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.


The Un-Meat Burger June 2, 2009

These “meaty” burgers are made with lentils, and are not only healthy and low-fat, but exceptionally delicious on their own or with all your favourite fixings. Surprised? Try them and see. They’re a breeze to make, especially if you use a can of lentils instead of cooking dried ones. Substitute rice or chickpea flour for the bread crumbs for a gluten-free version!



* 1 cup dry lentils, well rinsed

* 2½ cups water

* ½ tsp salt

* 1 TBSP olive oil

* ½ medium onion, diced

* 1 medium zuchinni, diced

* ½ tsp pepper

* ¾ cup rolled oats, finely ground

* ¾ cup bread crumbs

* 1 egg



1) Place the lentils, water, and salt in saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, until water is nearly gone and lentils are very soft, with splitting skins (or use 1 can of ready to eat lentils).

2) Sauté the onion and carrot in oil until soft, about 5 minutes.

3) Mix the lentils, onions, zychinni, pepper, and optional spices in the large bowl, then mix in the ground oats and bread crumbs, followed lastly by the egg.

4) While still warm, form the lentil mixture into patties, which can now be frozen, refrigerated (for up to 5 days), or cooked immediately.


Cooking (2 possibilities):

A. In a frying pan, heat a bit of oil, place a burger on top, and fry until brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat on other side and serve. *These taste great on their own, or the same way traditional meat burgers are served.


B. In a 400ºF oven, bake the burgers on a greased baking sheet until light brown, about 15 minutes (turning once midway through).



Bean-free buritto February 13, 2008

I love Mexican food, especially burittos, but sometimes I like to have a day sans beans. Here’s a deeeeelish recipe that I threw together last night to satisfy my craving for a little ole! It’s very similar to a heurvos rancheros, but you can skip the egg if you want, and could even add a little cheddar cheese to make it oooey-gooey.


Tortillas – 1 or 2 per person (I found a tasty jalepeno and corn variety recently – yum!)
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium zuchinni, chopped
1 eggplant, sliced in 1cm rounds
1/2 pint fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp italian herb mix
salt and peper to taste
1 egg per tortilla, scrambled (this is optional)

1) In a large sauce pan, saute onions, mushrooms, garlic, zuchinni in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 min until onions are transparent.
2) Add tomatoes and herbs and continue cooking for another few minutes (tomatoes will slightly wrinkle).
3) Meanwhile, grill eggplant on BBQ or indoor grill until cooked (about 5 minutes), but not mushy.
4) Chop the cooked eggplant and add into sauce pan, along with salsa, kethcup , hot sauce and salt/pepper.
5) Cook till combined and heated through completely.
6) Turn toaster oven to ‘TOAST’ setting.
7) Lay scrambled egg onto tortilla, and add a few tbsp of veggie mixture on top.
8] Roll into burritto, and cook in toaster oven for 5-10 min (until desired crispy-ness).
9) Serve hot, with guacamole or sour cream on the side.