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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Cold Soup Recipes For Refreshing Meal

The Cool Cucumber

What you need:

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/3 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped dill
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint

In a large bowl, mix together cucumber, garlic, vegetable broth, yogurt and sour cream. Blend ingredients together until smooth using an immersion blender. Add dill and mint to the mixture and blend again. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until soup is chilled.

Beet the Heat

What you need:

  • 2 cups sliced beets
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Combine beets, cucumber, onions, buttermilk, vinegar, dill and salt in a large bowl. Stir to mix ingredients well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.

Coco Citrus Cold Carrot Soup

What you need:

  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil then cook 1 tablespoon cilantro, chili paste and cumin for 1 minute. Stir in onion, garlic and ginger and cook until onion is tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes to the pot and cook for 5 minutes more. Add coconut milk and vegetable broth to the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Lower heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove soup from heat then stir in lime juice. Puree the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer soup to a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with remaining cilantro before serving.

Vegetarian Lunch Box Ideas

Sandwiches and rolls

Sandwiches are such an easy choice. However it doesn’t have to be cheese and tomato sandwiched between two slices of white bread. There are many, many ways you can make this simple option more interesting. Begin by varying the bread you use. There are an abundance of different breads out there these days. Think wholegrain, rye, spelt, pumpernickel, sourdough – to name just a few. Furthermore, it doesn’t just have to be sliced bread. You can have rolls, baguettes, pitas, wraps and all the different variations that come from these options.

Now to choose your filling. Mix and match to make some tasty combinations. There’s cheese and all its varieties – including cream cheese and spreadable cheese. Don’t forget cheeses such as halloumi and feta, which work so well in wraps and pitas. Then there’s egg – mash or slice, add some curry powder or mustard, or just salt and pepper. Beans and chickpeas go really well – you can mash them up for a roll or sandwich or keep whole for pitas and wraps. Cannellini or butter beans are great as you can mash them up and then add herbs or spices to transform them. You can pad out your sandwich with your favourite vegetables – salad leaves, grated carrot, sliced tomato, corn kernels. Things like broccoli and cauliflower go well in wraps – raw or roasted. If you like, you can finish off your sandwich with some relish or mayonnaise.

Salads

A salad is not just some lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Really it is a combination of ingredients, mixed together to make something delicious and perfect for your lunch box. To make your lunches more filling you could add a base to your salad. Things like couscous, bulghar wheat, pasta, brown rice and quinoa are good options. Couscous is a great option as it is so quick to prepare. Whilst your base is cooking you can prepare the rest of your salad.

Add whatever vegetables you fancy. Onion (whether, spring, brown, red or even pickled), baby kale, spinach, cherry tomatoes, carrot, broccoli, avocado, rocket are some options. You can add them raw or roast or fry them if you like. Your vegetables can also come from a tin or jar. Things like artichoke hearts, olives, capers and sundried tomatoes work really well and their flavour goes a long way. You can even add some nuts – I love toasted pine nuts, but cashews and almonds are good or just whatever takes your fancy. Don’t forget beans – just rinse and drain and stir them in.

To enhance your salad further, make a simple dressing. Simply combine extra virgin olive oil with your choice of vinegar or lemon juice (or lime). For a salad for two, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of vinegar is the quantities you need. You can add spices and herbs, even mustard if you choose. Then stir the dressing into the salad.

Spreads and dips

This is a fun way of eating lunch. Add some crispbread or similar to your lunch box, pop some spread in a container, remember a knife and you’re good to go. Instead of crispbread, you could always make up some polenta. Cook the polenta, pop into a pan and leave it to firm up. Slice it up and serve with your choice of spread or topping. Alternatively you can cut the polenta into fingers and serve them with a dip. Try cutting up some raw vegetables such as carrot and bell pepper. These are perfect with dips along with button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and radishes.

What works as a dip generally also works well as a spread. Cream cheese is a good choice and can be enhanced with herbs, spices, mustard. I like to blitz up chargrilled peppers and mix them into the cream cheese. You can also blitz up beetroot, artichoke hearts, any type of canned bean or chickpeas. Try adding horseradish sauce and some blue cheese to beetroot – it’s lovely. Raid your pantry and don’t be afraid to experiment.

To add even more variety to your lunch you could add a hard boiled egg, some cubes of cheese, raw nuts, olives, sundried tomatoes or pickles. Grapes also go well, as does dried fruit.

Pepperoni Casserole

You can eat it by itself or add some meat to it to create a meal. I needed a meal idea and had several boxes of macaroni noodles. Since my daughter has a love thing for pepperoni, I came up with the idea of baked pepperoni casserole. Here’s my daughter inspired meal for you to try.

Ingredients

1 lb bag/box of elbow macaroni

1 package of sliced pepperoni

1 onion

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 can black olives

1 8 oz package of mozzarella cheese

¼ cup parmesan cheese

Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions or until al dente which is firm. Please do not overcook noodles in water since you will put the pasta in the oven to cook. Drain the noodles and add in a casserole dish. Chop up the onion and add to a skillet with the olive oil to sauté for a few minutes then put in the casserole dish. Drain the can of olives and add to the casserole. Add the entire package of pepperoni. Use your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce or you can make a homemade sauce if you choose. I like the brand Ragu. Add the spaghetti sauce to the pepperoni casserole. Mix in half the package of cheese to the dish and mix well. Use the rest of the cheese to sprinkle all over the top of the casserole. Then sprinkle the parmesan cheese over of the dish. Add the casserole to a 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes or until nice and bubbly. Remove from oven and serve with buttered garlic toast.

Buttered Garlic toast

4 slices of Texas toast

½ stick butter (room temperature)

4 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Macaroni Shells

Anyway, it’s simple to make, and all it requires you to do is boil macaroni and cut up some cheese. That isn’t so hard to do, is it? I mean you can always buy the box kind with the orange powder or the orange glob of cheese that is full of additives and salt. If you have a lot of it left over from the holidays, you can add hotdogs or polish sausage to it for the kiddo’s lunch entrée.

Ingredients

1 package of elbow macaroni or shells

1 package of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of diced Velveeta cheese cubes

1 egg

4 Tbsp butter

½ cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. I add salt to the water and 1 Tbsp butter. Don’t over cook the pasta since you are going to bake it in the oven. Cook macaroni until it is al dente which is firm. Over cooked pasta has a higher glycemic index than firm pasta. Drain the pasta but don’t rinse. The salt and butter from the water has seasoned your pasta. Put the macaroni in a casserole dish and add the rest of the butter to the pasta. I sometimes make a cheese sauce with milk and Velveeta cheese in a sauce pan or add the cubed cheese to the macaroni and pour the milk over the pasta. If you make the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a saucepan and add the cheese cubes and cook until melted then pour over macaroni shells. I then add half the package of shredded cheese and mix it into the shells. Afterwards, I beat an egg with a which. Add the egg to the pasta dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the macaroni. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and take off the lid and bake for an extra 10-15 minutes until it is bubbly.