Posts Tagged celery

Vegetable & Bean Soup with Roasted Squash

Vegetable, Bean & Roasted Squash Soup | Gorging George

Oh lordy. How naive I was last month when I thought I was back on track with blogging! How quickly I forgot that these wee people need an abundance of attention from their mas and pas. However, here I am, after many attempts, writing again. I spent yesterday evening prepping meals for part of the week – it was a glorious feeling. I haven’t even thought about meal prep since Norah’s birth; as I’ve said before, it’s been a helluva lot of frozen pizzas and take out in this neck of the woods the past 5+ months. But Norah has been sleeping much better at night and has even graced us with some better napping throughout the day; so the heck with “sleep-when-the-baby-sleeps” my new motto in this household is “cook and eat when the baby is occupied with slumber!”

Since we’ve been eating so much junk, I’ve been attempting to eat “healthier” the past few months. We used to eat fairly balanced week-to-week prior to my pregnancy: lots of veggies and whole grains would compensate for fat-&-carb-&-alcohol laden indulgences. But the scales have been tipped on the indulgence side for quite a while; and I can’t seem to get back. I’ll admit (to probably a few skeptical readers) that I just recently joined Weight Watchers in order to “teach” myself some portion control again. Don’t worry though … this website isn’t going to undergo yet another change (after being gluten-free for over a year). The recipes here will continue to just be tasty dishes I want to share; whether they’re “healthy” or “indulgent.” Plus my plan is to only be part of the program for 3 months – I figure that should be enough time to get on track, plus summer will be here. And this girl wouldn’t consider tracking “points” when frosty beer season is upon us! (Finally I can drink real beer in the summer after going two without!)

I was motivated to join Weight Watchers mainly after seeing my sister-in-law have great success on the program after only a few weeks (check out her beauty-ful blog A Touch of Lush). She’s now been on Weight Watchers for almost 3 months, and she’s still enjoying it. I know she liked making things from the blog prior to starting WW, so I made up this recipe with her mind. It’s a tasty vegetable soup with a hint of umami flavour from roasting the squash. Plus, I would assume the soup would only be worth 1 or 2 points (from the beans and cheese), seeing that vegetables are worth 0 points. I could probably figure out the actual points and share; but like I said, this isn’t a blog about healthy eating. And don’t worry my regular readers: I’m just sending you a hint of where my current eating habits are right now. Next time I promise something dripping in butter.

Vegetable, Bean & Roasted Squash Soup | Gorging George

Vegetable & Bean Soup with Roasted Squash

1 acorn squash
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
14 oz canned diced tomatoes
19 oz beans of your choice (I used mixed beans)
4-5 cups kale, chopped
parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Peel the squash and discard seeds. Cut into 1/2″ cubes. Toss the squash with 1 tsp each salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Place onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion, carrots, celery and garlic for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the stock, water and diced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the beans and kale; simmer soup for 30 minutes.

Add the squash to the soup and continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle.

Serve soup hot or warm with parmesan grated on top.

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Beef Stew

beef stew

A few weeks ago Kyle and I were out of town for just over a week. We got to visit family and friends, and do lots of shopping and eating. When we’re planning a trip out of our small city, I always anticipate the opportunity to try a number of new restaurants and eateries. While there are good places to eat where we live, the choices are few … which means when you can’t eat gluten, those choices become even slimmer. We thoroughly enjoyed all the different places we tried (I even had gluten free fish and chips after my cousin recommended Brit’s Fish & Chips – thank you Elizabeth!!) – however, after a few nights of overindulging, all I can think about is coming home and cooking up something comforting.

So during our 15 hour drive home, I brought up my craving for beef stew to Kyle more times than I’m sure he wanted to hear. All I could think about was the rich “gravy” that the beef and vegetables swim in, simmered for hours and full of umami flavour. About the tender carrots that take on a meaty taste after a brief simmer in the stew. And of course, about the tender beef, marbled with fat which melts into the meat, causing it to fall apart at the slightest suggestion and to melt beautifully in my mouth. Oh yes, you can bet that the first thing I made when I came home was a big ‘ol pot of stew.

Beef Stew with Bourbon & Carrots

I always serve my stew with buttery mashed pototoes; but for those who prefer egg noodles or rice, I am sure this would work with those as well. And the only veg I ever tend to serve with stew? A mound of minted peas, smothered in fruity olive oil. 

3 lbs chuck beef roast (beef shoulder)
1 Tbsp potato starch or sweet rice flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Olive oil (for cooking – about 1-2 Tbsp)
2 small onions, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cups red wine
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
3-4 cups beef stock – * make sure it’s gluten free
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cut the beef into 1-2″ cubes, removing any silver skin. Toss the beef with the potato starch or rice flour, and the salt & pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef to the pot in batches (about 3-4) in order to brown 2 sides. Remove each batch to a bowl. You want a good char on the beef – if you try to turn it, and it’s stuck to the pan, it’s probably not charred enough. This should take about 3-5 minutes per batch. Set the bowl of browned beef aside.

