Showing posts with label Quick Meals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quick Meals. Show all posts

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chunky White Bean Turkey Soup

remember last friday when i surprised mr p with dinner when i came home early from denver?

it's not often that it's ME who makes dinner all by myself, but this one is so easy and delicious and HEALTHY , that i make it fairly often.  my mom cut it the recipe out of fitness magazine my sophomore year in college (i think?) and sent the page to me.  i've been making it at least a few times a year ever since.

(images via fitness magazine)

mr p and i have successfully been cleaning out our fridge by using up all the meat we have shoved in there (and have vowed not to buy another meat product until we use at least half.. well.. except for tuna in the can... the best tuna salad comes from a can in our minds!!) we had enough turkey for the soup, had the broth, had the spices, had the green salsa, and only needed the onions and beans.  talk about some cheap meals!!

so, here goes.  i hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  make sure to read the notes at the end for our tips on changing up the soup so it can be healthier, or just to turn it into a completely different meal than just soup.

chunky white bean turkey soup

12 oz lean ground turkey (if you use 93/7 or better you won't need to drain the fat)
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 15-oz cans great northern beans
1 16-oz jar green salsa (goya is best for a bit more spice... we used to use ortega before we lived in a place with hispanic groceries around the corner and multiple hispanic food isles at the big box grocery)
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp cumin (feel free to double or triple this after tasting... i add WAY more than the listed amount because i LOVE this spice!)

(forgot the cumin in the pic, and used veggie broth instead of chicken because i didn't want to buy chicken broth... BAD idea!!  will never do that again.  ONLY use chicken broth!)

heat the olive oil over medium heat in the pot you plan to make the   add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes.  add the turkey and saute until all turkey is cooked.  add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  simmer for a minimum of 15 minutes (longer if desired).

that's it!

now for our variations:

1.  immediately after serving, toss in some fresh spinach and fold in the spinach.  it will wilt enough so that it's a nice texture, without being overly mushy.  it's nice to add in, too, because it doesn't really add any flavor, just TONS of nutrients :D

2. serve over brown rice or quinoa.  scoop up more "chunks" than broth, and serve over the brown rice or quinoa for more of a stew instead of a soup (or just keep the broth in there and it will end up just like you added the rice or quinoa)

(or add spinach AND quinoa like we did!)

(final product friday night)

(final product friday night)

3. bake 2 corn tortillas so they turn crispy, top with black beans, top beans with "chunks" from the soup, top with fried egg, top with queso fresco and serve with 2 lime wedges.  insta-huevos-rancheros.

(like we did saturday AND sunday mornings)

i hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! it's a quick, healthy meal to make, plus you can make a lot of it and eat it different ways so it's not so mundane eating the "same" thing for a few days :D

cheers to a great week ahead!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a Wedding Weekend

whaaat?  who has a wedding in JANUARY!!??  well, i suppose if your dream honeymoon is to spend a week in vail snowboarding (THEN another weekend in sunny beach weather), there's no better time then january to get married!  my work buddy caroline became a Mrs. this weekend to her hubs jason (congrats, again, you lovebirds!)

the wedding was in NJ outside of philly, so we decided to stay in philly with our friend zack instead of driving the 1.5 hours or so to get there.  after a late night in the office for mr p, we hit the road, got to philly later than we expected, so we had the party come to us!

more friends made their way to zack's for a night of drinking games and an impromptu ke$ha dance party.  coors light, ke$ha, and trashy dancing... sounds like we were having one of the parties in her trashy songs! haha  (no... we're definitely classier... i DON'T throw glitter to make it rain and i DON'T brush my teeth with a bottle of jack)

the wedding on saturday was a blast! our whole table was filled with girls from my company and their dates, so it was a fun time to dress up, put on some heels, grab a drink, and let loose with the girls instead of being all "professional" at work.

totally kicking myself in the butt for not bringing a camera to the gorgeous wedding, but i at least had the notion to take pictures of a few items from the RIDICULOUS dessert bar!  this wedding had by far the best food of any wedding i've been to.  we were halfway convinced that there was no real dinner after stuffing our faces with the amazing hors d'oeuvres. luckily caroline's mother came up to us and told us to save room, because a full dinner and desserts were still to come!

