Soups & Sides
This hearty soup is quick, cheap, healthy and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. Pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches on a chilly autumn night.
4-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 bags frozen broccoli florets
2 cans cannellini or navy beans, drained
dried thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste
handful shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Food processor or blender
Bring 4 cups of broth to a boil in a large pot. Add frozen broccoli and bring back up to a boil. Add drained beans, herbs and seasonings and simmer about 10 minutes or until broccoli is soft and heated through. Allow soup to cool slightly before transferring to a blender or food processor in batches. Process until smooth, adding broth as needed to reach desired consistency. Return to the pot over medium heat and add cheese, cooking and stirring just until the cheese is melted.
Yields 4-6 servings.
Grilled Corn & Tomato Salad
Serve up a healthy dose of summer farm fresh goodness at your next barbecue or cookout. This grilled vegetable side dish will steal the show...and it's soooo easy!
4 ears shucked corn on the cob
2 red onions, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 large tomatoes (beefsteak or heirloom are perfect for this)
2-4 T. Mayonnaise
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
Brush corn and both sides of onions with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill both until grill marks are visible on all sides. (Corn will take 25-30 minutes total and onions will take about 5.) Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and place in a large bowl.
Cut the grilled corn off the cob and dice the grilled onion. Add to the tomatoes, along with the mayonnaise. Stir gently to combine and season with more salt and pepper and cilantro, if desired.
Tip: Use wooden toothpicks to keep your onion slices together during grilling and prevent them from falling through the grill slats. Use at least two picks per slice, inserting horizontally from opposite sides of the outer ring and piercing through each ring toward the center.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
Inspired by my favorite food blog, Budget Bytes, I could eat this morning, noon and night! A simply tasty way to get your all veggies in that's classy enough to serve to company!
1 head of cauliflower
4-5 large carrots
1 red bell pepper
salt, pepper and cumin to taste
handful of fresh chopped parsley
approximately 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
Separate the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, peel the carrots and cut into thick slices, and dice the pepper and onion into 1-inch pieces.
Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil and the seasonings.
Spread on one or two baking sheets in a single layer. Bake at 450 for about 40-45 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized, stirring half-way through cooking.
Remove vegetables from oven, return to the bowl and toss with parsley, feta and lemon juice; add more seasoning if desired.
Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
Whether you're trying to use up leftover produce before it goes bad or need to whip up a hearty meal using whatever's in your freezer and pantry, this comforting soup will fill up even the hungriest family members! Garnish with chopped deli ham, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, or whatever you happen to have on hand for an extra punch of flavor. Substitutions encouraged!
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary to taste
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk (can use evaporated milk for some or all of this...I usually use half 2% and half evaporated milk)
1 or more potatoes, peeled and chopped* (can substitute frozen shredded potatoes)
4-6 cups fresh or frozen vegetables (whatever hearty veggies you have on hand... suggestions include bell peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, corn, asparagus, green beans. Tomatoes or leafy greens are not recommended for this recipe).
1 handful shredded cheese
Melt butter in soup pot. Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. If using fresh, raw bell peppers, carrots or celery, chop and saute along with onion and garlic until tender.
If using frozen vegetables, cook them in microwave according to package directions and drain; chop or dice cooked veggies into small uniform pieces, if necessary, and set aside. Likewise, chop any remaining raw veggies you plan to use into small uniform pieces and set aside. Keep the raw veggies separated from cooked veggies for now, as they will be added to your soup at different times.
Add flour to sauteed vegetables and stir until all the moisture is absorbed and vegetables are coated. Continue cooking for one additional minute, stirring constantly to prevent the flour from burning.
Add seasonings, broth and milk and stir to combine; add potato and any remaining raw veggies you plan to use. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until potatoes and uncooked veggies are fork tender. Soup should be thickened by now.
Add cooked frozen vegetables, if using, and shredded cheese; continue cooking until cheese is melted and all veggies are warmed through.
*Note: The smaller you dice your potatoes, the quicker they will cook. Omitting the potato completely may result in a thinner soup.