Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder

It’s a new year. Simply Healthy Cooking with Pam has been going strong since December 30, 2009. I cannot believe that I passed the 4 year mark. Lots of changes and learned so much about food. I have been slowly changing my food diet to reflect more vegetarian / vegan recipes. I am experimenting with different kinds of soups this month. I have a cookbook I use frequently called “The Big Book of Vegetarian” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. This book has lots of good recipes that are very filling and hearty. I highly recommend it. This soup is really creamy without any dairy use at all. Everything in this soup is vegetable. This soup is amazing when all ingredients are summer fresh straight from the garden or farmer’s market. I tweaked the original recipe to the ingredients I had on hand. Enjoy.

Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder, created on January 6, 2013

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Click on image to see a larger photo


2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled and diced)
2 large organic carrots (peeled and diced)
2 large stalks of organic celery (diced)
1 medium Vidalia onion (chopped)
4 green onions (minced green and white parts) (Original recipe calls for 1 leek (white part only)
2 cups of organic corn, or 4 medium corn on the cob – kernels cut from the cob
5 cups of organic vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, warm the oil or vegetable broth and add the carrots, celery, onion, green onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir often.

Add the corn, potatoes, broth, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the vegetable broth has reduced to just barely covering the cooked vegetables. Add the chopped fresh dill.

Ladle the soup to a blender or food processor in batches, be careful when process because the soup is very hot and can spurt up from top of blender or food processor. Process the soup until desired consistency but has some chunks of vegetables. Return to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper.

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Pre-New Year’s Day Green Salad

Sometimes there are traditions that we become die-hard fans and follow so faithfully year after year. Mine is black-eyed peas (for luck) and rice, a green salad or “green” something for money, and of course the latest we have adopted is no laundry on New Year’s Day because it is bad luck. My year 2011 was an interesting and unexpected year with a huge loss and some life and career changes. I said I would not mention any resolutions for 2012 but I have that hopeful seed of anticipation. Hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do. Happy New Year!

Pam’s Pre-New Year’s Green Salad
Created on 12/31/11

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Salad Ingredients
Romaine lettuce enough for 1 or 2 servings
1 granny smith apple, cleaned, cored, and sliced thin
1 Avocado, seeded, and cubed
6 oz of smoked turkey or ham (you can omit this if vegan or vegetarian), chop into bite size pieces
2 celery stalks chopped
1 cucumber halved and diced (remove the seeds with a spoon)
½ cup of fresh parsley minced fine (adjust the herb to the way you like it)
¼ cup of green onions minced fine

Vinaigrette
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of pepper
1 tsp of Stevia or honey
½ juice from fresh lemon
¼ cup of canola oil or a light oil

Prep all the ingredients for the salad, wash the lettuce and chop into bite size pieces. Slice granny smith apple into matchstick pieces and put into a bowl with cold water to prevent browning. Cut avocado in half and remove the seed. Then slice and cube the avocado. Cut cucumber in half and then remove the seeds with a spoon, then dice. Mince fresh parsley and green onion using white and green parts of the onion. Chop into bite size pieces 2 stalks of celery. Put all the ingredients in a glass bowl and add the apples after draining and pat dry.

Mix with a wire whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small glass bowl well until foamy. Add the vinaigrette to the prepped salad ingredients and toss well. Serve with whole grain bread.

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Another time when I made this salad, I added toasted coarsely chopped Almonds. This gave the salad a different texture and flavor.

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Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Cornbread I love. I like it with my vegetarian chili, sweet potato black bean hash, and in my cornbread sausage stuffing. Sometimes, I like a different flavor to the carb-loaded table at Thanksgiving time and this stuffing just hits the flavors all the way around and compliments all the other dishes such as the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and the gravy. I have made many different recipes using spicy sausage, Italian sausage, sausage in the butcher’s market but I think the Bob Evans Natural Sausage is perfect with this. What is nice is that there are no preservatives or MSG in this sausage which is what I prefer in all meats. The stuffing is full of flavor with minimal ingredients. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did on Thanksgiving Day.

Pam’s Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Created on 11/24/11

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Prep:

Make the cornbread the day before. Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole dish and set aside. I got this recipe from All Recipes on the internet, and tweaked it to my version. I have made it both ways and for the stuffing, this recipe is perfect. I also made this recipe with coconut milk and the bread came out really good.

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow or white cornmeal

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup honey

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Then mix all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine the dry to the wet ingredients and mix until just all coated. Pour into the greased dish and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until a butter knife comes out clean. When the cornbread is cool, cut into 1” squares and put in a glass bowl. Cover and let set until ready to make the stuffing.

Day of to make the Sausage Stuffing:

Toasted Corn Bread Cubes

To do this: I put the 1” cubes on a cookie tray or stoneware and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the cubes are toasted. This helps to prevent the stuffing from becoming soggy and I think it gives more flavor to the stuffing with that toasted-roasted kind of flavor. Remove from the oven and put in a large bowl.

