The Weekly Soup: All alone-ey Minestrone December 16, 2009

I found myself with a night of me me me, so what do I do?  Cook.  It was cold, wet, damp and miserable enough out that I was desperate for comfort food that would not infringe on my upcoming Christmas binging.  The result was another soup – one that was sooooo good it only lasted a day (no freezing possibilities were even a glimmer in anyone’s eye).  The best thing about this soup is its versatility.  Add or remove whatever you want or have or feel like – maybe double the batch so at least there’s a chance it may last for more than a day.



1 TBSP olive or canola oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 tsp coarse salt

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 pepper, chopped (red, yellow, orange will do)

1/2 can of sweet corn

1 celery stalk, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced)

4 cups good quality broth

1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz )

1 can mixed beans (19 oz)

2 TBSP tomato paste

2 tsps each of dried basil and dried parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

fresh pepper to taste

3-4 cups water

1 cup dried macaroni or shells



1. Heat oil in a large stove-top pot at med-high, add chopped onion and sauté until translucent.

2. Add all remaining vegetables to the pot and sauté until well cooked and softened (about 10 min).

3. Gradually add stock, tomatoes, mixed beans, tomato paste, spices, and water (add as much as you like until you get your desired consistency – I used 3 cups).

4. Cover with lid and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes – stirring occasionally.

5. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil for macaroni or shells then add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente (just under the recommended time)

6. Add al dente pasta to soup and simmer for another 5 minutes.

7. Remove soup from heat, and serve sprinkled with fresh Parmesan and crusty bread.


Summer-Slaw July 16, 2008

Hmmm, saving money, making tasty food AND eating healthy … what a trio … and this slaw fits the bill. Cabbage is a cheap veggie that is often overlooked these days. I say “bring back the ‘bage!” Plus, this recipe is just a loose guide. You can add just about any fresh/crispy veggie to a slaw, and if you want it really creamy instead of ‘zingy’ just add some mayo and sour-cream instead of oil and vinegar. Keeps nicely for about 2 days, but that’s about it. A mandolin REALLY helps here – it’ll cut down your chopping time significantly.


1/2 medium head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 small head of red cabbage, shredded

1/2 small red onion, chapped finely

2-3 celery stalks, chopped finely

1/2 orange pepper, chopped finely

6-8 string green beans, copped finely (I cut them diagonally)

1/4 cup each of diced cashews and sesame seeds, toasted (you can use almonds too – or omit nuts completely)

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup salad oil

salt and pepper to taste


1) Prepare all veggies, add to a large bowl with nuts and toss.

2) Whisk all liquid ingredients with salt and pepper, pour over salad, and toss to combine.

3) Chill for at least an hour before serving. To serve, simply toss and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.


– you can turn up the heat a little bit by adding some cayenne pepper or a few drops of hot sauce to the seasoning

– great additions include shredded carrots, raisins, black sesame seeds, slices of mandarin oranges, or even dried crsipy noodles.


Bean Salad Extravaganza! January 23, 2008

There are so many bean salad recipes out there that I’ve tried more than my intestines care to recall. The beauty of any bean salad is that you can just keep adding ingredients until you have run out of ideas. Endless combinations, really (see bottom list for suggestions). There are 4 basic ingredients in any bean salad: beans, oils/vinegars, veggies, and spices. It’s totally up to you when it comes to canned or dried beans. I prefer the dried/soaked versions, as I am picky about my sodium intake.

2 cups mixed beans
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of vinegar
1-2 slices red onion
1/4 cup orange pepper, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each oregano, basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

1) Place beans in a large bowl (drain can of beans if using).
2) Chop vegetables, mince garlic and mix with beans.
3) Mix oil and vinegar with herbs and spices.
4) Add dressing to bowl, stir and marinate in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
5) Drain some of the dressing and transfer salad to a serving bowl.
6) Eat!

Red or white kidney
Black eyed peas
Green or waxed

Extra virgin, or virgin olive

Rice wine
Flavoured (blueberry, raspberry, mango)

Lime or lemon juice
Wherchestire sauce
Mustards (hot, honey)
Hot sauces
Sugars (brown, natural)

Garlic powder/salt

Olives (green, black)
Onions (sweet, green)
Peppers (red, orange, yellow, green, hot)
Cucumber (omit seeds)
Artichoke hearts


Veggie Chili January 17, 2008

Satisfying and a sure-fire comfort food, this chili can be made with hot or mild chili powder, depending on your taste buds (and mood). Goes really well with home-made corn bread and some ripe old cheddar cheese for those of you who still enjoy some dairy now and then.


1-2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium orange or red bell pepper, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped (or carrot, but hey, I can’t eat them so they’re not included with me!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot or mild chili powder (your call)
1 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (you can use fresh diced too, but add in a little tomato paste if you do)
2 16 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or mixed bean medley works too)
1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 freshly diced green chile
1 1/2 cups water (you can substitute in 1/2 cup of broth here too)
1/2 cup cooked corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

1) Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
2) Add onion, bell pepper, zuchinni and garlic.
3) Cover and cook to soften the vegetables, 5 to 7 minutes.
4) Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, beans, honey, and water.
5) Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.
6) Cook until vegetables are tender and chili is thick, about 30-45 minutes.
7) To serve, spoon or ladle into bowls, and garnish with cheese, sour cream, or corn bread if desired.

A nice addition is a bit of salsa added in too, for extra punch. I like to serve this over rice sometimes as well. If you can eat TVP, add some in after veggies are cooked for a very ‘meaty’ alternative.