for some reason i feel guilty for loving cake pops.

needless to say i did NOT stick to the detox plan this weekend.  i've decided that if staying on the plan prohibits me from having a good social life, i won't do it.  and i will make it up during the week (hopefully). 

when we returned to zack's after the wedding, we were surprised to hear we were expecting another guest!  his brother had a layover in philly to go home to ireland, missed his flight due to bad weather, delays, etc.  since we had another person tagging along, we decided to get a good brunch before hitting the road back to jersey city.

zack ALWAYS talks about a place called sabrina's, so this was finally a perfect time to go!  i got a chamomile tea and fish tacos!! soooo good!  surprisingly the only detox UN-friendly part of my meal was the sour cream and cheese on the tacos, otherwise i was good to go!  mr p ordered a burger on a brioche bun (he swears it's the best kind of bread for burgers) with bacon and some kind of sweet chutney on top.  the place was super trendy on the inside, and pretty packed full of hipsters, but the waitress was really fun, the food was amazing, and we all had a great time!

we got home in time to unpack, clean the apartment, and make one of our FAVORITE go-to meals, pasta with avocado pesto (see recipe from an earlier post here)!! regular linguine for mr p, gluten-free pasta for me... all detox friendly except for the cheese (...pesto without cheese just ISN'T pesto)

again, great weekend with great friends and great food.  sometimes, it just doesn't get any better than that!!

cheers to a positive start to a great week ahead :D

Thursday, December 29, 2011

{balsamic} vinaigrette

After eating leftovers all week (thanks, Mama Phan!), we were ready to eat something different tonight.  Mr P wanted to make lentil soup, and it took much longer than anticipated, so we ended up eating bigs salads for dinner instead of soup and a small side salad (but yay for delicious lentil soup for tomorrow!!)

We topped red leaf lettuce with grape tomatoes, red onions, pears, grapefruit, walnuts, and a little bit of extra sharp cheddar cheese.  We normally make some version of a typical oil, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, mustard, etc. vinaigrette, so I wanted to switch it up and go for some {balsamic} vinaigrette!  I never made it before tonight, so I looked to none other than the to find a quick and easy recipe.

Emeril pulled through for us, with a simple vinaigrette with just balsamic vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and pepper (woooo we had it all and I didn't need to run to the store again to pick up that ONE ingredient that makes the sauce).

We certainly enjoyed the change-up, and hope you do too!  Next time we will add in some apples and blue cheese (and load up on the walnuts!!)

Emeril Legasse's Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
(find the original recipe here)


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter!)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil  (we used a 2:1 olive oil to vinegar ratio instead of his given 3:1 ratio because vinaigrettes always call for too much oil for our tastebuds)

Whisk together all ingredients but the oil.  Slowly add oil while continuing to whisk.  Presto!

Serve over salad of choice (though we highly recommend it has walnuts and some sort of fruit!)

After visiting family in Ohio, we came home with delicious fudge for dessert every night!!  Yum! Thanks, Diann! We love it!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Presto Pesto

Pesto is one of our favorite sauces for pasta (or chicken, or grilled zucchini, or anything really), mostly because it's so quick and easy to make.  Our corner grocery sells fresh basil for $1.50/bunch.  We bought 2 bunches and made enough pesto with this basil to be used in 6 servings.

Pesto is one of those things that you have to taste as you go .  The first time I made it, I went strictly from a recipe, and it was so salty I couldn't eat it.  The recipe I will give to you is a good starting point, but taste as you go .  Some people like it more salty, some like it with more cheese, some with lots of olive oil.  You just have to add little bits, taste, and see what it needs.  There's no exact science to it, especially since every package or bunch of basil will give you different quantities, so the quantities of everything else will change with the amount of basil you have.

Here goes!


