Carrot turmeric ginger soup

I love this soup so much for it’s taste and nutrients! For me, soups and stews are the most perfect rainy day, winter foods. They are comforting, easy to make, and give you the perfect warmth on a cold day.

This particular soup is a favorite of mine because it has hints of spice from the ginger and black pepper, hints of sweetness from the carrots and plenty of nutrition from all three main ingredients! Very rarely have I had fresh turmeric root, usually I use the turmeric powder in all of my foods so this was a fun way to use fresh root and get a stronger flavor in. The depth it adds with the combination of carrot and ginger is just amazing!

Check out these amazing health benefits you get from eating the Carrot Turmeric Ginger soup! I love when I can eat a food that is delicious and nutritious for you!

Health Benefits of Ginger

The benefits of ginger are amazing! Many people know that ginger is a great aid in digestion and helps nausea, but did you know:

  • Drinking ginger water can aid in weight loss
  • Has powerful anti-diabetic properties
  • Can help lower cholesterol levels
  • Helps improve brain function
  • Helps fight against infections


Turmeric Health Benefits

  • Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric that triggers the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Curcumin is not easily absorbed in the body and requires black pepper or cocoa powder to help the body absorb the curcumin to utilize the full effects of turmeric
  • Curcumin is linked to improved brain function and lower risk of brain disease
  • Curcumin also helps lower heart disease


How can I leave behind my Carrots?

  • They’re good for your eyes (I think everyone knows this one!)
  • High in antioxidants that help lower risk against cancer
  • The potassium in carrots can help keep your blood pressure in check in turn helping your heart stay healthy
  • High in fiber which aids in digestion
  • High in Vit. C which helps boost your immune system


Ok, I know I’ve been going on and on about how healthy this soup is, but really, it is! And so flavorful with the combination of carrots, ginger, turmeric, and even some onions in there. The hint of cinnamon adds the ultimate warmth this soup can provide on a cold and bitter winter day!

So what are you waiting for?! Try it out and tell me what you think!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Carrot Turmeric Ginger Soup!


Here are the tools that I used to make this recipe:

 

Instant Pot Rajma (Kidney Beans)

I feel like almost every culture has their version of beans and rice.  There’s the Latin style with adobo seasoning, the African style flavored with smoked paprika and garlic, Creoles use the “holy trinity” for theirs, Jamaican red beans and rice have coconut milk and scotch bonnet peppers, the Japanese use Adzuki beans with their rice, and the Indians have Rajma Chawal.

Why are red beans and rice so common everywhere?

I don’t know.  But what I do know is they make a complete protein when eaten together so it’s really beneficial to vegetarians and vegans who don’t get their complete proteins from animal protein to feel full.

I never thought Rajma was all that special until my friend Sumit made it one day.  He makes the most amazing Rajma so I never bothered to learn because I could just call him up!  But now he’s moved to a different state and it’s not as readily available so I have tried and tried and tried to perfect my Rajma.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this classic dish of Rajma!

Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

When Sanaya, my eldest, was about 3 years old, we had gone to Pankaj’s cousin’s house for a play date.  Sanaya and her cousin Aarya are besties.  They’re only 2 months apart in age and our families have gone through the journey of parenting together since we were pregnant.

Anyways, this story is from a time when Sanaya was very picky about food, especially Indian food.  Though I feel like in her short life, she’s either been picky or a proper foodie.  Kids!
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Yum

My sister-in-law, Aarya’s mother had made a black eyed peas curry.  I remember growing up my mom making this often so I got excited but nervous also.  Will Saanu eat it?  Will she like it?  I’m hoping she likes it because I’m really trying to get the girls to have an appreciation for Indian food.
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Surprisingly, and luckily, she loved it and for once, ate most of her food without a fuss.  I felt like I found a magical key.  Since then, this is one recipe I make often for the girls, especially when I’m in a pinch as it takes less than 30 minutes to make.
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These black eyed peas are perfect for a weeknight meal.  Not only are they delicious and quick to make, they are also rich in fiber, protein and non-dairy calcium.
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Notes:
I soak them at the beginning of meal prep.  If you don’t want to soak them, simply increase the cook time from 12 minutes to 20.

