Minestrone Soup, My Way

This is a twist on the other minestrone soup recipe that I posted, Aunt Carole’s Garden Fresh Minestrone, which is more of a classic version. Ever since I received that recipe, I have updated it and made notes and I have to say, I prefer this version. The biggest twist? Instead of macaroni, it has gnocchi potato pastas! I like to eat soupier dinner, as sort of a lighter meal and the gnocchi pasta gives it a little more to eat than just broth and veggies!

Remember, with any minestrone soup, it doesn’t matter what vegetables you use: the idea is to use whatever is in season!


  • 3 medium-size leeks, or 1 medium-size onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 cups prepared fresh vegetables (such as diced turnips and potatoes; sliced carrots, celery, zucchini, and crookneck, yellow squash; zucchini, green beans cut in 1-inch lengths; and shelled peas)
  • ½ teaspoon each dry basil and oregano leaves
  • 1 package Alessiã brand potato gnocchi pasta
  • Salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • About ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon pine nuts



  1. Trim root ends and tough outer leaves from leeks; slit each leek lengthwise, rinse between layers, then thinly slice.
  2. In a 6-quart kettle over medium heat, cook leeks and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add stock, vegetables, basil and oregano; bring to simmering.
  3. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in gnocchi pasta and continue simmering for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add pine nuts.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pass Parmesan at the table. Makes eight 2-cup servings.


55 recipes down, 310 to go….


Chunky Potato & Beef Soup

I just made this yesterday and it was awesome! The baby corn gave it a different flair. At one point I debated whether or not to add rice, but decided not to. I also didn’t use the garni or leeks. It was very good, nevertheless!

I found this recipe in Practical Cooking’s Soups.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 8 oz. lean braising or frying steak, cut into strips
  • 8 oz. new potatoes, halved
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 3 3/4 cups beef stock (I used College Inn© Low Sodium)
  • 8 baby corn-on-the-cobs, sliced
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2tbsp dry sherry
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add the strips of meat to the saucepan and cook for 3 minutes, turning constantly.
  3. Add the halved potatoes, diced carrot, sliced celery, and leeks. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring.
  4. Pour the beef stock into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat until the liquid is simmering, then add the sliced baby- corn-on-the-cobs and the bouquet garni.
  5. Cook the soup for a further 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Remove the bouquet garni from the saucepan and discard. Stir the dry sherry into the soup and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour the soup into the warmed bowls and garnish with the chopped fresh parsley. Serve at once with crusty bread.

54 recipes down, 311 to go…

Superfood Vegan Mac n’ Cheese

As I might have mentioned before, I’m not vegan or even vegetarian for that matter, but this was freakin’ good! It even felt like I should feel guilty considering it had the consistency of thick and creamy Mac n’ Cheese.  It was “thick”- but in a guiltless way considering there is no cream (and the things that make it “thick” are the below healthy superfood ingredients). Additionally, I hate anything spicy, but the smoked paprika wasn’t spicy at all and made it kind of taste like smoked gouda. (If you’re wondering what makes it taste like cheese it’s the nutritional yeast which apparently goes well on popcorn among other things- it’s also a complete protein and loaded with B vitamins).

I found this recipe here at goop.com


  • 1 cup diced carrot
  •  2 cups peeled, diced Russet potato
  •  ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  •  ¾ teaspoon tamari
  •  1 teaspoon onion powder
  •  ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  •  ½ teaspoon smoked paprika3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  •  3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  •  ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  •  2 cups pasta of choice (penne works great)


  1. In a medium pot, cover carrots and potato with cold water until they’re submerged by one inch; bring to boil and boil until fork tender, about 15-20 min.
  2.  Drain and let cool slightly, then transfer to blender and blend for one minute, scraping down the sides several times if necessary. You want to do the full minute, even if the mixture seems smooth already, so that the starches release from the potatoes and you get a gooey, cheesey texture.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, save for the thyme and the pasta, and blend until smooth. Stir in thyme leaves.
  4. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, then mix with cheese sauce until each noodle is well covered.
  5.  Garnish with additional thyme and smoked paprika and serve immediately.

As you can see, it looks exactly like real Mac n’ Cheese!

53 recipes down, 312 to go…

Roasted Potato & Black Bean Burrito

There’s a restaurant in Jacksonville, where I used to live called The Flying Iguana. It has THE BEST Tequila ever!!! But that’s not what this post is about….they also have the BEST ‘Junkyard’ tacos that come with grilled chicken (or steak), roasted potato, queso sauce, charred corn and their own special sauce. When I first saw the recipe for these Roasted Potato & Black Bean Burritos it reminded me of the delicious times at The Flying Iguana. When I made these for my family, I served with queso that I bought at the store and they went crazy! The best part is, you can make these following the recipe exactly, or you can add chicken/steak and cabbage (kind of like The Flying Iguana)….the choice is really up to you.


