Thursday, September 18, 2008

A New Twist on an Old Classic

Lately, I haven't been feeling well, and we've been busy, so I've been somewhat neglecting my cooking. I felt a little better today and decided to make soup and sandwiches, two of E's favrites, to make up for neglecting him. I wanted to make something a little different, so I decided to use some no-beef bouillon for some richness and make a cross between a vegetable and a minestrone. This way, the soup is filling, high in fiber and protein (from the beans and the kale) and low in fat and sodium.

I used no-beef bouillon because E's a strict vegetarian - feel free to use stock instead of the water and bouillon, or change up the cubes for whatever you like. Whenever possible, I use organic - here, the beans, bouillon and carrots are organic. I also try to use low or no sodium products, so that I can control the flavor. To make a really delicious soup all year round, try freezing your vegetables. When produce is really good, I buy some extra and freeze it, like the zucchini here. Because the only 'fresh' items are the carrots, kale and celery, this is a really easy meal to throw together, and very filling.

Chock Full O'Veggies Soup
makes 12 cups, or 6 servings
  • 11 cups of cold water
  • 4 Not-Beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 14.5 oz can of peeled and petite diced tomatoes, salt free
  • 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, drained
  • 1 7 oz. can of mushrooms (pieces and stems), salt free, drained
  • 3 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups 3 pepper and onion blend (frozen onions and green, red and yellow peppers)
  • 5 cups kale
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
the ingredients for the soup
missing is the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. You'll notice a bag of Quinoa on the right side behind the tomatoes - I decided at the last minute to substitute it for the kidney beans.

To make my life a little simpler, I prep my ingredients ahead of time, grouping together the items that will be added at the same time.
the carrots and frozen onion, peppers and zucchini

the kidney beans, mushrooms and celery

1- Pour all of the water into a pot, and bring up to a rolling boil

2- Once water is boiling, throw in the bouillon cubes and let them dissolve

the broth

3- Add in the carrots, onions, peppers and zucchini and simmer 5-6 minutes.

4- Add in the tomatoes and spices, and simmer for about 20 minutes.


5- Add in the beans, half of which slightly smashed, along with the celery and mushrooms.

6- Simmer for another 30 minutes, and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.


7- Add in the kale, reduce heat to a medium-low, and lightly simmer for 10 minutes.

8- Serve!


This grilled cheese is amazing. It can definitely be customized to your tastes, but the elements here make a sandwich that is really flavourful. The tomatoes and basil add a nice savoriness, the mustard has a kick to it, and the cheese is very melty and luscious. The combination should be tried at least once!

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese
makes 2 servings
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 dashes hot sauce (we like Cholula)
  • 2 slices Muenster cheese
  • 4 slices bread (I used Ezekiel, which is an organic flourless sprouted grain bread)

Normally, we eat fat free mayonnaise. I had some real mayonnaise left over from the potato salad I made for my nephew's birthday party, so I decided to use that instead. I don't know that a lower fat version would work as well, but it might be worth a try. Also, the sun dried tomatoes were a real find - they're dry-packed, so no oil to deal with, and they're julienned, so it's a breeze to use them in any recipe.

1- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce.

2- Add in the chopped sun dried tomatoes, combine and taste.

3- Snip off three leaves from the basil plant your loving hubby bought you, and do a chiffonade (roll the leaves together, and slice across, giving you thin strips of basil)


4- Stir in the basil, along with the mozzarella.

5- Spread the mixture on two slices of bread. Add on one slice of Muenster to each, then top each with another slice of bread.

6- Grill on a panini press for 5 minutes, and serve.


Sit down with your loved ones and enjoy a simply delicious and comforting meal


I really loved this meal! It was hearty and homey, and it was nice to be able to make a dinner that E and I can completely share. The soup is really filling, and the sandwich, both light and luscious, complemented it well. Also, this is a meal that's loaded with vegetables and healthy proteins, so you can feel good about serving it to your family. Easy to make, and anything but boring, I could easily eat this every day, as could E - this is definitely a new twist on an old family favourite!

Now that it's getting cooler inside, this type of dinner is one we'll be eating often. You should try it as well! It was really nice to be able to get rid of some of the freezer veggies in the soup, although you can definitely use fresh if you have it (just increase the cooking time). I'm sending this over to Joelen, and entering it in her Family Favourites Adventure. I'm also sending this to Mele Cotte for her Deep Freeze Summer Challenge 2.

What are some of your family favourites?

2 comments:

Chris said...

Carly, Yum!!!!! This is a great way to use veggies. Thanks for including it in the round up, which should be up sometime today...got a little behind. :)

jesstyler said...

This looks amazing! I love soups that are chock full of veggies. And that sandwich ... YUM!