Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cold Day, Warm Bowl

It's been what I consider to be a fairly cold March/April here on the Eastern seaboard. While I was raised on frost warnings in May (western PA), I've gotten used to the milder weather in eastern PA. However, this is the year that sweaters were made for.

So last week between the 60-degree days, we were hit with a 40-degree day or so with some mighty high winds. Okay, I can take it, but not everyone here can. It was that rainy, windy cold that seeps into your bone marrow and practically begs you for soup.

Soup it was. I wanted something minestrone-like without really being minestrone, so I opened the fridge and tossed in what appealed. It came together beautifully, and made a wonderfully rich soup without all the fat involved.

Mock Minestrone

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. vegetable buillion (I used Better than Buillion)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. thyme
1 handful veggie crumbles, optional (I used frozen)
2 heaping handfuls spinach
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a saucepan, add about a tablespoon of water and heat. Saute onions, celery and carrots in this for about 3 minutes or until water mostly steams off. Add vegetable broth one cup at a time, stirring in buillion to make sure it dissolves. Add beans, thyme, crumbles, salt and pepper. Heat for about 20 minutes, until veggies are softer and the flavors have blended. Turn off heat. Toss in spinach and stir in for a few seconds until it's wilted.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lunch Time

Had a craving the other day for something from elementary school. Remember those sloppy joes, dripping down the side of the bun, rife with ketchupy, oniony flavor that warms you from the inside out? Yea, that's what I wanted.

So I mixed and tasted and concocted until it was just so. Here's what I came up with:

Meatless Sloppy Joes

1 pkg. frozen veggie crumbles (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can rinsed kidney beans
1/2 tangy barbecue sauce (honey-flavored doesn't taste so good here)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup water

Saute onion in skillet until clear. Add remaining ingredients except for water. Cook for a few minutes on medium, then stir in water as needed to the thickness you like. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.