Mexican Vegetable Soup

Mexican Vegetable Soup 1

If you took a quick glance at my most recent posts, you might think I’m all about sweets and chicken. While I’m not going to confirm or deny that may be true, I do make other recipes as well. You might even say somewhat healthy ones every once in a while too.  So for my vegetarian friends out there, I have not forsaken you. (Yes, I’m looking at you Sue T.!)

This soup recipe can be altered to whichever vegetables you have or that are in season. It is called vegetable soup afterall. I used what I had on hand. The flavor of the soup was reminiscent of a chicken tortilla soup without the chicken or tortillas. And be forewarned, this recipe makes a lot of servings (6-8) for you to share on a cold winter’s day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 bell peppers, diced (I used 1/2  each of an orange, red and yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups diced roma tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen or 1 can of corn)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can (4 ounce) diced green chile peppers
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 zucchinis,  sliced

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • avocado slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges or lime juice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
  2. Add bell peppers, carrots and onions to pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add in minced garlic, cumin and cayenne. Stir and cook for a minute.
  4. Add in tomatoes, corn, black beans, diced green chiles and vegetable stock.
  5. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add in zucchini.
  8. Re-cover and simmer for another 10 more minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
  9. Serve immediately with optional toppings. Mexican Vegetable Soup 2
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Zucchini and Corn Chowder

zucchini-and-corn-chowderIt’s another gray and cloudy day here. So I decided to make  some zucchini and corn chowder to warm up my belly. I also needed something to blog this week, so two birds, one stone kind of deal. For my vegetarian friends out there, substitute vegetable broth and omit the bacon pieces.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated for garnish
  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. About 6-8 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the same stockpot and add onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and garlic. Cook until tender about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in dried thyme, basil, and rosemary cook until fragrant about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in flour until lightly browned. About 1 minute.
  5. Add in chicken stock, milk bay leaf, zucchini and corn.
  6. Cook stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer.
  8. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  9. Remove the bay leaf. If the chowder is too thick for your liking, add a little more milk to thin out.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with bacon pieces, grated Parmesan cheese and parsley leaves.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Mini Loaves

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-2Believe it or not, this is actually a skinny recipe. And the best part is that it doesn’t taste like a skinny recipe. This zucchini bread tastes like a rich, decadent chocolate cake. But since it is made with Greek yogurt and grated zucchini, it is actually not that bad for you. Can’t complain about that.  Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I made these into 3 mini loaves. You can make using one regular size loaf pan instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt, excess liquid drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium sized ones)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips tossed in 1/2 tablespoon of flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease mini loaf pans with baking spray. (Or full size loaf pan)
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until blended. About 1-2 minutes. Add yogurt and mix until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time until combined with wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in loaf pan, then remove from pan and finish cooling on baking rack before cutting and serving.

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-1

Chicken Zoodle Soup

chicken-zoodle-soupHere in Northern California, our September weather has been exceptionally warm. We were in the low 90’s the last few weeks. But today we were only in the 70’s. And being the typical weather spoiled Californian, it felt cold to me. I wanted soup. Actually, it gave me an excuse to try out my new vegetable spiralizer and make zucchini noodle soup. Or “zoodles” as the foodies call them. For my vegetarian friends, like Sue T., omit the chicken breasts and substitute with vegetable stock.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • handful of baby carrots (about 6-8) sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, reserve some for garnish
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 zucchinis, spiralized into noodle shapes and cut into desired length
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add olive oil to large pot over medium high heat. When oil begins to ripple, add onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Stir for 2-3 minutes until vegetables soften.
  2. Add minced garlic to vegetables. Stir for 1 minute, until garlic become fragrant.
  3. Next add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning and most of the chopped parsley. Stir until combined.
  4. Add chicken breasts. Once liquid begins to boil, lower heat to simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  5. Remove chicken and carefully shred into bite sized pieces. Return shredded chicken to pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Meanwhile, spiralize the zucchini. Cut into smaller noodle lengths, unless you want extra long noodles.
  7. Turn heat back up to medium high.  Add zucchini noodles (zoodles) to soup. Stir and let zoodles cook for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Serve with reserved parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

chicken-zoodle-soup-pot

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Parmesan Crisps

Zucchini and Squash CrispsDo you ever crave fried foods? Or am I the only one who will admit it? Well, I crave fried foods, but I don’t necessarily give in to my cravings. I find other ways to satiate the craving. Instead of battered and deep fried vegetables, how about something a little lighter and just as tasty?  Great taste, less guilt.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees . Meanwhile, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut zucchini and squash into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
  3. Put zucchini and squash rounds into a large bowl and add olive oil. Toss to cover all the rounds.
  4. In a smaller bowl, add Parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper. Stir to mix well.
  5. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture. Be sure to evenly coat on both sides by pressing the coating on to stick.
  6. Place dipped rounds onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Bake zucchini and squash rounds for 25-30 minutes, until rounds are browned and crisp.
  8. Serve immediately. I like to serve with a low fat zesty ranch dressing.

Zucchini Crisps