Monday, April 27, 2015

Thai Inspired Carrot & Yellow Pepper Soup

Another delicious soup from one of my FAVORITE blogs, Cafe Sucre Farine. I love love love this blog! It's incredible....and the author has an out of this world talent for creating out of this world soups! This Thai Carrot & Yellow Pepper Soup is no exception!! Enjoy!

Here is her recipe verbatim:   
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger*
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (I sometimes cheat and use the baby carrots that are already peeled - makes this soup come together super fast!)
  • 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the gremolata:
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablepoon finely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh lemongrass
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and yellow pepper and cooking, stirring occasionally until onion is wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add chicken broth and carrots. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a steady simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until carrots are very tender.
  4. Add coconut milk and puree until smooth with immersion or regular blender. If using a regular blender, blend in batches. I like to place a narrow funnel in the opening of the blender cover and hold it in place as I blend. It allows the steam to escape, preventing a mess.
  5. Serve hot with a drizzle of Greek yogurt (thinned out with a little milk) and a scatter of Thai gremolata. <I saved a tablespoon of the canned coconut milk and used that as a drizzle instead of yogurt>
  6. For the gremolata, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. <My husband preferred the soup without the gremolata at all>

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Penne with Asaparagus, Pistachios, and Mint

There are some recipes that I know, even before I cook them, that I will blog them - I just get a cook's intuition about it....the combo of ingredients are so tasty looking and amazing, the whole dish is bound to be fabulous. That's how I felt when I ripped this recipe from this month's Cooking Light magazine....I just knew!!! And I was right, this pasta dish is good....very, very good!! And the bonus is it was fast....very, very fast!! It all just came together so quickly. Unless you have a nut allergy in the house, do not omit the pistachios- they are fantastic and give a beautiful crunch and smokey, salty flavor to the dish. YUM!!!

This recipe only made enough for myself and my husband, so, if you want to cook for your whole family, you will need to double it. ENJOY!!

  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
  • 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 green onions, chopped, white and green parts divided
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1.5 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint***
<***I forgot to add the mint to my pasta dish and ate it without - it was delicious! I added it to my husband's and it, too, was delicious! All that to say, with or without the mint, the meal is good>


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add asparagus; sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in white parts of green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add asparagus mixture, salt, and pepper to pasta mixture. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons oil, remaining green onions, butter, and cheese. Divide pasta evenly among 4 bowls. Sprinkle evenly with pistachios and mint.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marshmallow Popcorn Treats

This recipe comes from Cooking Light Magazine (do you subscribe to this magazine yet? No, you should, it has consistently great recipes). These treats were super quick and easy; I like this take on a Rice Krispie treat but with popcorn.  Cooking Light suggests using popcorn in a bag like Smart Pop. I just used my air-popper because that's how I roll. Microwave popcorn!? That's a dirty word in my house!! No, no, no!!

Anyway, my big kids have achievement testing this week. So, I thought it would put a smile on their faces to come home to this sweet, yet not too unhealthy, snack after a hard day's work. Hope your crew enjoys them too!
  • 1 (10-ounce) package miniature marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter <I used Earth Balance>
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 cup salt- and oil-free popped popcorn, such as SmartPop <I used kernels and an air popper>
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped <I used a 1/4 cup Enjoy Life! choco chips>


1. Grease a 9X13 pan with butter or spray <I used coconut oil>.  Line with parchment paper, allowing paper to extend over edges of pan; coat paper with cooking spray.
2. Combine marshmallows, butter, and salt in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook mixture until melted and smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in popcorn. Transfer mixture to pan, pressing with greased parchment paper.
3. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; stir until smooth. Drizzle chocolate over popcorn mixture. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Lift mixture from pan, and cut into 12 bars.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Italian Wonderpot

I've been meaning to try this dish out for awhile now......but, honestly, I was afraid it would be very "meh" - I mean, everything cooked in one pot? I just wasn't buying it.  But, tonight, with all our after school activities and very little time to cook, seemed like a great night to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy it was....very quick, easy and low cost! A great family meal. Add some rotisserie chicken at the very end if you need a little meat with your meal.

This recipe comes from the blog Budget Bytes

  • 4 cups vegetable broth <I used two cups water; two cups broth>
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz. fettuccine
  • 8 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes <I used a pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half>
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ Tbsp dried basil
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 oz. feta cheese

Add 2 Tbl olive oil to a large pot.  Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat for four minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.  Add the broth, spinach, tomatoes, and spices to the pot. Bring mixture to a boil.  Once broth mixture is boiling, add the fettuccine.  (break the fettuccine in half to make stirring easier).

Allow the pot to continue boiling over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes <I cooked mine for 15 full minutes, checking the pasta frequently to make sure it wasn't over cooked>, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir the pot every few minutes as it cooks to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, but avoid over stirring which can cause the pasta to become sticky and mushy. The pot must be boiling the entire time.

After the pasta is cooked, crumble the feta cheese over top and serve.