You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

For Stovetop: Soak black eyed peas for at least 1 hour.  Then boil them in 4 cups of water for 45 minutes.  Drain and add to spices as indicated in step 5.  Add only 1 c water and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

For Slow Cooker:  Follow directions below and cook on low for 6 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Dal (Lentil)!


Instant Pot Black Eyed Peas Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 c dried black eyed peas, soaked

1 onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1″ ginger knob, grated

1 bay leaf

1 tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp turmeric

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp salt

2 c water for cooking

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp hing (asafoetida)

Directions:

1. Set Instant pot to saute mode.  Add oil and let heat.

2. Add cumin seeds and hing.

3. When the cumin seeds start to splutter, add in onions, ginger and garlic.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.

4. Add in the tomatoes and spices and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the oil starts separating from the tomatoes.

5. Drain the water from the black eyed peas and add to the instant pot.  Add the 2 c water and mix well.

6. Cover instant pot and set vent to sealing postion.

7. Change setting to manual/pressure cook mode and set timer for 12 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.

9. Add lemon juice and give a quick stir before serving.

Serve with Naan or Rice.

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Spinach Dal Yum

Both the girls need their dal (lentils) at least once a week and I love it!  It makes me so happy that they turn to Indian food for comfort and norm.  I try to vary out the dals that I feed them so they get a variety of nutrients and flavors and I get to rotate my lentils. Continue reading “Spinach Dal Yum

Instant Pot Kali Dal Yum

Kali dal is a very popular Punjabi dish and one of those comfort food meals that my husband has grown up with.  It has also become one of Sanaya’s favorite comfort foods too so of course I had to find a way to perfect this recipe for both of them.  I would say this recipe rotates in our house at least ever 2 weeks.
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I love it for its nutritional content, loaded with protein, fiber and low in carbs and calories.  With all the rainy days we’ve had recently, this is one recipe I can’t pass up.  An easy, one-pot meal, this goes great with naan or rice.
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Yep, I put a ton of jalapeños as a garnish.  Traditionally, it’s cilantro. But, it actually tasted good with the extra jalapeños on top!
A while back, we had a potluck and playdate with my friend Janani and her family.  I don’t remember what I made, but I do remember that both my husband and I fought for the last bite of her dal.  It was A-MA-ZING!  It had a burst of flavor to it that we were both impressed and he actually said it was one of the best dals he has had in his life…. that’s huge coming from a Punjabi!
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Most recipes of this specific dal have a basic of three spices, and I’ve found pretty simple in flavor.  Works great for many but Janani’s recipe just had this burst of flavor, you didn’t want to stop eating it.
I begged her for her recipe, tried making it and failed.  I tried a few more times to the point my hubby was actually sick of seeing dal…….oops.  So I went to Janani’s house, had her tell me exactly what to do while I made it with her watching over me.  I’ve been using her recipe ever since, however, I did make a few changes to it.  I know, I know, why?  I changed a little of the technique on which ingredients she cooks in what order, and changed the ratio on some of the basic spices but they are all there.  The changed version is what I have listed below but if you’re interested in her original version, message me and I will send it to you.
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When I talked to Janani about her recipe, that’s when I figured out it’s the spices and the amount of tomatoes that she uses which give the dal its integrity in flavor.  You really need to try out this recipe.  It’s so delicious!
If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the same instructions for a slow cooker and set slow cooker time for 8 hours.

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this one!

