Green, greener, broccoli soup

Cook the broccoli florets and the garlic clove for 7 to 8 minutes, then drain the water from the pot but leave the broccoli in it. Add the vegetable broth and the sour creaEspecially in fall, it seems our body just longs for the homely and cozy feeling that comes when we have a warm soup for dinner. Imagine going on one of those nice autumn walks through the park, stepping on the fallen colorful leaves, while the full shines on your face, yet the air already has a bit of a chill to it. When coming home, you got some nice broccoli soup waiting for you to warm you up afterwards. Preparation time is approximately 15 minutes from start to finish and is easy to prepare in large batches and store in the fridge or freezer for when you feel like it. On top of that, it is also quite healthy, (if you skip having (too much) bread with it. This recipe makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 7 ounces (200 ml) of sour cream
  • 4 ounces (125 grams) of gruyere cheese (grated)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) of vegetable broth
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper

m and use a blender to puree the soup. Add the water and put the soup back on the stove on medium heat. Last add the sesame oil, cayenne and group pepper and let it simmer with the spices for 1 or 2 minutes before serving. As vegetable broth usually tends to contain a lot of salt, there is no intrinsic need to add any on top of that.

If you are one of those many people, who need to chew something while eating to make it a pleasant experience, serve the soup with whole grain garlic bread or artisan baguette (like in the picture). Put the bread in the toaster for one or two minutes, to make it perfect.

 

 

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Stuffed sweet potato with broccoli and feta

Ah, sweet potatoes, the state vegetable of North Carolina and a great Thanksgiving side dish. But wait, there’s more. The beauty of sweet potatoes is their richness in complex carbohydrates, so the good kind of carb that gives our body something to work with. Its high nutritional value is complemented by lots of fiber and beta-carotene. Since a sweet potato all by itself would be a biiiit boring, this recipe loads them with broccoli and feta. While this dish might sound complex, it is actually a quick and easy way to have a tasty lunch or dinner. Preparation time is 15 minutes, plus 50 minutes baking time in the oven. This recipe makes two servings as a main course and four servings as a side dish (for steak, for instance).

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 handfuls of broccoli (or 8-10 florets)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 ounces (100 grams) of feta
  • 1 teaspoon of a freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 200 degrees Celsius and start by washing your sweet potatoes (but don’t peel them). Drizzle the olive oil in a glass or ceramic (no metal) casserole dish and place the sweet potatoes in it with the cut side facing down. Let them bake for 40 minutes.

Turn the sweet potatoes around and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Make sure you allow for a generous remaining layer of potato to let the skin keep its form, since we need to be able to fill it. Place the sweet potato flesh in a bowl. On a board, cut the raw (non-frozen) broccoli into tiny bits and mix them into the bowl. Add the lemon, salt and pepper. Take the feta and crumble it into the bowl as well. Toss everything until it is well mixed. Then use a teaspoon to generously fill the sweet potato skins and place the casserole back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

This dish is suitable for meal preparation. In this case, simply leave out the last step of the additional 10 minutes in the oven.

 


Ricotta Zucchini Spinach Dumplings

When I first discovered ricotta, I was in cream cheese heaven. It was mindblowingly tasty. On top of that it is also quite a healthy cream cheese and extremely versatile as it works for savory dishes just as well as for sweet desserts. The wonderful thing about this particular dish is that it is perfectly suited for meal preps, as it can be easily reheated and still tastes awesome. This recipe makes for four servings as a main dish and takes approximately 45 minutes.

Ingredients for the dumplings

  • 2-3 generous handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • ¼ cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 28 ounces (850 ml) of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons of native olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves

Start off with the sauce. The secret to a perfectly-flavored tomato sauce is the time you allow it to simmer, as this enables the spices to truly infuse. So any minute more is a minute that will work in your favor. For the tomato sauce, use a large pan and on a medium heat. Chop the garlic cloves into tiny dices and add them to the pan with the oil. After approximately one minute, add the peeled tomatoes and tomato paste. Once everything is well blended, add the salt, pepper and basil leaves. Then let it simmer on a low to medium heat.

