Thursday, 28 July 2016

Soup of the Month - Garden Vegetable

This is the best time of year for vegetables, but with the hot temperatures, who wants to turn on the stove!
This recipe is great as it takes less than an hour.

2/3 cup sliced carrot
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fat-free broth ( beef, chicken or vegetable)
1 1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup green beans
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 large tomatoes, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/3 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced zucchini

In large saucepan that has be sprayed with pam, saute the carrot, onion, garlic and celery about 5 minutes.
Add broth and cabbage, beans tomato paste*, tomato, basil, oregano and salt.

* I did not have tomato paste so I added katchup

Bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until beans are tender.

Stir in zucchini and heat for 5 minutes more.

Serve hot. 
I love this soup, it's tasty, low calorie and does not heat up the kitchen.
I had mine with corn bread and grated cheese! It was wonderful! 

PS - Don't limit yourself to the listed veggies, you can add whatever you like.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Scotch Broth Soup - but NOT of the Month!

Yes, I missed June...I made 2 soups last month (June) but did not take pictures. One was a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and the other was Bean With Bacon Soup. 
But this month I will be doing 2 soups, one, the Scotch Broth, I made today and yesterday. This last week was hectic with my son Alex visiting. 

Alex and I were room mates when I was working in Calgary so we quickly slipped into our old routine. At least I was off work, so we had the opportunity to really have a great visit. We spent time with my sister and her husband (who I make the Soup of the Month for). Their son Justin (Alex's cousin) arrived for one night before they flew off to a family reunion in Winnipeg.
Justin made BBQed lamb chops when we went over for a visit and I was lucky that there were quite a few chops left over.

Yesterday I started to make the stock.
First I cut the meat off the 8 chop bones. I reserved the meat to add to the soup later
Next I added a diced onion, garlic and some sad baby carrots.

Next I covered with water and simmered for about 3 hours. 

I let the stock cool and just before bed, I strained it and put it in the fridge overnight so all the fat solidifies.

The next morning, it was easy to remove the fat from the stock. I then put it in the pot and got the vegetables ready. I am adding (fresh from the farm market) celery, peas, onion, carrots and garlic. 
I added the veggies and the stock to the pot with the diced lamb and let it simmer for about an hour (yes I did add a little salt).

After about an hour and a half, I added the shelled peas and 1/3 of a cup of barley to the pot.

I left the pot on a really low simmer for another hour and a half. 
It turned out perfectly!  I had it for supper with fresh bread from the bakery and it was delicious! 
And it will be even better tomorrow!
Nutrition Facts Scotch Broth
Amount Per 100 grams
Calories 33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.1 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 300 mg
Potassium 65 mg
Total Carbohydrate 3.9 g
Dietary fiber 0.5 g
Protein 2 g

Recipe Stock Ingredients:
  • Approximately 8 oz meaty lamb bones
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic (diced)
  • I stalk celery diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • Bay leaf
Soup Ingredients:
  • 5-6 cups stock
  • 1 cup diced lamb
  • 1 clove garlic diced
  • ½ onion diced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 to 1 ½  diced Celery stalks
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1/3 cup barley
For those of you who don't eat meat, this is the same as my Mushroom and Barley recipe.
When making the soup I add 4-6 cups of vegetable stock and 2 cups of sliced mushrooms instead of the lamb stock and lamb. I also like to replace the onion with leeks.  I add all the ingredients at once and cook for about 1 hour.  Oh yeah, a little white wine added to the stock makes it delicious!!!

My sister has requested potato and leek soup and I will be making that in about 2 weeks. 

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Soup of the Month - Italian Wedding

This is the first time I've made his soup. I've eaten it in many different restaurants through the years and each was distinctive with their chef's combination of ingredients. This soup is known as zuppa di scarola or minestra marinata (Italian Wedding Soup) because of the way the ingredients combine, like a happy love. It is simple to prepare, but has enough flourishes —to be distinctive. 

As you know, I am on a quest to make my soups for my sister low in calories and sodium and big in flavor. So far, this has been the easiest to half the calories and cut the sodium.

Turkey Italian Sausage is  often available at my local grocery store. About 2 week ago, the butcher was putting it out and I asked if they had made it all into sausages yet. he said there was a little left. When I got home, I made 3 dozen tiny meatballs and stuck them in the freezer. I also picked up a chicken. when I stripped the bones, I threw them in a pot and made 1 and a half containers of stock and froze them.