Ingredients:
1 c black gram lentils (sabut urad dal)
¼ c dry kidney beans
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 med onion, finely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp grated ginger or ginger paste
1 ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
½ tsp asafoetida (hing)
1 tsp coriander powder
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want it)
½ tsp dry mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Avocado Oil or EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ghee (use oil to make this vegan)
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
Mix the lentils and kidney beans together, wash them 2-3 times then leave water in to soak while you prepare the gravy.
Set instant pot to sauté mode.  Add oil and let heat up.  Add hing and let it bloom for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Add in 1 Tbsp each of ginger and garlic.  Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add in the tomatoes, coriander powder, dry mango powder, cayenne pepper and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well and cook for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes have mostly melted and the spices have cooked through.
Drain the water from the lentils/beans.  Add them to the gravy along with remaining ½ Tbsp of ginger and garlic, and ½ tsp of salt.  Mix well, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Add 3 cups water and cover the instant pot lid with vent in sealing position.  Turn off the instant pot and change setting to pressure cook or manual setting.  Set time for 40 minutes.  When the time is done, release the pressure, open the lid and mix the dal.
On med heat, in a small pan, heat ghee.  When it’s melted and heated, add in cumin seeds and garam masala.  Let them splutter and bloom for 30 seconds then add to the dal.  Mix everything and change setting on instant pot to sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Serve hot with rice or naan.  Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chole Yum

Growing up, one of my favorite North Indian dishes has always been Chole.  Whether we were eating at a wedding, an Indian restaurant, or requesting it as my special birthday dinner, Chole has always been a constant and a comfort in my life.  The aroma of it freshly made in the air, just pulls at you.
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There are so many different versions of making this recipe based on where in North India you are.  Sometimes, even in the same region, recipes differ vastly from home to home.  I prefer mine to have a thick red gravy, which is best achieved I’ve found by adding an abundance of tomatoes (and I really mean A LOT)  and spices.  The best part is that this dish is such a classic, you can never go wrong.  Serve it hot with rice, naan or Bhatura and be prepared to be wowed!
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From my Kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this.

Ingredients:
1 c dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight (at least 4 hours)
1 ½ c water
1 Tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger, grated
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 med-large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 ¾ c tomato sauce
2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 Tbsp Chole Masala
1 tsp aamchur (dry mango) powder
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2-3 bay leaves
½ tsp peppercorns
1″ cinnamon stick
cilantro to garnish

Directions:
1. Start the instant pot on sauté mode.  Add oil and let it heat up.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.  Add in the cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaf.  Sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
4. Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes until they turn translucent and start shrinking.
5. Add in the tomatoes, cayenne pepper, coriander powder, chole masala, and salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start softening.  Add in the tomato sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Drain the water from the chickpeas and add them to the instant pot.  Mix well with the gravy and cook for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add in the water and mix well.  Turn off the instant pot, cover with vent to sealing position and change setting to manual/pressure cook for 40 minutes.
8.  When the instant pot beeps, do a 20 minute NPR (natural pressure release).  If the pin has not dropped at this point, release the pressure and open the instant pot.
9.  Change setting to sauté, add in the aamchur powder and let boil for 3-5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.
10. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice, naan or bhature.

Enjoy!

Punjabi Kadhi Yum

Kadhi is a very popular and a staple dish of India.  Different parts of India have their own version.  Sindhi kadhi has veggies in it; people from the state of Haryana put green chickpeas in theirs; South Indians also put veggies in theirs including squash, carrots, peas and potatoes; Rajasthani and Gujarati kadhi is usually a little on the thinner side while the Gujaratis also add okra in theirs on occasion and the Punjabi’s add pakoras to their version of kadhi.
I’m a Gujarati and so I’ve been raised on the thinner version of kadhi.  Even then, there is no one version.  Kadhi is usually yellow in color from the turmeric added to it but Gujaratis make a version without the turmeric in it and more sour yogurt is used – this type of kadhi is usually served at weddings.  Growing up it was one of my favorites and I would always ask my mom to make wedding kadhi when I was going home for the weekend.  I still call it that.  Yeah…. I know.