  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on your preference)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 whole-wheat tortilla wraps


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a pan, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and roast for 25-30 minutes, until soft and slightly browned.
  2. Whiles that’s roasting, add the tomatoes, black beans, corn, red pepper, cayenne, and rest of the cumin to a large pot, and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Place a wrap on a plate, and microwave for 15 seconds so it becomes more soft and warm. Spoon out 1/4  of the tomato-bean mixture into the center of the tortilla. Add 1/4 of the roasted sweet potatoes. Fold in the sides of the wrap, then the bottom, then the top. Turn it over, place on a plate with some salsa, and enjoy! Or if you prefer a crunchier tortilla, pop the burrito in the oven for 15 minutes,
  4. Refrigerate  or freeze any leftover filling.


52 recipes down, 313 to go…

Leek, Potato & Carrot Soup

Today was a typical winter day: cold and wet! It made me want to have warm soup. Because I am so terrible at following recipes, I ended up omitting the carrots (oops!) but it still turned out really well. I think this is the first time neither I added salt to the master batch, nor anybody at the table add it to their individual bowls, which says A LOT!

I found this recipe in Practical Cooking’s SOUPS (I think it’s edited by Parragon Publishing). I didn’t make the pureed soup- just the regular (sans carrots).

Serves 2


  • 1 leek, about 6 oz
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (I used Imagine™  Organic Vegetable Broth)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup potatoes, diced (I used red potatoes)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley, to garnish

For Purèed Soup, Add:

  • 5-6 tbsp milk
  • 1-2 tbsp heavy cream, crème fraîche or sour cream


  1. Trim off and discard some of the coarse green part of the leek, then slice thinly and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Drain well.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the leek and garlic, and fry over a low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until soft, but barely colored. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaf, and  cumin and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the diced potato to the saucepan, cover and simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the potato is just tender, but not broken up.
  4. Add the grated carrot and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, discard the bay leaf and serve sprinkled literally with chopped parsley.
  5. To make the puréed soup, first process the leftovers (about half the original soup) in a blender or food processor or press through a strainer until smooth and then return to a clean saucepan with the milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and stir in the cream or crème fraîche before serving sprinkled with chopped parsley.



51 recipes down, 314 to go…

Heart-Healthy Cocoa Smoothie

Who likes chocolate? This is a great smoothie for when you have a chocolate craving (since it has other super healthy ingredients) and it just happens to help lower hypertension (high blood pressure). I found it in 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies And the Science Behind Them  by: Linda B. White, M.D., Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell Grogan. Additionally, the flax seeds may help with digestive issues. For a healthy smoothie, it sure tastes good!


  • 1 large banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseeds (ground)


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Enjoy!


50 recipes down, 315 to go….

Sweet Potato Hash with Turkey Apple Sausage

Happy New Year, folks! This is a delicious breakfast recipe and indeed filling if I do say so, myself. I started New Year’s Day 2014 with this recipe (when I was all into Paleo). Although I am not into Paleo anymore, I do like a lot of the Paleo recipes, this one included. Hope you enjoy!

I found this recipe in the book, Good Morning Paleo by Jane Barthelemy.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 12 ounces bulk Turkey Sausage with Apple and Sage or your favorite sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/2 large red onion, sliced
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Unprocessed salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Peel the sweet potato and dice into 1/2-inch thick cubes.
  2. Add the sweet potato cubes to a medium pot with 1 inch filtered, salt water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a very low simmer to steam until almost cooked-al dente– for 5 to 10 minutes. Then drain with a colander or strainer and set aside.
  3. Ina large nonstick skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat until almost cooked.
  4. To the skilled add the garlic, yellow and red onion, green onions, bell pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Cook until almost soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook or 5 minutes more.
  5. Meanwhile, fry your eggs. Heat the coconut oil in another large skillet over medium hear. When a drop of water sizzles, it’s ready. Bread the eggs one at a time onto the hot skillet. Turn the heat down and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until they are done as you like them.
  6. Season your hash to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a fried egg on top.

TIP: To slice the sweet potatoes, it’s quickest to slice them crossways first. Then pile the slices face-up and slice them vertically and horizontally into cubes.


49 recipes down, 316 to go….