Turn the heat of the dutch oven to medium. Add the onions and celery, and saute until the onion begins to soften, stirring frequently – about 5-8 minutes. Add 1 cup of the wine to the pan, and scrape up all the meaty, charred bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add the remaining wine, bourbon, and balsamic vinegar to the pot.  Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, beef stock and browned beef to the pot – turn up the heat to high, and bring the stew to a simmer. Once it reaches this point, cover the dutch oven, then place it in the oven for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, stir in the chopped carrots, turn up the heat to 350°F and continue to cook the stew uncovered for another 30-40 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Remove the dutch oven from the stove, then stir in the parmesan cheese. Serve over potatoes, noodles, or rice and sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Makes approximately 8 cups of stew.

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Salmon & Quinoa Cakes with Chipotle Tartar Sauce

Hoping everyone south of the border enjoyed their Thanksgiving weekend. Up here in Canada’s North, Kyle and I have started a tradition of recording the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (since we both typically work Thursdays), and playing it on the weekend while we trim the (faux) tree and decorate the house. And this weekend was no different. Our first time decorating the new home was lots of fun – although we are noticing that with extra space you need extra “stuff.” So, we may have to get up early boxing day to take advantage of sales in order to beef up our Christmas decor for next year. 

This past week, Kyle was out of town. And when he’s gone, I barely cook … and if I do, it’s typically something that Kyle doesn’t really care for; such as this recipe (which I actually did make and devour a few days ago). However, there was lots of leftover salmon and quinoa in the fridge from the last dinner we enjoyed before Kyle left. I ate it for lunch a few days in a row, but quickly tired of it. So one evening this week I decided to try my hand at some gluten free salmon cakes. I have missed making my typical salmon cakes; loaded with fresh, soft white bread to hold the mix together and create a fluffy cake. As I have discussed before, pre-made gluten free bread leaves much to be desired … and I have yet to find anything that would mimic the fluffy texture of white bread. And for that reason, I have not made salmon cakes since before May when I found out I’d have to give up gluten.

All that changed this week though. When I eyed up my leftovers and the contents of the fridge (because it was a coooooold winter night, and I sure as heck wasn’t going out to the grocery store), I whipped up these gluten free, tasty cakes. The leftover quinoa stood in for the bread that I previously would use. While it didn’t provide the same fluffiness, it proved to be a welcome substitute. The quinoa became super crisp on the outside after a quick pan-fry; and the middle had the characteristic crunchy and “popping” texture of cooked quinoa. And since quinoa has only a slight nutty taste, it was a great blank canvas for the garlicky sautéed vegetables and fleshy pink salmon. I dare say I may have enjoyed these even more than my gluton-filled white bread version from salmon cakes past.

Salmon & Quinoa Cakes

This recipe likely only makes enough for 2 people … although it could potentially be stretched to serve 3; so remember to increase the ingredients if you’re planning to cook this for a crowd. You will notice there is broccoli in the photos even though I do not call for this flowery green vegetable in the recipe. This is because my leftover quinoa was from Heidi Swanson’s Double Broccoli Quinoa recipe. You do not have to use this to make your cakes – it can be plain or any leftover cooked quinoa you have in your fridge. Although I do recommend making the aforementioned quinoa recipe as soon as you can – it’s so darn tasty that the only reason there was leftovers was due to the large amount it makes!

1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/4 cup red onion, fine diced
1/4 cup celery, fine diced
1/4 cup peppers, fine diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup cooked salmon
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 egg
1 Tbsp gluten free flour (I used a pre-made mix)
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, celery, peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened. Season the onion mixture with the salt and pepper; set aside to cool.

Once cool, combine the onion mixture and remaining ingredients in a medium-bowl. Thoroughly mix. Line a baking sheet with wax paper (or foil or parchment paper); start making “cakes” out of the mixture, using about 1/3 cup for each cake. Place the cakes on the wax paper as you go. When they are all made, place the salmon cakes in the fridge and allow to set for about 15 minutes.

Heat the Tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat (time-saving tip: just use the same pan you used to saute the vegetables). Place 3 salmon cakes in the hot pan; cook for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until golden-brown. Remove the cakes from the pan and continue with the remaining salmon cakes.

Serve hot or warm with Chipotle Tartar Sauce (or your sauce of choice).

Makes 5-6 salmon cakes.

Chipotle Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp minced dill pickle
1 tsp chopped capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (use less if you want this less spicy)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with salmon cakes or your favourite fish or seafood.

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