Baby Banana Pancakes

Mini pancakes that are perfect for your little ones.  They have a light banana flavor and are easy to make and are special diet friendly – they are gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free. Pancakes for EVERYONE!

20140531-232520-84320527.jpgMy little niece, Happy, is the cutest 1-year old in the whole world.  She loves Elmo, bananas, singing the abc’s and “ninach” (spinach).  She also giggles and smiles all the time, which is why I call her Happy. But poor little Happy is allergic to almost EVERYTHING. Dairy, eggs, certain preservatives and possibly wheat. My sister-in-law was having a hard time finding  snacks to give Happy, so she asked me to test out some recipes. These tiny pancakes quickly became Happy’s favorite snack.  They are very easy to make and freeze well so you can always have a quick and healthy snack on hand to give your little one.

20140531-232521-84321926.jpgI tried a few iterations of this recipe (as well as a failed muffin recipe) before coming up with this final recipe.  If you have little ones in your house who love bananas – make them these pancakes!  They have no added sugar, no dairy, no eggs and are made with rice flour.  Perfect for little tummies. You can find rice flour in your grocery store in the baking aisle – usually next to the all-purpose flour.  You can also buy it online.  I buy Bob’s Red Mill (see picture below).  I also tried making this with brown rice flour, but I found the pancakes came out too dense.

20140531-232519-84319882.jpgAnother great thing about these pancakes is that they only have 7 ingredients AND they take about 4 minutes to cook up.

20140531-232602-84362535.jpgRemember, these pancakes were formulated for little tummies, so they are not bursting with flavor. But if you’re not making them for toddlers, you can add some cinnamon and nutmeg for some spice and some sugar (or honey/agave) for some sweetness, to the batter.  I would start with a teaspoon of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar – and adjust from there.  For those who are not allergic to peanuts, I enjoy them made as is, then slathered with peanut butter and jelly.  Mmm.  Perfect breakfast on the go – peanut butter and jelly banana pancakes.  Yum

20140531-232523-84323271.jpgFast. Tasty. gluten-free vegan pancakes.  Perfect for little and big tummies alike! Pancakes for EVERYONE!

Recipe: Baby Banana Pancakes 20140531-232521-84321268.jpg

Yield: 15-20 baby pancakes-serves about 2 adults

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium overripe banana
  • 1 cup plain soy milk (or any milk)
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 cup White Rice flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mash the banana very well.  Then add the soy milk, applesauce and vanilla and stir until well combined, set aside.
  2.  In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  3.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then stir until just combined. Do not over mix.  The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Spray a small frying pan with vegetable oil spray (or coat with vegetable oil) and heat the pan on medium heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of batter and cook for about 2 minutes or until edges are rounded and bubbles form in the middle. Then flip the pancake and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Enjoy plain, with maple syrup, your favorite jelly or peanut butter (or both!).

Store leftover pancakes in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. Pancakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe adapted from: Food.com

 

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Chocolate Coconut Granola

Need an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast?

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I usually don’t. But if you have judgey roommates, spouses, coworkers, pets or parents… here’s a DELICIOUS, healthy, more sensible (and socially acceptable) way to enjoy chocolate for breakfast. CHOCOLATE COCONUT GRANOLA! Crunchy, nutty, rich and chocolatey. Easy to prep and only 25 minutes to bake. Get ready for your new favorite granola.

20140429-224418.jpgAs I have mentioned before, I LOVE eating sweet stuff for breakfast. I also really like granola. Really.

What better way to cure those midweek “I don’t want to get out of bed” blues than by starting your day off with some morning chocolate! Chocolate is a great motivator. 🙂 Also, your kitchen will smell like chocolate cake while baking this. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that smell.

Of course, granola is not just for breakfast. This crunchy, chocolatey treat makes a great topping for yogurt, ice cream or just by itself. While photographing this, I ate HANDFULS. That tends to get problematic when your subject amount keeps disappearing. Whoops.

