Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stuffed Cucumbers

You know that old famous saying, “When life gives you cucumbers, make stuffed cucumbers”? No? Me neither...


This week I went to the grocery store to pick up some zucchini to make zoodles (recipe coming soon), and upon returning home, realized I bought four cucumbers instead; don’t ask, it has been a rough week.


Now I love cucumbers as much as the next person - they are so cool and refreshing. Four cucumbers, however, without meaning to buy them is a bit much. I can only eat so many cucumber slices dipped in ranch dressing.


Therefore, this afternoon I decided to get creative and whip up a quick snack. Filled with protein-packed, garlicky cottage cheese, and topped with a sprinkling of green onions, these stuffed cucumbers are a perfect pick-me-up for any time of the day. Enjoy!


What are you favorite cucumber recipes? PLEASE let me know below - I have a few more cucumbers to use up!

Stuffed Cucumbers

Serves: 1
Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (Lactaid makes a lactose free variety)
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl combine cottage cheese, garlic powder, sliced green onion, salt, and pepper.
  2. Using a small spoon, scoop out the inside of each cucumber slice; be careful to leave the bottom of each slice intact as you don't want to cottage cheese to fall through.
  3. Generously fill each cucumber slice with cottage cheese mixture and enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

It has reached that time of year when all I want is a giant piping hot bowl of soup for dinner. As you are likely all aware, it is freezing outside. Technically, it is way below freezing, but you get the idea.


After bundling up tight with Bruno and heading out for our evening walk, I can't wait to get back, ladle a big bowl of soup out of the crock pot, and warm up from the inside out.


Minestrone is the soup du jour, and let me tell you - it's delicious. If you have ever had the minestrone from Olive Garden...it tastes like that, but even better.


Packed with veggies, beans, and pasta, this hearty vegetarian soup is the perfect savory dish to serve on a chilly night. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

Yield: 6 generous servings
Time: 6 hours

Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable stock if you want to make this vegetarian)
  • 1 cups water
  • 14.5 oz. can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/4 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced sweet vidalia onion
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 1/4 cup shell pasta
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 oz. can Italian green beans, drained
  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped fresh spinach
  • Salt, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional) 
Directions:
  1. In a large slow cooker, combine chicken broth through 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  2. Add in zucchini, pasta, kidney and cannellini beans. Cook on high heat for an additional 30-40 minutes or until pasta is tender.
  3. Stir in spinach and green beans and cook until heated through.
  4. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Dish into bowls, top with Parmesan, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

I was talking with one of my good friends about her love of sweet potatoes the other day, and when I say love, I mean love. Like, eat-a-sweet-potato-every-day kind of love. Sort of like my obsession with pancakes for dinner... I totally get it. What’s not to love? Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, filled with antioxidants, are a great source of iron and potassium, and - oh yeah - they’re absolutely delicious.


While at the grocery store following our conversation, I was inspired to buy a bag of these delicious potatoes and immediately started brainstorming what to make with them. At first I thought of simply roasting them with a little olive oil and sea salt or cutting them into wedges to make sweet potato fries (recipes to come!), but given our dreary weather as of late, I decided first to make a hearty soup.


In addition to the sweet potatoes, this chili is filled with quinoa and black beans, rendering a perfectly balanced, protein packed, vegan friendly meal. What more could you ask for?  What’s more, it is ready in 30 minutes and is one of those wonderful soups that tastes better and better as it sits. Make a big batch and enjoy it all week long.

What is your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes? Let me know below!


Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Serves: 4 (can easily double for 8)
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato - peeled and diced (I did about a 3/4 inch dice)
  • 1 large vidalia onion - diced (may substitute other onion as well, I prefer the sweetness of the vidalia)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tbls. chili powder - depending on how spicy you like your chili
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or more to taste, depending on the saltiness of your broth)
  • 4 cups vegetable OR chicken broth
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa - rinsed well
  • 1 tbls. lime juice (optional)
  • Optional toppings - sour cream, cheese, avocado, green onions, cilantro

Directions:
  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add sweet potato and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onion has softened.
  3. Add in garlic cloves, chili powder, and salt, and sauté and additional minute.
  4. Add the broth, tomatoes, black beans, and quinoa. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until quinoa is fully cooked and sweet potatoes are soft.
  6. Add in lime juice, if using, and season with salt as needed.
  7. Garnish with desired toppings and enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from What's Gabby Cooking