Easy Broccoli Soup

Now that the cat is out of the bag, and you all know I will be competing for a white apron on Master Chef, I can share my inspiration for this soup!

I was inspired by none other than Gordon Ramsay!! One day early last week, I was binge watching Youtube when I came across a super easy broccoli soup recipe by GR. I decided to recreate it and put my own twist on it.

The soup is delicious on its own and makes for a great base for a number of toppings! I list some of my favorites below.

Here is what I came with! 🙂

 

Serves: 2

Prep: 5 minutes   Cook: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 cup water

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Ingredients

Toppings:

Walnuts, almonds

goat cheese, crema

toasted baguette, croutons

herbed oil, parsley, cherry tomato

 

 

Procedure:

 

1. In a pot, boil broccoli in water and vegetable stock, just until broccoli is cooked (overcooking will cause soup to loose bright green color). Season with salt, pepper and garlic.

pot

2. In a blender, such as a Nutribullet, blend broccoli and 1 1/2 cup of the stock/water. Blend until smooth.

Blending

3. Pour into a bowl and garnish as desired!

Pouring

4. Enjoy 🙂

 

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Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

As the first day of Spring approached, all I could think was “summer is almost here”. And with that thought, I reflected on the beautiful flowers, the greenery, the water and the bounty of fruits and vegetables that come in the summer.

I began to create a salad recipe and thought it needed a little something more.. a vessel, a boat of sorts, to hold it together.

Squash are a beautiful versatile vegetable that serve as a great vessel for your favorite salads, chili and almost anything else! I chose green zucchini for this recipe.

I wanted to keep the flavors light and fresh. Feel free to get creative and swap or sub ingredients for those you like more!

I used quinoa, but lentils, faro, rice, and couscous would all work great! This is also a great way to use some left over grains!

 

Here is my recipe:

 
Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Mediterranean Zucchini Boats Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 35 mins Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 3 medium sized green zucchini
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curly parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dried apricots, sliced
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons shallots finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut ends and tops off zucchini. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Arrange zucchini on baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  5. Make vinaigrette by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, shallots, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  6. Assemble the filling by mixing quinoa, olives, apricots, tomatoes, almonds, mint, parsley and feta cheese. Toss in vinaigrette.
  7. Allow zucchini to cool and then scoop in quinoa salad mix. Top with more feta if desired.
  8. Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

salt

Dressing

feta sprinkles

 

 

 

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Mac and Cheese

Is there anything more comforting on a chilly, gloomy day than a nice warm plate of Mac and Cheese? I certainly don’t think so. There are many variations to Mac and Cheese and so many ways to play it up. Like it spicy? Add some sriraccha. Like a more earthy flavor? Add some truffle oil or finely grated truffles. I like a classic, smooth Mac and Cheese. I have been working on this recipe for some time, so let me know what you think!

Here is my recipe:

2 cups pasta

1 egg, at room temperature

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

2 1/2 cups freshly grated cheese, I used sharp cheddar and Beecher’s Flagship

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

Amanda's Plate Mac and Cheese

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter in large pan and whisk in butter to make a roux. This will create the base of the cheese sauce. Stir for a few minutes, until mixture is smooth and flour flavor has cooked off.

mac and cheese

 3. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.

4. Add milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the roux. Temper in the egg. It is very important that your egg is at room temperature and that you whisk quickly. You do not want scrambled eggs in here! At this point, this sauce resembles a bechamel; the classic French white sauce.

5. Mix in the grated cheese until smooth.

6. Drain pasta and add into cheese sauce. Pour into ramekin.

mac cheese 4

mac cheese 5

 7. Toss panko bread crumbs in melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of your delicious cheesy noodles.

8. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Then place until broiler for 1-2 minutes until panko is golden browned.

9. Enjoy 🙂

 

Mac and Cheese

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Lebanese Tabouli Recipe

Tabouli is a Middle Eastern dish that originated in the mountains of Lebanon and Syria. It is generally served cold, as part of a mezze platter. I love make a large bowl of tabouli and enjoying it on a picnic during the hot summer months. 

lebanese tabouli

Seattle has experienced a bit of a heat wave over the past few weeks, making it impossible to use your oven. Okay, according to the National Weather Service what we have experienced would not  be consider a heat wave; but it sure feels like it to me. Did you know that most homes in the Puget Sound do not have central air conditioning? Well neither did I. It was on a 90 degree afternoon in July that I discovered our condo did not have air conditioning.  Along with the rest of the city, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to purchase a cooling device.

Using ripe but firm tomatoes is important, to ensure they are able to hold their shape 🙂 In the Lebanese version of this dish, there is more parsley than bulgur wheat. Ratios vary across the region. Feel free to put your own spin on this favorite! 

 

Tabouli
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups curly parsley leaves, stems discarded
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup fine bulgur wheat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce, for serving
Instructions
  1. Make dressing by combining lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium size bowl, pour dressing over the bulgur wheat in order for it to soften.
  3. Using a food processor, pulse parsley until fine.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together parsley, tomatoes, mint and green onions. Toss with bulgur wheat.
  5. Serve with romaine lettuce.
  6. Enjoy 🙂

 

tabouli

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Homemade Pita Bread

I love pita!! It is so versatile. You can use it scoop your favorite dips, like my avocado hummus, or stuff it with shawarma or gyro meat. While living in Dearborn, I was surrounded by delicious pita, I never had to make my own. There was several local bakeries who made fresh pita daily. There were also many local restaurants who served up fresh, made to order pitas, that when pulled apart would release a cloud of steam!

Living in the Pacific North West, I have not found a pita that compares to those made in South East Michigan, so I decided to try and make it myself. To my delight, it was so easy to make and left me wondering why I haven’t made it myself before.

 

Easy Homemade Pita Bread
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen small pita
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3½ cups all purpose flour
Instructions
  1. Dissolve sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Add in salt and 1 cup of flour.
  2. Using hook attachment on stand mixer, mix to make a dough.
  3. Slowly add remaining flour until a shaggy dough is formed. Knead for 10 minutes until dough comes together and is smooth.
  4. Cover dough with moist kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm, dark place, until the dough has doubled in size (approximately 1 hour). I use the inside of my oven.
  5. Separate dough into equal round pieces. Do this by pinch off a round off the dough mass.
  6. Roll out the dough. It is extremely important to roll the pitas evenly, so they can puff up!
  7. Preheat oven to highest temperature.
  8. While the oven is heating, allow the pita rounds to rest.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes on the bottom rack of your oven until golden brown.
  10. Enjoy!

 

Note: You can make the dough my hand with the help of a flat wooden spoon. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. 

*Like with any yeast dough, the amount of flour you will actually need may vary based on humidty, temperature, and other factors. You may need more or less. Know your dough 🙂

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Avocado Hummus

Avocados are delicious. But when combined with chickpeas, in a smooth hummus blend.. they are out of this world!

Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern side dish, made of smashed chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon. It is high in iron and vitamin C. It is also a good source of protein and fiber, making it a great side to any meal. Hummus is always served with pita bread. Refer to my next post for a very easy pita recipe!

 

IngredientsThis recipe makes approximately 3 cups of hummus.

Ingredients:

1 15oz can of chickpeas

2 medium ripe avocados

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley (more for garnish, if desired)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Fresh ground pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

EVOO

 

Procedure:

1. In a food processor, pulse together chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, cumin and black pepper until smooth. Add in avocado and pulse until smooth.

2. Top with EVOO, parsley and red pepper flakes. Serve with pita bread!

3. Enjoy!

 

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