Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

sweet potato peanut soup

So an update from my Friday Favorites from last week… The NASCAR race was a ton of fun! It ended up being an exciting race, and it is always nice to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while.

The hubbs and I have been on a soup kick lately. It’s in full drive now that the weather is really starting to cool down, but truthfully the soup kick started long before that. In fact, I think the vast majority of recipes I have ready to post are either soup or some form of dessert. 

sweet potato peanut soup close
What really caught my eye about this soup was the inclusion of peanuts. I have seen peanuts and peanut butter in stir-fry type dishes, but never in a soup. I was intrigued to say the least. So how was the result? Delicious. Other than those for the garnish, the peanuts are pureed, and together with the sweet potato, they add some thickness and creaminess to the soup. In addition, with veggie prep, the soup can be ready in just over 30 minutes. Pair it with some crusty bread for a warming, quick, awesome meal. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup
From Healthy Seasonal Recipes

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups diced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 cups vegetable/low-sodium chicken broth
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
1 tsp. salt
1 can (13 oz) light coconut milk
3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
3 Tbsp. lime juice
chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, Sriracha for garnish

Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion starts to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add celery, broth, sweet potato, and salt. Cover, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and very soft, about 15 minutes.

If using a stand blender, let the soup cool slightly. Blend about half the soup in two batches and return to the pot. If using an immersion blender, partially blend the soup in the pot, leaving some pieces of vegetables. Puree the coconut milk and peanuts until smooth in a blender or in a bowl with the immersion blender. Add the coconut mixture and lime juice to the soup. Cook for a few minutes on low-medium heat to warm through. Do not boil. Serve garnished with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and Sriracha. 

Summer Grilled Vegetable Pizza

grilled vegetable pizza with tomatoes

Around here while the hubby was cooking, it largely equaled more pizza. It was not necessary a bad thing. As I hopefully have proved with our list of recipes, homemade pizza can be pretty good. Recently, we’ve been repeating some of the old favorites, but this is a new one the hubbs ran across to throw into the mix.

grilled vegetable pizza grilling vegetables
grilled vegetable pizza with tomatos before baking

The original recipe is from Cooking Light. We’ve made it a couple times already, with a few variations on the original. As written, the recipe calls for marinara sauce for the crust. The first time we used actual spaghetti sauce, but we found it to be too liquidy as the crust in the center of the pizza never cooked through. Our favorite thus far, pre-made brushetta topping from Trader Joe’s. It is chunky enough to avoid the problems we encountered with the marinara, and man that stuff is good! 

As far as the cheese goes, we’ve made it both with fresh mozzarella and bagged pre-shredded mozzarella. My favorite is probably the fresh, but either works well 🙂 Enjoy

grilled vegetable pizza slice

(Printable Recipe)

Grilled Vegetable Pizza
Adapted from Cooking Light June 2012 

1 lb. pizza dough (homemade or from store)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 (4oz) zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 (4oz) yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices 
1 small onion, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1-1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup marinara sauce (or try a pre-made Brushetta)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut and/or torn into small pieces

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Also, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the stone pizza pan in the oven while it is preheating if you are using one.

Thread the onion pieces onto a skewer so that the skewer pierces each ring. Brush both sides of all the vegetables with olive oil. Grill vegetables for 3 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender and grill marks appear. Remove from the grill and coarsely chop into medium-sized pieces.

Roll out the pizza dough onto a pizza peel or a piece of lightly floured parchment paper. Spread sauce over the crust. Top with vegetables and pieces of mozzarella cheese. Remove the pizza pan from the oven and transfer the pizza (either via peel or on top of the parchment paper) onto the stone. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the crust begins to brown on the edges. Cut into slices and enjoy.

