Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Minestrone

I love soup but I don't always have the time to make it. This slow cooker recipe is perfect for a busy day!


·                     1/2 onion, chopped
·                     1 cup carrots, chopped
·                     1 celery stalk, chopped
·                     2 garlic cloves, minced
·                     1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
·                     1 (15 oz) can garbanzo or kidney beans, drained, rinsed 
·                     3 cups fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
·                     1 oz chunk of good Parmesan cheese rind
·                     2 bay leaves
·                     2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
·                     1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
·                     salt and fresh pepper
·                     1 medium zucchini, chopped
·                     2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (defrosted) spinach
·                     2 cups of small pasta

In a crock pot, combine broth, tomatoes,  beans, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, Parmesan cheese rind, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add zucchini, pasta, and spinach.  Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

It was such a welcoming aroma to come home and smell this soup bubbling away!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Homemade Salsa

We live in California and eat a ton of Mexican food. I love salsa but had a hard time finding a store bought brand that tasted fresh like the salsa at our favorite restaurant. After lots of research and practice I finally got the recipe right!

3 roma tomatoes
4 green onions
1 jalapeno pepper
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Today I'm making salsa to take to a pool party so I am tripling my recipe. I start out by wiping all the vegetables with a damp cloth and placing them on a pre-heated grill on a medium-high heat. I only use 2 cloves of garlic for the recipe but I always throw an extra one on the grill just in case one slips through the grates.

After about 7 mins, flip the vegetables over and continue to roast for about 7 more mins.
After grilling the veggies for a total of about 15-20 mins, I set them aside for about 15 mins until they are cool enough to handle.
Cut the tips off of four green onions and two cloves of garlic. Place them into a food processor equipped with a chopping blade or a blender.

Depending on your tolerance to heat, you can remove some spice by deveining and seeding the roasted jalapeno. To do this, cut the top off the jalapeno and make a horizontal cut. Open up the jalapeno and  use a knife to scrap the veins and seeds out of the pepper. Place the pepper into the food processor and mince with the onion and garlic.

Next add the tomaotes, cilantro, lemon juice and about a 1/4 tsp of salt (more can be added to taste) and puree in the food processor.
This tasty salsa will keep in the fridge for about 2 week in a sealed container.

As a side note, this salsa pairs perfectly with a warm summer evening and a margarita!!