Tag Archives: vegetable

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

26 Feb
Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

This is one of those “it’s time to clean out the refrigerator” soups. I had a large hodgepodge of fresh vegetables to use up and a half-bag of cheese tortellini in the freezer. So why not make a soup out of it all?

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

Tortellini Soup Veggies and Pasta

I decided on an Italian-style soup with tomatoes and Italian seasoning. This started out to be a semi-vegetarian soup, but a last-minute errand brought me close to the supermarket so I ran in and bought a link of Italian Turkey Sausage. You can leave out the sausage because the tortellini is filling enough, but I’m always wary of serving my husband a vegetarian supper.

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

Chopped Vegetables for Soup

There is really not much to the recipe other than some slicing and dicing and a little sauteing. Use any kind of vegetables you want in this soup! Don’t have asparagus but have some zucchini? Use that instead! Don’t have any celery? Then add more carrots! What a flexible way to use up those pesky portions of vegetables that aren’t enough for a meal, huh?

Vegetable Base for Soup

Vegetable Base for Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/4 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 jar or can of tomatoes, diced, with liquid
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium
Small head of broccoli, cut into florets
Small bunch of asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
9 ounces cheese tortellini, frozen or refrigerated
1/2 horseshoe link of Italian Turkey Sausage, sliced 1/4-inch thick (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Italian Vegetable Soup Base

Dice, chop, mince, slice, and cut up all your veggies (and sausage if you use it). You can perfect your knife skills with this soup!

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

Asparagus and Broccoli Added

In a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil and the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the seasonings. Plop in two large spoonfuls of tomato paste into the skillet (about 2 tablespoons) then stir to combine with the vegetables. Continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes.

Simmering the Soup

Simmering the Soup

Add the diced tomatoes then add the broccoli and asparagus, stirring to combine. Now pour in the chicken broth. Turn up heat and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally, to meld the flavors.

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

Tortellini and Optional Sausage Added

In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the tortellini and sausage, bring back up to a simmer, and continue cooking until tortellini is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian Sourdough bread. I decided to use the one fresh tomato we had left in a side salad that we also ate with the soup.

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Italian Vegetable Tortellini Soup

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Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

19 Jan
Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

While the rest of the country is freezing and snowed in, the balmy days here in the Pacific Northwest gave me a hankering for some light and savory spring rolls. We’ve been bordering on 60 degrees all week and I’ve been wondering where winter went this year?  I’m typically making soups and stews during January,  not fresh and crunchy spring rolls!

I set up a “build-your-own-spring-roll” station on the kitchen counter, showed the family how to soak their rice wrapper, choose their filling, and how to roll it up. I got a little over-zealous with my spring roll filling as it was bursting at the seams! My husband made three of them, and his were neat and tidy packages like you see at the restaurants, but he ate his before I could photograph them. And me? Well I’m not exactly a perfectionist. Do as I say, not as I do, right? Besides, you do want to eat these right away or the rice wrapper becomes a bit gummy over time.

Julienned Vegetables

Julienned Vegetables

Don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you. I julienned all the vegetables earlier in the day, cooked the noodles, then stored them in the refrigerator until we were ready to get rolling. About 15 minutes before dinner, I made the spicy peanut sauce, laid out all the fixin’s, and the dinner bell rang! Everyone agreed these were a surprising tasty meal on a not-so-cold mid-winter’s night.

You can substitute and/or omit any of the vegetables for ones of your liking. On a whim, I bought a jicama to add to the mix, which added a slightly sweet crunch to the roll. Same with the herbs, you may use any or none of them, or even sub in parsley. Although I do think each one adds its own depth of flavor in the end.

Spring Roll Filling

Spring Roll Filling

Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Rolls with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

For the spring rolls:
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
4-inch chunk of cucumber, julienned
1/2 jicama root, julienned
3 green onions, green part cut into 4-inch pieces
Romaine lettuce leaves
2 ounces dried rice noodles
Salad shrimp
Round rice wrappers
Fresh cilantro, mint, and Thai basil

For the spicy peanut sauce:
4-inch piece of lemongrass root
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (Thai chili paste)

Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Roll

Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Roll

Wash and prep all your vegetables, cook the rice noodles according to directions, and store in containers in the refrigerator until ready to make your rolls.