Now I had my 10 cups of stock with no added salt. 
Today I made the soup! First I diced some carrots and onion cooking them slowly in the oil until the onions were soft and transparent.
 I then added the stock and cooked it at a slow simmer for 30 minutes. Then added the frozen meatballs. Once it had come back to a simmer, I let it cook for another 20 minutes.

When the meatballs were cooked, I added the spinach. I used frozen as I had some in the freezer, however I think a nice fresh bunch of spinach or escarole would be wonderful.

I added the pasta at the same time. I used bow ties as I could not find those cool little pasta balls that some restaurants have. I thought about heading out to an Italian market in Vancouver, but the traffic to get to the local store was awful and though of trying to get into Vancouver, well, lets say, I bought tiny bow ties. 

The soup definitely needs salt to bring out the flavors, and once I added some, I must say it was delicious! And I added some grated Parmesan cheese. A nice slice of artisan onion bread for dunking rounded out a most excellent supper!

This soup is pretty simple to make. With frozen meatballs and spinach, and chicken stock from the store, this soup could be on the table in an hour!. I will definitely make this again. 

In the picture there is the Italian Wedding and Hearty Vegetable (which I made at the same time) both of which my sister and brother-in-law will get at our Mother's Day Feast tomorrow!
Now here's the recipe:

Italian Wedding Soup


  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef  (or pork or turkey or chicken or sausage meat)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 5 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped escarole or 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup pasta uncooked
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • grated parmesan cheese


  1. In medium bowl combine, meat, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil and onion powder; shape into balls.( I made mine about ½ teaspoon in size, but it is your preference).
  2. In large sauce pan, add the carrot, onion, garlic and oil.
  3. Cook until the onions are soft and transparent.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes; add meatballs and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Return to boil; add spinach and pasta, reduce heat to medium.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  7. Stir frequently to avoid sticking.
  8. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
 Oh, when I did the nutritional info, I did it for 1 cup servings! There are 2 cups in my bowl.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Roasted Mushroom and Asparagus Lasagna

I have been ill and cooking has not been top of my list. I have been opening cans, nuking frozen food and buying fast food...lazing around in my chair and not exercising.
I've gained weight. I noticed on Friday, when I put on my jeans.

I had started doing daily walks again this week, and doing my cardio exercise regime in the morning, but 7 weeks of nothing has really taken its toll.

One of the things I like to do, is cook and slice and dice on weekends for the next week. And today I stopped at the farm market to prepare for next week.
The fresh asparagus has started to come in and I found a recipe I just had to try.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Lasagna

The Veggies

Tossing the vegetables with oil.

Veggies after roasting.
I roasted the extra asparagus for snacking.

Building the lasagna, white sauce, half the roasted veggies and tomatoes.

Top layer – last third of the white sauce.

Topped with grated cheese and some of the roasted tomatoes.

The lasagna when it comes out of the oven.

Ready to eat!!

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 45 min. + standing YIELD:9 servings
  • 1 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 ½ cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon Paprika (I used smoky)
  • Dash ground cloves
  • 1-cup milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • ½ cup  shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼  cup grated cheese (for the top of the lasagna)
1.       Place halved tomatoes on a foil lined cookie sheet. Then place asparagus, onions and mushrooms in a shallow roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 15 - 20 minutes or until vegetables are browned; set aside. Reduce heat to 350°.
2.       In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and cloves until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the cottage cheese.  Set aside.
3.       In a 9-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer noodles, half of the asparagus mixture, a third of the white sauce. Repeat layer, then top with a layer of noodles. Add last 1/3 of white sauce and top with last third of the white sauce.
4.       Cover and bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 9 servings.

Nutritional Facts
1 piece (prepared with reduced-fat butter, fat-free milk and part-skim cheeses) 216 calories.

This was fabulous!!! 

I WILL make this again, but next time I think I will double the veggies and perhaps use green onions instead of red and Assiago cheese. I might add some grated cheese between the layers too. 
Oh Yes, I had a glass of a lovely Pinot Gris with it -- it was a wonderful supper and will be a great lunch next week. 
And I will tell you how it freezes as there is enough for 3 more meals.