20140430-013742.jpgYou might be saying: “How the heck is this stuff healthy??” To make this granola, I used my maple almond cinnamon granola recipe as a base.   This Chocolate Coconut Granola has a very similar sugar and fat content as the base recipe.  How? I removed a little bit of the butter/oil fat and sugar to make up for the addition of some chocolate chips that really bring home the chocolate taste. I also added some flaxseed meal which adds some extra fiber and some healthy Omega-3s. You can totally omit this ingredient if you don’t have it. It won’t change the flavor with or without it. You’ll just be missing an extra “healthy” boost!

So, go ahead. Have it for breakfast. You know you want to.

20140429-224328.jpgAnother great thing about this granola: It’s adaptable. All you need are old fashioned oats and unsweetened cocoa powder. Other than that – you can do equal substitution of many ingredients. Don’t have almonds? That’s ok, substitute another type of raw nut. Don’t have nuts? Allergic to nuts? Sub in more oats. Allergic to coconut? (sorry Alana!) No worries, sub in more nuts or oats. Want to use coconut oil? Sure. Or flaxseed, double paleo, super slick, vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, caveman oil? No problem. Want to use butter? YES – go right ahead. Want to add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips? Wait, WHAT? Sure, you can. But you’re missing the point. Want to stick to the recipe? That’s cool too.

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Since I’ve posted variations of this recipe two other times, I’m not going to bore you with the details. I’ll save you the reading time. If you need more photo explanation – head on over to my first or second granola posts for more detailed process/prep pictures.

I will stress, you want to mix in the cocoa powder with all your wet ingredients until smooth. It will look like a thin, chocolate ganache – and it will taste so rich and chocolatey. Mmmm – go ahead and give it a taste.

20140429-225752.jpgGo. Make some. Make your house smell like chocolate cake that you can eat for breakfast!

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Chocolate Coconut Granola.jpgRecipe: Chocolate Coconut Granola

Yield: About 4.5 cups

Time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of raw nuts, coarsely chopped (I used raw almonds)*
  • ½ cup of sweetened shredded coconut*
  • ¼ cup of flaxseed meal (optional and can omit without substitution)
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil*
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons of water
  • ¼ cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)**

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Place oven rack on top 1/3 in the oven. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the first set of ingredients (oats through the salt) and stir.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the oil, honey,*** water, brown sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk while gently heating on very low heat for about 1 minute. Then turn off heat and continue to mix until everything is smooth and well combined. Do not overheat – this mixture will burn easily. You can also mix this without heat, but I find warming the mixture makes it easier to get everything well combined and smooth.
  4. Pour liquid over oat mixture and stir until the oat mixture is well coated. Stir in chocolate chips and spread into a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 320 for 25 minutes – stirring once half way. Allow to cool to room temperature and store in a airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

* See the above text about substitutions

**Chocolate Chips are heat resistant and don’t melt, but they do get soft. If you don’t want soft chips or are using baking chocolate, be sure to add this AFTER baking the granola.

*** Be sure to add the oil first, then use the same tablespoon to measure honey, the honey will slide right out because the oil created a nonstick surface!

Recipe adapted from my Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

20140429-224439.jpgOops. I spilled again. I guess I’m just going to have to eat to clean up this mess.

Want more granola?!

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola.jpgMaple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

 

 

 

 

Half Meat Half Veggie Chili

Looking for a delicious, easy and good-for-your recipe that will feed 20 gazillion people at your Super Bowl party? Look no further my hungry friends.

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Make some chili. Specifically THIS chili. I call this my half-and-half chili. Half meat, half veggies! This is the perfect winter meal. It is hearty AND healthy. It will warm AND fill you up without filling you out. 🙂 And it will feed a hoard of people.

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Along with ground beef this chili has an assortment of vegetables including hearty mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, meaty potatoes, zucchini, carrots and tasty corn. This recipe makes a TON. So you will have many meals and can even freeze some. You can use the same veggies or use your a mixture of favorites!

20140112-184935.jpgMy Taller Half LOVES this chili so much he is always happy to help chop all the vegetables. Even if you’re not that into veggies, try this, I think your relationship with them will change.

20140112-185000.jpgNow, I realize the amount of ingredients in this recipe totally goes against my mantra of “around 5-ish” ingredients. But it is done in 5 easy steps. And this is a “cook once, eat for a whole week” meal.

