Category Archives: bay leaves

Minestrone with Arugula

Another soup, but this one has fresh arugula, which made it that much more delicious!  I’ve never actually thought about putting arugula into soups, or pasta (as we have done here with the No-Cook Spaghetti Sauce), but it’s a great idea.  It gives the soup a different dimension.

Choosing arugula is also showing how much I cannot wait for spring…which I think is almost here.  I think everyone is ready for the warm weather, for fresh vegetables and fruits.

The Penn Quarter Farmers Market had its opening day 2 weeks ago.  Granted, it’s still the end of winter so there aren’t too many fruits or vegetables there just yet.  Although, we’ve gotten some fresh eggs both weeks.  It’s easier to get up in the morning when there are scrambled or fried eggs waiting to be made.

Minestrone with Arugula
Adapted from: Vegetarian Times Magazine

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
14-oz vegetable broth
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
3 cups of fresh arugula, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Over medium heat, cook the onion, celery and carrots until vegetables are softened.  Then, stir in tomato paste, paprika, and bay leaves.  Cook for 1 minute, making sure the vegetables are covered with the tomato paste.  Add the can of tomatoes with the juice, broth, beans, macaroni and water.  Heat to a boil, and then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Add arugula into each soup bowl, and pour over the soup.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.

Book Club Pt 2- Golden Red Lentil Soup

Book Club this month met at our house, so there was a lot of food to be cooked!  In the next couple of posts I’ll be sharing what I had put together.  

The March book had been Girls of Riyadh, so I wanted to have a Middle Easter theme for the meal.  It was a little challenging- there aren’t that many recipes out there specifically focusing on Saudi Arabia, but it was fun searching for some inspriation.

I’ll start with the soup!  The reason I named this Golden Red Lentil soup is because once the lentils are cooked, their beautiful red-orange color disappears!  Instead, the soup has a golden-yellowish tone.  I had actually made it 2 days before, and just reheated the soup the evening of book club, it was just as delicious- if not more.  When I did reheat it, I had to add more water since the soup thickened.

Golden Red Lentil Soup
Adapted from: An Edible Mosaic Blog

2 cups red lentils
2 onions, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken bouillion cubes
3 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups water

In a saucepan heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onions.  Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.  Then add the lentils, bouillon cubes, bay leave, cumin, garlic salt, curry, cinnamon, black pepper, salt and water.  Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it cook for about 30 minutes.  The lentils should be cooked and soft.

Homestyle Lentil Soup

There are still a couple of nights that are still a little chilly, so a soup night is always something to look forward to.  And fresh bread to add to this soup, is just perfect.  We usually pick up a baguette at Cowgirl Creamery, where there is always a couple of fresh ones.  I enjoyed this soup since it not only had the lentils, very filling, but it also has plenty of vegetables- which are always tasty in a soup. 

Homestyle Lentil Soup
Adapted from: Honest Fare Blog

2 cups lentils
4 carrots, cut diagonally about 1/4 inch thick
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups of water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 bay leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat oil in a large pot.  Once heated, add onions, garlic and carrots.  Saute until lightly brown, then add tomatoes, herbs and paprika.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Then add water, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, lentils, salt and pepper.  Cover, and bring to a boil. 

Once the soup is boiling, reduce heat to simmer.  Then simmer the sopu for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked.  Ladle some in a bowl, and serve with fresh bread.

Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese

When it gets cold outside (such as right now!), I crave creamy, warm foods.  I have come across a number of recipes which include cauliflower in the macaroni and cheese.  I do have to say, after trying this- you don’t feel like you’ve eaten lots of veggies.  But, it was tasty- and great for a lunch that will warm you up!

Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook

2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 lb cauliflower, chopped into pieces
8 oz elbow pasta
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg
black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a square baking dish with butter.  Bring  a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water.  Put the stock with bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Turn off the heat when the broth is heated.  Cook the cauliflower in the hot water until it is tender, about 20 minutes.  Scoop the cauliflower out, and transfer to food processor.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until soft.  Drain it and rinse it, and put it into the baking dish.

Remove the bay leaves from the stock.  Carefully, process the cauliflower with the veggie broth, add the oil, cheese, mustard, nutmeg and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss and spread the mixture evenly in the dish.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Bake until pasta is bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot.