta

This is an “omg” meal!  Remember the Two Pepper Fritatta?  That was really good.  This one…is even better!!  I’m usually not passionate about breakfast…but when I made this, I fell in love.  And I rarely repeat recipes because I am so excited to try new ones that I don’t have time to do both.  Not so with this one.  Definitely have already made it twice.  Definitely can’t wait to make it again.  There is just something about turkey sausage…that makes me really happy!  🙂  As some of you may remember, I have realized that there is a certain way to make these…and if you get it just right…you are going to have a crispy, golden brown “crust” with a super fluffy wonderful inside!  And of course…what could make it better than to top it with a little melty cheese? Have I peaked your interest?  Read on, my friends….

Tweaked from perfectweightamerica.com.

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 oz Cheddar Cheese (I use raw milk cheddar from Aldi)
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 C Sour Cream
  • 4 oz Turkey Sausage, not the links…the ground stuff in a roll 😉  (Try to find some without sugar!)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (The sausage does most of the flavoring)

And here’s how you do it!!!

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a CAST IRON SKILLET, or closest oven safe pan you have (but really…you should use the cast iron one), brown your turkey sausage.  Remove and set aside.
  3. Whisk your eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Go light on the salt, cause sausage is salty.  You can add salt later, you cannot take it away!!  Make sure this part gets nice and fluffy looking 🙂
  4. Add your browned sausage to the egg mixture and mix it up.
  5. Melt the butter in your same cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Let it get nice and warm!
  6. Pour in your egg mixture and let cook for 5-7 minutes…so that the edges are getting nice and set, but you aren’t burning its butt.
  7. Top with shredded cheese and plop in your 400 degree oven.  Cook until the eggs are nice and fluffy but set, the cheese is melted, and the edges are getting brown.  Probably another 5-7 minutes.
  8. Serve!!  We ate it just as is and it was perfect!  But feel free to top with what you like, ie some fresh herbs, hot sauce, sour cream, avocado, etc… Let your imagination have its way 🙂

Brown your turkey sausage in a cast iron skillet.  CAST IRON SKILLET I SAY!  Set aside 🙂

Turkey Sausage Fritatta

Eggs, sour cream, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Whisk it till its smooth!

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 2

Add sausage to the fluffy mixture and stir in 🙂

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 3Melt butter in the same cast iron skillet and let it get decently hot (medium heat.)  Pour in the egg/sausage mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 4

Top with shredded cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.  Tabby love cheese!

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 6

Plop into your oven for another 5-7 minutes, or until the middle isn’t runny any more, the sides are getting golden brown and crispy, and your cheese is melty!

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 8

Yeah baby!!!  Don’t you just want to dive in to that beauty?!  Mmmm!!

Turkey Sausage Fritatta 9

Sausaaaaaaage!  Thank you Jesus!! 🙂

SO delicious!  I seriously love sausage.  And the mixture of the fluffy and crispy…I can barely stand it!!!   In a good way of course.  This is FANTASTIC with a nice refreshing fruit smoothie!!  Perfect breakfast 🙂  Enjoy!!  Let me know if anyone tries it 🙂

Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils

This recipe…is a treasure. I ate two bowls last night and wanted more, but had to refrain in order to stretch our meals…we need to go grocery shopping 😉 Eh hem. And then I ate two more bowls today. Hehe. But you know what’s most exciting about this? It started out as a simple lentil soup recipe…and I butchered it!! Muaha! And it worked…really well! Like seriously…I added so much, it has gotten to the point where it’s beyond recognition. In fact…I was so excited about my recipe butchering (I hope you know I mean that in a good way 😉 ) that I had to text my sister-in-law Dani to share the news…and she congratulated me on using the recipe not as rules, but more like guidelines. Insert Pirates of the Caribbean quote here 😉 Anywho…if you knew me closely, you would know how big of a deal this is for me, and you would be rejoicing with me 🙂 Yay!!! This “diet” has been so good for me in that respect. I’m getting adventurous! And I’m so glad you are all along for the ride 🙂

So. On to the recipe! It started basically as a few veggies and lentils. Well…I had a few extra veggies going bad that I figured I’d throw in there. Then I noticed the chicken breast that had been sitting in my fridge thawed for a few days! Can’t let that go bad!!! Then I gave in to a common temptation I have…I love corn in soups. So I added corn. Then the veggies and the cumin in the recipe started making me think about tacos. Beautiful, wonderful, delicious tacos that I don’t get to eat very often any more. So I busted out the ingredients for home made taco seasoning and, BAM! You have this beauty. I’m serious. This recipe is beautiful. Please make it. You want to know one more wonderful thing? Nothing in this recipe came from a can. YEAH BABY! I think its an extremely healthy, satisfying meal!!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1-2 large Chicken Breast, cubed

  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

  • 3-5 Stalks Celery, chopped

  • About 2 Qts Chicken Stock

  • 3 large carrots, sliced

  • 1 Onion, diced

  • 1 T Minced Garlic

  • 2 Medium tomatoes, diced

  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

  • 1 C fresh or frozen corn

  • ½ lb Lentils

  • 1 sprig oregano, leaves pulled off and chopped

  • ½ tsp Chili Powder

  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes

  • ¼ tsp Paprika

  • 1 ½ tsp Sea Salt

  • 1 tsp Cumin

  • 1 tsp Coriander

And here’s how you do it! It’s not scary, I promise 🙂

  1. Slice, dice, chop, mince…get prepped!!!

  2. Generously salt and pepper your chopped chicken.

  3. Get a real big pot! At least 6 quarts. Melt your coconut oil over medium heat. Add all your veggies minus the tomatoes and saute for about 7 minutes.