Just thinking of the word kadhi makes me reminisce home, comfort, and curling up with a warm bowl, eating it as a soup.  So when I married my Punjabi husband and was introduced to their version of Punjabi kadhi, my idea of kadhi came to a halt.  It was different from what I grew up with alright, being much thicker with more stuff in it than I was used to.  I think the biggest surprise, let’s say, that I had when having Punjabi kadhi was the pakoras that are put in it.
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My idea of a pakora is eating it on a rainy day with a cup of chai in hand.  Needless to say, this one took a little getting used to.  But, I’ve come around I suppose.  And as usual, I’ve put my twist on it.
There was a lot of experimenting the type of pakoras I wanted to use and the spices.  I remember one of the first times I made this, one of my best friends from college, Ashi, had come over with her family.  She’s Punjabi too so I was hoping to use her as a taste tester.  I’m so glad I did because she helped me figure out which spice would work and that adding a little more will only enhance the flavor.
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As for the pakoras, they are typically made from onion and potatoes but I wanted to give a “healthy” spin to something I’m frying (oxymoron, I know) so I decided to use spinach instead of potatoes.  And let me tell you, they taste sooooooo much better!
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My biggest change to this traditional recipe:  I finish off cooking the pakoras in the oven.  This makes them crispy and won’t “melt” them in the kadhi.  When I first started making this dish, my pakoras would disintegrate into the kadhi because they were too soft.  I found that toasting them in the oven helps keep their shape and they do soften up when added to the kadhi so you don’t taste the crunch but I love the toasted red color it adds.
From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the Kadhi:
1 c Besan (chickpea/gram flour)
2 c yogurt
1 med onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1″ ginger knob, grated
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jheera)
3 dried red chilis, split in half
1 tsp turmeric
3-4 curry leaves
1 tsp cayenne pepper (Kashmiri Deggi Mirch)
1 ½ tsp coriander powder (dhania powder/ dhana jheeru)
1 ½ tsp cumin powder (jheera powder)
2 Tbsp Kasoori Methi
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt to taste

For the Pakoras:
1 lg yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 c spinach, roughly chopped
¾ c chickpea flour
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp salt
oil for frying

Directions:
For the Kadhi:
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk yogurt to a smooth consistency.  Add in the gram flour and continue whisking until all lumps are smoothed out.  Transfer to a deep pot, add in 4 cups of water, salt and turmeric.  Mix and simmer on low-medium heat.
In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, dried red chili, fenugreek seeds.  Once the fenugreek seeds are light red in color, add in curry leaves and let cook for 30 seconds.  Add in the onions and sauté until they are golden brown.  About 5-6 minutes.  Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.  Add in the cayenne pepper, coriander powder, cumin powder and mix well.  Let it cook for 2-3 minutes to so the spices bloom.
Add the onions to the kadhi and mix well.  Cook on low-medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  The kadhi will thicken as it cooks.  Add more water if it is too thick.  When it’s done, turn off stove and add in kasoori methi and stir.

For the Pakoras:
Add the onions and spices in a bowl and mix well.  Let it rest for about 20-25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Add in the spinach and gram flour and mix.  The water released from the onions will help bind the batter together.  It should be a little on the thicker/dry side but if it is too much, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Using a spoon, drop medium sized pakoras in hot oil to fry.  Pull them out when they are just under done and lay them on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 5-7 minutes to make them crispy.

Add the pakoras to the kadhi and serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

 

Polenta & Veggie Pot Pie

I love rainy days!  All I want to do is curl up with a blanket in front of the fireplace, read a book with a cup of chai in my hand.  That probably won’t happen till my kids are off to school.

In the meantime, I decided to put together a hearty stew that warms you from your fingers to your toes.  I took the stew a little further and decided to put a spin on it.  I made cute pot pies but instead of the traditional pastry shell, I used polenta and cheese for the crust.  It tasted so delicious, the creamy polenta and the melted cheese just got all of us, especially my daughter hooked!

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I have these cute little Le Creuset cocottes that I got as a gift from our close friends a few years ago and thought my 2.5 year old will get a kick out of eating from it.  And boy was I right!  She insisted on eating her leftovers the next day from these adorable pots!  I was just happy she loved the stew as much as the cocottes!

