Healthy New England Clam Chowder with Cauliflower

Happy New Year! When I made the Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower soup recently, my son and I decided that the same base would probably be really good as a clam chowder, and I could even make it completely dairy-free for those who prefer that. I love New England style clam chowder but it traditionally has a lot of milk and cream and butter…so I have not made it in many years and I am not inclined to order it in a restaurant because it is usually loaded with even more butter and cream than I would make at home. I am not lactose-intolerant, but I think that my morning latte and some cheese is enough dairy for me each day.  This soup turned out rich and creamy without any dairy! I am so amazed at what one can do with cauliflower, so my cauliflower obsession continues along with my squash obsession (check out this amazing Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash recipe from Skinnytaste – I can’t get enough of this — crispy like a high-quality french fry but so much better for you!).  I am giving Cooking Light credit for inspiring me to create this soup from their cauliflower soup. Let me know what you think!

Healthy New England Clam Chowder with Cauliflower

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and still very healthy cauliflower-based clam chowder soup.

Credit:  Inspired by Cooking Light

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb  (white bulb only), chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 large cauliflower, florets and stems chopped
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable stock (or chicken stock/broth)
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • kosher salt to taste (the clam broth will have salt, so taste before salting)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 16 ounce package of frozen clams, shelled
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fennel fronds to garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pot and heat. When oil is hot, add onion, fennel, thyme, and garlic to the pot and stir often until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock or broth, clam juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Ladle about 80% of the soup (liquid and vegetables) into a blender, add the miso and puree until smooth and creamy. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot liquid while blending (put a towel over the blender lid).
  3. Return the blended mixture to the pot. Add clams cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with fennel fronds. Enjoy!

Note:  I used vegetable stock, but it made the soup a brownish-color, if you want it to be a more traditionally white chowder try using chicken stock instead.

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Onion, fennel, thyme, and garlic

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https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 15, 2019

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Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower Soup

Wow, this was really good. I ate it for dinner on Sunday and have enjoyed the leftovers for the last two days for lunch. I feel like we have been eating more meat than I prefer to eat so I was looking for a vegetarian dish (ok, it has bacon, so almost vegetarian is what I ended up with). I found this on Cookinglight.com and my son and I really liked it! Ok, he liked it as long as I added extra cheese and bacon to his… but hey, he is a growing teen! I love how the soup has a very rich and silky mouthfeel, with only a small amount of added half and half (I am considering leaving the half and half out next time and adding greek yogurt instead?). I give all the credit to Cooking Light, I cooked it pretty much as written. Enjoy!

Loaded Baked Potato-Style Cauliflower Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and still very healthy cauliflower soup with a bit of crispy bacon and cheddar cheese to make it seem decadent

Ingredients

  • 4 thick applewood bacon slices
  • 1 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, florets and stems chopped
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1 teaspoon (or to taste) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • About 1/4 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place bacon strips on baking sheet and cook until crispy, about 15 minutes. Drain grease thoroughly on paper towels. When cool chop into small crumbles. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on Medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pot and heat. Add Leek, celery and garlic to the pot and stir often until tender, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover ad reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the majority of the vegetables and liquid to a blender and blend with half and half and blend until smooth. Be careful not to burn your self on the hot liquid while blending (put a towel over the blender lid).
  5. Return the blended mixture to the pot. Cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cheese, bacon and chives. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 23, 2018

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Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Oh my gosh! This was so good. I have to give all the credit to Elena at HappyKitchen.Rocks! I followed her recipe with a few adjustments: I used canned pumpkin, as this was a last minute dinner idea and I happened to have canned organic pumpkin in my pantry (but not a whole sugar pumpkin lying around!), I added a half a chopped leek, just one large clove of garlic, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano instead of the chopped walnuts, chicken stock instead of vegetable broth and left off the pumpkin oil (no idea where that would come from?).  If you want to keep it vegan use the chopped walnuts instead of cheese and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. My son made some homemade pumpkin spaghetti with his pasta machine, substituting a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree for the usual water and oil he would put in the dough. It was soooo good! I had most of mine with some leftover frozen spaghetti squash I had in the freezer, but I had to try the pasta as well. I wasn’t sure I was going to post this, so I am lacking in pictures, next time I make it I will update with more pictures.  I think this is the beginning of my usual Fall Pumpkin Crush (I made pumpkin granola yesterday)…