The chili should simmer for a few hours to let the flavors fully develop (although you can dig into it after only 30 minutes). I usually make it the night before and think about dinner ALL day.

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How could you not think about this all day???

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and then I eat it for leftovers for a week.

OR be a good person a share: Have a Super Bowl party for 20 people and serve this!

Plus, with all these veggies, you can top this with extra cheese and eat some extra chips and not feel guilty. You earned it by eating your vegetables.

20140112-185116.jpgYUM! Look at that close up! Meat, veggies and CHEESE!?! I’m in heaven.

20140112-185240.jpgRecipe: Half Meat Half Veggie Chili

Yield: A ton. (~32 cups)

Ingredients:

Step 1 – sauté the aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

Step 2 – add the meat

  • ~1 lb ground beef (use any meat you like- turkey, pork, buffalo)

Step 3 – add the veggies

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 potato (sweet or russet), scrubbed clean and chopped (I usually leave the russet unpeeled – but I will always peel the sweet potato)
  • 8oz of mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bella)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped

Step 4 – add the canned/frozen stuff

  • 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 15 oz cans of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you can mix it up with black beans if you like)
  • 1 cup of frozen corn

Step 5 – add the spices

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Cheddar cheese, sour cream and chips for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a very large pot (~8-12 quarts) add step 1 ingredients and sauté on medium heat until onions are soft – about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef (step 2) and cook until no longer pink
  3. Add all the veggies (step 3) and canned/frozen (step 4). Then add the spices (step 5) and stir to mix everything well. Simmer the chili for at least 30 minutes, but 1-2 hours lets the flavors develop. Tip: I usually make this the day before and simmer for 1-2 hours and then let the large pot cool before I place it in the fridge. The next day I take it right out of the fridge and let the pot come to room temp and then simmer to warm it up and then serve. This is a great make ahead meal.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and enjoy with chips or corn bread!

Chili can be stored in airtight container the refrigerator for 1 week or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is Easy 5 Step Chili

Half Meat Half Veggie Chili.jpg

Curried Apple Tuna Salad

How about an apple and some tuna for lunch?

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How about we put them together.  On a sandwich. With some spice. Yum!

I’m constantly on the look out for new lunch recipes.  I ALWAYS bring my lunch to work because I hate buying lunch. It’s expensive, usually less healthy and I’m super indecisive, so it takes me forever to decide where to buy lunch.  But mostly, I am cheap and buying lunch is not.   In the past year, I have bought lunch at work 3 times.  THREE times.   Yeah, I’m wicked frugal.  So this is a great salad/sandwich to add to your lunch rotation!

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What else is so great about this Curried apple tuna salad?  It is delicious and healthy and perfect for using up some of those apples you still have.  Also, it is so full of flavor, you won’t realize it is healthy.  Really. And this is no wussy salad – it is FULL of protein. Tuna and Greek yogurt pack a pretty good protein punch that will make sure your tummy stays full at least until your 3pm chocolate break.  Wait, you don’t have a 3pm chocolate break?  What?!  Well, you should. Bonus: it is SUPER easy to whip up!  1 step.  There is only 1 step to make this salad.

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What is in this salad?

1. Tuna (I use chunk light, packed in water)

2. Plain Greek yogurt

3. Apple

4. Dijon mustard

5. Curry powder

6. Crunchy veggie of your choice

This is another recipe for you MAYO HATERS>>> There is NO mayo in this tuna salad!

20131028-205908.jpgThe warm curry flavor pairs perfectly with the crunchy, sweet apple.

20131028-205916.jpgAnd it all goes so well to make a creamy, crunchy, warmly spicy and slightly sweet tuna salad

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Mmmm.  Delicious in a Dash.  Seriously fast and scrumptious!

Recipe: Curried Apple Tuna Salad 20131028-205936.jpg

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 5oz canned tuna, drained (I like chunk-light tuna packed in water)
  • 1/2 of a medium sized apple, chopped (I like crunchy, slightly tart apples)
  • 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder (depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 cup of your veggie of choice, chopped (I really like celery because it adds a nice crunch.  I used cucumber because that is what I had in the house – but I recommend celery)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir until combined.