2 bunches of basil (probably 2 cups of leaves after you pinch the leaves off the stems)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

Clean the basil by submerging them in a big bowl filled with water.  This will allow any dirt or sand to fall to the bottom.  If you just run it under water, you will end up with very gritty pesto!  Not fun (trust me).

Pinch off all the basil leaves from the stems, and put in a food processor with freshly grated parmesan cheese, walnuts, salt, and garlic.  

Pulse a few times until everything is mostly chopped, then turn the food processor "on".  If you have a spout at the top, slowly drizzle the olive oil from the top (add 1 tbsp at a time if you have to open the top to add things).  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides as necessary, and add cheese, walnuts, salt, garlic, and/or olive oil as needed (by tasting) , and continue processing until you reach your desired consistency and taste.

Serve with pasta, pork, chicken, roasted veggies, potatoes, or whatever your heart desires :D

Today we ate this with leftover roasted chicken thighs and fresh, halved cherry tomatoes (on sale $3 for 2 pints!! yayaya) topped with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

Ok ok ok... I know, if you want to make a quick batch of pasta, you just open a jar (for heaven's sake there's an entire isle at the store these days for red pasta sauce, why on earth would you want to MAKE it yourself?)  Well, its because you haven't tried simply using a can of crushed tomatoes.

We always have canned tomato products on hand for nights like tonight, when we want to make a quick meal, or for when we want to make fancier pasta sauces, pizza sauce, soups, we use it in braised meat dishes, there's always a time when we are in the midst of cooking and say "Hey babe, can you see if we have any crushed tomatoes?"  But you would never use jarred "pasta sauce" in place of using crushed tomatoes, right?  Right.  That's because pasta sauce usually has lots of other ingredients in it that you don't need for that particular recipe.  But crushed tomatoes are crushed tomatoes.  Just with salt and citric acid added.  No herbs, no cream, no cheese, nothing to change the flavor away from just crushed tomatoes.  The versatility of canned tomato products is endless, and that's why we don't clutter our shelves with jarred pasta sauce.  Plus, its usually a bit cheaper than jarred pasta sauce, AND we get to add our own herbs and spices without going overboard or being limited on what we can do with the sauce based on the herbs and spices pre-added.

Tonight we sauteed all the leftover veggies in a hot pan with olive oil, then added a big can of crushed tomatoes, added some salt, pepper, sugar, all-spice, and sherry wine, let it simmer down, added a bit of heavy cream to make it a bit orange, and presto!  Sauce was done before the pasta!  If that's not quick enough for you, I don't know what is!!

Quick Red Pasta Sauce

1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 14-oz box of pasta (any shape!  tonight we used mini tomato bow-ties)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 onion, diced (or rough chopped if you like big pieces)
1 green pepper, diced (or rough chopped if you like big pieces)
1 head broccoli, cut into florets/bite-sized pieces
1 tsp salt, plus 2 tbsp for pasta water
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp all-spice
1 tbsp sherry wine (its ok if you don't have it, but it helps to break up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional, but makes it yummier)

Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the entire box of pasta.  Stir until pasta does not stick to each other.  Add broccoli florets and cook as per pasta package instructions.

While waiting for water to boil, heat olive oil in large pan (dutch oven if you have one) over high heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent.  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, all-spice, and sherry wine.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally, making sure not to burn.

When pasta is finished, drain water.  When sauce is finished simmering, add cream (if you choose), stir until cream is thoroughly mixed, add pasta and broccoli, stir until thoroughly mixed.

Presto!  Garnish with freshly-grated parmesan if you have it :D

You COULD go as basic as just the pasta and the crushed tomatoes.  We have done it before, and it turns out delicious!  But, if you have veggies just sitting in the fridge, or if you just want to eat more veggies, add them!  Add other types of veggies too! Zucchini would be good, and carrots, whatever suits your fancy.  And if you have spices in the cupboard, by all means use them!

Hope you enjoy this super quick weeknight meal!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Pulled Pork... AGAIN!!

