Quick and Easy Soup to Warm the Heart

First big snowstorm of the season! Snowfall started early this morning and is forecasted to continue all day and through the night.  As much as I hate shoveling and dealing with the snow (such as getting to work on a snowy day), there’s just something so amazing about the peacefulness of the snowfall; the lack of vehicles on the road, everything wrapped in the pristine snow, snowflakes flying everywhere and landing on your coat for a millisecond before it melts away…  Moments like these make me never want to leave the northeast.

Of course, a snow day means staying in the house all day.  So, what do I do to keep busy in between my shoveling duties?  I’m sure the answer is pretty clear (just in case you can’t guess, it’s to cook!).

I’ve been in a soup mood ever since the temperature has constantly been below 30 degrees.  I really wanted to make a roasted tomato basil soup over the weekend, but didn’t get a chance to get to the grocery store.  With no fresh or canned tomatoes on hand, I had to improvise a bit.

Quick Tomato Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. marinara sauce (I used Rao’s)
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can of peas, pearl onions, and mushrooms
  • 4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 oz. ground turkey
  • 2 oz. israeli couscous
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 4 basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  1. In a large pot, over medium high heat, add one teaspoon of olive oil, shallots, and garlic.  Cook for about a minute, until golden brown.
  2. Add ground turkey and saute for a few minutes, until cooked through.  Add vegetables.
  3. Pour in marinara sauce and chicken broth.  Mix with other ingredients and turn the heat to low.
  4. Toss in israeli couscous, red pepper flakes, basil leaves, and season with sea salt and black pepper.  Mix well.
  5. Let simmer for 20 minutes (or until the israeli couscous is cooked).

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A Few of my Favorite Things

Another post to declare my love for all things to do with ground beef, turkey, etc.  Huge meatballs filled with bacon, onion, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms.

Bacon Meatballs

Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground turkey, 93/7
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 strips of uncured bacon, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large skillet over medium to high heat, add chopped bacon pieces.  Cook for 4-5 minutes.  Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, and sundried tomaotoes.  Saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add ground turkey and cooled ingredients from skillet.  Mix well.  Note that the mixture will be a little wet, since there are no breadcrumbs in this recipe to soak up the juices (traditional recipe calls for bread crumbs).  Once cooked, this will be okay, but the meatball rolling process will be a little messy!
  4. Using your hands, roll mixture into meatballs (whichever size you’d like).  For the purpose of this recipe, I made large meatballs, a little bit smaller than the palm of my hand.  Place meatballs onto a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes.  When there are about 2-3 minutes left, top each meatball with tomato sauce and a little bit of grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy – this is fantastic on its own or atop some spaghetti squash.

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Not yo Mama’s Meatloaf or Mashed Potatoes!

Tonight is the second night in a row where we’ve had mashed cauliflower.  Here’s how amazing it was:

  • You know how you lick the cake batter from the spatula and bowl after baking?  I did this with the spoon and food processor.
  • The plate that I served the mashed cauliflower looked clean and never used after dinner.  We literally licked the plate clean.

It’s such a simple recipe; you just need to try it for yourself.  Trust me.  I’m about to say something that I never thought I’d say in my entire life…. I think I might actually be able to give up mashed potatoes for the rest of my life, as long as I can have my mashed cauliflower.

I always thought cauliflower was a nasty version of broccoli, but ever since I’ve been experimenting with Paleo recipes, I have a new found love for this wonderful superfood.  Isn’t it great that it can serve as a substitute for rice and mashed potatoes?  Wonder what else it can replace…

Tonight, I decided to make a juicy ground turkey meatloaf (not Paleo) to serve with the mashed cauliflower.  I used Bobby Flay’s recipe as a baseline and made a few tweaks here and there, mainly because I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

Veggie Loaded Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed with sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 & 1/2 lbs of ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce (Note: this is a nice substitute for ketchup.  I don’t keep ketchup in the house anymore once I realized how much sugar is in it!)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. In a large skillet over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil and add bell peppers, garlic, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg and fresh thyme.  Add the ground turkey, Panko, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the cooled vegetables.  Mix well.
  4. Place the mixture into a loaf pan.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (adjust to your liking based on spiciness!).  Pour the mixture over the entire loaf.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.DSC02135

Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter
  1. Steam cauliflower, sliced garlic cloves, and sea salt, about 15 minutes. DSC02129
  2. Place into a food processor.  Add fresh ground black pepper and grass-fed butter.
  3. Puree until a nice and creamy texture is achieved.

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