Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

I can never pass up on the cut up organic butternut squash at Costco. It makes life and cooking so much easier, not to mention how delicious the roasted squash is! The soup recipe I am sharing with you, today, is the perfect blend of butternut squash and spicy chipotle chili. It is the kind of soup you would want to warm your chilled bones on a cold fall or winter day! I found this wonderful recipe by Marcela Valladolid on the Food Network. As usual, I made some minor changes in the ingredients and in the preparation to suit to my tastes and cooking style. I can’t wait to make it for my daughter, when she comes home from Michigan for a weekend visit later this month. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed with this simple and healthy soup!

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 pounds organic butternut squash or 1 medium squash
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 organic stalks celery, chopped
  • 2  organic carrots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1½ teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo

Chipotle Cream:

  • ¼ teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • ½ cup organic plain nonfat yogurt
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. If using a whole butternut squash, cut it in half and use the grapeseed oil to grease the flesh sides of the squash. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 45 minutes, until very tender. If using cut up squash, toss with grapeseed oil in a large bowl. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 30 minutes, until slightly brown and tender. Remove from oven and cool.
  3. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minute, then add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. If using a whole squash, scoop the flesh into blender. If using cut up squash, place pieces in the blender. Blend the squash and chipotle with some chicken stock, until very smooth. Transfer to a large pot.
  5. Place cooked onion, carrot, celery and garlic mixture in the blender with some chicken stock. Blend until smooth. Transfer to the large pot.
  6. Add remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and chipotle. Add salt to taste.
  8. Spoon soup into individual bowls, top with “Chipotle Cream” and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately. 6 servings.

Organic Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

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Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Last night, we had a gluten-free and vegetarian meal. I had two zucchini that I wanted to use before they went bad, so I decided to use my spiralizer and make the healthy veggie pasta. For the sauce, I had “pinned” a recipe by Lemons and Basil that used lentils in a marinara sauce. I made some minor changes to the original recipe—only one clove of garlic, just 4 tablespoons of tomato paste and omitted the spaghetti seasoning. The sauce is very flavorful and the lentils makes it hearty. My husband, the meat lover, gave me thumbs up, and that’s all I needed to hear about my simple and healthy dinner!

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized
  • ½ cup dry lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1¼ cups water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons organic tomato paste
  • ¼ medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon organic dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • Fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Using a small saucepan, add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until water is all gone, about 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. While lentils are simmering, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, dry basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese to blender. Blend thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. After lentils are cooked, add the sauce to the lentils. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Steam the zucchini while the sauce is simmering. Cook vegetable until just tender. Divide the “pasta” evenly onto 2 plates. Add sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Lentil Marinara with Zucchini Spaghetti

Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu

Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu

The other day I bought my first bottle of Sriracha at the grocery store in order to make this delicious pan-fried noodle dish with tofu. According to the New York Times article, “A Chile Sauce to Crow About,” this hot chili sauce was created by David Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, in early 1980’s in Los Angeles. It is ranked #6 in “The 25 World’s Best Condiments,” Huffington Post, March 18, 2014. I must say that I am now an official fan of Sriracha, along with millions of other people.

What I like most about this vegetarian dish is that the protein-rich tofu and noodles absorb the spicy flavors from the Sriracha based sauce. All the prep work for this meal can be done in advance and can be cooked hours later. It also makes for great leftovers! I found this delectable recipe in Fine Cooking, August-September 2014. I hope that you will give this dish a try!

Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu

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Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Lime wedges for serving
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons Sriracha, plus more for serving
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 to 14 ounces organic extra-firm tofu, patted dry and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 pound cooked udon or yakisoba noodles (Japanese noodles) or 8 ounces uncooked noodles (cooked according package directions)
  • 6 green onion, cut into 1-inch lengths, white and green parts separated
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, Sriracha, garlic and 2 tablespoons water. Set aside.
  2. Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the tofu and season with salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook the tofu until all sides are brown, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook carrots until slightly tender and brown for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with the tofu.
  4. In the same pan, heat the last tablespoon of oil. Add the cooked noodles and the white green onion parts. Cook the noodles until they are brown in spots and the onions are tender, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir the sauce and carefully pour it over the noodles. Using tongs, toss the noodles so that they are coated with the sauce for about 2 minutes. Add the tofu and carrots, then finally add the cabbage and green onions. Toss well. Serve with lime wedges and Sriracha on the side.

Spicy Pan-Fried Noodles with Tofu

Roasted Organic Cauliflower

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I hate to admit this, but I never thought cauliflower as a very healthy vegetable, because it is white in color. I was so wrong! Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and is in the same family as broccoli, kale and cabbage. It is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, has antioxidant benefits and contains over 9 grams of fiber per 100 calories.

After I learned about the health benefits of this white vegetable , I went to my grocery store and bought an organic cauliflower head for only 30 cents more per pound. I thought it would taste great roasted, but to make to even more flavorful, garlic and lemon juice was also added. So if you are ever in the mood for some healthy cauliflower, try this simple and easy recipe!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 organic cauliflower head
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the cauliflower florets into 1½-inch pieces.
  3. Place cauliflower in a medium bowl and toss with grapeseed oil.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the vegetable. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the garlic. Then drizzle with lemon juice.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes, until lightly golden.
  6. Finally, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 side servings.

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Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chile Oil

Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chili OIl

At my bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I found my favorite type of green beans, haricot verts, available. I thought I would stir fry them with the asparagus that I already had at home. So when I got home, I decided to season the vegetables with some sesame chili oil for a little heat and orange vest and juice for a little sweetness. This simple and healthy side dish would go great with chicken or shrimp!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces green beans (I used haricots verts), trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 6 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon organic canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame chili oil

Directions:

  1. Using a medium pot, steam the green beans and asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are al dente.
  2. In a medium-large non-stick frying pan, heat canola and sesame chili oils. Add the vegetables and sauté until they are heated through. Add salt to taste.
  3. Transfer to serving dish, drizzle with orange juice and sprinkle with orange zest. Serve immediately. 4 servings.

Green Beans and Asparagus with Sesame Chili Oil

Bibb Salad with Radishes and Asparagus

Bibb Salad

This is a quick and simple salad to prepare during the busy work week. There is a total of only eight ingredients, including the salt and pepper! You can even slice the radishes and asparagus and make the salad dressing in advance. It can’t get any easier and delicious than this. This recipe was so simple and healthy that I couldn’t even make any changes to it! It came from Martha Stewart, Everyday Food, published April 2010.

Bibb Salad with Radishes and Aspargus

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 heads Bibb lettuce (depending on the size), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 asparagus stalk, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Directions:

Using a medium-large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then mix in lettuce, radishes and asparagus. Toss together and serve immediately. Serves 4.

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Potato Salad

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Barbecue season is upon us! This potato salad goes great with grilled chicken or beef. My salad was adapted by Martha Stewart’s New Potato Salad, “Everyday Food,” published July/August 2007. What is wonderful about this potato dish is that it is not mayonnaise based, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling quickly in warm weather. Traditional French-style potato salad uses white wine, but this one uses tangy lemon juice and zest! I used a combination of small red and gold potatoes, instead of just new red. The salad is so easy to make and so delicious to eat!

Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds new red potatoes, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • 2 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with water up to bottom of basket. Bring water to boil and add potatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Cook until tender, occasionally tossing potatoes, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, place lemon zest and juice in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer potatoes to bowl and gently toss with lemon juice. Refrigerate for about an hour, until cool.
  3. Gently incorporate oil with potatoes. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Mix in herbs. Can be refrigerated for one day. Serve at room temperature. 4 servings.

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