Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fresh Garden Vegetable and Herb Soup

The past few days I haven't been feeling the greatest. Whenever I'm under the weather, all I really want is soup, crackers and orange juice (plus massive amounts of sleeeeep). This morning one my friends dropped off some fresh vegetables and herbs from her garden and I couldn't help but make a huge pot of soup with all those yummy fresh flavors. 

This soup is a combination of hearty squash and potatoes with plenty of sweet tomatoes. She even brought me fresh turkey stock to use so that really helped to pump up the flavor (store bought will work just fine, too). If you have any soup leftover, simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months (who wouldn't want a taste of summer once it's snowy outside?). 



1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add zucchini, summer squash and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.


3. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Top with stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.




4. Finish soup with fresh herbs, adjust seasonings as needed and serve.




Fresh Garden Vegetable and Herb Soup
Serves 8

All you need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 summer squash, diced
2 russet potatoes, diced
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, chopped (stems and florets)
3 cups diced fresh tomatoes (any variety)
4 cups turkey, chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add zucchini, summer squash and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Stir in tomatoes and broccoli. Top with stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Finish soup with fresh herbs, adjust seasonings as needed and serve.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork Stir-Fry

Nothing beats a quick, fresh meal that's ready in no time after a busy day at work. Today I was walking through the produce section and noticed a display of beautiful locally grown green peppers as well as some sweet pineapple and knew exactly what I wanted for dinner. 

This dish is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy thanks to the apricot preserves and sweet chili sauce. In my opinion, it's better than take-out and with all that fresh produce and lean protein, it also packs a bigger nutrition punch. Cheers to starting your week off right! 




1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.



2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Cook pork until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.


3. In the same skillet, add the green pepper and jalapeño and cook for 2 minutes. Add pineapple and cook for 1 minute longer.


4. Stir pork back in and top with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.

5. To serve, place rice onto each plate and top with stir-fry. Finish with chopped macadamia nuts.


Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Pork Stir-Fry 
Serves 4

All you need:
Sauce
Juice and zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless pork, cubed
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
Brown rice, for serving
Chopped macadamia nuts, for garnish

All you do:
1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Cook pork until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
3. In the same skillet, add the green pepper and jalapeño and cook for 2 minutes. Add pineapple and cook for 1 minute longer.
4. Stir pork back in and top with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.
5. To serve, place rice onto each plate and top with stir-fry. Finish with chopped macadamia nuts.




Monday, August 11, 2014

Garden Lasagna Rolls with Italian Turkey Sausage

My summer harvest (from the Hy-Vee produce department...) continues! This weekend my sister was visiting from out of town so I wanted to make something fresh that truly highlights all the delicious produce that is available right now. These lasagna rolls are healthy comfort food at it's finest. They are perfectly portioned and easier to serve than regular lasagna, which can be pretty sloppy. If you don't have time to make the sauce from scratch, no worries - the jarred kind will work just fine (I was just feeling fancy!).


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Score the skin of each tomato (being careful not to slice too deep). Boil tomatoes for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and plunge into ice water. Peel and dice; transfer to a bowl and set aside.





2. In the same pan, cook the noodles for 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes. Finish sauce with parsley; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.



4. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic, crushed red pepper and sausage and cook until sausage is browned and crumbly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add diced zucchini and summer squash and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.



6. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, beaten egg, Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, salt and pepper.

7. Assemble lasagna rolls: working in batches, lay noodles flat on a cutting board and top with 1 scoop of the veggie/sausage mixture and 1 scoop of the cheese mixture. Roll up and place in the prepared pan. Cover rolls with the fresh tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes and garnish with fresh basil. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.





Garden Lasagna Rolls with Italian Turkey Sausage
Serves 8

All you need:
Sauce
1 pound fresh plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

8 lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound ground Italian turkey sausage
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small summer squash, diced
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup 1% cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped (for garnish)

All you do:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Score the skin of each tomato (being careful not to slice too deep). Boil tomatoes for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and plunge into ice water. Peel and dice; transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. In the same pan, cook the noodles for 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes. Finish sauce with parsley; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot, garlic, crushed red pepper and sausage and cook until sausage is browned and crumbly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add diced zucchini and summer squash and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
6. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, beaten egg, Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, salt and pepper.
7. Assemble lasagna rolls: working in batches, lay noodles flat on a cutting board and top with 1 scoop of the veggie/sausage mixture and 1 scoop of the cheese mixture. Roll up and place in the prepared pan. Cover rolls with the fresh tomato sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes and garnish with fresh basil. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Double Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins

Lately I've had lots of customers ask me about ways to use zucchini. While some people find it a boring vegetable, I beg to differ. It's wonderful grilled or sautéed in garlic, but where it really shines is in baked goods. It adds a wonderful moisture to muffins and cakes, and while I'm not a huge baker (as you all know), I couldn't resist whipping up a chocolatey sweet treat. These muffins are the perfect portion for a quick afternoon snack or a light dessert.




1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.


3. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, egg, vanilla, yogurt and zucchini until well combined.



4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.


5. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 way full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!




Double Chocolate Zucchini Mini Muffins
Makes 3 dozen mini muffins

All you need:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce, egg, vanilla, yogurt and zucchini until well combined.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 way full. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!