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Crockpot Wild Rice Soup

I’ve been larger transportable meals on Sunday’s lately to last part of the week for Jim and I.  To do that, crockpot is a easy solution.  Wild Rice Soup is a good ol’ hearty Minnesotan dish.  The kind of soup you can turn upside-down and it won’t fall out:)

I already had a good wild rice soup recipe, but takes a bit of babysitting on the stove top.  This recipe is just as good, easier to make, and healthier so there ya go!

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 4-6 hours
Total Time: 4.5-6.5 hours
Yield: 8 servings
Taste: Great

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots (about 2-3 large carrots)
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds uncooked chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks
1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice or wild rice blend
7 cups chicken broth, organic if desired
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste

PROCEDURE:

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium or large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery and saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are softened; stir in seasoning (oregano, thyme and poultry seasoning) and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to crock pot.
  2. Next add in uncooked chicken breast chunks, uncooked wild rice and chicken broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. About a half hour before you are ready to serve the soup, mix sour cream and flour together in a small bowl with a fork. Turn slow cooker to high and slowly add in sour cream/flour mixture; stir for a few minutes until well combined, then place cover back on crock pot and allow to cook for 20 more minutes to allow soup to thicken up.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving. I like a little heat so a dash of cayenne or hot sauce for me.

Source: Ambitious Kitchen

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl

This is a quick veggie dish similar to the Gado-Gado bowl, but has more of a fall take on vegetables and uses a tahini sauce.  Another flexible dish for using whatever veggies you have on hand and grains could be swapped to rice, farro, barley, ect.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 3-4 servings
Taste: Good


INGREDIENTS

VEGETABLES
4 whole carrots, peeled and quartered (large pieces halved)
1 1/2 cups (~115 g) quartered baby yellow potatoes
2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup, divided
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
Healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper
1 Tbsp (3 g) chopped fresh rosemary (or dried)
2 cups (176 g) halved Brussels sprouts

QUINOA
1 cup (184 g) white quinoa, well rinsed + drained
2 cups water
Pinch sea salt

SAUCE
1/2 cup (120 g ) tahini
1 lemon, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml)
2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) maple syrup

FOR SERVING optional
Fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, etc.)
Pomegranate arils

PROCEDURE:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Add the carrots and potatoes to the sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Toss to combine. Then bake for 12 minutes.

3. In the meantime, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa to lightly sautée before adding water to evaporate leftover moisture and bring out a nutty flavor.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 18-22 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Then open lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Tilt the lid, remove from the heat, and set aside.

4. When the veggies are at the 12-minute mark, remove pan from the oven and add the Brussels sprouts. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp oil, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and another pinch each salt and pepper. Loosely toss to combine.

5. Return pan to oven and roast for 10-12 minutes more or until Brussels sprouts are golden brown and the carrots and potatoes are fork tender. (This ensures that the potatoes and carrots are cooked through and the Brussels don’t get too soft.)

6. Lastly, prepare dressing by adding tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Add 2 Tbsp (30 ml) warm water at a time and whisk until thick but pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness or lemon juice for acidity.

7. To serve, divide quinoa and vegetables between serving bowls and top with a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. Top with garnish of choice, such as pomegranate arils or fresh herbs.

Source: Minimalist Baker

Corn Zucchini Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette 

Lots of flavor packed into this easy quick dish.  You can cheat too if need be and use can corn; I would suggest roasted corn for a bit more flavor, sauteed zucchini, and use a pre-made salad dressing.  The dish is very adaptable to what you have on hand as well.  I added almonds instead of the roasted chickpeas (a quicker protein adder).  Some chopped red peppers raw or roasted would be good and add some more color.  You could make this into more of a main dish by adding some pasta.  Lots of options!

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 3-4 servings
Taste: Good

INGREDIENTS:

VEGGIES
5-6 ears corn, in husk
2-3 medium zucchini
1 Tbsp (15 ml) grape seed, avocado or olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

DRESSING
1/2 cup packed (56 g) sun-dried tomatoes* (soaked in hot water 10 minutes)
1/4 cup (240 ml) hot water*
3 Tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice
1 cup tightly packed (60 g) fresh basil (I used half parsley)
4 cloves garlic, smashed (2 Tbsp or 12 g)
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste

EXTRAS optional
Almonds
Red bell pepper
Roasted chickpeas*
Fresh lime juice

PROCEDURE:

1) Start by heating up your grill and prepping the corn and zucchini.

