Sometimes I get lazy about chewing

That is when my immersion blender is kinda the coolest thing that I own.

I have been asked recently to give a bit more info on our prep work and methods. So, I’m going to attempt to do that. I will say that for the most part we follow the recipe and modify/substitute when necessary. I’ll try and point out those changes.

Last night we made broccoli soup.

This recipe came from Real Simple. You might notice that my picture was a pretty darn accurate replica of the one on the Real Simple website. We had made our own chicken stock several weeks ago and froze it in pint containers. This was probably one of the smartest things that we have done. We have been saving veggie scraps since then and plan on making a big batch of veggie broth soon.

We did follow the recipe pretty darn closely with this one. I mean, there are so few ingredients and it is so simple that it didn’t seem necessary to modify. We did prep the veggies (onion, potato, broccoli) the night before so that when we got home from yoga we could just throw everything together. Prep work always makes it nice on our busy weeknights.

This broccoli soup turned out really, really yummy. The red pepper flakes gave it just the tiniest bit of spice (sometimes I think with more complicated (i.e. recipes with more ingredients) recipes you don’t get anything out of red pepper flakes). We also used really nice bagel chips from Whole Foods.

Easy, fast, healthy and yummy. What more could you want? Oh also, pre-digested. mmmmmmm….

Menu: January 30 – February 5

MondayCreamy broccoli soup (I would have to say that about 50% of the recipes that we make are out of ‘Real Simple’ magazine. As silly as this sounds, we have gotten pretty spoiled on how simple their recipes are. We are busy people!)

TuesdayCarrot and Cumin Soup (We thought about this ‘two soups in a row’ situation that we put ourselves in, and we are ok with it. Don’t judge.)

WednesdayBlack Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas (I told you so!)

Thursday– Veggie Pizza (This one is of our own making. We are thinking whole wheat crust, caramelized onions, mushrooms, rosemary and goat cheese)

Friday– We are volunteering at the Extreme Beer Fest (I don’t know how I got talked into this). I think we have to be there kinda early in the evening, so we are just going to grab something on the way.

Saturday– We will be attending the Extreme Beer Fest with Ike and Anna and then drunkenly finding at place to eat afterward. (Jules, if you are out there, we probably won’t be coming to yoga on Sunday 😉 )

Sunday– Swupper (I always put this here, but plans aren’t usually made until the middle of the week.)

Chickpea Soup Arrabbiata

Last Thursday, we made this excellent soup in the slow cooker. I feel justified in writing about it today because we just finished eating the leftovers yesterday. The recipe for this came from ’50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker’.

It required a bit of prep the night before. Really just chopping carrots, onions,and celery, but then the next morning we just threw everything in. We used dried chickpeas for the first time, and they turned out really great. The recipe called for immersion blending the whole thing when you are ready to eat it, but we liked its chunkiness so we just blended it a little bit to get kind of a tomato soup base. Overall, it turned out really, really excellent.

Here it is with some jalapeno cornbread:

I took the baby kale salad out of the frame…I don’t know why. Perhaps I thought it was just too boring compared to the soup and cornbread. I had also taken a big bite of my cornbread before this picture was taken, that is why it is hidden a little bit by the bowl. I just couldn’t wait! That stuff is sooooo good!

Menu: January 23-29

This past weekend, my meals have consisted of cheese and leftovers, so I’m pretty ready for Hank to get back and to start cooking again.

Monday– Hank is getting back at about dinner time, so we have decided to go out and have a celebratory “Hank has returned to Boston!” meal. I’m was thinking Sofra, but they close too early. Maybe The Deluxe Town Diner.

Tuesday– Potato, Red Lentil and Brown Onion Hash (from ‘Vegetarian Planet’, pg. 541). We might have some fried eggs or something with this.

Wednesday– Peanut Noodles (we make a modified version of the recipe from ‘All Things Trader Joe’s’ cookbook.)

Thursday– Chickpea Soup Arrabbiata (from ’50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker’)

Friday– We are going to a concert in Central Square, so we will probably go out to eat. I’m rooting for Veggie Galaxy.

Saturday– We are going to go see a comedian with Hank’s brother, Ike, and his girlfriend, Anna. It’s hard to say where we will eat.

Sunday– Swupper (Although, I might be wrong about this, because Hank’s parents might be out of town. Any confirmation out there??)

So, more eating out than we normal, but some new and hopefully good stuff in between.

Moroccan Lamb with Couscous (from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Revolution’)

I’ve been slacking this week…sorry!

As I mentioned in my weekly menu post, this is one of our go-to recipes. We have made it almost exactly the way that the recipe says, with just the skeleton ingredients, and every way in between. All ways are excellent. The following story will explain why I think that this recipe is so good:

While moving out of our old apartment, an old schoolhouse with really thick walls, our downstairs neighbor stopped me and asked about our cooking. She wanted to know what it was that we used so often that smelled so good (this is why I mentioned the thick walls. I have no idea how she could smell our cooking). I couldn’t think of it at the moment she asked, but when I told Hank about it he was able to identify it immediately…CUMIN!

We don’t use fresh tomatoes. We might, if we were cooking this in the summer, but why waste a yummy in season tomato on a meal that does perfectly well with canned tomatoes? Real Simple magazine just published their list of the best canned tomatoes. Their best canned whole tomatoes were the Whole Foods 365 organics. I don’t know if I can tell the difference, but those are the kind that we used this time around.

We added peas this time. We have never done this before, but when we realized that we didn’t have any salad greens I think we got scared.

It also calls for fresh parsley to be cooked with all the other stuff. We don’t do that (well, maybe we did it once), but we hate buying all that parsley just for one dish when CILANTRO is the obvious choice for garnish…oh yeah, and fat-free greek yogurt…

AND…

As a little treat for you all…Hank with an enormous carrot!

Menu: January 16-22

After an excellent week of eating, I’m finally ready to post this week’s menu:

Monday– Out to Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant with the in-laws. This place is in Malden, and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday– Moroccan Lamb with Couscous (from Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Revolution’). This is one of our go-to recipes. We make it different almost every single time. We will be making it with ground lamb on this night (might as well stick with the Moroccan theme for as long as we can, right?? That stuff is good!)

Wednesday– Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie. This is from the February issue of ‘Real Simple’ magazine. You make it in the slow-cooker. We won’t be making any puff pastry biscuits (which is how they do it) since we just made a huge batch of jalapeno cornbread yesterday.

ThursdaySpiced Spinach Dal with Coconut Milk. We haven’t made this one before, but it is another slow-cooker recipe.

Friday– Hank is going to a conference in Texas until Monday evening. I will probably end up eating cheese and crackers for this meal. Sad, but exciting!

Saturday– TBD

Sunday– Swupper

Slow cooker carnitas

On Wednesday, we attempted our own carnitas for the first time. As with most things that we make, this one is definitely going on the ‘make again’ list. It turned out so well and was really easy.

We bought a pork shoulder that weighed a little over 3 pounds. Hank cut it up into large chunks and trimmed off some of the fat.

On Wednesday morning, we threw the meat in the crock pot with 3 chopped up jalapenos and just barely covered it with 2% milk. This was suggested to us by Bri, Hank’s chef brother, and is possibly a secret recipe of a certain local restaurant…that might be a lie though…

That evening it was falling apart perfectly and was frantically plunked onto one large flour tortilla and several small corn tortillas. Toppings included: onions that had been soaked in ice water (helps take the stinky out), cilantro (we really do put it on everything), fat-free greek yogurt (we really do put it on everything), and slices of avocado.

Insert non-existent picture here

I’m telling you, you gotta do it!