Now it’s time to focus on our dumplings. For this, grate the zucchini into a bowl, add the salt, mix it well and let them rest for ten minutes. During this time, the salt will drain the zucchini of liquid and therefore help the dumplings achieve a good texture. Afterwards, pour the zucchini flakes into the center of a kitchen towel and twist it over the sink to let all the excess liquid run out. Then, chop the spinach leaves into smaller bits and add them to the bowl. Mix the zucchini and spinach and then add the ricotta, parmesan and egg, as well as the cayenne and ground pepper, and whisk it all in until nicely blended. The dough is now ready.

The grand finale, a.k.a. the next step, is bringing a large pot to the boil. Ideally this should have 2.5 inches/6-7 centimeters of water in it. Use 2 tablespoons and scoop out a golf ball-sized portion with one of the tablespoons and solidify the dough a bit by using the second spoon. Let the ball glide into the water. Repeat the process until you have a good quantity of dumplings in the water without them laying on each other. The dumplings are ready when they float onto the surface.

 


Halloumi Avocado Bacon Salad With Dill-Lemon Dressing

Halloumi is one of Cyrus’ tastiest gifts to the world. It has rightfully become popular, as it is a wonderful meat substitute for BBQs and other culinary applications, as you can marinate and grill it just like you would with a steak or burger patty. It’s traditionally made out of a mix of goat and sheep’s milk, although a lot of providers use cow’s milk as well. Coupled with maple syrup, it becomes divine.

This salad is an amazing weekday dinner option that’s perfect after coming home from the gym or as a refreshing summer dish on a hot day. Its rich flavors leave nothing left to wish for as far as meals are concerned. This recipe makes 2 servings as a main course. Prep time is 20-25 minutes, depending on whether you do the bacon and halloumi parallel or one after the other.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • 2/3 cup of sweet corn
  • 5 spring onions
  • 5 ounces (125 grams) of halloumi cheese (click here)
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of dill
  • 3 tablespoons of native olive oil
  • Salt and ground pepper

Start by chopping the avocado into dices and the spring onions into small rings. Add it all to a salad bowl, along with the sweet corn. Fry the bacon in a pan on medium heat until crispy. Make sure to put the bacon into the cold pan and then turn on the heat, as this makes for crispier and less greasy results. You also don’t need to add any butter or oil for frying the bacon. Once the slices have reached the desired state of crispiness, lay them on a paper towel to soak up all the extra fat. Then fold the paper towel and crush the bacon inside, then add the crumbles to the salad bowl. Pour in the dill and you are ready for the grand finale: the cheese.

Afterwards, cut the halloumi into slices (or dices, whatever floats your boat) and cook it in the pan with the vegetable oil and maple syrup. The latter allows the halloumi to slightly caramelize and gives it a unique and super tasty flavor. Once the halloumi has gone a dark golden color, add it to the bowl.

As for the dressing, squeeze one fresh lemon into a small glass or bowl, add the olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk it all together. Note that there is no need to have any vinegar, as the lemon adds all the acid that is needed. Mix it into the other salad ingredients and enjoy. Serve it while the halloumi is still slightly warm.


You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by… a smooth(ie) criminal

That’s right, this sneaky soft talker of a smoothie will steal your heart in a flash. Guilty of being tasty. This one thrives on the awesome taste of maple syrup and by God does it thrive. This recipe makes for one generous serving and is an ideal meal replacement, if you want to skip dinner for a nutritious yet enjoyable option.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of chilled oat milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop of My Protein Maple Syrup flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
  • Nutmeg

Truth be told, the maple syrup protein powder is for people with a real sweet tooth. So you might want to tone it down a bit. This can be achieved with the help of the banana, which coincidentally also ensures a healthy dose of potassium, minerals and vitamins with your smoothie. Flaxseeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids and a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, which can lower your risk for heart-attacks.  Lastly, the nutmeg can help your body eliminate the toxins accumulated in the liver and kidney and overall contributes to a better night’s sleep, as it is said to be a great home remedy for treating insomnia. After all, a good night’s sleep is the best foundation of a healthy body and mind.