2) Slice zucchini thinly lengthwise, brush lightly with avocado or grape seed oil (or another high-heat oil), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside. Also soak corn (in husk) in cold water for 5 minutes.

3) Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes, hot water, lemon juice, basil, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper) to a blender and blend on high until creamy and smooth. If too thick, add more water to thin until pourable. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon for acidity, garlic for zing, maple syrup for sweetness, salt + pepper for flavor balance, or basil for freshness/earthiness. Set aside.

4) Once your grill is hot, add corn (still in husk) and cover. Cook for 5-8 minutes, rotating to cook all sides, until all sides are lightly browned. Then carefully remove husk and place back on grill until golden brown on all sides – about 5-8 minutes.

5) When the corn is almost ready, add zucchini to the grill and grill on each side for about 2-4 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is. You want grill marks, but you don’t want the zucchini to get too soft. Set aside.

6) Cut corn off cob and slice zucchini. Then add to a serving bowl. At this time, add almonds, red bell pepper, or roasted chickpeas if desired (see notes for preparation).

7) Drizzle with fresh lime juice and desired amount of dressing, and garnish with fresh basil and/or parsley.

Notes:

*Best when fresh. Leftover dressing will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
*If you use sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, you will likely need much less water, so start with 1/4 cup (60 ml) and work your way up from there.
*To make roasted chickpeas, thoroughly drain a 15-ounce can of chickpeas and add to a mixing bowl. Then add 1 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil, a healthy pinch each sea salt, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Roast at 350 degrees F (176 C) for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Nutrition Information: Rough estimate for 1 of 4 servings calculated using 2 zucchini, 6 ears of corn, and all of the dressing.

Serving size: 1/4 of recipe with dressing. Calories: 287 Fat: 19.8 g Saturated fat: 2.9 g Carbohydrates: 30 g Sugar: 7.9 g Sodium: 54 mg Fiber: 4.5 g Protein: 5 g

Source: Minimalist Baker

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus 

I’ve been doing a lot of quick easy meals lately and this side dish is cinch.  Asparagus is freshly available now (spring/early summer) so I’ve been taking advantage of it. Even cleanup is made easy by covering your baking sheet with aluminium foil. You could also easily do this on a grill.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 25 min
Yield: ~3-4 servings
Taste: Great

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb of asparagus
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: lemon juice or red pepper flakes

PROCEDURE:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
  2. Break off and discard bottom 1/2-inch (non-flexible part) of asparagus stock
  3. Place asparagus on lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, grated Parmesan, and salt & pepper.  Mix evenly.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and rotating veggies once during the cooking time.  Remove from oven when tender.
  5. Serve with optional lemon juice or red pepper flakes

Source: Heidi’s kitchen

Lemon Blueberry Cake

Jim made my birthday cake!  Yes, this is a pretty late post…  I love chocolate and it seems like so does everyone else so for my birthdays I like to go a different route.  This year I chose a lemon blueberry combo.  I used the same lemon custard I have made before for as filling.  As an option you could substitute blueberry jam for the filling.
For the frosting I was deciding between the originally suggested frosting, lemon cream cheese, or buttercream frosting and went with the original.  I don’t like to put that much sugar in my frosting so the consistency for this frosting was not very thick.
I also used two 9-inch pans instead of three 8-inch which works fine, but then you don’t have as much surface area to put the custard.  You could cut the two 9-inch layers in half to make it a four layer cake or just have some left over custard if you stick with two 9-inch layers.

