Chunky, Creamy Mushroom Soup

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Guys, I have for you… drum roll please…

the world’s ugliest, most delicious soup ever.

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Why is it that some of the most amazing things look so ugly? It’s horrible.

Case in point, this incredible soup.

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Hot damn, the flavor is so incredible that you won’t believe your eyes.

A few things to note:

Take the time to finely chop the mushrooms. This took me 15 minutes. Ugh, but take the time to do it properly. FINELY CHOPPED!

Plan ahead for dried mushrooms to reconstitute as this can take as little as 30 minutes or a few hours.

You can over salt this easily. Easy does it. And use low-sodium chicken broth.

This soup is epic, plus only a few tweaks makes it vegetarian or paleo or Whole30 compliant. Use vegetable broth for it to be vegetarian. Use ghee and complaint broth for it to be paleo and Whole30 complaint.

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See, I’ve just done a great job of selling this ugly soup to you. ugh! I swear, you need to make it and try how truly scrumptious it is. Then you’ll come back here and leave me a comment like “Hot damn, it was ugly, but that was the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had!” Go on, I’m waiting…

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Chunky Creamy Mushroom Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds assorted mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped (I used a mix of fresh button and baby bella mushrooms, and dried porchini and shitaki mushrooms)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 Cups low sodium chicken broth

Process

  1. In a very large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the onion until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.
  3. Add the mushrooms, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook under the mushrooms have cooked down and are about half the initial size, it’s about about 10-12 minutes. Add 2 cups of stock and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Puree half the soup in a blender or a food processor. Return the blended mixture to pot. Add broth until desired desire consistency is reached. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper prior to serving. Serve with toasted bread.

Adapted from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Mushroom Stew

Bring on 2015 and a fresh start!

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I love the new year. It’s a chance to start over. To resolve to better yourself. And if you don’t like to make resolutions then just enjoy that you are just getting closer and closer to warmer weather, which is what I live for.

This year I’ve resolved to eat ‘smarter’. I am on a mission to be more conscious about what I eat and how much. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year and I would like to loose another 15 or pounds before our wedding in June. But even aside from that I want to be more careful about what I put into my body and be more considerate regarding how it could potentially negatively effect how my body feels.

We’re about 2 weeks into the new year and so far so good. I have my moments when I eat a cookie but then I try to balance the sweet out with more paleo meals or salads. I’m just hoping to keep this up and settle in on something that feels good and is good for me.

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Lately, I’ve noticed that I keep seeing an old New York Times article getting shared and shared over and over again on Facebook. I think it has to do with the New Year as people are looking for some insight to a better life in the new year.

The article talks of how the people on these Greek island live significantly longer than most people, it’s known as “The Island Where People Forget to Die”. People are reaching their 80’s, 90’s and even to 100 at a greater rate than the rest of the world. They are not immune to cancer and other illnesses exactly, but if the are living longer than other cultures before getting ill.

They live their lives at a different pace than the rest of the world. They enjoy slower days that are filled with friends and families while they tend to their gardens and livestock. The food that they harvest is the focal point of the meals. Fruits, vegetables, and beans are diet staples, as well as goat and fish. Rich olive oils and red wine are, of course, enjoyed as well.

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But if you don’t live on Ikaria and want you experience some of their cooking yourself then get the Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die cookbook by Diane Kochilas. Kochila divides her time between New York and Irakia, her family’s ancestral island. She has first hand experience cooking the foods native to the famous Greek island. She has foraged for mushrooms, dried vegetables, and made cheese, which she has made into incredible meals.

This cookbook shares the foods of the people living on Ikaria in a creative way by mixing in story telling with the recipes. And photos too!! The recipes are focused on Mezedes, which are small plates that are perfect for snacking while catching up with a friend, salads, soups, beans and legumes, meats, and fish. There are some sweet treats in there too. (I swear that one day I’ll make Loukoumades!)

There were so many recipes that I tagged to make but the one that first jumped out to me was the Mushroom Stew as I wanted something comforting for the cold weather. It was a perfect pick!

