Monday, February 6, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup

I made this recipe in our slow cooker yesterday because I've been craving potato soup, and it was delicious. Very simple to put together also. I made it vegan by using unsweetented soy milk, but if you don't have that on hand, you could use something else.

Creamy Potato Soup
Adapted from Healthy Slow Cooking

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled & diced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup unsweetened soy milk

In slow cooker, combine all ingredients except soy milk. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in milk and puree with an immersion blender or mash potatoes with a potato masher before serving.

I topped the bowl in the photo with McCormick Bac'n Bits* and chopped scallions (no-count). You could also add fat free cheddar cheese or vegan cheddar cheese*.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tempeh Bell Pepper Chili

I found this recipe using one of my favorite iPad apps -- the Whole Foods app. It's free and is great for finding recipes that use ingredients you have on hand, or figuring out what to do with something you haven't tried before. I have a few blocks of tempeh I need to use up, so I bought some bell peppers this week so we could try it. It turned out delicious and is very easy! (And it only cost $1.16 per serving. I bought the peppers at Aldi. Wouldn't buy them anywhere else this time of year! Tempeh is cheapest at Trader Joe's.)

Tempeh Bell Pepper Chili
From Whole Foods

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 oz package tempeh, crumbled
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 15-oz cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup water
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute peppers, garlic, and tempeh in oil 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Uncover and let stand at least 5-10 minutes to thicken and cool before serving.

Makes 6 servings, 1 heaping cup each.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recipe Review: Spanish Chickpea, Tomato & Kale Stew

This recipe come from the new Weight Watchers Power Foods cookbook's vegetarian chapter. I thought it looked interesting, and I had some kale to use up. Since I had all of the ingredients on hand for the most part, I decided to give it a try. I did substitute 1 tsp of turmeric for the 1/4 tsp of saffron threads it called for, based on a recommendation I found online to use 4 times as much turmeric when substituting for saffron. I also used smoked paprika -- the recipe calls for either smoked or regular paprika. I feel like the smoked paprika added a little bit more complexity to the flavor of the stew, so I would recommend using it. It has a bit of a lengthy cooking time and took almost an hour from start to finish, including prep time, but it was very good! I also served it with brown rice to round it out and add some whole grains to the meal.

Here's what it looked like:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Throw Together Chili: Meatless Redoux

With my new vegetarian lifestyle, I am working on adapting some of my favorite recipes that involve meat to be meatless. Since this chili is one of my cold-weather basics, it's up first. :) It's super easy to make meatless, and it saves you a little money and some calories. This is the 6-serving version -- if you are cooking for two, feel free to cut the recipe in half and store the remaining "beef" crumbles in a Ziploc bag or bowl to use within a few days. Perhaps some spaghetti with "meat" sauce? ;)

I used the Lightlife Smart Ground crumbles because that is what is available at the store my husband went to last night. You can also use Trader Joe's Beefless Ground Beef or Yves Meatless Ground Round -- all are the same product. They are refrigerated, usually in the produce section, and always near the tofu. Walmart has the Yves, and they are in the produce section. The crumbles are in a clear plastic pouch contained in a cardboard sleeve. Buying these instead of ground beef also saves me a little money -- 93% or leaner ground beef at my stores will run you at least $4...the Smart Ground is $3.39 at Meijer and is the equivalent to a pound of ground beef.

Meatless Throw Together Chili

1 small to medium onion, chopped
12 oz package Lightlife Smart Ground Original "beef" crumbles
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce (or one 15 oz can)
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder

In a large saucepan or stockpot spritzed with cooking spray, saute the onion until soft. (If it sticks, add a little water.) Add in the crumbles and break up with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for at least 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Italian-Style Tempeh with Rotini

I invented this dish tonight because I had a package of tempeh I needed to use up. I had read that I could crumble it up and use it as a substitute for ground beef, so that was my inspiration for this dish. It was very easy to put together, vegan, and very tasty. It's not too colorful once the pasta is stirred in, but it would be prettier with a zucchini if you have one on hand. You could substitute pretty much any mild vegetable if you're not a fan of summer squash.

Italian-Style Tempeh with Rotini

1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz tempeh, crumbled
1 medium summer squash or zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 cups sugar free, fat free pasta sauce (I use Whole Foods 365 brand)
6 oz whole wheat rotini (measured dry)

Cook rotini according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add crumbled tempeh and squash and saute until tempeh starts to brown. Add sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until pasta is done. Drain pasta well and stir into sauce mixture.

This recipe makes 4 servings and includes 3/4 tsp of healthy oils per serving.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Recipe Review: Hearty Beef & Hominy Chili

This post is something new for this blog -- a recipe review without the recipe itself. I want to be able to share my opinions of the recipes in the currently available Weight Watchers cookbooks without reprinting them. So here is my first "recipe review." Hopefully you will find these helpful in deciding whether or not to purchase the books.

Tonight we tried the Beef & Hominy Chili from the new Power Foods Cookbook available in WW centers and at meetings. I made it vegetarian (and saved 2 PointsPlus per serving) by using Lightlife Smart Ground "beef" crumbles. I did have to add some water to make up for the lost moisture that the beef would have produced, but otherwise I followed the recipe as written. I chose Fire Roasted diced tomatoes to add a smoky flavor. (And I forgot the salt, but it was fine without it.) It had a nice flavor, not too spicy, and was very filling for the 1 1/2 cup serving. I would definitely recommend trying this one.

Here's a visual:

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Smoky Split Pea Soup

It turns out, you really don't need ham to make a hearty, smoky soup! The important part is the salty, smoky flavor, as is demonstrated in this vegan soup that's perfect for a cold winter's day. It's really important that you use smoked paprika, not regular paprika, for this recipe. McCormick makes it in their gourmet line. (It's also fun to substitute it for regular paprika in other recipes to change the flavor up a bit.)

Smoky Split Pea Soup
Adapted from the book Appetite for Reduction

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/4 cups dried split peas (rinsed)
6 cups vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
(The original recipe also called for 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, which I omitted.)

In a 4-qt saucepan or stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, salt & pepper, and saute one minute more. Add paprika and thyme and stir constantly for about 15 minutes to toast spices. Add carrots, split peas, and broth, cover, and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 40 minutes or until peas are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving for maximum flavor.

Note: It took my peas about an hour to get tender...and they still weren't as tender as I would have liked, but we were hungry and wanted to eat. Next time I may adapt this to the slow cooker so I can be sure the peas all get really tender.

This recipe makes 5 servings of 1 1/2 cups each.