Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes, gluten-free, vegetarian
I had three reasons for creating crock pot hot and sour soup this week…
1. Chinese New Year was on Monday and I forgot to order takeout.
2. I’ve been trying to do at least one meatless meal each week.
3. Hot and sour soup is amazing for clearing up a stuffy nose and a winter cold!
As with all my soups, I like more “stuff” than “broth” so my hot and sour soup is more crowded that what you get at a Chinese restaurant, but I think you’ll like this as a full meal and not just an appetizer. Plus, it can be made completely vegetarian and I think it’s gluten-free, so this is a great dish if you are cooking for people with food limitations.
If you didn’t get a chance to celebrate the Chinese New Year either, then whip up a quick batch of this hot and sour soup to start the year out like a fire-breathing dragon! (but you don’t need to make it that spicy if you don’t want!)
3 oz. shiitake mushrooms (I bought a 6 oz. jar of mushrooms in liquid and used half)
2 cups baby carrots, quartered
3 medium green onions, sliced
3 cups bok choy, chopped
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. sesame oil
2 t. sriracha sauce (Asian red pepper sauce, also sometimes called rooster sauce)
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into half-inch cubes
Put all ingredients EXCEPT TOFU into crock pot and stir into mixed. Cook on high for 3-4 hours (or until carrots are soft enough) then add cubed tofu and cook for one more hour.
I’ve always been a fan of our grill… really, for two reasons. 1. In the summertime, it’s a great way to eat healthy and not heat up the kitchen and 2. when we grill, my husband is usually the one cooking! Since it’s been such a mild winter, we’ve been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm evenings and grilling our food. But since local produce isn’t as plentiful in January, I’ve been getting creative.
So I’ve been grilling sweet potatoes. Sure, they get their glory at Thanksgiving when they are smothered and covered by marshmallows or syrup or sugar. Sometimes they even make a repeat performance at Christmas or Easter or Passover, but my new absolute favorite way to eat a sweet potato is by grilling it to perfection.
It’s so easy, let me tell you the few easy steps… Wash your sweet potatoes. Poke fork holes all over. Wrap sweet potato in aluminum foil. Grill on med-high heat for one hour, turning the sweet potato halfway through. That’s it! When the sweet vibrant goodness is done, it will be easy to squeeze the flesh with tongs. Please be cautious though, sometimes the sweet juices will run out of the foil (and I don’t want you to get burned).
So a couple nights ago, I grilled five sweet potatoes. I figured we would eat the leftovers so I made a couple extra. And these extra potatoes became the inspiration for tonight’s new recipe! With a few ingredients I already had on hand, I was able to literally “whip together” this amazing meal. This crock pot sweet potato soup is thick and hearty and even though soup might not be fresh and exciting for a winter meal, adding in the flavor from the grill really makes a difference.
2 medium sweet potatoes, already cooked in grill or oven, cooled and then skinned
3 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. caramelized onions
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. chili powder
1/4 t. celery seed
1/4 t. curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. heavy cream
Put all ingredients (except heavy cream) in crock pot, stir and then cook on low for 3-4 hours. Use a hand blender and puree mixture until smooth, then stir in heavy cream. Serve hot with a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg or curry on top.
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes, vegetarian
I’m totally enjoying soups this week and I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy some of these recipes too. I love it when I can make an entire meal in ONE pot and feed the whole family. This soup is a variation on my crock pot potato soup recipe (search for it in the recipe index) and adds in the unique sweetness of parsnips and carrots and sweet onions.
Even though it’s almost spring, we still need to survive on the rest of winter’s vegetables. If you can already grow things in your garden or windowsill, try adding fresh herbs like flat parsley, dill or chives to your soup when it is done cooking. I think you’ll find the promise of spring in the soothing warmth of this chowder. Enjoy!
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 c. water
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. celery seed
1 c. milk
1 T. corn starch
1 can cream-style corn
Put all vegetables and seasonings in crock pot, cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours. When vegetables are all soft, dissolve corn starch in milk and then add to crock pot. Add cream-style corn and mix ingredients together. Cook on low one more hour. Use an immersion blender and puree the soup until thick and creamy. Serve with fresh parsley, dill or chives on top.
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Side dishes, vegetarian
This recipe comes from my friend I.H.K. and she is an amazing cook. This soup is thick and chunky and a whole meal in one bowl. She recommends serving it with tortilla chips or corn bread. Using an immersion blender can really change a soup from drab to fab by altering the consistency to be smooth and creamy instead of watery.
Since this recipe takes 8 hours on low, it’s a great one to start before you leave for work in the morning and then come home to a beautiful dinner. Take a chance on this vegetarian chowder and enjoy!
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 inch)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can whole-kernel corn (15-16 oz.), drained
1 can creamed corn
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups broth (I use the vegetarian “chicken” flavor)
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk (depending on how virtuous you want to be)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon smoked sweet or hot paprika (optional)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Put first set of ingredients in crock pot and cook for about 8 hours on low or for 4 hours on high. Once the sweet potatoes are tender, stir everything together. Use an immersion blender to break up the ingredients as much as you want–I like my chowder chunky, but breaking up some of the sweet potatoes and corn makes the soup thicker and more luxurious. When only 1 hour of cooking time is left (if the slow cooker has been on high, turn down to low) ADD: half and half or milk, butter, paprika and cheddar cheese.
