soups

Better Ramen

There are a lot of different ways to spice up ramen, but this is how I personally make it into a more substantial and tasty meal. It’s really simple and it’s made out of stuff that I keep in my fridge anyway. You can make it in the microwave or on the stove.

Stuff:
-A microwave safe bowl, like cereal sized not one of those shallow pasta bowls
-Ramen flavor of choice, I only use beef so I dunno how it will taste with others
-spinach
-a little green onion or onions
-an egg
- (optional) a little bit of soy sauce

Chop up your onions and put it into your bowl with your spinach. I usually make a nice little bed of spinach and rest the onion on top. Break up your ramen block and stick it in the bowl. Finally, fill it up with enough water to cover the noodlies and put into to the microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked all the way. In the mean time, scramble your egg and put your veggies back in your fridge like the forward thinking champ you are. When the microwave beeps, take out your bowl and very carefully drain most of the water out of the bowl, using a fork to keep in all the goodies. I like to pour out most of the water, to where I can just barely see the water through the noodles. When you add the egg it makes it bit more watery, but if you like soupy ramen keep more water. Poor in your scrambled egg and mix it in real good. The heat from the ramen should cook it mostly, but stick it back in the microwave for another minute to be on the safe side. When it’s cooked to perfection, poor in your flavor packet and bam you’re done! I learned recently that if you add a smidgen of soy sauce it makes it even better, a bit like lo mein. If you’re feelin it you can also make this on the stove, but it comes out about the same taste wise.

The egg makes it more filling, the spinach adds some vitamins and along with the onions so more flavor. You could totally add other stuff to this, like more veggies or hot sauce if you’re into that kind of thing.

One pot 5 minute vegetarian (or not, up to you) pasta! (college student budget)

so I just made dinner in 5 minutes. 

Ingredients:

-  one can of soup of your choice (without rice or noodles)

-  box of angel hair spaghetti

- one pot

1. take a can of soup (i used healthy choice country vegetable soup… less than a dollar a can at my local grocery store) and put it in a medium pot or pan. Take some spaghetti and just throw it straight in there (you don’t need much if you’re just cooking for one.

2. Add whatever veggies you have, or not. totally up to you. I added some fresh chopped onions

3. season to your liking. (warning, be weary of salt. canned soup may already have a lot of sodium already so your food might end up tasting like an ocean. Mine didn’t have much salt, but check the sodium and taste before you add salt.)

4. boil everything in one pot until pasta is soft. stir frequently to keep pasta from sticking to the bottom.

and you’re done! 

note: this might not work with soup with a cream base. If your soup of choice has a cream base, boil the pasta separately (you can put it in the microwave in a large bowl with water if you have to.) and use the soup as a sauce. 

It makes about 3 servings. I like this cause canned soup and boxes of pasta are both pretty inexpensive. I always buy pasta in bulk because it’s cost efficient and you can store it for ever. 

One great way that my parents actually showed me to make a box of carrot ginger soup go farther and also taste WAY more amazing/creamy is to add a sweet potato! It’s really simple because all you need is:

  • 1 box (32 fl oz) of carrot ginger soup (any brand)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled

Method 1: The quickest method is to simply boil the sweet potato before adding it to the soup, or microwave it. Then add it in chunks to the soup. I have a stick blender, so after the soup is heated up I just blend it right in the pot, but you can use any type of blender.

Method 2: If no blender is available, or if you have more time, you can cut the sweet potato up into small chunks and have it simmer in the soup for a while (on the stove or in a crock pot.) Keep mixing and eventually the sweet potato will just break up and mix with the soup. It won’t be quite as smooth as if you use a blender, but it’s still thick and creamy. You’ll know it’s ready when the sweet potato is fully integrated in the soup. This will definitely take over an hour, but depends. 

This creates a super filling and luxuriously easy dinner if served with salad and some bread. Always leaves leftovers for me and my boyfriend!

Best part is that this can fit in with a lot of diets, depending on what carrot ginger soup you use. I included the picture of the Pacific brand soup (accessed via their website) because it’s what I’ve used, AND it is vegan, kosher parve, low fat, gluten free, soy free, wheat free, and yeast free. Whatever brand you use, just be sure it follows your dietary restrictions. 