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The stew is easy to prep, I think it took me just a few minutes to cut up the onions and while they were cooking I sliced kale into very thin ribbons. And as that was cooking I sliced the mushrooms. Super simple.

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The recipe calls for red wine but if you don’t want to use it or have it on hand then feel free to substitute in beef broth. Skip the wine and it will be a great Whole 30 meal. Yum!

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The Mushroom Stew is healthy and hearty. It’s rich tasting but not rich for you. The flavors are earthy and it has great texture. It’s great served with mashed potatoes, rice, freekeh, or crusty bread. Just be sure to have something to absorb the flavorful broth.

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Embrace the ingredients, recipes, and lifestyle of the people Ikaria and you’ll live a long and happy life. Oh, so you can’t take midday naps? Well, at least make this amazing Mushroom Stew! Enjoy!

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Healthy & Hearty Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) mixed mushrooms, such as white button, oyster, boletus, porcini, chanterelles, portobellos,
  • 1/4 Cup Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 large red onions, coarsely shopped (yields approximately 2 Cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 pounds sweet greens, such as chard, spinach sweet dandelions, sweet sorrel, kale, and/or wile fennel  (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup dry red wine, or beef broth
  • 1 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 3  Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 3 or 4 sprigs fresh or dried oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh or dried thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process

  1. Slice the mushrooms, into 1/4″ thick slices, as needed, depending on the size of the mushroom.
  2. In a very large, wide pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion once the oil is shimmery. Cook until translucent and soft, about 6 minutes. Stir a bit so they don’t brown.
  4. Add the greens, and cook for about 8-10 minutes until they are wilted.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the red wine and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine vinegar, bay leaves, all spice, oregano, and the salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is tender.
  8. Enjoy with rice, mashed potatoes, freekeh, quinoa, or slices of toasted bread that has been drizzled with olive oil. A glass of red wine doesn’t hurt either!

Sourced from Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die

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While I received this complimentary cookbook for review, all opinions are my own.

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Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce- SRC

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One day while Autumn and I were shopping at Trader Joe’s, they were sampling their vegetable dumplings. Since dinner time was fast approaching I grabbed her a sample for her to try. Well, no surprise here, but she loved it. I actually, politely, asked for another sample for her since she enjoyed it so much. It was just enough to carry her over so we could finish shopping and head home.

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She enjoyed the samples so much that I grabbed some vegetable dumpling bags so that I would have them on hand for dinner. They work perfectly as they are quick to prepare, as 2-3 only take about a minute in the microwave. Plus, they the easy for her to grip to feed herself. I break a cooled dumpling into 3-4 pieces which she immediately picks up and shovels into her mouth. So cute!

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Well, it’s great to always have something that she loves on hand for her to have for dinner, but my issue with these delicious dumplings is the amount of sodium they have. You know, infants, in fact kids under 2 years of age, are only supposed to have 370-400 mg of salt a day. The Trader Joe’s dumplings have soy sauce in the filling so they are on the borderline of what is acceptable for Autumn.

Well, Amy from Fearless Homemaker has come to my rescue! While I was looking around for a yummy recipe for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post I came across her recipe for Vegetarian Pot Stickers. They sounded great and I loved that not only would we be able to enjoy them but Autumn would too. In fact I didn’t add any salt to the mixture making these really healthy for us and her Autumn.

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Dumplings are so much fun to make!! I haven’t made them in years but it all cam right back to me, just like riding a bike. It was fun to do the filling, sealing, and folding. When doing it just be sure not to put in too much filling or you won’t be able to seal the wonton skins properly.

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I fried the ones that Price and I ate but the ones for Autumn were frozen and then when I was serving them were put into a small microwave safe bowl and microwaved until they were just warmed through. She loved them!

I did get a bit lazy and didn’t make the whole batch of wontons so I just kept the filling so that we could just give her that on her highchair table. Basically the filling is sooo good. I want to try some egg roll wrappers next time and maybe jazz things up further with some ground chicken in there as well. yum!!

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Be sure to check out all the great recipes that Amy has on her blog. Plus, she shares very cute updates on her young daughter, . She is just a few months older than Autumn so I love checking out what she is up to on there and on Instagram so that I have a peak at what is to come in the next few months. So much fun!