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I hope these warm you up on a cold rainy (or snowy) day like it did us!

Ingredients:
½ onion, chopped finely
1c cubed butternut squash
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼c AP flour
2Tbsp tomato paste
2Tbsp cayenne pepper
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp cumin powder
¼tsp oregano
½tsp salt (or to taste)
¼tsp ground black pepper
2c veggie broth
1Tbsp Sriracha sauce
¼c milk
2Tbsp EVOO

For the Polenta:
2c Veggie Broth
2c milk
1c Polenta
¼tsp salt
¼tsp pepper
3Tbsp Butter
3oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add EVOO.  Once the oil is heated, add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Now add the butternut squash and for about 10 minutes or until it becomes tender.  Make sure you don’t over cook it as the squash can get a mushy texture.  Add in all the dry spices and mix well.  Cook with the spices for a 1-2 minutes so they bloom and flavor the squash.  Now, sprinkle in the flour.  Stir for about 3 minutes so the flour cooks.  If the flour doesn’t cook through, you’ll be able to taste a raw, gritty flavor which is so unappetizing.  Add the veggie broth, tomato paste, and Sriracha, raise to a simmer and cook until it has thickened.  Once it has thickened, add in the milk and black beans.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust for salt.

Spoon the mixture into 4 individual baking dishes or one pie pan and place on a baking sheet with a 2 inch lip.

For the polenta, add the veggie broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and whisk in the polenta slowly.  If you add it all at once, the polenta will be lumpy and not cook through.  Keep stirring until the polenta thickens, approximately 10-12 minutes.  Add in the butter and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the polenta over the pot pie filling and top with cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the polenta is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh parsley and let it warm you to your toes as you dig in to this deliciousness!

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Chicken & Rice Soup

Having a toddler who goes to daycare means germs, constant runny noses and lots of cuddles.  As a mom, I also have to think of foods that comfort her, taste good when she’s not feeling well and is something nutritious to help her get better soon.   What better than chicken and rice soup that is quick to make when your 2 year old won’t let you go but packed with protein, vitamin C and fiber.
I used some short cuts that I’ll show you along the way.  I hope you make some and enjoy a bowl of good comfort.

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Boil chicken stock and add a chicken breast to it.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, take the chicken breast out and shred.  Set it aside.

Chop some onions and red bell pepper and set aside (did you know that 1 cup of red bell pepper has 3 times the Vit. C that 1 orange has!).

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In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter (maybe not that healthy ….)

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Add flour and mix well.

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Mix the flour and butter well until it turns golden brown.  You’ll be able to smell the golden deliciousness.  It’s very important to let the flour cook through otherwise you’ll have a grainy flavor that no one really wants to eat.

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Add some turmeric to this.   Did you know turmeric is a great natural healer?  Among other things, it’s an anti-inflammatory plant and strengthens the immune system.  Pretty much what I need for my toddler when she’s not feeling well.

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Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes on high heat.
Add the veggies to the stock pot and stir well.  Add the chicken back to the stock pot also.

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This is my secret!  Ready made rice.  Not only is it rice – it’s brown/red rice, with kale….. and chia seeds!  This is my cheat.  I save time by not making rice on the side but it’s healthy and readily available in most grocery stores.  Add this pouch to the stockpot and stir well.

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Add a small pinch of salt and pepper.  I didn’t add too much seasoning as the chicken stock tends to have a lot of sodium already.   Let the soup simmer for about 8-10 minutes so the flavors mix in well.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Ingredients:
6 cups chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1  tsp turmeric
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pouch Seeds of Change Rice
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Boil the chicken stock and add a chicken breast to it.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let it simmer for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes, take the chicken breast out and shred.  Set it aside.
In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter and flour to it.  Stir constantly and mix well until the flour is cooked.  Add turmeric to it and mix well to cook.  Add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add the onions and bell peppers to the stock pot and mix.  Also add in the chicken and rice to the stockpot and simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Basil Butternut Squash Lasagna

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Fall is here and that means squash is everywhere.  So many different kinds but butternut squash is one of my favorites.  I experimented with Giada de Laurentiis’ recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna and since then, I’ve made a few changes of my own.  This recipe is great to serve for a dinner party, or even to have for lunch leftovers.  If you want the original recipe, I’ll post a link at the end of this blog post.  But for the moment, here’s my version.

