Category Archives: Healthy or Healthier

Southwestern Mixed Vegetable Soup

 

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This soup is a great base soup that you can tinker with.  Very healthy.

Tomatillos
I personally felt it needed more spice or complex flavor, so I would recommend adding jalapeno if you like heat, or a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

Southwest Vegetable Soup Recipe

As with many soups, this one is quite tasty the next day and can be altered into something totally new.

With our leftovers, I made it into a fish stew.  I heated it up, add about 1/4 cup red wine (or use white), and added 2 fresh cod fillets, and more fresh pepper.  Very tasty.

 

Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 4 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 dried chipotle chile (optional)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
3 tomatillos, husked and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into rings (optional)

Put the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and some salt and peper and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables along with some more salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are shiny, just a minute or so.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the vegetables are very tender (the potato will take the longest), 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.

 

Thai Style Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

 
Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Alyssa and I visited the Saigon Market at Findlay Market this past weekend.

At a traditional grocery store, you might be able to find a few stalks of lemongrass. Or maybe not.

But at this market, there's a whole cardboard box of lemongrass stalks.  And crazy fresh ginger.

 
Lemongrass Lime Chili

This soup was amazing. Lots of flavor.  But if someone in the family doesn't like some of those exotic flavors, cut them back a bit. Use 1/2 the amount of lemongrass and lime. 

 

Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 6 

6-7 cups vegetable stock, water, or combination of the two
3 stalks lemongrass
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
grated zest of 1 lime
1 small hot fresh Thai chile, seeded, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup button or oyster mushrooms, chopped fine or sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed, or shelled peas (frozen ok)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
Juice of 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro leave for garnish
12 oz box extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (we used Mori Nu)
8 oz rice noodles (we used Erawan Brand medium size oriental style noodles) 

Heat a pan of water on medium-high heat for the rice noodles. Meanwhile, put the stock in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mince the core of one of the lemongrass stalks and add it; trim and bruise the other 2 lemongrass stalks, cut them into 2- or 3-inch lengths, and add them to the pot along with the soy sauce, lime zest, chile, black pepper, and sugar. Stir, then add the vegetables and tofu.

When the water for the noodles is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook to just a minute or two short of being cooked, according to package directions.  

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy, lime, chile or pepper as you like.

Add the noodles to the soup, simmer another minute.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Vegan New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice

Vegan Jambalaya
Vegan Jambalaya with Brown Rice Smoked Tempeh

This is the first recipe Alyssa and I have made from the cookbook she got me last June for my birthday, Big Vegan: More Than 350 Recipes No Meat/No Dairy All Delicious by Robin Asbell.
I was surprised at how good this tasted.  Maybe it was that "expectations" thing.  I didn't expect it to taste that great, and it really did.
We used the rice cooker to cook everything together in one pot, except for the last 2 ingredients, which you stir in at the end, just long enough to warm them up.
Some of the family didn't care for the smoked tempeh.  This would be easy to fix because you stir in the Fakin Bacon at the end.  So you could stir in another meat or meat substitute for those that want something else.
New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice
Compliments of JennaDish
from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell, chopped
6 large scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 large bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dired thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups vegetable stock (I used unsalted)
1 cup long-grain brown rice (rinse first)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz smoked tempeh Fakin' Bacon, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes 
(see below if using Rice Cooker to cook the whole dish)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add both bell peppers, the whites of the scallions, the celery, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil and stir briefly, then add the stock and bring it to a boil.  Add the rice and salt and bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook on very low heat until all the liquids are absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 45 mintues.
RICE COOKER Version: Place all the ingredients, except the tempeh and tomatoes (and green part of scallions) and turn your cooker on for brown rice.  When finished, open the lid carefully and follow step #2.
2. Fold in the tempeh and tomatoes and let stand, covered, to steam the rice and warm the tempeh and tomatoes through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining chopped scallion greens.

Red Thai Tofu


Red Thai Tofu_text

Serve this tofu dish over your favorite rice.  The cookbook this came from suggests a pineapple rice.

 

Red Thai Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4

1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces), cubed
1 teaspoon oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
15 leaves fresh Thai basil

Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little cooking spray. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it with a thin spatula once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. The thin spatula is important because you should be able to slip it underneat the tofu and flip it easily, keeping the tofu intact. About midway through, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and toss to coat.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Saute the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil, using a little cooking spray if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, remaining soy sauce, agave. Add the tofu back the pan along with the curry paste mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and toss to wilt. Serve! 

