Can Bliss Be Nutritional? ~ Recipe Saturday ~ 1/12/13

Spinach

Spinach (Photo credit: stormgrass)

Seriously, the irony is not lost on me that I am providing you with recipes. For a number of reasons I am about the last person to provide information on cooking. Here is why:

1. I generally do not like to spend more than thirty minutes in the kitchen as it does not take the people I cook for thirty minutes to eat what I have prepared. It takes them five minutes. I like a balance between the time I put into a project and what I get out of a project. (Yes, I call cooking a project). I will put in more time when I have company as the time it takes them to eat the food is more than five minutes.

2. I am a gourmet reader of cookbooks. I am not a gourmet cook. I am barely a cook. I hardly ever follow a recipe. The fact that I have fed my family for about thirty years and they have not died from malnutrition gives me a gold star in my book.

3. I generally do not use a recipe that calls for more than five ingredients or has more than three steps.

4. I hate to clean up after I cook.

So, what makes today’s recipe special (blissful even, since that is the topic of the year)? It has more than five ingredients. It has more than three steps. It is not quite gourmet but pretty darn close for me. But it is soup so it makes more than one meal. It is healthy and my husband likes it. Usually those two phrases do not go together.

I must warn you that when I provide recipes—they are sometimes written down quickly, the steps truncated, and they are not triple tested by me. They are maps, not definite trips. But I try to be as clear as I can be. Without further ado, here is a recipe I enjoyed at my sister’s, wrote down, and made. It is good and warming on a winter day:

White Bean and Spinach Soup

Ingredients:

2 tsp. of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Pinch hot pepper flakes

1 –  19 oz. can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

5 cups of chicken stock or 1  – 10 oz. tin chicken broth plus water to make up 5 cups

½ cup small pasta (macaroni, stars or wheels)

3/4 lb. fresh chopped spinach or 10 oz. frozen

1 tomato diced

Salt and pepper to taste (always feel so creative when something is to “taste”)

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I used dried—certainly not 2 tbsp though)

Directions:

1. Cook onion, garlic, and hot pepper flakes on low until tender (of course I cooked them on high—I cook everything on high—though I am learning to turn the heat down).

2. Add beans and stock—bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper “to taste”.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.

3. Puree soup and return to heat. (I did not puree, but mashed it a bit). Add pasta and cook 5-10 minutes or until tender. Soup will thicken.

4. Add fresh spinach and cook until just wilted – 2 – 3 minutes. (Frozen—I suppose you thaw it out— I used fresh).

5. Add tomato.

I don’t know where the parsley came in— guess I did not write it down. Since I used dry—I am sure I just threw it in with the spinach. Most of you are more highly developed cooks then I, so you make the decision.

Makes six servings.

EAT!

January 2010 Snow Scene

January Snow Scene (Photo credit: ς↑r ĴΛϒκ❂)

I love this soup, though I am pretty sure I only added about half of the fresh spinach. My husband loved it—so that was a super bonus. It is good for you too. Nutrition can be bliss.

Do you have a healthy recipe that tastes really, really good?

Published in: on January 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm  Comments (42)  
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Unusual Bliss

As good as Soup Nazi's Soup

As good as Soup Nazi’s Soup (Photo credit: naokomc)

Feature blogger of the day: the usual bliss.

Why? First and foremost because of the name of her blog, but today she featured a most delicious soup recipe and she also has not taken her tree down, which will make anyone who has not taken their tree down yet happy. Blissful even. Her excuse is that she is sick, but personally I do not think she needs one. Many years I do not have my tree down by this date. I consider this year a fluke.

Unusual blisses:

1. A chili dog on a hamburger bun. The hotdog buns were gone, but I still had hamburger buns and the makings of two chili dogs. It tastes just as good on a hamburger bun as a hot dog bun. My recipe for a chili dog: hot dog, fried; top it with chili, mustard, and onions. Bliss.

2. When something broken gets fixed. My furnace was broken and it is fixed now. No more expensive electrical heaters (which did the trick but did not add much to my Christmas decor). Bliss.

3. A new handle on my back screen door. Now it does not open at random. Bliss.

4. A flu shot given by my favourite nurse who knows how to give shots that do not hurt. She did not even have to ask me what flavour I wanted (a trick my doctor used when I was little). Bliss.

5. Finding a blog called the usual bliss. How fortuitous is that. Kismet. And again, bliss.

What are some of your unusual blisses?

~ Easiest Stew Ever ~ No Kidding! ~

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think by now you have learned not to look to me for fancy cuisine, gourmet delights, or even recipes with much more than five ingredients. But since it is November, the harbinger of cold weather, I thought I would share my recipe for the “Easiest Stew Ever” with you.

When I shared my Chili recipe in a post, I asked if you wanted my easy stew recipe. Several of you answered in the affirmative (big word for yes, I know-keep it simple stupid). A number of you nodded your heads vigorously (I could hear the rattle). So without further ado, I will give you the original recipe that my sister-in-law, Brenda, provided for me about two decades ago. Then I will tell you how I have adapted the recipe. Are you ready?

Here goes:

OVEN STEW

1 ½ lb. stewing beef

1 10 oz. can mushroom soup

1 envelope onion soup mix

¼ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. pepper

1/3 cup sherry (or water)

Put all in casserole, cover tightly and cook 2 – 3 hours at 325 degrees. Brenda’s comment on the recipe: “All in one pot, extremely easy, very good…my kind of cooking.”

Now, I used to be a little bit of a snob about cooking with soup and soup mixes (I don’t know why—must have been from reading Gourmet magazine, not from cooking from it).

I have never made this recipe the way it was written, and a lot of times, I just throw the ingredients in the crock pot—so here is what I do ~

Put the soup and soup mix in the crock pot. Whisk it until it is smooth. (Sometimes I double the recipe). Then throw in the stewing beef—you don’t have to brown it. Add pepper and sometimes paprika if you have it.  I leave out the thyme because for some reason I do not like it. Add the water (as I never, ever have sherry and my husband does not like wine in his food.) I add more than a 1/3 cup of water (usually half a soup can unless I double it). And there you have it—

I usually cook it anywhere from 6-8 hours on low or four hours on high in the crock pot. Most of the time, I add carrots and onions and potatoes and then I have a complete meal.

Sometimes I will do it in the oven—but both ways are delicious. It makes surprisingly good gravy. If you make it without the potatoes and carrots, it is good on rice or noodles.

I have a whole binder full of recipes (not women) from my family. My sister instigated this recipe exchange about twenty two years ago, and for several Christmases members of my family would add three recipes. If there is a demand, I can make Saturday recipe day. Just to get your mouth watering– the next one I will share is my brother John’s Fried Bologna Sandwich. It is a gourmet delight (seriously).

What do you think? Should I make Saturday recipe day? And do you have any easy recipes to share or hints for fast meals?

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