Ingredients:
1Tbsp olive oil
1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2c water
1/4c butter
1/4c all-purpose flour
3 1/2c low-fat milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4c (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves
1c fresh basil leaves, chopped
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2c shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Add the squash in a heavy large pot full of boiling water.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender – it’ll take about 20-30 minutes.  Spoon out the squash and let it cool for 5 minutes.  Add to food processor and blend until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes.  Add the nutmeg and mix well.  Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender. Add the 3/4 of the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat to 375 degrees F.  Spread a ladle of the sauce in a baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread a little squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Drizzle some more sauce over the noodles.  In the second layer, sprinkle the cup of chopped basil.  Continue layering and top with mozarella cheese.

20151002_192341Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  I found that this makes the sauce not bubble over and the flavors are so much more vibrant.  Bake the lasagna for 40 minutes.  Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Garnish with some fresh basil.

*Here is the link to the original recipe by Giada de Laurentiis: Butternut Squash Lasagna

Three Bean Chili

*Updated Oct. 16, 2020

Sundays in our house are dedicated to football. Now that the season has started, I’m challenging myself to find some healthier recipes to get us through the games. Sure the chicken wings, nachos, creamy dips, and pizza sound good but they definitely don’t pass the healthy test. This is a hearty chili loaded with veggies, beans and definitely falls into the comfort zone. It makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl while you’re watching football (or a movie or your favorite tv show).


The heat of the ancho chili and cayenne give this a perfect balance to some of the sweeter veggies like the carrots and bell peppers.  Using the canned beans also take a lot of the work out of this dish for you and I’ve included both stove top and slow cooker versions so you can make it any way that is easiest and most convenient.

Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of spring onions to finish off this chili before eating with a side of cornbread.  Nothing can beat this delicious chili on a cold winter day.  I’d like to say, I’m definitely ready for this winter season!

I’ve made this chili vegan and it can remain so with toppings such as spring onions, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.

Optional to add are toppings such as sour cream and cheese.  They will definitely soften up the taste if you choose these!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope this 3 Bean Chili brings a little warmth to your day!

I’ve made this both on the stove top and in the slow cooker.  Here is the equipment I used to make the chili:

Hearty Veggie Soup

With the weather so cold out, and rain falling non-stop, I love turning to a comforting bowl of hot soup. My hearty veggie soup is a classic that I enjoy so much each time I make it. I usually make a large batch that lasts me a few days. With plenty of carrots, celery, potatoes and kidney beans, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…….

Hearty Veggie Soup

Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and roast for 30 seconds.

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Then add in the red onions and saute for about 30 seconds.

finely chopped onions

Add in the potatoes, celery and carrots. I usually leave my potatoes in a bowl of water once they’re chopped until I’m ready to use them; this washes out a lot of the starch in potatoes.

Veggies

Add tomato paste and mix well. Add kidney beans.

Kidney Beans

Add veggie broth, 1 cup of water, and mix well. Season with basil, oregano and salt. Allow soup to boil then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir occasionally so the veggies don’t settle to the bottom. Garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.

Soup

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp EVOO
4 med red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 (16oz) cans veggie broth
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 c water

Directions:

Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in a pot over medium heat. Add in the garlic and roast for 30 seconds. Add in onions and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the potatoes, celery and carrots. Add tomato paste and mix well. Add kidney beans. Add veggie broth, 1 cup of water, and mix well. Season with basil, oregano and salt. Allow soup to boil then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir occasionally so the veggies don’t settle to the bottom. Garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.