Cajun Bulgur Salad

cajun bulger salad

The thing about longer, warmer summer day is that they make me crave lighter, fresher foods. When I am hot, the last thing I want is a heavy, greasy meal that is going to weight me down. In line with this, one of our favorite types of meals in the summer is what I call a “grain salad.” The formula is pretty simple: cooked whole grain + chopped veggies +/- beans/chicken + /- herbs + vinaigrette dressing. The combinations are endless, and they also make for great “clean out the refrigerator meals.”

This grain salad is one that I ran across last summer on A Couple Cooks. We’ve made it several times in the past year, enough that I feel justified in sharing it. You may notice in the pictures that our beans were much lighter than a traditional kidney bean. Like I mentioned before, one of the great thing about this type of meal is the adaptability! This recipe is a little different from some of the others in that it does call for a special spice – Cajun spice blend. Buy it. Even if you don’t have another recipe using it. I promise it will go to good use. Enjoy!

cajun bulger salad layered

(Printable Recipe)

Cajun Bulgur Salad
From A Couple Cooks

1-1/2 cups uncooked bulgur wheat 
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 
3 ears of corn (or 1/2 cup thawed frozen corn)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half if larger
1/2 cup red onion, chopped (about 1/2 medium-sized onion)
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
~1 Tbsp. Cajun spice blend (depends on brand of spice and heat level desired)
fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt (if needed, may be salt in the spice blend)

Heat 1-1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan to a boil. Add bulgur to the saucepan, cover, and remove from heat. Let the pan sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes. The bulgur will absorb the water as it sits. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the bulgur with a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, olive oil, oregano, 1/2 Tbsp. Cajun spice blend, salt and pepper. Set aside. Prepare vegetables and rinse and drain the beans if using canned beans. When the grain has finished cooking, add the bulgur and vegetables to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and mix well. Add remaining Cajun seasoning, salt, and/or pepper to taste. Enjoy!

SRC: Watermelon Cucumber Salad

watermelon cucumber salad

One of the things I love about having a garden is how exciting it is when your plants do well. Our cucumber plants are kicking out cukes like it is their job (guess it kind of is?). This is great because not only do I know EXACTLY where my food came from, but homegrown food always tastes so much better than produce from the store. These cucumbers actually have flavor!

I tell you that to tell you this – the recipe I chose from my Secret Recipe Club blogger this month, Cooking Rookie from Cook Book Trial and Error, could not have come at a better time! Her watermelon cucumber salad is a unique combination of flavors, one that I am certain I never would have come up with on my own. In addition, the recipe is very customizable. Want more watermelon and less cucumber? Go for it. Want to add some mint. Try it. One thing to note is that this salad can get a little watery if you let it set for awhile. We just drained off the liquid after storing it for awhile. Nonetheless, you may want to wait to mix it up until just before serving.

watermelon cucumber salad before mixing
watermelon cucumber salad close

Any way you do it, I would recommend this as a great, refreshing way to enjoy that summertime produce! 

(Printable Recipe) 

Watermelon Cucumber Salad
From Cook Book Trial and Error

2 cups cubed watermelon (1/2-inch cubes)
1 large cucumber, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on salt level of your feta)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp. olive oil

Combine the above ingredients just before serving. Enjoy!

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

grilled Mediterranean vegetable wraps cut

I have a confession to make. The hubs and I have developed quite the hummus addiction. All kinds really, but our hummus of choice is currently the white bean and basil hummus from Trader Joe’s. Seriously. Between the 2 of us, the container will not last 2 days in this house. I want to try to make a copy-cat version at home as we are going there several times a week to get it. Will share if we are successful with the recipe!

