Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

My friend Melissa told me about this recipe from Hungry Girl last year and I've been waiting for cooler weather to make it. Well its not quite cool, but it is September, I wore a jean jacket today and footballs on, so as far as I'm concerned, its time for pumpkin stuff. I think I'm in good company too, since I've seen quite a bit of pumpkin popping up on blogs the last week or two. This is likely to be the first of many pumpkin recipes over the next month on here.

I haven't tried pumpkin much in savory dishes, but this recipe did not disappoint. It actually was surprisingly similar to chili, but with the rich pumpkin flavor it was so delicious. Pumpkin is a fantastic way to make a soup rich and creamy without adding a lot of fat.

I altered the recipe slightly from Hungry Girl, namely adding double the amount of pumpkin to the soup. I think this really contributed to the rich creamy texture so I recommend making the same change.

Also, the original recipe called for a tablespoon of chili powder for a serving of 4. I like my food spicy, but that seemed like a ridiculous amount so I only added a teaspoon and thought it was well flavored.

I will definitely make this again, and the only other thing I would change would be to try it with a pinch of cinnamon in it.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups Fat Free broth (chicken or vegetable)
28 oz. can pure pumpkin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
3/4 cup salsa
Optional toppings: shredded reduced-fat or fat-free cheese, and reduced-fat or fat free sour cream

Heat olive oil in soup pan. Add garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. Then add chili powder and cumin, and stir for one minute. Add broth to the spices, and bring to a simmer. Add pumpkin and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. This soup can be served with a sprinkle of cheese and a little fat free sour cream on top. Serves 6

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mango & Jalapeno Shrimp Kebabs

As the summer is winding down (er...actually we are finally getting the weather we should have been getting in July...but technically its not summer anymore), I feel like I've exhausted mango salsa in our little household. I just have a really hard time NOT buying mango from the grocery store though because they are ONLY $1!!!

So I was trying to think of a different way to use it and decided to do kebabs. I love the taste of grilled pineapple so thought that grilling the mango along with jalapeno marinated shrimp would be a great combination (Jalapeno compliments of our herb garden!).

I served it over a bed of rice with black beans, cilantro and lime. The creaminess of the rice and sweetness of the mango were a great compliment to the spicy shrimp.

Mango & Jalapeno Shrimp Kebabs

12 shrimp
1/2 jalapeno (finely diced)
1 mango
1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil

*Combine the juice of the lime with olive oil in bowl. Add the jalapeno, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

*Toss the shrimp in the mixture and let marinate 30 minutes.

*Skewer the mango an shrimp, alternating.

*Grill on a hot grill, about 4 minutes on each side.

*Serve over a bed of rice. For the rice I just followed basic rice cooking directions, and added 1/2 can of black beans, cilantro and lime juice at the end.

Very tasty and healthy meal - enjoy!

Spaghetti with Chicken, Grape Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan

I found this recipe on a Weight Watchers blog that I just discovered. I don't actually do Weight Watchers, but am always looking for healthy delicious recipes. This blog is chock full of them.

This also looked like a great way to use up some of my basil plant, other than making pesto. Our tiny city balcony doubles as an herb garden in the summer and has been very good to us - especially the basil plant.

So sad to think that this same amount of basil will cost me $3.99 in the winter.

Onto the recipe though, this was such a light and refreshing summer time meal. Also, I didn't tell Joe until AFTER that it was a Weight Watchers recipe : )

I followed the recipe from Gina's blog closely, however it is a possibility that I added a tiny bit more olive oil than this called for ; )

Almond Crusted Salmon with Lemon Leek Sauce

Salmon is one of my routine pick ups from the grocery store each week. While it is so versatile and I love experimenting with new receipes for it, it is easy to end up thinking of salmon the same way you do as chicken. You have it so much that you feel like you've exhausted every possible way of making it.

Enter, a new recipe and new ingredients. I would never think of combining salmon and leeks in a dish, but I found this fabulous recipe on Good Things Catered.

I have made this recipe twice now and been pleased with the outcome both times.

I did make two healthier substitutions to the recipe; 1) Used olive oil instead of butter (for the sauce and the crust) and 2) used 1% milk instead of heavy cream.

Still delicious!