Healthy Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Rich, creamy and very healthy pasta (or vegetable noodles) with sautéed mushrooms and spinach topped with a savory pumpkin sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can organic pumpkin (make sure nothing else is added, especially sugar as this is a savory dish, not pie). Or a small sugar pumpkin, roasted and puréed.
  • about 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer to make this vegan). The amount may vary a bit.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • Fresh pasta of choice or spaghetti squash
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnishing (unless making it vegan – then try chopped walnuts or toasted pine nuts or nutritional yeast).

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast until soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Add the spinach for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  3. While the mushrooms cook, sauté the leeks and garlic for a few minutes or until they soften and become fragrant. Add pumpkin puree and small amounts of the chicken stock, until it is thinner than a soup, but still thick enough to grab onto your pasta. Cook over very low heat, stir frequently, and periodically add stock as it thickens while you cook it. Season with salt, pepper and sage.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions (or vegetable “noodles”). Drain.
  5. Mix noodles with spinach, mushrooms and sauce. Serve in bowls with freshly grated parmesan and enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 22, 2018

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The finished pumpkin sauce (leftovers).

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Farro with Roasted Mushrooms, Corn and Cauliflower

I don’t post many side dishes but I thought this one was interesting. I made salmon yesterday and was trying to come up with a different side that my whole family would eat and that was healthy. My teenage son will eat salad, but he always complains and I often serve salmon with a salad and rice, so I combined my vegetables with farro, a healthy whole grain. The result was pretty good. I think tomorrow I will eat the farro vegetable mix by itself with some added spinach and melted cheese for lunch!

Farro with Roasted Mushrooms, Corn and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy and Delicious Autumn Side Dish

Ingredients

Farro:

  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 3 cups water
  • salt

Vegetables:

  • About 2 cups of thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (today I used 8 shiitakes and 4 big white button mushrooms)
  • 1 small shallot thinly sliced
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced off the cob
  • 1 cup cauliflower, cut into small pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. While oven is heating boil water in a medium pot. Add salt if desired.
  3. When water boils add farro and boil for 20 minutes, or until farro is soft, but firm in the middle, al dente (like pasta).
  4. While farro cooks, spread mushrooms and shallots on a large baking pan. Drizzle olive oil and toss the vegetables. Add salt, pepper, oregano and thyme to the vegetables. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
  5. Add the cauliflower with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast another 15 minutes or until vegetable are soft and slightly browned.
  6. Drain farro.
  7. In a large bowl combine farro with all the cooked vegetables. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    October 17, 2018

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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

I am obsessed with spaghetti squash. I forgot about it all summer, but now I am seeing it on the grocery shelves and I had to buy one this week. It is just my “pastaterian” (I made that up, or a friend did, meaning he would only eat pasta if I let him) son and I for dinner tonight, and I decided I would make a big pot of vegetable ragu and add ground beef to a portion of the ragu to make it Bolognese-like for him.  This way everyone is happy with little extra effort. This provided plenty of leftover sauce to freeze for later use.

Part of  my obsession with spaghetti squash is that when cooked it really shreds like spaghetti! On top of that it is healthy – one cup is only 42 calories, it has fiber, vitamin A, several B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, E and K.  This is pretty much the same recipe as Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Vegetable Ragu but I am making it a separate recipe so people can find it easily. Basically the difference is baking the dish in the squash shells and topping with mozzarella cheese versus with this recipe I scoop out all the spaghetti squash and serve it like a pasta with sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

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Amazing how it shreds like spaghetti!

Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu

  • Servings: variable
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Fun and healthy twist on spaghetti with a vegetarian pasta sauce using spaghetti squash and a hearty vegetable ragu.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into a small dice
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
  • 24 oz. can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (or fresh if it is available)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Squash Preparation:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (or more if you are feeding more than 2 or 3 people)
  • olive oil (spray if available)
  • salt and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Carefully slice the squash in half from top to bottom.  Remove the seeds with a spoon by scooping them out and lightly scraping the inside of the squash to get it completely seed-free.
  3. Spray or rub a little olive oil on the inside of the squash and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until tender and slightly golden on the cut sides.
  4. While the squash cooks, prep the vegetables and make the sauce by heating some olive oil in a dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat.
  5. Sauté the onions for a few minutes, then add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and chopped bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs and a little more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes if desired. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible so the sauce gets thick.
  7. When the squash is tender remove it from the oven and let cool slightly.
  8. Run the fork along on the inside so it divides up like spaghetti and put in a bowl. Discard the squash “skin.”
  9. Serve squash strands with the vegetable ragu and a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

Notes: 

  • You can slice the very top and bottom of the squash to make it easier and safer before cutting it in half, or you can microwave the squash for a minute or two (poke a hole in the squash first) to soften it slightly before cutting.
  • You can save time by using jarred pasta sauce, but I think that the sauce plays a very important role here, so I prefer to make my own. This recipe actually makes much more sauce than you will need, so I freeze the rest for another use. Make once and eat many more times! I put mine on homemade pizza the next day!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 26, 2018

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Scooping seeds out of raw squash
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Shredding the cooked squash
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Prepping the vegetables for the ragu
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Sautéing the vegetables
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Finished Vegetarian Ragu
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Ragu with meat added
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Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragu
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Pasta with Beef Ragu

 

Whole Wheat Dutch Baby

This is an Oldie-but-Goodie! I modified this from an old Cooking Light recipe that I have been making since my first child was a toddler. Both of my kids loved breakfast (“the most important meal of the day”) as kids, so I was always trying to come up with new healthy ideas. This one is pretty fast and easy, and I top it with whatever fresh fruit is seasonal at the time. Note that the pancake will puff up a lot around the perimeter while it is cooking and quickly deflate once removed from the oven. Never fear, it is still custardy and crispy in spots and delicious even when deflated, and so much easier than standing over the stove for a long time flipping little pancakes!!!

Whole Wheat Dutch Baby

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy whole wheat baked pancake with seasonal fresh fruit toppings.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup non-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  •  2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a whisk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • fresh fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Cooking spray

Procedure

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F., Put a 9″ cast iron skillet into the oven to heat it up while oven warming to temperature.
  2.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl  and mix well.
  3. Once oven has come to temperature, coat the hot pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into hot pan and put back into oven.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly browned and cooked through. The sides should rise considerably and look fluffy. Remove from oven.
  5. Spread fresh fruit on pancake (today I used fresh strawberries on one half and fresh figs on the other, just to please everyone).
  6. Cut into 4 pieces and serve hot. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com                September 25, 2018

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Vegetable and Beef Stir-fry

I have made this a couple of times and it has been really simple, tasty and well-liked in my family. I tweaked it a little, but all credit goes to Katie Webster and Healthy Seasonal Recipes. This is a great weekday recipe and would taste great with a variety of vegetables. Today I used broccoli, bell peppers and mushrooms. A major ingredient I left out from the original is Chinese five spice, I tried it the first time I made it and it was not really a taste I loved. We all ate it but liked it more without it.

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Vegetable and Beef Stir-Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Quick and delicious weeknight stir-fry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound grass-fed beef (flat-iron, sirloin, tenderloin) cut into thin bite-sized strips
  • coarse kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • safflower or other light oil
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 large mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I served this on the side for those who wanted it)

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Procedure

  1. Sprinkle the cut beef with a little salt and a few generous turns of the pepper mill and stir to evenly distribute.
  2. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar and corn starch in a small bowl.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat with a little oil. Add the beef in a single layer and allow it to sear until browned on one side, 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Turn the beef and sear another minute on that side. Transfer the beef and any juices to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  4. Add a little more oil if needed. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and peppers and stir-fry for a few minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes more, until it is crisp-tender.
  5. Add the reserved cooked beef and the juices.
  6. Give the corn starch slurry a quick whisk and add to the pan while stirring. Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the beef and vegetables, just a minute or two.
  7. Serve immediately with rice. Enjoy!