The morning is half over and my whole family is still wearing pajamas. Yay for snow days! But since it’s dreadful and cold outside, I need something hot and satisfying to fill our bellies. I decided that we should head south of the border tonight and enjoy some Mexican fare, so today I am sharing my recipe for chicken tortilla soup. This recipe is simple and easy (and note– it freezes well, too!) and you can definitely vary the spiciness of the dish, depending how much heat your mouth can withstand.
I am sharing my basic recipe for this soup, but feel free to add any of the following to the pot for additional spice. I would recommend only picking one or two of these things as each one packs a punch:
1/2 t. cayenne pepper OR
1 chopped jalapeno pepper OR
1 t. Tabasco sauce
You can also decorate your chicken tortilla soup in a variety of ways. Try sprinkling some fresh, chopped cilantro on top, or a few slices of avocado. If the spice is more than you anticipated, cut it with Read more
Filed under: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes, vegetarian
Ok fans, let me put it this way…. my dad dubbed this “ass-kickin’ applesauce” and he’s a respectable man. It’s spicy and tangy and might tingle your tongue a little (especially if you use the full 1/2 t. of cayenne pepper); but this dish is also flavorful in ways that normal applesauce or apple butter just does not compare.
Here are my top three FAVORITE ways to enjoy this spicy applesauce:
Thanksgiving– leftover turkey sandwich on wheat bread– use this applesauce instead of mayonnaise to rock your taste buds to a happy holiday tune.
Chanukah– one potato latke+ one tablespoon cold sour cream + one scoop spicy applesauce= a celebration in your mouth.
Dessert– serve this spicy applesauce warm on top of a scoop of french vanilla ice cream for a hot and sweet treat.
I definitely recommend Read more
Filed under: Appetizer, Breakfast, Recipes, Side dishes, vegetarian
1. we’ve been getting great fall apples and need to use some up, especially the ones with bruises
2. it’s almost the holiday season and I’m trying to find lower calories, but equally delicious dishes to serve up as dessert
This recipe is best served warm with a scoop of either vanilla ice cream or just a dollop of whipped cream. It tastes like the inside of a warm apple pie, but barely has more calories that a cup of applesauce. It’s soothing and comforting to the whole body and there is no reason to save this dish for dessert— try it for breakfast with your oatmeal, as a side to lunch or dinner or as a snack at any point of the day!
Unlike applesauce, this dish should be made with large chunks of apples. As they cook down, the apples might fall apart a little bit, but that will help the juices flow. Do not overcook this recipe or you will wind up with apple butter.
8 medium apples, peeled and cored and cut into large chunks
2 T. salted butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T. vanilla extract
1/4 c. cold water
1 t. corn starch
Put apples in the crock pot first, then sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper and drizzle with vanilla. Put butter on top of mixture, it will melt as it heats. Cook on low for 4 hours or until apples are softened, but still firm. Dissolve corn starch in water and then pour over apple mixture and stir. Turn crock pot off and let sauce thicken until it gets syrupy and easily coats the apple chunks. Serve warm.
(Makes 8 servings)
Filed under: Appetizer, Dinner, Side dishes, vegetarian
I am fortunate to have a husband that loves my cooking and loves to eat. He tries everything I make and is very agreeable about most of it. But today, I had the privilege of watching my husband cook his first crock pot meal. And it turned out great!
Today’s soup includes a lot of produce, but unlike my normal vegetarian vegetable soup which has small bits of lots of vegetables, my hubby’s recipe includes chunkier cuts of vegetables and not as much variety. The real kicker of this soup is the topping– add a few jalapeno peppers and you’ve got a treat to eat without any meat!
I definitely encourage you to Read more
Filed under: Appetizer, Breakfast, Dinner, Recipes, Side dishes
This is one of my favorite foods from my experience with Jewish holidays. This casserole is sweet and dense with a wonderful warmth of cinnamon and vanilla. The noodles are soft and bound with the creamy egg filling. But my favorite taste is the plump raisins that swell with flavor and are a great contrast to the texture of the noodles.
I’ve made this dish many times in the oven, so it seemed like an easy transition to do it in the crock pot. Plus, it was so much easier to serve this dish hot as a buffet item when guests could just scoop it up still steaming. Plus– no one had to be embarrassed to have seconds when they could just go back to the crock pot for more!
1 lb. yolk-free broad egg noodles, cooked
5 eggs, beaten Read more
Tonight is open house at my son’s school and the timing makes dinner as a family tough. So, it is going to be date night instead— but eating out is expensive, so I’ll feed the kids early and then us parents can eat when we get home (and the kids are sleeping!). But since I’m not sure what time we’ll get home from the school, I’m going to start the crock pot late this afternoon so that dinner is ready when we get back.
One of my favorite appetizers is those amazing sauced up thai chicken wraps that you can get at fancy Asian-inspired restaurants. The unfortunate part is that the lettuce is totally an illusion making you think this is a healthy choice. The typical sauce is usually full of really salty, sugary, high calorie ingredients that I totally don’t want to indulge in tonight. So I’ve come up with a healthier way to enjoy this treat, using the crock pot to get the most out of all the flavors and then whipping up a quick sauce in a pan to coat the whole mixture.
Most restaurants serve this dish with iceberg lettuce because it is crisp, but you can also use leaves of romaine lettuce or even tortillas. I hope you get to enjoy this at your next date night at home, too!
2 stalks celery, chopped Read more