Guest Post: Summer Squash and Sweet Corn Chowder

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This week’s guest post comes from the lovely Laurel from Catching Seeds! After being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease she took the kitchen by storm, creating delicious recipes from scratch with unprocessed whole foods.  Her blog is truly a delight, with incredible gluten-free recipes like data caramel sauce, miso dressed soba noodles and sweet & tangy asian slaw. Make sure you check out her blog, and her recipe for summer squash and sweet corn chowder below!

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This is my go to recipe to use up the last of my summer produce. This warm steamy bowl of soup is reminiscent of summer in flavor yet perfect for crisp fall days.

Serves 4-6 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large red or gold potatoes
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or other non dairy milk)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek (white part only), halved and cut into 1/4 inch half-moons
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into small cubes
  • 1 zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 1 yellow crookneck squash, cut into small cubes (or use a second zucchini) 
  • 1 red pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup rice flour (or all purpose if gluten-free is not needed)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Steps:

  1. In a medium pot bring 4 cups of water and one tablespoon kosher salt to a boil. Peel one potato and cut it into large cubes. Once the water begins to boil add in the potato. Simmer for 7-10 minutes until the potato is fork tender. Drain off the water and mash the potato. Stir in the coconut milk and set aside.
  2. Dice the second potato, no need to peel, into small cubes and set aside. 
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add in the leeks and sauté for 5-7 minutes until the leeks are tender and almost transparent. Add in the carrots, celery, and second diced potato. Add in a pinch of salt and sauté for 5-7 more minutes. Next, add in the zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper with another pinch of salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes until all of the vegetables have started to soften. Add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Next add in the rice flour and oregano. Stir in the flour so that all of the vegetables are coated with the flour. Cook for an additional minute or two in order to cook out the raw flour taste. Add in the vegetable stock, mashed potato and coconut milk mixture, three bay leaves, and corn. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes to bring all of the flavors together. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve.

(Pretty) Healthy Kale and (Optional) Kielbasa Soup

This soup is one of my favorite winter soups. It’s hard to go wrong and you decided just how healthy you want it to be. Add Kielbasa sausage or replace it with chicken or no meat at all. Make bacon kale or nah. On a scale of 1-10 I keep the health factor at about a 7.5. Usually opting for adding the kale tossed with bacon and leaving out the sausage as seen here. I try to make it a day in advance because like most soups, the full flavor really comes out about a day after it’s made. If you have leftover turkey bones from thanksgiving make a broth!!

Broth: 2 quarts water, chicken or turkey bones, veggies or veggie peels (I use veggie shavings from juicer, onion, leek, carrots) in a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for a few hours until the liquid is reduced a bit and a darker color, strain veggies and bones but keep liquid.

Soup:
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp EVOO
1-2 bunches of kale, stems removed, leaves torn
4 slabs of bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces (optional)
1 bunch of carrots, cut into half inch medallions
2 cans of white beans, rinsed and strained
6 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf 2-3 links of smoked sausage such as kielbasa sausage (optional), cut into 1 inch medallions
Salt and fresh black pepper
3 cups of water
2 qt of chicken or turkey broth


Step 1: In a large pot, add EVOO, onion and garlic, stirring well until onion is translucent. Add broth/water. Add carrots, celery, rosemary, bay leaf and let it sit on medium heat.

Step 2: In a large pan on medium high heat, add bacon pieces and allow them to cook a bit without getting crispy. Add kale after about two minutes. Toss kale with bacon until leaves are bright green, turn heat to low and keep mixing. Drain bacon grease. Add bacon and kale to soup. If you opt out of using bacon, just add raw kale straight to soup.

Step 3: In a nonstick pan on high heat brown the sausage medallions. Drain the sausage over paper towels to absorb some grease. Stop eating all of the browned sausage and add it to the soup damn it.

Step 4: Add rinsed and drained white beans to soup. Mix everything gently and well. Leave on low heat for an hour or two total. Add salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to refrigerate the soup overnight and then heat and eat it the following day.