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https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    September 20, 2018

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

Today was a nice warm Spring day here in the Bay Area, so I thought a watermelon salad would be nice for dinner. I love watermelon and feta, although I did consider using grilled Halloumi cheese instead, but went with feta since it is a lot more economical, but I may try it next time with the Halloumi. Next was some protein to make it a complete meal in my husband’s eyes, started with chicken, but switched to shrimp to make all family members happy as my son currently is not loving chicken. I also think the salad would be good with some cherry tomatoes, but alas, my market only had small tomatoes that were a very under-ripe light red color, so I left them out. But if you have access to good vine-ripened tomatoes, include them.  Enjoy with a glass of cold Rosé from Provence!

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Salad with Feta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
  • Print

Light and refreshing Spring/Summer Salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon light honey
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus a Tablespoon more for the shrimp)
  • 2 Tablespoons raw pinenuts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 1/2 small seedless watermelon)
  • 1 large head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
  • About 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade mint (cut in fine shreds)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl mix 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.  Add the raw shrimp and let soak for 15 minutes to 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  3. While the shrimp brines, whisk in a small bowl, the vinegar, miso, and honey. Gradually whisk in the oil. Set aside.
  4. Roast the pine nuts for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Remove Shrimp from brine and drain completely. Coat shrimp with a mixture of olive oil, garlic and pepper. Grill or Broil shrimp for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
  6. Place about a cup of torn lettuce on each plate. Add cut watermelon, grilled shrimp, a sprinkle of feta, a sprinkle of pine nuts and pour some dressing over the salad. Garnish with chopped mint. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

June 11, 2018

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Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

Hello Spring! Here in the SF Bay Area it finally feels like spring. The weather has been wacky, felt more like fall than spring recently, but the last two days have been beautiful and warm (ok, less warm today…but I made this yesterday) so I decided to make a salad with fresh bing cherries, tomatoes, avocados and pistachios. It turned out to be a really nice and substantial salad for dinner.

Spring Cherry Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Healthy spring/summer salad.

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1 thick slice of bacon (I used applewood smoked bacon)
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, quartered
  • 1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
  • 12 ounces Mixed Baby lettuce or Romaine lettuce, torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 3 white button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, small crumbles

 

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Procedure

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon slice in the oven at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until desired crispiness is achieved. Remove from oven, pat off as much grease as you can and mince.
  3. While bacon cooks, lightly toast pistachios in the same oven. Approximately 5-8 minutes, careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
  4. Wash and pit the cherries. Slice them in quarters.
  5. Slice the mushrooms thinly
  6. Halve or quarter the tomatoes.
  7. Chop the feta.
  8. Chop the pistachios.
  9. Fill the large salad bowl with lettuce, then add mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, cherries, feta, and pistachios.  Serve the dressing on the side.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

May 10, 2017

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Roasted pistachios

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Miso Soup + Dashi

Now with pictures!

Healthy Seasonal Cooking

Tonight my daughter and I made miso soup with homemade dashi. Usually when we make miso soup we cheat and just use some store-bought chicken or vegetable broth and add miso, figuring it was good enough, but wow, this was so much better! There is so much complexity to this soup now that it has the smell of the ocean from the kombu and bonito flakes and the salty/savory flavor from the miso. So Delicious! The added bonus is that we don’t feel like we just ate a salt bomb as we often do after eating miso soup at a restaurant.  I think the sodium levels are pretty moderate in this version. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures, so will have to add them next time I make this.

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IMG_4892 Dashi and vegetables before adding the miso mixture

IMG_4893 Mixing in the miso.

IMG_4894 Spoonful of umami heaven!

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