Friday, February 14, 2014

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

This delicious soup offers a lot of bang for the effort-buck; it really couldn't be simpler. 
It's no wonder my neighbor, Judy, chose it for her soup swap contribution! (Thanks, Judy!) 

Just brown and drain the ground beef, add it with the rest, and simmer for a while. Delicious!


2 lbs. ground beef, cooked and drained
2 quarts water
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (undrained)
      (for a little spice, use diced tomatoes and chillies)
1 can (28 ounce) tomato sauce
2 cups cooked long grain white rice
2 cups chopped green pepper (I used 1 1/4 large green peppers)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

While you're browning the ground beef and cooking the rice, prep your veggies:

Next, throw everything into a large saucepan or Dutch Oven.

What's that, you say? That's not a skillet; it's a saucepan?
Yes, I soon realized that was risky.

However, the soup and I survived unscathed.

Cover, and simmer 30-40 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Serve with your favorite crusty bread or nothing at all; it doesn't really need a sidekick.

Makes about 10 servings.

"What's that?" you say? "Is that a sidekick?"
No; it's the other delicious soup I made today--Black Bean and Quinoa
(for the adventurous, spinach-loving types).
Quinoa is nothing to be afraid of; it's like rice, only smaller and better for you.
You can find that recipe here.

To find a printer-friendly version of Stuffed Green Pepper Soup, click here.

Black Bean and Quinoa Soup

You'd be hard pressed to find a single unhealthy ingredient in this hearty, colorful soup; and yet, it tastes delicious, especially on the second day. [Warning: Not for spinach or black bean haters!]


1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 large carrot, chopped
5 cups low sodium or no-salt-added vegetable broth
3 cups cooked black beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans low sodium or no-salt-added black beans, drained
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 avocado, chopped

[I must interject to say that I used regular chicken broth and regular black beans, with no regard to salt content in either. So, technically, it's not really healthy, but it's healthy enough for me!]

First, prep your ingredients:

I gave the beans only a slight rinse.

The quinoa is simple to rinse in a colander. 

Never had quinoa? Neither had I, a year or so ago, but it's nothing to be afraid of; it's simply a grain with a mild flavor and good a pleasant texture. It's a little like barley, I guess.

Saute onion and green pepper with 2-3 tablespoons of water in a soup pot,

until tender (about 5 minutes), adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the tomato, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes soften. 

Add carrots and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, stir in the rinsed quinoa, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add black beans and continue cooking until heated through and quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Mmmmm.....I love spinach!

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve garnished with chopped avocado (optional, of course).

Makes two quarts.

The other delicious soup in the photo is Stuffed Green Pepper Soup
I made both soups within two hours.

You can find a printer-friendly version of this recipe here.

If this is your recipe, I apologize for not giving due credit; I simply forgot where I found it! I will happily amend the post with credit when provided such.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Banana Almond Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"

I have a new, favorite treat.
It tastes surprizingly like ice cream, but it's much less guilt-producing!
Who knew that sliced, frozen bananas, when blended, tasted like ice cream?!
My friend Colleen's son did; that's who! (Thanks for sharing, Colleen!)

This is an excellent way to use up bananas you can't otherwise find a use for.
I have a freezer full of frozen bananas I've never gotten around to using.
Not anymore, though!
I mix the following in my Nutribullet, but I'm sure a blender would work, too.

1 sliced banana, frozen
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 1/2 teaspoons flaxseed
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate chips

Blend it all up and enjoy with a spoon or straw. Delicious!!

In addition to the nutritional information below (which I gleaned from My Fitness Pal), add 78 calories for the chocolate chips.

The same amount of ice cream would be at least 450 calories 
and contain 75% of the recommended daily allowance for fat calories.