  4. Toss in your chicken and saute about 5 more minutes.

  5. Add tomatoes and stir everything up, cook for another minute or so.

  6. Finish off with as much of the chicken stock as you can fit, spices, and lentils.

  7. Bring to a boil, the reduce to a simmer and leave it for 35 minutes, giving it an occasional stir! Top with a bit of sour cream, shredded cheddar, perhaps some avocado…whatever you desire! Annnnd…you’re done! SO DELICIOUS!

    I hope you love this as much as I did…the beautiful taste of tacos, mixed with the satisfying heartiness of lentils (which is quite comforting, really), and with so many stinking veggies that your insides will thank you 🙂  Here’s some photos!!

Prep your veggies!!! Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 1   Aren’t they pretty?!  SO MANY VEGGIES!  My favorite 🙂  I have to add one more photo of them…just so you can see my cup in the background.  Can you see it?!  It was my birthday present from my wonderful friends Costa and Karen…hand made with a quote from Meet The Robinsons (FAVORITE!).  “I’ve got this big head and little arms…”  Hahahahahaaa. Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 6 Saute all the veggies (minus tomatoes) in coconut oil for about 7 minutes… Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 2 Chop your chicken…salt and pepper generously… Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 3 Add chicken and saute about 5 more minutes.  Stir in tomatoes…then add the rest! Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 4 Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 35 minutes.  Scoop into bowls and serve with cheddar, sour cream, whatever you want!! Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils 5 And…if you want to step a little outside the “super healthy” realm, but crank it up a notch and still be decently healthy…grab a bag of these! Hearty Chicken Taco Soup with Lentils Last

Garlic Ginger Peas!

I enjoyed this…nice and simple, some of my favorite flavors 🙂  I was pretty generous with the ginger, and it was wonderful 😀  Garlic and ginger.  I mean really.  Can you get much better than that?  I really don’t have much more to say about it…other than its yummy…and warm…and garlicy…and gingery.  Ha.  I’m so great with words.  Let’s just get on with it.  Baha.

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 4 Mint Leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 C Chicken Stock
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, fresh minced or paste (I used paste, and added an extra little squeeze)
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1 Bag Snap Peas

 

Ahd here’s how you do it:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Saute onions for a couple minutes until just starting to get soft.  Add garlic and ginger and cook for about one minute…DON’T BURN THE GARLIC!!  I do that way too often.
  3. Add the peas and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Add the water and chicken stock and let cook for about 2 more minutes, or until it has cooked down a bit.  More…just get it how you want it, with the veggies as tender as you please and the right amount of liquid for your tastes 🙂
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and sprinkle with the fresh mint!!  Annnnnnnnnd eat eat eat eat eat!!!

 

Slicey clicey, choppy choppy, mincey mincey….prepare to get yummy!!!  Oh wow…I’m sorry…I’m so tired…haha

Ginger Peas 1And here it is done!  Sorry the lighting was bad, but the veggies were super delish!!!  I hope you enjoy 🙂

Ginger Peas 2

 

Fresh Citrus Vinaigrette (On a Cold Bean Salad!)

This was a very different way to eat green beans!!!  I’ve never had them cold 🙂  It was yummy!!  But my favorite part of this was the vinaigrette!!!  I seriously think I want to make it just for salad…like an Asian salad with mandarins and grilled chicken and nuts and raisins and sunflower seeds!!! Oh my gosh that would be delicious!!  And I find the sheer amount of garlic to die for!  So here’s the recipe, thanks to perfectweightamerica.com for this one!  I have to give them complete credit, it was so fun I didn’t even change anything 🙂  I will put down the instructions for the cold bean salad as well, but use this vinaigrette on whatever you want!  Yummy!

Note: If you are making this to go with a meal, make sure you start it early, it’s supposed to chill for an hour before serving 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 4 C fresh green beans
  • 1 Large orange, juiced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

And here’s how you do it 🙂

  1. Boil a large pot of water, and throw your beans in until they are tender-crisp.
  2. Immediately remove from heat and toss into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Let sit for a few minutes until they are cool.
  3. Drain and dry beans on some paper towels.
  4. Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette (olive oil, garlic, dijon, fresh orange juice, salt & pepper).
  5. Combine beans and vinaigrette, toss to coat, and place in your fridge to sit for at least an hour!!
  6. Eat.  Yummy!  Healthy!!  Fun!!

Here’s my pictures yay!

Citrus Vinegarette 2Boil boil boil boil boil till you’re almost done!!!  Al dente baby!

Citrus Vinegarette 3Cool those hotties down!!!  Quick!

Citrus VinegaretteWhisk up your yummy vinaigrette!!!  LOVE the fresh orange juice!!!!

Citrus Vinegarette 4Toss with your green beans and chill for an hour….and….

Citrus Vinegarette 5Pile them on your plate and devour!!!  Nice change from all the hot veggie sides…nice and refreshing 🙂  I hope you enjoy!! Again, put this vinaigrette on whatever veggies you desire, even a fresh salad 🙂  Shoot…add some balsamic and I bet it would make a killer chicken marinade…shoot boy, I gotta try that!!