Archive | March, 2015

Vegetable Beef Soup

18 Mar

Hi Friends!  Winter is winding down here in Kentucky, so I thought I would take this last cool week (i hope) to make a pot of Vegetable soup.  Now, Veggie soup is something I’ve made since, well, I don’t even remember when.  But, for whatever reason, I never thought to post it here.  Veggie soup is so versatile, which is one of the things I love about it.  For instance, nobody in my family ever made meatless vegetable soup, but I cooked it for 10 years during my vegetarian days.  My mom always included stew meat, and my granny always made it with ground beef.  Today, we’re going to go the ground beef route, but if you’re a vegetarian, you could easily just leave the beef out, so I’m going to mark this one “vegetarian friendly” over there on the categories column as well.

One of the characteristics I always found interesting in my granny’s soup, was her ability to get the ground beef to break up into a very fine texture.  I asked her how she did it like that, and she just said she didn’t really know.  So, after years of experimenting (including a couple of years where i literally poured a whole lb of ground beef into a blender) I finally got my own technique that works.  You’ll notice the “boil and stir” method in my directions below.  If you like big chunky ground beef, you can skip that and omit the broth altogether.  This is not my Granny’s recipe per-se, but it combines her beef technique with my mom’s addition of chopped cabbage, which is my favorite thing about her soup. So this is the best, of both.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 can of beef broth
  • 2 cans of original “Veg-all”
  • 1 Large can of V8 juice (use the whole thing- 46 oz)
  • 1 can (15 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chopped raw cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, on the stovetop, combine 1 lb ground beef and 1 can broth.  Cook on medium, and stir the heck out of the beef until it all breaks up into a weird beefy sludge. (appetizing, i know…but this is how you get the really fine beef I talked about).  Continue cooking on stovetop, and stirring, until all the beef has browned.  Then drain the beef in a colander over the sink.  You don’t even need the broth. It’s strictly for beef-texture purposes.
  2. Now, combine all those other ingredients, including beef, into a crockpot or a large pan on the stove top.  If you’re using the crock pot, cook on low for 5-6 hours.  If you’re doing the stovetop, just simmer it for an hour or so until the cabbage is nice and done.

Makes 10 cups of soup

1 cup = 145 calories per serving

Approximately 3 weight watchers points plus 





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Broccoli and cheese potato bake

2 Mar

This recipe was presented to me as a sort of “gratin” with the potatoes taking the place of the heavy cream in the sauce.  Although, I really liked the outcome of the recipe once I made my low-cal changes to it, it didn’t feel “gratin”-y, if you know what I mean.  What this reminded me of was a broccoli and cheese stuffed baked potato.  Delicious in it’s own, but a gratin it is not.  So, I present to you, Broccoli and cheesy potato bake.  It looks i little crazy, but everyone in my house enjoyed it.  Even the tiniest one (4 yrs old) enjoyed it, and the biggest one (my husband) even ate the leftovers!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz yukon gold potatoes
  • 10 oz uncooked broccoli florettes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded, or powdery, but i prefer shredded)
  • 1/4 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon light margarine or light butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg

Instructions:

1. Wash, peel. and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Mix all 3 cheeses together in a bowl, and set aside.

2. Place potatoes, broccoli, and 2 1/2 cups of water into a pan.  Cover with a lid and bring them to a boil.

3. Allow potatoes and broccoli to boil, covered for about 17 minutes.

4. Drain Potatoes and broccoli, but reserve some of the water in a separate bowl for later.

5. Return drained potatoes and broccoli to the pan, and use a spoon to smush the potatoes and broccoli together, until there are no chunks of potato left.

6. Mix in about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water, salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter, and 1/2 of the cheese mixture.  Spread evenly in 1 quart baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

7. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, and broil until cheese is melted and begins to brown.  2-4 minutes or so.

 

Makes 5 servings= 140 calories per serving 

approximately 3 weight watchers points plus per serving

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