These wraps fulfill 2 requirements for us right now – 1) they contain hummus, 2) they are super quick. This is really more of a method than a recipe as you could use any veggies or any hummus that you desire. The recipe is written for onions, red bell peppers, and eggplant, but you could certainly swap in any veggies you would like to grill (like zucchini rather than eggplant). One tip I have for grilling onions – slice them thick (1/2-inch) and thread them onto a skewer. When the onion cooks, it shrinks, and this prevents the rings from falling all over the grill. Enjoy!

grilled Mediterranean vegetable wraps

(Printable Recipe)

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2012

4 (1/2-inch) slices red onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch slices (other veggies if desired)
Non-stick spray
1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (8oz) container of your favorite hummus
4 flatbreads or large whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Heat a large grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium heat. Thread the onion slices the long way (through all the rings) onto 2-3 skewers to make it easier to grill. Spray vegetable pieces with nonstick spray. Add to preheated grill, turning at 2-3 minutes until softened and slightly charred. Allow the vegetables to cool slightly and roughly chop. Combine vegetables, olive oil, parsley, and salt. Toss to combine.

Spread hummus over each wrap leaving a 1/2-inch boarder around the edges. Divide vegetables and Feta cheese amongst the wraps. Tuck in the ends and roll up the wraps. Enjoy whole or cut in half.

SRC: Summer Vegetable Torta

summer vegetable torta

Just in case you don’t remember, there might be a special holiday coming up this Sunday. One that you might not want to forget. Sunday is Mother’s Day. I am not a mother myself (unless you count 4-leggged children), so I’d like to say a big thanks to both of our mothers!

My blog assignment this month for the Secret Recipe Club was Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food. Carolyn’s site is a great reference for some delicious but healthy eats and many of her recipes are low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, or both. I have visited Carolyn’s site prior to this assignment, and it actually did not take me too long to pick out a recipe because I have had this egg bake saved to make for almost a year. Guess this group was the push I needed to (finally) make it! Does anyone else have the experience where they wait forever to make a recipe and then after they finally do, wonder why they waited so long! That was exactly what happened here. We loved this meal!

summer vegetable torta cooking veggies
summer vegetable torta after cooking

While it is not labor intensive, this torta does take awhile to make as it needs to bake for approximately 90 minutes. I adapted it a little bit to our tastes, and by swapping in some lower-fat dairy products. It turned out well, so they seem to have worked okay. My advice would be to pop this torta in the oven when you’ve got something else to do around the house. Your house will smell amazing and it will be done before you know it! Better yet, get up a little early on Sunday and surprise Mom with this for breakfast/brunch. It would certainly be a great way to say, “I love you!” 

(Printable Recipe)

Summer Vegetable Torta
Adapted from All Day I Dream About Food

Non-stick spray
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 medium zucchini, sliced about 1/4-inch thick (could swap some summer squash in too)
1 (12oz) jar roasted red peppers (or 2 fresh peppers), cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 pkg (8oz) 1/3-less fat cream cheese, cubed
6 large eggs
1/4 cup skim milk
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
8oz. Swiss cheese, shredded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray and saute zucchini and onions (and fresh peppers if using) until softened, about 10 minutes (my peppers are in this picture – that was an oops).

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and milk together with a whisk. Add the basil, garlic salt, pepper, and cubed cream cheese. Mix. The cream cheese will not completely incorporate. It will soften after you add the hot vegetables. Use a slotted spoon to drain off any extra fluid from the vegetable mixture and add to the eggs. Add roasted red peppers if necessary. Mix. Add shredded cheese. Mix well. 

Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for about 80-90 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the mixture no longer jiggles when you gently shake the pan. It make take more or less time in your oven (mine was in for 90 minutes and may have been just a little too long). Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the egg bake, and gently remove the outer rim of the pan. Slice and serve.