Serve on your favorite bread, lined with spinach leaves or lettuce or just eat it right from the bowl!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

20130619-223034.jpgI have a bit of a sweet tooth. Ok. That’s a lie. I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. Growing up, I always loved to eat sweet stuff for breakfast. My mom always made us eat well balanced lunches and dinners, but when it came to breakfasts, my mom let us eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms. Mmmm. I still love all these cereals. I think the weight I put on in college was probably from eating tons of sugar cereals from the dining hall. Although I don’t eat sugar cereals for breakfast anymore too often, I still love a sweet treat for breakfast. That’s where the idea for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins came from. I know, it’s a mouthful. But these muffins themselves are a mouthful.

20130619-223052.jpgI wanted to make a quick, sweet breakfast to grab and go. I thought muffins would be a perfect, grownup sweet breakfast. They just needed to be tasty, healthy and filling and these muffins fulfill all three requirements. They’re made with simple, whole ingredients that you would eat for breakfast: Peanut butter, banana, old fashioned oats and milk. And of course, cinnamon. Because cinnamon makes everything better! And even better, these muffins have NO butter and NO oil, and they are still super moist and super delicious. You can definitely feel good about eating these for breakfast because of all the good-for-you ingredients!20130619-223101.jpgAnother great thing about these muffins, is that they are super easy to make, they don’t require a mixer and they use up those brown, overripe bananas you have sitting on your counter. How do you make these muffins in a DASH?

First, combine the flour, old fashioned oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Next smash two overripe bananas, and mix this with the peanut butter and egg until well combined. You’ll need to use a little elbow grease to really combine the peanut butter and the egg together.

20130619-223405.jpgAdd the remaining “wet” ingredients and stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients. The batter will still be a little thin and a little lumpy and will look like this:

20130619-223611.jpgFill a greased or lined muffin pan with the batter. Be sure to fill cups all the way to the top!

Bake, and be prepared for healthy, moist, muffin heaven.20130619-223621.jpg

Now, I’m going to share a little extra decadence with you. The muffins, as is, are delicious, but if you want to bring them OVER-THE-TOP, you can add a cinnamon sugar topping. It is perfect, little something extra that makes these “weekend muffins”, or what I call breakfast.

To keep these muffins butter-free, you can just dip the top of the muffins in a bowl of cinnamon sugar mixture. Just roll the top around when the muffins are still warm and the cinnamon sugar will stick right to it.

20130619-223120.jpgNow, take a big bite into this soft, moist, peanut buttery, slightly sweet, banana-y, oaty muffin.

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The muffins are not too sweet, and the peanut butter taste is not overwhelming. I tried to add more peanut butter, but it made the muffins really dense. I wanted a lighter muffin, which is what these are. If you want more peanut butter flavor, you could try adding chopped peanuts to the batter, or make a peanut crumb topping. But, I loved these muffins just the way they are. What could be better than peanut butter and banana combo?! Adding oats to it and eating it warm for breakfast. Yum!20130619-223139.jpg20130619-223131.jpgRecipe: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy creamy peanut butter)
  • 2 medium overripe bananas (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%, but use whatever you have)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, smash the bananas and beat in the peanut butter and egg till well combined. Then add brown sugar, vanilla and milk and stir until blended.
  4. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and stir. Batter will be a little thin and a little lumpy (See picture above).
  5. Fill prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes before adding cinnamon sugar topping

Cinnamon sugar topping!

  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and dip and roll top of muffin in until coated.
Enjoy!  : )

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

If you like these muffins – try some of my other peanut butter and oatmeal recipes:

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, ever (I’m serious)

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgNo Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

No-bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.jpgMaple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola.jpgMaple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

20130430-111912.jpgHappy National Grilled Cheese Month!! Well, happy last day of national grilled cheese month! I’m getting this one in just under the wire. But, I promise you, this sandwich is well worth the whole month I made you wait.

20130430-192033.jpgThis is a tasty, healthy and super FAST breakfast. It’s so fast and easy that you can hit the snooze button 5 times, take a long shower and STILL have time to make this sandwich before you leave for work. Yes, it is slightly more time consuming than pouring a bowl of cereal, but WAAAAY more satisfying. While your coffee is brewing, whip up this sandwich.