While the cornbread is toasting in the oven, prepare the sausage filling

1 lb of Bob Evans Naturally Sausage (crumbled up) You can also substitute your favorite turkey sausage

4 celery stalks, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

About 1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper

2 to 3 cups of chicken broth (depends on the consistency of the dressing)

Cook tip: Always start out small and slowly add the liquid, you can always add but cannot take out the liquid if it is too much for the stuffing

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the celery, onion, garlic mixture. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the celery and onion is soft and caramelized. Add the crumbled sausage. Crumble the sausage with your fingers or just put the whole thing in there and break up the meat with your spoon. Cook until the sausage is fully cooked. Season the filling with salt and pepper.

In the large bowl where the toasted corn bread cubes are, add the filling and kind of mix and break apart the bread and filling. Add the chicken broth ½ cup at a time until you reach the moistness desired. Remember you don’t want the stuffing to be soggy but at the same time when you squeeze the stuffing together with your fingers it should somewhat hold a shape and crumble at the same time lightly.

Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until the top is crunchy and browned. Serve with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

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Peasant Soup

The weather has changed to cool fall weather. I have been doing a lot of research on different kinds of soups. I am slowly changing my diet to reflect more of a vegetarian way of eating because I am noticing that I am not as tired and do not have heartburn or digestive problems when I eat vegetarian. I still do love meat and cheese I hope that as I change more to a much healthier diet I will not crave meat, eggs and cheese so much. I think this will be a work in progress. I did some research on Peasant Soup and found meat, vegetarian, and vegan ways appealing so I combined many resources and created my own. I think with the research I did, I discovered that everyone has their own version of vegetables, meats and spices. I would like to say I have adapted a really good vegan recipe. Next time I will add carrots to the soup. The smells in the apartment were heavenly and the soup came out really hearty, loaded with flavor, and very filling. Enjoy!

Pam’s Peasant Soup
Created on November 2, 2011

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1 small bag 12 oz of Lentils rinsed and picked over well check for stones, twigs, etc.

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can omit for those that do not use oil)

(2) 15 oz cans Muir Glenn diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon Caraway seed (I like the flavor – you can omit, decrease or increase)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil (I imagine fresh would be more potent and flavorful)

2 bay leaves

8 cups of water

3 teaspoons of “Better than Bouillon” Vegetable based, or if you have homemade vegetable stock use that

1 medium onion, chopped

1-1/2 cup of chopped celery (about 4 stalks)

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

(10) Oz package of organic baby spinach

5 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and chopped

2 cups of finely sliced cabbage

Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

 In a stockpot, heat up the olive oil on medium high heat and add the chopped onions and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes till onions become soft and somewhat brown. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute or so. Do not let the garlic burn as it will make the recipe taste funny. Add the caraway seed, thyme, and basil to the onion/celery/garlic mixture.

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Cook for about another minute stirring often. Add the water, bouillon, bay leaves, tomatoes, lentils, and potatoes to the stockpot. Stir and let come to a boil. Then turn down to heat to simmer and cook for about an hour or until the potatoes are soft.  Add the cabbage the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and add the baby spinach. Cover and the steam will wilt the spinach after about a couple of minutes. Stir again and season with salt and pepper. 

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Serve with whole grain or rye crusty bread.

 Note: For the meat lovers, need to remove the Caraway Seed (optional) and add a type of sausage or cubed chicken breasts to the soup. Just remember if using linked sausage of any kind, remove the casing. I am sure the flavors will change when adding a protein to the soup. The results will probably be the same – delicious, filling and hearty.

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Diane’s Famous Spinach Salad

Diane’s Famous Spinach Salad
Created 06/11/08

Dressing:
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Couple grinds of fresh cracked pepper
10 drops of Tabasco sauce – do not deviate from this – it makes the dressing

Salad:
About 1/2 cup to 1 cup sliced Almonds
1 large can of Mandarin Oranges drained
1/2 sweet onion sliced very thin
4-5 stalks of Celery chopped
1 package of baby spinach organic
1 package romaine lettuce organic

Put sliced almonds in saute pan with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar (not the sugar used for the dressing this is additional sugar). Over medium high heat continuously stir almonds with sugar for about 10 to 15 minutes until all the sugar has evaporated and coated the almonds. Almost like a crystallized effect on the almonds. Remove from the heat and spread the almonds single layer onto parchment paper until cooled.

In large bowl, put baby spinach and romaine lettuce in bowl. Or you can just use one or the other, I think it gives a great salad using both. Sprinkle mandarin oranges on top, onions, celery.

Prior to serving sprinkle almonds on top of salad, and pour dressing toss well and serve.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT THE RECIPE

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