Monday, March 28, 2011

White Bean Soup with Pasta and Rosemary Oil

Yes, I'm realizing as I sit to write this that I've been adding a lot of soup recipes.  But they are so easy to make, homey and usually made with things I have in the pantry already. 

So, bear with me.  I promise to have something different next time.  And once lent is over, the chicken thigh recipes will resume.

The rosemary oil can me made ahead of time, strained and kept in a air-tight container.  It adds an herbal essence to the soup and adds a silky finish.  
 The original recipe called for using dried beans, but I didn't have the time.  So I used canned, which I think is fine for a soup.  If you want to use dried, they suggested covering the beans in boiling water while prepping the other ingredients. Then simmering them for about an hour.  Add 2 teaspoons of salt and continue cooking for about 30 more minutes until tender.

Adam loved it so much that he ate 3 bowls of it.  I think I might try freezing it in batches for a quick dinner for him.  He kept calling it "chicken" despite my attempts to tell him they were beans. 

I realized after I made the recipe that I forgot to add all of the liquid (originally it called for 3 quarts of water).  I like the thickness of the soup, so I'm keeping it the way I made it.

White Bean Soup with Pasta and Rosemary Oil
Serves 4

The Rosemary Oil

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary or 2 tablespoons dried
2 garlic cloves, sliced

The Soup

2 cups cannellini, navy, garbanzo beans or a mixture
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned, with their juices
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 cup dried small pasta- shells, lumache or other favorite shape (I used fusilli)
Grated parmesan cheese

Slowly warm the extra virgin olive oil with 2 tablespoon rosemary and 2 garlic cloves until the garlic begins to color, about 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside until needed.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (not the rosemary oil) with 1 tablespoon rosemary (2 teaspoon dried) in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until the onion is softened and starting to turn color in places, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes more.  Add beans to the pot along with the tomatoes and stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. 

Cook the pasta in boiling salt water, then drain.  Strain the rosemary oil.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add some pasta to each.  Drizzle some of the oil over each bowl and add pepper to taste.  Cover with shaves of parmesan. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hearty Bean and Barley Soup

Abe's trying to go more vegetarian for Lent.  I originally thought he had wanted to go ALL veggie for Lent and was so excited to finally have main dishes that I could eat on a regular basis.  But, alas, he decided that he wouldn't be able to do it full-time and would only do it "as best he could".  Meh.  Well, I'm still doing my veggie recipes.  So there.

Today was one of those unplanned-oh-no-what's-for-dinner? kind of days.  I had plenty of stuff in the fridge, but no idea what to make.  So I threw a few ingredients into the search engine of and voila!  I came up with yet another soup recipe.  

It is delicious!  And very filling.  Not to mention healthy.  So, pretty much a trifecta of win for soups.

I made the mistake of not having the quick-cook barely, so I had to cook mine for a lot longer.  If you have it and like a softer barely, soak the barely in a bowl of water overnight.

I got the recipe from

Hearty Bean and Barley Soup
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 cup with 1 tablespoon cheese)

7  cups  fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
6  garlic cloves, crushed
2  (4-inch) rosemary sprigs
1  (19-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2  teaspoons  olive oil
1  cup  chopped onion
1  cup  finely chopped carrot
1/4  cup  chopped celery
1  (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1  cup  uncooked quick-cooking barley
10  cup  torn spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.

Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. Reserve the remaining whole beans.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, and celery; cook 4 minutes. Add broth mixture, mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, and barley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in spinach and black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carrot, Broccoli and Cheese Orzo

Adam is usually my big eater.  He will eat anything.  I would brag to family how he'd eat things like brussel sprouts and spinach.  He's a terrible sleeper, so I figured he made up for it in eating.

But when he's sick, he suddenly becomes a fussy eater and will pick at his meals, hardly eating a bite.  And it tends to linger, so weeks will go by with him living off of yogurt, suddenly acting like a college girl trying to fit into a dress.   And, to get him to eat, I find myself offering things like cheddar bunnies and olives, things I know he will eat, just to get something in his belly.  But that's not healthy for every dinner and I don't want him to get too used to that kind of eating habits.

So, I decided to check out my favorite kid-friendly food blog and see what she had for healthy suggestions.  And the latest one looked like a hit.  Healthy and yet something I can see Adam digging into.  And when I tasted it.... SURPRISE! It tasted pretty good.  So, it's going to be my dinner tonight too!  I wouldn't suggest it as a main course, but give it a taste when you cook it up for your little one and see if maybe it wouldn't make a quick and healthy lunch for you.

I love how easy it is.  I literally whipped it up in 15 minutes.

This recipe is from

Carrot, Broccoli & Cheese Orzo 
Serves 4

1 Small Garlic Clove
1 Small Shallot
1 Cup Baby Carrots
1 Cup Broccoli Florets
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter or Olive Oil
1 Cup White or Whole Wheat Orzo
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

1. Place shallot and garlic in food processor and pulse to chop.

2. Add baby carrots and broccoli florets to the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides half way until finely chopped.

3. In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbsp of butter or olive oil and sauté the chopped vegetables, raw orzo and salt for 4 minutes stirring continuously.

4. Add the water and broth to the pot and cook over medium heat for 10
minutes uncovered, or until the liquid starts to evaporate and the mixture thickens.

5. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

6. Serve.