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos

Black Bean Zucchini Olive Tacos

This is one of those vegetarian (and vegan) dishes you can easily adapt to what you have.  This time of year, it would be fun to use squash, or pumpkin chunks, or sweet potatoes in place of the zucchini.

You can use any bean, of course.  

The corn tortillas make it special.  Love the grain texture and taste.

Black Bean, Zucchini and Olive Tacos
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz 

1
teaspoon olive oil
2 zucchini, diced small (about 1lb)
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced thinly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olive, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6 ounce) can salsa verde (I used Frontero Tomatilla Sauce)
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained &
rinsed
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion

Garlic-Lemon Yogurt
1 cup unsweetened plain soy yogurt (Wildwood
is suggested)
2 -3 garlic cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1 lemon (3 Tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon light agave nectar

Preheat a heavy bottomed skillet over
medium-high heat. Pour in the oil and add the zucchini and jalapeno, sprinkle
with the salt. Saute for about 7 minutes, or until the zucchini is lightly
browned.

Add the garlic, olives, cumin, and coriander,
and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the salsa verde and black beans and cook
for 5 minutes. The salsa should reduce a bit so its not soupy.

Mix the ingredients for the Garlic-Lemon
Yogurt if you are using.

Warm the tortillas in a skillet or wrap in a
moist towel and microwave for one minute. Serve with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt and chopped scallions. 

 

Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Whole Wheat All-Purpose Pizza Dough

You can make your own healthy, whole wheat pizza dough with a nice, crispy crust – all without any expensive equipment or fancy culinary skills.

Make this simple Martha Stewart dough with half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose white flour, and make 6" rounds for individual pizzas. 

6 inch individual pizza dough

Use whatever you need and freeze the rest in between sheets of parchment.  (Wax paper will stick to the dough.)

Frreeze Ahead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
This is what the frozen round looks like out of the freezer.  It got a little thin in one spot.  This dough isn't as thick and sturdy as a store-bought pizza crust.  So after about 1 minute, this crust was flopping over.  So no need to let it thaw – you can take it out of the freezer, put your toppings on, and bake.

Crusty Bottom Pizza Dough Baked on a Ceramic Tile

To get a crust crispy and brown on the bottom and edges,  some people turn their oven up to 500o but I don't like to do that – it's just too hot and unnecessary.  To get my crust looking like this…

How to Get your Homemade Pizza Crust Crispy on the Bottom

I preheat my oven to 450o and use baking stones.  If you don't want to spend $30-$50 on a baking stone that's not big enough to hold more than one pizza (and sometimes cracks), use this cheap trick ….

Ceramic Tile Baking Stone

Go to a home improvement store like Home Depot, and purchase two 12"x12" ceramic tiles (floor tiles) for about $3 each, and they should fit perfectly, side by side, across your oven.  Once these stones are heated up, they will crisp your dough up nicely.

The best way that I've found to get fresh, sticky pizza dough in the oven, and a hot, slippery pizza out of the oven, is to place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.  No pizza peel needed.

Oh, and you save money and you save your family nasty, overly-processed ingredients from store bought pizza.


Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart

MAKES TWO 1-POUND BALLS (about 6-8 six-inch pizza crusts) 

1 1/2 cups warm (115 degrees) water
2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for
kneading

2 cups whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)

Place water in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand
until foamy, about 5 minutes. Brush another large bowl with oil.

In bowl with yeast, whisk sugar, oil, and salt. Stir in flours
with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Transfer to oiled bowl; brush
top of dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot
until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands,
knead until smooth, about 15 seconds; divide into two balls.

Set balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm,
about 1 hour. Then freeze in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in
refrigerator.

Divide each ball of dough into 4 pieces. Using your hands,
stretch each piece into a 5-inch disk (if dough becomes too elastic to work
with, let it rest a few minutes).  Jenna's Note:  Spread a little semolina on your working surface, then push the edges of the dough out while constantly rotating it.  Don't flip the dough over which will work the semolina into the dough.  You want to keep the semolina on the bottom which helps it to not stick to your work surface.

 

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute

Quinoa with Sauteed Zucchini, Red Pepper, Tomatoes

I only learned of quinoa in the last 10 years or so.  As more people are becoming vegetarian or at least eating less meat, they are looking to plant-based foods high in protein.  