20130430-111855.jpgYou probably can tell from my Frittata post that I LOVE EGGS! The more ways to eat eggs, the better. This sandwich has lots of things I love in it. Eggs, apples, cheese, but more importantly, it has a flavor profile that I love: sweet and salty. Sweet, tart, crunchy apple with salty sharp melty cheese and a salty fried egg. MMMMmmm

The other GREAT thing about this sandwich is you only need 4 ingredients. That’s right, only FOUR.

1. Egg 2. Bread 3. Cheese 4. Apple

+ Salt/pepper/butter or cooking spray – these are freebies

I really outdid myself with the simplicity this time : )

So let’s get cracking on making this sandwich.

First prep your sandwich with cheese and 4 relatively thin slices of apple

20130430-111933.jpgYum. This is already a good sandwich. But it’s about to get better!

Next, fry up your egg. I chose to make a fried egg “over hard” for this sandwich, and then fold it to make it “sandwich friendly”. Over hard eggs hold together nicely, and you can keep the yolk a little soft, but not runny, if you like, by cooking it a little less (this is how I like it). If you make your egg “over easy” the egg will run when you put it in the sandwich and grill the cheese.

To fry up the egg, first spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray (or you can use butter) and heat up the pan on low-medium heat. **I usually crack my egg into a cup, and then gently pour it from the cup into a frying pan, this prevents the yolk from breaking and accidentally mixing up the white (scrambling). The egg should sizzle a little when you pour it in. If it isn’t, just turn up the heat on your burner. Cook the egg on medium heat until the white on top is solid. Then flip the egg over and cook it on the other side for about a minute or 2 until the yolk is soft but solid.  Then I fold the egg in half – fold one white side over to the other to cover the yolk (see below). This makes the egg a nice sandwich size

20130430-111959.jpg I squished my egg a little when I flipped it over in the pan and the yolk was not solid – and some yolk ran a little. But, hey, my food isn’t pretty like a picture, but it’s pretty damn delicious. When the yolk is cooked to how you like it, remove the egg from the pan and place the folded egg on top of the apples on your bread and top the egg with more cheese.

20130430-112007.jpgNow comes the familiar grilled cheese part. Place the sandwich back in the frying pan on medium heat. Gently press your sandwich down into the pan to help melt the cheese. You don’t need to squish the sandwich, just give it a nice, loving press. Cook on that side till the bread is a toasty color. Then carefully flip the sandwich and repeat loving press on the other side.

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The crunchy, sweetness of the apple gives a nice texture and flavor contrast to the melty, salty cheese and the tender fried egg.

Cut sandwich in half and dig in! This is your new, quick power breakfast! YUM!

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Recipe:

Breakfast Grilled Cheese 20130430-111922.jpg

Serving size: 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)
  • ¼ of Granny smith Apple (4 thin slices)
  • ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • generous pinch salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spread cheddar cheese on one side of the bread and add 4 thin slices of Granny Smith apple
  2. Prepare a frying pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and heat on low-medium heat
  3. Crack egg in a cup and pour egg into heated pan and fry egg on one side until whites are solid
  4. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the egg
  5. Flip egg over, cook for about 1-2 minutes, until yolk is solid, but soft. (Test by pressing with your finger)
  6. Folded in half and remove egg from pan and place on top of apples and cheese.
  7. Add more cheese to the top of egg and top with other slice of bread
  8. Place sandwich in frying pan used to fry egg, and grill sandwich on medium heat.  Press sandwich down with metal spatula to melt cheese – cook for about 1 minute – or until browned.  *if pan is dry, add more cooking spray or butter before grilling the sandwich
  9. Repeat on other side
  10. Slice up and enjoy, cheesy, eggy, apply goodness!

*To make this sandwich more decadent, pan fry the egg in a tablespoon of butter (instead of cooking spray) and add more butter to the pan before grilling the sandwich.