Tijuana Torta

tijuana torta
May 1st. May Day. My husband and I were asking around here, and no one in Arizona knows what a May Day Basket is. They are basically a container (usually cups) filled with popcorn and other goodies that you leave for friends on their doorstep. The aspect of running away so that you do not get kissed was a real threat as a child!  Please tell me we weren’t the only ones to grow up with this tradition?
With it being May 1st, the other thing that must mean is Mexican food. I know you’ve heard the commercials already. They’re definitely on the TV and radio around here… tacos, margarita specials. Yes, Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching! As if I actually needed a reason to crave Mexican food 🙂
If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds at your local Mexican joint, it is certainly possible to conquer a Cinco de Mayo themed meal at home. Start the meal with this guacamole. In the next couple days, I’ll provide a couple meal options and finish up with an easy but impressive dessert. Throw in some chips, salsa, and a little tequila, and you’ll have quite the fiesta.
tijuana tortas before baking
The term torta has many meanings, but in Mexico torta is often a sandwich. This is my quick “Mexican” meal and just goes to show that it is possible to have a delicious meal when  you are short on time. It also goes to show that you can make a Mexican-themed meal vegetarian without relying totally on cheese. The original recipe for these is from Eating Well. When we made these, I  made them exactly as written, however in the future, I would swap lettuce for the cabbage. I typically like small doses of cabbage in my  tacos for the crunch, but on the top of these sandwiches, it was just too much. When I made these, I used a loaf of homemade French bread that I had made (simply because it needed to be used), however I am sure these would be great with purchased bread as well. We made them open-faced, but you can always add the top piece of bread if you’d prefer. Enjoy!
Tijuana Torta
Adapted from Eating Well
1 (15oz) can black beans 
3 Tbsp. prepared salsa 
1 Tbsp. chopped pickled jalapenos
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp. minced onions
1 Tbsp. lime juice
salt, to taste
1 whole grain (8-10-inch long) baguette 
1/2 cup shredded jack cheese 
1-1/2 cups shredded lettuce
Preheat the oven to broil (low if possible). Mash beans, salsa, jalapeno, and cumin in a small bowl. Mash avocado, onion, and lime juice in another small bowl. Add salt to taste.Slice baguette in half the long way so that you have a top and bottom piece of bread. Cut in half to make 4 equal sized pieces. Hollow out some of the bread from the middle of each piece, set aside for another purpose. Divide the bean paste and avocado mixture between the pieces. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. Divide the lettuce between the sandwiches and enjoy!

Chipotle Bean Burritos

black bean burritos2

Last but not least. The final meatless, seafoodless recipe. Hope you have been able to find some meatless recipes in the last couple weeks whether it is for meatless Fridays or just the occasional meatless meal.  

I ran across this recipe on Annie’s Eats, but it is originally a Cooking Light recipe. It seems pretty simple and definitely is quick. Beans mixed in a skillet with some seasonings and wrapped up in a tortilla with your standard round up of sour cream, lettuce, tomato, etc. I definitely learned one thing in making this recipe. A mixture of mashed up beans does not make for very pretty photos!

Can’t go wrong with simple, quick, and delicious. As this is the last meatless meal, I’ll be back tomorrow with a decadent dessert 🙂 Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chipotle Bean Burritos
Adapted from Cooking Light (Seen on Annie’s Eats)

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. minced chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp. cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 (15oz) can black beans
1 (15oz) can pinto beans
6 Tbsp. fresh salsa
6 whole wheat tortillas
shredded Mexican blend cheese
diced tomatoes
shredded lettuce
chopped green onions
Low-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and spices through the salt. Stir constantly and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the beans and broth to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the the heat and allow to cook for about 10 minutes or until the beans are softened. Remove the skillet from the heat. Roughly mash the beans leaving some pieces whole. Add the salsa and mix well. 

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Top with desired toppings. Fold the ends of the tortilla in and roll-up lengthwise. May cut in half if desired. Serve immediately.