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 Vegetarian Wontons with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce

Makes 24-48 wontons, depends on the size of wonton skin you use

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced/grated ginger
  • 8 oz diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups white cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I used Gourmet Garden’s cilantro paste)
  • 1 12 oz package wonton/dumpling skins
  • wok oil for frying

for the dipping sauce

  • 1/3 cup thin soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon sambal

Process

  1. In a wok or large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon wok oil over medium heat. Sautee the red onion and ginger 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mixture is soft. Stir in the cabbage, carrots, green onion and cook until the cabbage is soft.
  3. Remove from heat and drain, if needed.  Add the cilantro when the mixture is cooled.
  4. Lay out the wonton wrappers/gyoza skins on a clean surface. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of the wonton wrapper
  5. Either fry or steam the wontons to cook them.
    1. To fry the wontons, place a 2 Tablespoons of wok oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a few wontons to the oil and brown all sides.
    2. To Steam the wontons, pour just enough oil to cover a large skillet ( about 1 teaspoon). Heat the oil over medium heat, add the wontons. When the bottoms get golden brown, add 1/4 cup of water, then immediately cover. This only takes a few minutes so be sure the water does not completely evaporate allowing the dumplings to stick to the skillet
  6. To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve along side of the hot wontons.

Adapted from Fearless Homemaker

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Check out all the other FANTASTIC bloggers who are participating in SRC today!. Such great recipes!! 🙂

Check out my 2+ years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

Crispy Tofu Tacos with a Mango Salsa and a Creamy Lime Drizzle

Crispy Tofu Tacos with a Mango Salsa

I’m skipping this week’s edition of Monday Munchies post to bring you a great recipe and GIVEAWAY!

I’ve been on a taco kick recently. In 1 week I had tacos 3 times. 3 times!! But the best part was that each were so different. I just love how versatile they are. I made ground turkey as the filling, then I had fish tacos when my mom and I were out to lunch when she was visiting last week, and then I made these tofu tacos. Each were so good in their own way.

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Have you ever made tacos with tofu before? I never had but once I saw this recipe I knew I had to give it a try. I’ve used Nasoya’s great Organic non-GMO tofu in endless stir fry’s but I figured that I would change things up and give this recipe a try.

Boy, it did not disappoint!

The tofu was firm, crispy, and flavorful. It was great for a filling as a taco. In fact, it kinda reminded me of fish tacos. The texture was light like fish and it had a nice crisp coating on the pieces as well. No, it didn’t taste like fish so I wasn’t fooled there but the way that tofu absorbs flavors is spot on in that is soaked up the umami rich Worcestershire sauce and then it became best friends with the cumin in the dredge. Bestest of friends. (ugh, where is my mind?)

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Anyway… the Nasoya TofuPlus is great to use in recipes like this, as well as stir fries, such as this Spicy Peanut Stir Fry. But if tofu is new to you then you should know that tofu comes in different firmness. You can use something like silken which you can use in these Carrot Cake Squares. Nasoya’s TofuPlus is verasitle so you can use it from everything to breakfast smoothies, grill it and serve it on a salad, to even making dessert with it!

The tofu is great but you can’t ignore that the mango salsa and the creamy lime drizzle add great flavors to the tacos as well. They really pack a punch to tie the flavors of the tacos together. Kinda creates the perfect bite sorta thing. You get the heat and tang from the creamy lime drizzle and then there is great balance from the sweetness from the mango in the salsa. Plus you get some crunch from the red pepper to add some nice texture to the tacos. yum!!

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So in conclusion- what? is this a essay or something?- these Crispy Tofu Tacos made with Nasoya tofu are just perfect for a Meatless Monday dinner. Have you done Meatless Monday before? You should give it a try. It’s a great night to change things up to kick off the week. You know, so you can take the week by the horns and kick some butt!

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If you want to try these tofu tacos, or other great recipes using tofu, then be sure to enter my Nasoya GIVEAWAY after the recipe!!!