Recipe Source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Hearty Healthy Broccoli Soup

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I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in Boston, Spring is taking its sweet time to get here. One advantage of this extended “post winter” season is that it is still soup weather! Recently, broccoli went on sale for $0.99/lb. THIS NEVER HAPPENS at grocery stores by me. NEVER. I don’t think I can emphasize how rare this is. I took advantage of this amazing sale and bought a TON of fresh broccoli crowns, with no particular recipes in mind. Now I have a ton of broccoli and it is 35 degrees outside and cold pelting rain in April. Of course. I wanted soup. But not just vegetable soup, I wanted something hearty. I turned to my gajillion broccoli crowns and thought I would make a nice creamy broccoli soup. There was only one problem. I had no cheddar cheese and no cream. Boo.

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Suddenly, my craving for creamy broccoli soup became a little challenge. What ingredients in my cabinet would make a healthy, hearty and creamy soup? The answer: cannellini beans. These beans are soft and don’t have a very strong flavor, which is perfect for this soup. Another bonus of cannellini beans: they add fiber and protein to the soup, making it much more filling and less caloric than a typical creamy broccoli soup. The other secret ingredient in the soup is an apple. I know, I know, this sounds weird, but I swear, the sweetness of the apple balances out the slightly bitter broccoli and adds another delicious dimension to this quick and easy soup. MMmmm MMmmm.

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How do you make this soup in a DASH?

In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set the burner on low-medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion, garlic and diced apples to the pot.

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A little more about the apple addition: Make sure you peel the apple. The peel, although delicious and nutritious, does not blend well, (unless you have a super powerful blender, which I don’t). So if you leave the peal on, you’ll have pieces of peal in your soup. Not horrible, but not the best texture. As for choice of apple, a sweet, soft apple is probably your best choice, such as a macintosh or golden delicious, however, any apple will do. This is a great opportunity to use an apple that has seen better days, the softer and sweeter the apple, the better. I’m not suggesting you use a rotten apple, but just know it doesn’t have to be one of those picture perfect apples. Since you only need about half of the apple, you can cut off the bruised parts and still have plenty of apple for the soup.

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Sauté the onions, garlic and apple till the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the broccoli and the chicken stock. You can use vegetable stock here, too. Cover the pot and simmer until the broccoli is soft enough to blend. Don’t overcook the broccoli or your soup will be a really ugly color, devastating, I know.

ImageAfter broccoli is tender, remove from heat and blend until smooth. I used a hand immersion blender, because that is all I have, but you can use a regular blender. Next I add the beans and cook them for about 2 minutes, just to warm them up. They are already pretty soft and should blend easily. My blender is pretty wimpy, but if you have a more powerful blender, you can probably blend the broccoli and beans all in one step.

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Finally, after everything is blended, add the milk, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes and just warm the soup on low. Do not boil.

Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt or some shredded cheese and Enjoy!

ImageGo ahead, enjoy it with some cheese AND some tasty bread. Remember, this soup is filled with super healthy stuff! Beans, broccoli and apple!

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Recipe

Hearty Healthy Broccoli SoupImage

Makes 2 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ of sweet onion, diced ( you can also use a white or yellow onion – use half of the onion if it is small)
  • ½ of a medium-sized apple, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 cups of broccoli (about 1 crown)
  • 1 14oz can of chicken stock
  • ½ of a 15oz can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed
  • ½ cup milk (I used 1%)
  • ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your affinity for heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Saute onion, garlic and apple on low-med heat in a heavy saucepan/pot (see pic). Cook about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent

2. Add broccoli and sauté for about a minute with onion and garlic

3. Add chicken stock to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.

4. Remove pot from heat and puree soup. I used an immersion blender – but you can use a regular blender or food processor. *if you scaled up the recipe you may have to do this in batches.

5. After broccoli is pureed, add beans.

6. Puree beans into the soup – this will puree faster than the broccoli

7. Add milk, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and heat soup on low – just till warm, DO NOT boil.

8. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, or grated Parmesan (all optional). Enjoy with some tasty bread or crackers.

Additional ideas for this soup:

Once I added too much broccoli to this soup, so my broccoli to liquid ratio was too high. It was a very thick soup. Instead of adding more stock to thin it it out, I poured it over pasta and topped it with fresh parsley and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. This measurement mistake turned out to be a hit. It made a delicious creamy pasta sauce.

: )

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

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