 

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cook Time: ~30 min
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: ~ 3 hours
Yield: 3 layer 8-inch cake or 2 layer 9-inch cake
Taste: Good

INGREDIENTS:

For the Lemon Custard
3 large eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
1 tbs finely shredded lemon zest (outer yellow skin of lemon)
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces

For the Cake
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons (290 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (7g) salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (120 ml) sour cream
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups (300 g) white sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks)(227 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons (10 ml) lemon zest
5 cups (625 g) icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) whipping cream (35% cream)
1/4 teaspoon (1.25) pure lemon extract
a pinch of salt
yellow food gel, optional

PROCEDURE:

For the Custard
1) In a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and lemon juice until blended. Cook, stirring constantly (to prevent it from curdling), until the mixture becomes thickened. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Watch carefully as it will go from runny to thick very quickly.

2) Remove from heat immediately and if there are lumps pour through a fine strainer (I haven’t had to do this).

3) Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the lemon zest and let cool.

4) The lemon custard will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover immediately (so a skin doesn’t form) and refrigerate until cold. I learned from making the custard from my Boston Cream Pie that if you place saran wrap over the top of the custard it will prevent a skin from forming. The lemon custard can be made several days (up to a week) in advance.

For the Cake
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8″ round cake pans (or two 9″ rounds) with parchment paper, butter and flour.

2) Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) into medium bowl.

3) Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour mixture and blueberries aside.  This is to help prevent blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

4) Stir sour cream, whole milk, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon zest in small bowl.

5) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, until well combined.

6) Mix in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries.

7) Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes depending on if you use 8 or 9-inch pans. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then invert onto racks until completely cool.

For the Frosting
1) Cream butter and lemon zest in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, about 3 minutes.

2) Slowly add icing sugar, mixing on low speed for about 2 minutes.  Note, I do not use full amount of sugar.

3) Add remaining ingredients and beat on med-high for 3-4 minutes until very fluffy. If using color gel, add a drop or two then beat until blended.

Assembly 
1) Spread thin dollop of frosting on an 8-inch thin cake board or cake plate. Transfer 1 cake layer to board, face up.

2) Create a dam around the perimeter of the layer using frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, (if you have one…) then spread lemon curd (approximately 1 cup) inside the dam–this prevents the curd from reaching out over edges.

3) Top with second layer, face-up; repeat frosting around perimeter and lemon curd filling.

4) Top with third cake layer, face-down (brown smooth side up). Spread thin layer (crumb coat) of over top and sides of cake, using offset palette knife and bench scraper for smooth finish. Place cake in refrigerator for about 30 mins to chill.

5) From refrigerator and using same method, frost cake with generous layer of frosting, smoothing again.

Keep cake covered and refrigerated (for up to 2 days) but can serve at room temperature.

Master Baker Jim

Source: Sweetapolita

Chicken Enchilada Pinwheels

I made these for a party.  They were easy and made a large quantity.  I did not do a very good job at spreading the filling all the way to the edges and rolling them tightly so they weren’t as pretty and consistently “full”.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Chill Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: ~80 individual pieces
Taste: Good

INGREDIENTS:

2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
2 tablespoons Old El Paso™ original taco seasoning mix
2 cups shredded chicken
1 (10-oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, well drained
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 green onions sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
8 burrito sized tortillas

PROCEDURE:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (except tortillas) until well blended.
  2. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture over the entire surface of a tortilla. Roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  3. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and serve.

Source: Betty Crocker

Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread

This is a somewhat healthier version banana bread. It certainly doesn’t stand up to the original one here.  I didn’t have any chocolate chips on hand so I opted for shredded coconut instead for a sweet note.  I also just used whole wheat flour and not pastry flour which likely took away some good light texture.  Pastry flour has less protein content making it more airy.  So I bet it would be better as performed in the original recipe below.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 45-60 min
Total Time: 75 min
Yield: 1 loaf, 12ish slices
Taste: Medium

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup mashed ripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used regular milk)
1 egg
1 egg white
2/3 cup chocolate chips

PROCEDURE

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder,baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. In a separate medium/large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, honey, Greek yogurt, olive oil, milk and vanilla and beat on low until smooth in consistency.

4. Add in the egg and egg white to the wet ingredients and beat again until well combined, about 1 minute.

5. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine until moist — It’s important to not over mix! Next gently fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

6. Spoon all of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle of the bread comes out clean.

Source: Ambitious Kitchen