About 15 minutes before serving, make the peanut sauce. Boil the lemongrass in the water in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Remove the lemongrass then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Turn down heat and simmer until thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Lay out a wet dish towel on the counter, and set up a line of all your vegetables, herbs, and shrimp. Put one rice wrapper in a shallow pan and cover with water, and swirl it around until it becomes soft and pliable. Working quickly, lay the wrapper on the wet dish towel, top with a lettuce leaf, some rice noodles and fillings/herbs of choice. Fold the bottom of the rice wrapper up over the filling, tuck in both sides, then roll up the rest of the way. Serve with the warm spicy peanut sauce.

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Egg Foo Young ~ With all the Fixin’s or Vegetarian!

11 Jan
Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young

Can you say incredible? Oh my gosh, these were so good that my husband and daughter practically ripped the extra one on my photoshoot plate right off from under the camera! They were like vultures, I tell you! I let them split it with each other, as one egg pancake was plenty for me since I filled mine with all the extras.

I had wanted to make this dish the first time I set eyes on it last April over at Lemony Thyme. Libby makes these wonderfully tasty dishes and presents everything so well with her photography. I pretty much followed this recipe except I sauteed the mushrooms first, cooked up some ground pork instead of using ham, plus I added the optional shrimp. Any of the fillings are optional, so this adapts well to a vegetarian dish. Oh and I don’t own a sifter, so I made a corn starch slurry instead.

Since you can only make these one at a time (unless you want to dirty up more skillets), I made each Egg Foo Young to order. This recipe makes enough for four of them. My daughter only wanted the pork added and no mushrooms in hers. My husband didn’t want the shrimp in his (this surprised me, he loves shrimp!) but did want the pork and mushrooms. I wanted it all, so added all three to mine. The final pancake had only pork so my daughter would eat it.  Aren’t I accommodating?

I have always spelled this dish Egg Foo Young, but Libby spelled hers Egg Fu Yung. I got curious and did a little internet searching, and it turns out both spellings are perfectly acceptable. But no matter how you spell it, this is an incredibly delicious meal to serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Egg Foo Young Ingredients

Egg Foo Young Ingredients

Egg Foo Young
Adapted from Egg Fu Yung at Lemony Thyme

Hint: Before you get started, you will want to have everything mise en place. That’s just a fancy phrase for getting everything prepped and ready in one place before you start cooking the final dish.

Brown Gravy:

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch, mixed with a little cold water

Egg Foo Young:

1 cup ground pork
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup green onions, chopped small
1/2 cup cooked deli shrimp, diced small
8 to 10 water chestnuts, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon flour, mixed with a little cold water
1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, for frying
More sliced green onions, for garnish

Egg Foo Young

Egg Foo Young

Start by cooking the brown gravy and just get that out of the way. You can reheat and stir it a bit on the stovetop when ready to serve. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring all brown gravy ingredients, except the corn starch slurry, to a slight boil then reduce the heat to low. Mix about half the corn starch slurry into the broth whisking constantly. Return the gravy to a simmer, and slowly add a bit more of the slurry while simmering, until desired consistency. Remove gravy from heat and set aside.

If you are going to use pork in this dish, now crumble up the ground pork in a skillet sprayed with a little oil over medium heat. Cook until pork is browned through. Drain and reserve in a bowl and set aside. Next, if using mushrooms, add those to the same skillet and saute about 5 to 7 minutes, until they release their liquid and start to brown. Remove from skillet and set aside in another bowl. Now is the time to dice up or measure all the other ingredients in preparation for the eggs.

In a medium bowl, crack in six eggs and beat in the flour slurry while whisking until well combined. Whisk in soy sauce and sesame oil, then add in bean sprouts, green onions, chestnuts, and black pepper and combine well. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil then about a half cup of the egg mixture. I have this wok-like skillet that has a flat 6-inch bottom I used, but any skillet would do. I suppose a smaller skillet would help make the pancakes thicker. I digress.

Next spread on top of it a portion of any of the pork, shrimp, or mushrooms and cook until the bottom is nice and set. You can swirl the pan around to get some of the uncooked egg on top to add to the sides of the pancake. It’s all good. Flip it over, then cook until the other side is done and set. Add about a tablespoon (or less) of oil between batches. Serve with the reheated brown gravy and sliced green onions. This is seriously amazing!

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Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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