Good Eats Good Times

I think this is going to be a blog about cooking.

Tag: easy

Easy and Savory Veggie Potage (Puree)

I know what you’re thinking….another soup?!

But what can I say? They’re easy, hearty, and healthy. In addition, they’re so easy to make around food allergies. Especially since my roomies were getting sick, it was time to make some soup.

This soup definitely has some similarities to the other ones I’ve made, but with much more emphasis on letting the vegetables’ flavors speak for themselves, instead of the spices. When it was done, the soup had a really great consistency and you could really taste the carrots, celery, mushroom, and potatoes in each bite. Delish.

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Ingredients:

  • 6-7 potatoes (medium sized)
  • 4-5 celery stalks
  • 6-8 carrots
  • 6-8 mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 3-5 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tbsp earth balance (or butter or margarine)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • salt/pepper
  • South African Smoke (spice from Trader Joe’s)

Serves: 3-5, Prep Time: approx 45 minutes

In the bottom of a large pot, sauté the garlic and (chopped) onion with some olive oil for about 5 minutes. Chop the mushrooms, celery, and carrots (they don’t have to be finely chopped by any means). Peel and quarter the potatoes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another few minutes. Then, add all of the veggies and pretty much fill the pot with water. Add the dried parsley, basil, and bay leaves. Add one of the bouillon cubes. Bring the broth to a boil.

Once the broth has boiled, bring it to a simmer. Add the tomato paste and earth balance. Add a bit of salt and pepper. Add a good amount of the South African Smoke (if you don’t have any, you can obviously leave it out, but it gave the soup an amazing smoky/roasted flavor that worked really well with the vegetables). Let it simmer for probably about 15-20 minutes. Then, taste the soup! You’ll probably want to add another bouillon cube. If the veggies are nice and soft (check the potatoes), your soup is pretty much done.

Take it off heat and let it cool (at least for a bit). Fish out the bay leaves to the best of your ability. Then, put it in the blender for just a few seconds. I also mashed it with a hand masher before blending it so that it would be easier on the blender (especially considering my blender is a Magic Bullet). I only blend it for a few seconds since a few chunks are nice.

This soup was delicious and savory, but still definitely pretty light. I highly recommend throwing some rice in to make it a bit heartier, and if I make it again I’d probably trying putting some lentils or kidney beans in it. Top it with some cilantro, homemade croutons (refer to one of my other soup posts), or even some potato chips, as I did.

Hummus 101

Hummus. Snack of champions. This one is based on my mom’s recipe, who was inspired by my sister’s friend and Hummus aficionado Yotam. Despite her insistence on its simplicity when she sent me the recipe in an email awhile back, I have yet to make it until this past Thursday night.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 0z) can chickpeas (save water)
  • Olive Oil, probably about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 3/4-1 cup tahini
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a lemon
  • Spices: chili, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, black pepper

Drain the chickpeas but keep the chickpea liquid and set it aside. Throw the chickpeas in a frying pan with a generous amount of Olive Oil and the chopped up clove of garlic. Sauté them on high for a few minutes and then add your spices. Add a few teaspoons of each spice. Feel free to coat the chickpeas with the different spices since a lot of the flavor will be absorbed by the tahini. Allow for the chickpeas to simmer about 10 minutes. Once they have browned a bit and are a bit crusty, transfer them to a bowl or whatever you’ll mix the hummus in.

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Using a masher or hand mixer, mash the chickpeas. Then, add the tahini. I would start with about 3/4 of  a cup and check how the consistency is. You can also add some of the chickpea water to help the consistency, since it’ll be pretty thick. Squeeze the lemon over the hummus and continue to stir. If you’d like, you could add more of the spices, a pinch of salt, or a clove of raw garlic to give it more zing.

You might want to throw it in the fridge for a bit before digging in, but there you have it! Your hummus is ready to dip or spread over…pretty much everything. A quick and easy way to make some delicious hummus. I’m definitely up for trying a more daring hummus next time (people on the internet seem to be putting a lot of weird stuff in hummus nowadays). But for now, this classic hummus, especially by providing a basis for future recipes, will do.

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Midweek Feast: Gluten Free Meatballs, Herby Mashed Sweet Potats, Sautéed Spinach

It was around 9:00 pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but my roommate Josh and I (since we buy groceries together we usually cook together, too) felt like throwing a feast together. Although we don’t buy meat very often, there was a pound of ground beef calling our names in the freezer. Burgers? Meatballs? Tacos? We went with meatballs.

To add to the feast Josh made some herby mashed sweet potatoes, I sautéed some spinach, and also attempted a dairy-free creamy mushroom sauce to go with the meatballs, which ended up being a bit of a failure (so I’m leaving that one out for now). The meatballs are gluten free which makes this a great, filling, and easy meal for any occasion.

Photos by me this time (prob why they're a bit out of focus)

Photos by me this time (prob why they’re a bit out of focus)

Meatballs: 1 lb ground beef, handful of potato chips, 1 chopped onion, spices: garlic salt, chili, mustard powder, herbamare, black pepper, worcestershire sauce, south african smoke

The meatballs are pretty straightforward. Throw the ground beef into a medium/large mixing bowl. Chop the onion very finely and crush up the potato chips (for the record, I used Kettle Chips Sea Salt and Black Pepper, my favs) in a ziploc bag or with a spoon. I used the potato chips because they’re a nice, easy alternative to breadcrumbs (even the gluten free ones I bought still have dairy and other not-so-good stuff in them). You could also add an egg (but I have a sensitivity to eggs and am trying to be strict with my diet right now) to help hold the balls together. They definitely held up nonetheless.

Add a nice pinch of each of the spices and a splash of the worcestershire sauce. The South African Smoke is from Trader Joe’s and adds a a rich, smoky flavor. Herbamare has always been a mainstay in my kitchen growing up (we call it “herbie salt”) and I recommend picking some up in the health food aisle.

Anyways, after mixing the ingredients with your hands, form nice, approx 1 inch balls and put them on a cookie sheet. The recipe yields about 15-17 meatballs. Cook them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Josh’s Herby Sweet Potatoes: 2 sweet potatoes, olive oil, butter/earth balance, basil, italian seasoning, rosemary, herbie salt, pepper,

Rinse, peel, and cut the sweet potats into quarters (so that they cook quicker). Put them into a medium-sized pot and cover them with water. Add a bit of olive oil and salt. Leave the pot uncovered and bring the water/sweet potats to a boil. Cover the pot and let them boil for about 10-15 minutes. Once the sweet potatoes are nice and soft, mash them using a hand masher or hand blender.

Add about 2 tablespoons butter/Earth Balance to give them a nice, creamy texture. Now add the spices. A healthy sprinkle of each is perfect. The idea behind the rosemary is that we usually put it on sweet potatoes fries when we make those. These savory sweet potatoes are quite mouth watering.

Sautéed Spinach: 2-2.5 cups fresh spinach, olive oil, 2-3 cloves garlic, salt, pepper, chili flakes

This one is really easy and barely needs directions, but you can never underestimate the importance and deliciousness of adding some green to your meal. Rinse and dry probably about 2-2.5 cups of spinach (as you probably know, it shrinks). Chop the garlic (when cooking it with greens, I like to leave the pieces a bit bigger) and sauté it in a pan for a few minutes with some olive oil. Throw on the spinach and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a few chili flakes. Sauté for a few minutes until the spinach has shrunk nicely and  you have a tasty, healthy addition to any meal.

In all, this meal should serve 2.5 hungry students.

There you have it. An easy, well-rounded, filling meal.

The Feast

The Feast