Thursday, December 4, 2014

Zuppa de Fagioli

I created this simple and flavourful soup using ingredients almost solely from our CSA box from "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze"!  This is considered a peasant soup in Italy and is often passed over for the more popular minestrone, however I urge you to try it.  Not only is this nutritious and easy to create, it is colourful  and flavourful!!

2 - 14oz cans of low-sodium cannellini beans (you can substitute white kidney beans)
1 tbsp. EVOO
I leek (white and light green parts), trimmed, sliced in half, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, diced
2lbs spinach, trimmed and roughly chopped (you can substitute kale or Swiss chard)
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Put 1 can of beans with its liquid in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.  Drain and rinse other can of beans.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add leek, garlic, thyme and oregano.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the leeks are soft.  Add celery, carrot, spinach and tomato; cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
  • Stir pureed beans and stock into vegetable mixture.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add drained beans and stir until heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve in warm bowls topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
  • ENJOY!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans (Without the Refry!)

My family LOVES refried beans but there is a lot of fat in the commercial canned versions, so when I found this recipe online for a slow cooked version without any oils, I decided to go for it!  I wasn't disappointed - this is a flavourful recipe with the perfect consistency and costs only pennies per serving.  Enjoy these with your next Mexican dinner, or just as a side dish!!

1 onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dried pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. minced garlic
5 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin, optional
9 cups water
  • Place the onion, rinsed beans, jalapeno garlic, salt, pepper and cumin into a slow cooker.  Pour in the water and stir to combine.  Cook on high for 8 hours, adding more water if needed (if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high).
  • Once the beans have cooked, strain them and the onions, reserving the liquid.  Mash the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to attain the desired consistency.
  • ENJOY!

Twice Baked Cheddar Potato Casserole

I found this recipe in "Taste of Home" magazine and had to give it a try as with the cooler temperatures, it is the perfect rib-sticking side dish!  Not only did my family enjoy this casserole, but we loved nibbling on the potato skins sprinkled with pink Himalayan salt!!!

8 medium baking potatoes
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup 2% milk
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled, divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 green onions, chopped, divided
  • Preheat oven to 425F.  Scrub potatoes; pierce several times with a fork. Bake 45-60 minutes or until tender.  Remove from oven; reduce heat to 350F.
  • When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each potato lengthwise in half.  Scoop our pulp and place in a large bowl; discard shells.  Mash pulp with butter, stir in sour cream, milk, salt and pepper.
  • Reserve 1/4 cup crumbled bacon for topping.  Gently fold remaining bacon, 1 cup cheese and half of the green onions into potato mixture - do not over mix!
  • Transfer mixture to a greased 11" x 7" baking dish.  Top with the remaining cheese and green onions.  Sprinkle with reserved bacon.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
  • ENJOY!

Giant Yorkshire Dinner

This is a fantastic meal to make whenever you have leftover pot roast with gravy, onions, potatoes and carrots!!!  Easy, delicious and economical.  (I used the recipe from my Slow Cooker Roast Beef post for the original pot roast meal)
1 cup cooked beef, shredded or cubed
1/2 cup cooked diced potato
1/2 cup cooked diced carrot
1 cooked diced onion
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups leftover beef gravy, divided
4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp. butter (or margarine)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Combine meat, vegetables, water, 1/4 cup gravy, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Set aside.
  • Put butter in a deep dish 10" pie plate and place in a cold oven.  Turn heat to 425F.
  • Puree milk, eggs, flour, salt and pepper in a blender container at high speed for 45 seconds, or until thoroughly combined.
  • Remove pie plate from the oven and pour the batter in the plate.  Spoon meat and vegetables into the centre of the pie plate.
  • Place casserole in the oven for 30 minutes being careful not to open the oven door at that time as it will cause the Yorkshire to drop like a souffle!
  • While casserole is baking, heat remaining 1 cup gravy with remaining 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder until hot.
  • Serve casserole topped with gravy and ENJOY!