Crispy Tofu Tacos with a Mango Salsa and a Creamy Lime Drizzle

Makes 8 Tacos

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 1 package Nasoya Extra-firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon grill seasoning or seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

For the Mango Salsa

  • 1/2 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the Creamy Lime Drizzle

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon minced pickled jalapeno peppers

8 flour taco sized tortillas or 16 taco sized corn tortillas

Process

  1. Prepare the lime drizzle by zesting the lime rind into a small bowl. Juice the zested lime into the bowl and then add the sour cream and jalapeno peppers. Mix well to combine.
  2. Prepare the mango salsa by combining all of the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the filling by slicing the tofu lengthwise into 6 slices, and then quarter each piece resulting in 24 total rectangles; set aside.
  4. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs with the Worcestershire sauce. In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornstarch, grill seasoning and cumin.
  5. Heat oil in large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each piece of tofu in the egg mixture, dredge in the cornstarch mixture, and then cook in the skillet for about 3 – 4 minutes per side (top and bottom) or until brown. Do not crowd in the skillet, so prepare the pieces in batches, if necessary.
  6. Heat tortillas according to the package directions. Assemble the tacos by placing 3 pieces in taco then dressing with the mango salsa and topping with the creamy lime drizzle.

Slightly adapted from Nasoya

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If you would like to win some Nasoya coupons for your own tacos, stir fries, smoothies, and much more, then all you have to do it leave a comment on this blog post telling me how you would use tofu in your own cooking.

For an extra entry tweet the following: “Tofu Tacos? Yes! perfect for #MeatlessMonday. These Crispy Tofu Tacos are a must try! http://wp.me/pzEAP-44I Plus a giveaway!” Come back here and leave a comment telling me you did this.

For an extra entry LIKE Nasoya on Facebook. Come back here and leave a comment telling me you did this.

*While I did receive complimentary product from Nasoya, these opinions are entirely my own.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup- SRC

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

How is October wrapping up this week?

Halloween is Thursday night. I really wanted to have a costume this year since I could have fun and dress up the baby bump but I’m not having much luck coming up with a costume. We’ll see what I can come up with quickly so that I can get dressed up to hand out some candy. Oh yeah, and we can’t forget to get a costume for Kemper. ha!

Since October is wrapping up it means it’s time to post this month’s recipe for my Secret Recipe Club post. This month I received the blog called The Wimpy Vegetarian. Susan’s blog is full of great recipes that feature fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors.

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As usual, Price picked the recipe for me to make for this month’s SRC post. He was thinking fall when he picked the Butternut Squash-Apple Soup. I’m so glad that he did because we had a monster of a butternut squash sitting on our counter just waiting to be used. I had been staring at it wondering what to do since it was so big. Seriously, it was about from my finger tips to my elbow. A little intimidating to say the least. But this soup ended up being the perfect fit for it.

We loved this soup! It felt so rich without being indulgent. Can’t beat a healthy soup that is quick to make. It would be the perfect fit to make on a weekend or just after work.

Even the dog liked the soup! It’s vegetarian so I just mixed a bit into his food and he loved it. I’m always trying to give him extra fruits and veggies as treats instead of processed treats so I figured I’d just give this a try as well and he LOVED it.

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I highly suggest making this amazing Butternut Squash-Apple Soup when you are craving a delicious soup that is simple to make and that will fill you up on fresh fall flavors.

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium butternut squash
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oils
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste

Process

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Peel and then slice off the top and bottom of each squash. Slice in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and pulp with a spoon and then chop the squash into 1″ cubes.
  3. Toss the squash with a little olive oil, lightly salt, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast until very, very soft and lightly caramelized, about 30 minutes.
  4. In a very large pot, melt the butter over medium high heat and cook until lightly browned. Lower the heat and add the remaining olive oil and the onion. Saute for about 20 minutes or until the onion begins to caramelize.
  5. Add the squash, vegetable stock, apple cider, and salt to the pot, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. In small batches, pour the soup into a blender and puree to a smooth.
  7. Season to taste prior to serving.

Adapted from The Whimpy Vegetarian

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Check out my previous 2 years of  Secret Recipe Club Posts.

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.