Speaking of plant-based protein, I recently read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell PhD, and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD.  It's about a 20-year study of the effects of certain foods on the body, especially the relationship between certain foods and chronic disease.  Bottom line, a plant-based diet is best for our bodies – eat no animal products (meat, dairy) or as little as possible, and as little refined carbohydrates as possible.  

I also just watched (for the second time) a 60 Minutes episode on the effects of sugar on our bodies.  Has a direct relation to chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney problems, etc.

Quinoa Cooked in White Wine and Vegetable Broth
Meanwhile, back at the quinoa … like any other grain, in can be very plain if you just boil it in water. So it helps build in flavor if you use broth for the cooking liquid.  In this recipe, I also added a little white wine.

Quinoa with Hot Curry Veggie Saute
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES ONE SERVING

3/4 cup vegetable broth 
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup quinoa 

1 shallot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
1 yellow squash, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
Pinch or two hot curry powder to taste (I used Penzy's)

Rinse the quinoa well.  Put the broth and wine in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Put quinoa in and stir, turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the shallot in a little oil over medium heat.  Add in mustard seed, if using, and stir around a minute.  Add squash and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and curry powder and stir until heated and tomatoes are softened.  Taste for seasoning, adding a little more curry powder if desired.

Serve the vegetable over the quinoa.  Enjoy while hot.

 

Pasta and Sauce with Black Bean & Toasted Bread Crumb Topping

Pasta with Black Beans and Toasted Bread Crumbs and Onions

 

Pasta and Sauce with Black Bean & Toasted Bread Crumb Topping
Compliments of JennaDish

original recipe

MAKES 2 GENEROUS SERVINGS

8 ounces fresh pasta (mine is from Bouchard's at Findlay Market)
2 cups pasta sauce (I used Muir Glen's Organic, Cabernet Style) 
2 cups toasted bread crumbs (mine is from Blue Oven's Spelt Bread, ground and toasted)
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained 

Saute the bread crumbs in a little olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  After crumbs are heated, add the beans to the pan to heat up.

Meanwhile, heat the pasta sauce in a sauce pan, and cook the pasta according to package or vendor instructions.

Drain the pasta, serve in a bowl, top with sauce then the crumb/bean mixture.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Panzanella
Panzanella Salad

This salad, like most, is highly adaptable.  My first tip would be to use a dense, strong bread, in order to stand up to the saute and the liquids. 

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Other than that, substitute a fresh veggie (think Italian) that seems to make sense, for a veggie you don't have.

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I had some little pear tomatoes, so I used those instead of more peppers.  I also didn't have cucumber so I used a few of my fresh, homemade pickles.  If you're a pickle-lover go for it.  If not, nix that idea and sub something else.  It's too strong of a taste if you aren't thrilled with tangy pickles.

 

Panzanella with Sunflower Seed Bread & Yellow Pear Tomatoes
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Ina Garten on Food Network.com

MAKES ABOUT 3 to 4 SERVINGS as a side

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups of 1" cubes of sunflower seed bread (or any dense, whole grain or sourdough bread)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large, ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 to 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, sliced 1/2-inch thick (I used 1/3 cup fresh pickles)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
10 yellow pear tomatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
10 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 Tablespoons capers, drained

Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber (or pickles), red or yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.  The salad tastes even better the next day.

Almond Milkshake with Peanut Butter, Banana & Oats

 Almond Peanut Banana Oat Shake

If you are thinking of drinking a plant-based milk to replace cow's milk, try Almond Milk!  It's full of calcium and other nutrients, and even the unsweetened version tastes like a very thin milkshake.

Tastes great on Frosted Mini Wheats.  I know!

But it's also great as the base for a healthy breakfast shake. A healthy shake might have milk, a fruit or two, a little sweetener, wheat germ, an herb or spice …. but I had not heard of putting rolled oats in a shake.  But I guess it makes sense.  If wheat germ is ok, why not oats?

I got the oats idea from a recipe in my new cookbook that Alyssa bought me for my birthday, Big Vegan by Robin Asbell

 

Almond Milkshake with Peanut Butter, Banana & Oats
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES ONE SERVING

1 to 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
1 frozen banana
1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter (I used chunky)
1/8 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract (optional)

Put all ingredients in a blender.  Puree for a minute or so.  Serve immediately.