Monday, June 9, 2014

Make-Fast Mondays: Creamy Cilantro and White Bean Soup

Want a thick, creamy soup without adding any dairy? My favorite trick in the past has been to purée some, if not all of my ingredients, with our trusty Vitamix after everything’s had a chance to simmer. However, scooping steamy soup into a pitcher can be a bit hot and messy, so with this recipe I opted to purée before cooking. Less mess, and tossing the whole onion into the blender meant less time chopping. Piece of cake.

Creamy Cilantro and White Bean Soup 
4 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 large white onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic 
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Equipment: Blender 

Put two cans of beans, broth, onion and cilantro in blender pitcher, add lid, and blend ingredients until smooth. Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium flame. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two, until aromatic. Pour contents of pitcher and remaining beans into pot. Stir in cumin. Increase heat and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat, cover pot with lid and let soup simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Remove soup from heat and stir in the lime juice. Divide soup among four bowls and serve.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Make-Fast Mondays: Garden Fajita Veggies with Quinoa

I don’t know about you, but it seems like a lot of people I know are in for a bountiful summer of home-grown goodies. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are blowing up with lovely photos of herbs, fruits and vegetables grown in backyards and container gardens. Me? I’m about to bring in my first ripe Early Girl of the year and can’t wait to take a big bite out of that gorgeous red tomato. Use this recipe the next time you find yourself wondering what to do with a cornucopia of sun-ripened veggies from the garden (or just want a quick meat-free dinner idea). While I used zucchini, bell pepper and mushrooms, pretty much any mix of vegetables will work just fine.

Garden Fajita Vegetables with Quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large zucchini, diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 ounces sliced brown mushrooms
1 packet fajita seasoning

Possible garnishes: avocado slices, chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, hot sauce

Bring 6 cups water to boil in saucepan. Add quinoa and continue boiling for 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is soft. Remove saucepan from heat and drain. While quinoa is boiling, heat vegetable oil in frying pan or skillet over high heat. Add vegetables and cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender but not mushy. Reduce heat to low and add fajita seasoning and appropriate amount of water indicated on the packaging. Let simmer for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally so the veggies get a nice saucy coating. Scoop some quinoa into a couple bowls, top with veggies, garnish to your liking and enjoy!