Remember the last time I posted about making pulled pork?  We made this and this and ate it for a week.  Well, surprise surprise!  We have even more from that same batch.  We froze what we knew we wouldn't eat, and we pulled it out for dinners for this week!  We had amazing tacos, with homemade bbq sauce, homemade guac, taco sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, Mr P's super hot unnaturally-green habanero sauce (soooo spicy!! know what I'm talking about), white corn tortillas, and yes... pulled pork!

We didn't even have to use the stove... we used all fresh veggies, and just heated up the pulled pork and white corn tortillas in the microwave.

Does this make you want to get that scary-huge chunk of pork on the bone at the grocery store (i.e. pork shoulder) and make pulled pork??? haha


Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Thank you for being domesticated.."

Mr P, while I'm fixing a quick breakfast before my nephew's birthday party, "Thank you for being domesticated and making me breakfast...."

(says the man who makes 5 star meals on a daily basis, cuts my hair, and does my toes...)


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Different Twist on "Watercress and Beef"

My favorite meal from Mr P is watercress and beef stir-fried in the wok... hands... down...  We make the meal fairly often, since it takes so little time to make.  We made a pot of rice, then followed this recipe for making the stir-fry.  However, we substituted Chinese chives (gao choy) in lieu of the watercress, and we used baby corn instead of bamboo shoots.  Really, you can add whatever you want, this is just what we happened to have in the cupboards and fridge.  We made this Saturday night, and I was able to capture almost every step in the cooking process for once!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week of Pulled Pork: Noodles!

Yes, "noodles", not "pasta".  Mr P clarified this to me yesterday.  He says he works with an older lady who is very Italian and very New York, and she (in her very New Yawk accent) says that you "NEVA call pasta "noodles".  Asians eat "noodles" and Italians eat "pasta".  Well then, we ate "noodles", because they were the Chinese egg noodles that have the dried shrimp powder in them.  I know, it sounds weird, but until you just try them assume they are awesome!

As you know, this is our week of pulled pork.  Remember, we have that huge bowl of pulled pork we need to eat?  It won't be hard though, considering how much each of us like it!  Last night we threw the pork in a batch of noodles with garlic, lemon, and spinach.  Super simple, super cheap, and super delicious!  Here goes:

Lemony Chinese Egg Noodles with Spinach and Pulled Pork

1 package of dried Shrimp-Flavored Chinese Egg Noodles
2 cups of pulled pork (see recipe here)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 3 lemons (or more to taste)
1 bunch of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package instructions (about 8-10 minutes).  Heat oil in wok over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).  Add spinach, toss to coat with oil and garlic, then cover with a lid (can be any lid, doesn't have to fit the wok, just has to cover most of the spinach) and cook until spinach is mostly wilted (about 4 minutes, but keep your eye on it!).  Add pulled pork, toss.  Drain noodles, add them to the wok, and toss.  Squeeze in lemon juice, taste, add salt and pepper (and possibly more lemons) to taste.  Serve.

Just to show you how cheap this meal can be, here is a quick cost breakdown:

1 package Chinese Egg Noodles:  $1.29  (at Asian grocery)
2 cups of pulled pork (about 1 lb):  $1.00  (8 lb shoulder for $0.99/lb)
3 garlic cloves:  $0.10  (1 head was about $0.50)
2 tbsp olive oil:  $0.21 ($10 for about 48oz or 96 tbsp)
1 bunch of spinach:  $1.00 (at small bodega)
3 lemons:  $1.00 (3 for $1 at small bodega)
salt and pepper:  practically free

Total:  $4.60
Servings:  8

Cost per serving:  $0.58!!!!!

So, you can either get Chinese takeout (for probably more than $4.60) and get 1 meal out of it, or you could put in a little more effort, be fully satisfied, and still have more for leftovers!

Another maybe quicker way to do a similar meal is to just add fresh spinach, lemons, or other veggies and spices to ramen.. yes, RAMEN!  Even we eat ramen.  It can be really good if you add a few veggies to it!  Just don't eat it too too often, the sodium is outrageous!

Did I ever say that I love that Mr P is cooking a lot again?  Thank  you fall weather for letting us cook in our home without dying of heat :D