Spicy and Sweet Sqash Bowls

spicy and sweet sqash bowl close

As a child, I hated squash. Admittedly, I was a rather picky child (sorry mom!), but squash was pretty far down on the list of things I’d rather go hungry without than eat. There was one year where our neighbors gave us several of them from their garden. Mom roasted them with brown sugar and cinnamon (sounds good now, right?). Despite the sugar, there was no way either my brother or I were going anywhere near them…

As an adult, I was a little skeptical to give squash a second try. In reality, I have probably only embraced it in the last year or so, and I have found that I really enjoy it. Especially roasted with brown sugar and cinnamon. This recipe from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum takes uses that sweet side and mixes it up with some curry, pecans, and spices.

spicy and sweet squash bowls cooking squash
spicy and sweet sqash bowls

My biggest advice about the recipe would be not to skip the hummus. It absolutely makes the dish. I used purchased hummus rather than the white bean hummus indicated in the recipe for a shortcut, however I am sure either would be great. Different. A little spicy. Healthy. I know squash is starting to go out of season, but this one will not disappoint. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Spicy Sweet Squash Bowl
Adapted from Pinch of Yum

1 cup quinoa
1-1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
1 cup fresh spinach, roughly torn
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the squash with olive oil, white sugar, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon curry, and salt to taste. Roast until fork tender, about 25-35 minutes depending on how large you cut the squash cubes.

Meanwhile, place quinoa in a medium saucepan with the broth (or water if you want), 2 teaspoons curry, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. Mix well. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until the liquid is completely absorbed. Let sit for a few minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Mix with spinach and pecan pieces.

Divide the quinoa mixture between bowls. Top with the roasted squash and finally with a dollop of hummus. Mix together and enjoy!

Loaded Black Bean Veggie Burgers (Vegan)

veggie burger

In talking to our families, we got wind that they are suppose to have a high in the 80’s today in Nebraska. In March! Enjoy your day guys. You’ll be in our ballpark today 🙂

Warm temperatures make me think of summer, and what is the quintessential summer meal? Burgers! To keep with my meatless, seafoodless theme, you may have guessed that these are veggie burgers. Neither of us are vegetarians, however I do occasionally like a veggie burger over a traditional beef burger. Nothing wrong with either one, just really depends on what kind of mood I am in.

veggie burget patties cooking
veggie burger patties close

One of my pet-peeves about homemade veggie burgers is that mushy middle. If you have tried to make bean veggie patties at home, you probably know what I mean. I’ve tried a couple recipes in the past that weren’t even close to making the blog, and there was an incident once involving soggy veggie burgers and the grill. Don’t want to talk about that one. While it has been awhile since she posted it, I only recently ran across this recipe from Angie of Oh She Glows. The recipe is actually vegan, using ground flaxseed + water as a replacement for eggs. Angie claims that this is “their perfect veggie burger.” As I said in my lasagna post, I hesitate to call anything “the best,” but these burgers are dang good. We both took them for lunch every day until they were gone, and I can tell you that I missed them the first day I didn’t have one. Definitely a do again, and that is saying something in the world of a food blogger 🙂

(Printable Recipe)

Loaded Black Bean Veggie Burgers
From Oh She Glows (Originally inspired by Whitewater Cooks)

1/2 cup onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-1/2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed + 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup oats, processed into flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat Panko bread crumbs
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup black beans (I used canned beans and measured 1 cup)
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
black pepper to taste

Add almonds and sunflower seeds to a small skillet. Toast over medium heat until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil for a few minutes until the onions begin to soften. Mix the flaxseed and water together in a small bowl. Let set for 10 minutes. 

Mash the beans with a for until no large pieces remain. Place the beans and the remaining ingredients up through the spices and salt (including your nuts) in a large bowl and mix well. Add the seasonings, including salt, and taste. Adjust if necessary. I had to add a little bit more water to my dough at this point to get it to come together (maybe 1-2 Tbsp). Add just a little at a time until the dough will hold its shape when pressed together.

Wet hands and firmly press dough together into patties. Burgers can be pan-fried in a small amount of olive oil on the stove for 4-5 minutes per side, baked at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (flip at about 15 minutes), or grilled. If grilling, Angie recommends pre-baking the burgers for about 15 minutes. Serve on buns with desired toppings.