So I hear that it’s gloomy and cold in my hometown in the suburbs of Chicago but it sure doesn’t seem like it here in sunny Arizona where it was 81 degrees 2 days ago. On November 9th, it’s sunny and 81!! Unheard of. At least for me because I’ve lived in Illinois the majority of my adulthood.
But my internal clock tells me it’s yummy cozy slow cooker soup season for sure. I found this recipe and my mouth started watering. I loved the simple ingredients and the fact that it included couscous which makes me feel like I’m being bad and eating pasta but couscous actually has protein and fiber in it. So I’m not being super bad by eating pasta but also not being super awesome by eating quinoa, couscous is somewhere in the middle for me.
This recipe came together so fast and easy and unlike other crock pot recipes that take 4 – 6 hours, this one only takes about 2 hours on low. A nice, easy, healthy, warm and cozy vegetarian soup just like that. And it freezes really good too.
If you really like carrots, add more carrots, if you like more green red orange or yellow bell peppers then add more. The recipe is so simple that you can easily customize it to your particular taste.
You can decide how much seasoning you prefer too. I like a little kick to my recipes so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and it was perfect for me. But at the very least, the salt, pepper and oregano give a great flavor and mix really good with the flavor of the fire roasted tomatoes.
I love having a good soup in the fridge ready to heat up. This recipe makes A LOT. I had to use my 6 quart slow cooker. But it’s so good and hearty, not to mention nutritious that the hubby and I go through it really fast. None goes to waste, that’s for sure.
These turkey meatballs came out so juicy and tender! Not to get a swelled head or anything but these were gooooood. Kid approved too.
I had never made meatballs this way before. I usually bake them or use a crock pot which takes time and patience. But these were done in 30 minutes! Both the sauce and the meatballs were easy.
I even added a secret ingredient. I wanted to incorporate a veggie to bump up the nutritional value but needed it to be stealth since there would be kiddies eating these too. So I pureed a half bag of organic baby spinach and added it to the sauce. You couldn’t tell it was there at all. But I think it really added to the flavor and they never knew – shhhh.
I doubled this recipe but didn’t double all of the ingredients. I only used a half bag of spinach, the 1 bay leaf and the 1/2 onion. The ingredient list below is just for a single batch.
Bottom line is that I will only make meatballs this way from now as they turned out to be the best I’ve ever made. You can eat these as they are in the red sauce or top some quinoa, brown rice noodles, zucchini pasta or sweet potato pasta. So many ways to enjoy.
Stuffed Portabella – Spinach Tomato Onion Parmesan and Swiss
I’ve made other portabella mushroom variations before like my Ricotta and Spinach one and my Portabella Pizzas but this is my latest variation and it’s awesome! I made them recently for a family that I care for. They actually made the suggestions, I went with it and they were a hit. So I decided to make them for the hubby and I.
Spider (our boy kitty) missed me being in the kitchen. Anytime I cook, he is either sitting right next to me or stretching out on my leg like I was his human scratching post. So cute.
I love stuffed portabellas for many reasons. They are super easy, a filling low fat vegetarian meal, gluten free, super versatile and really quick to make. You saute everything except the mushrooms in one pan then stuff the ‘shrooms and bake for 20 minutes.
The secret to not having a big watery mushroom mess is pre=baking the water out of the mushrooms while you are sauteing the veggies.
To prep your mushrooms just pre-heat the oven to 400, rinse mushrooms lightly but don’t soak them, remove the gills with a spoon from the mushroom caps, place on a foil covered cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. When you take them out, soak up the water that was drawn out with a paper towel. You’ll notice that have flattened out a bit from the water being baked out.
Prep mushroom while sauteing veggies, stuff mushrooms, cover with cheese and bake at 400 for 18 – 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.
Nom nom nom.
Stuffed Portabella - Spinach Tomato Onion Parmesan and Swiss
1 large tomato or 4 small tomatoes, diced small (can use 1 can of drained diced tomatoes instead)
½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese or italian blend
1 slice of swiss cheese per mushroom
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp each salt and pepper
Read recipe all the way through before starting, it'll save time.
Preheat oven to 400.
While the mushroom is prepping, you can get all the sauteed veggies going.
TO PREP MUSHROOM:
Scrape gills from mushroom caps, place on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake gill side up for 10 minutes. After removing from oven, soak up the water with a paper towel and set aside. Keep oven on.
Heat olive oil and add everything except the mushroom and the cheese. Saute on medium for about 10 minutes. The onions should be translucent and the spinach nice and wilty. If there is too much liquid from the tomatoes, just continue sauteing enough to cook off the liquid.
The mushroom prep and the saute should be done roughly around the same time.
Ever since being on vacation and missing my kitchen more than a normal person should, I have been needing to make a crock pot dish. Something about the crock pot makes me feel homey.
This super easy recipe has so much going for it. It has very few ingredients which of course warms my heart, paleo, protein dish, low-carb, and low calorie.
I made this and topped roasted brussel sprouts and added a slice of avocado and a squirt of lime over the top. Perfecto. I reheated the leftovers and had it in butter lettuce cups topped with a slice of avocado for a light lunch too.
If you’ve been following any of my other posts you probably know that I have a love affair with quinoa. Any chance I can get to use it in a recipe, I do it. I literally crave it. It’s pretty much the perfect food for me and probably the most purchased item in my pantry.
If I were to tell you my favorite thing about it, I couldn’t narrow it down to one thing. It’s the whole package. The protein, the fiber, the adaptability to any flavors, versatility in so many recipes and probably 25 more things.
So I guess just sit back and enjoy my newest quinoa creation. Let me know how it turns out for you or if you made any substitutions, I love hearing about other peoples variations.
This recipe can easily be made paleo by eliminating the feta and adding chopped mushrooms instead.
1 cup or 1 large handful of fresh spinach (I like a lot of spinach so I do a VERY full handful)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 Tablespooon almond flour (can sub with regular flour but you will need to add an addtl tablespoon making it 4)
½ cup fire roasted tomatoes (I use canned organic. Save remainder of tomatoes for serving).
½ cup white or yellow onion (finely diced)
½ cup crumbled feta (or for a paleo recipe, sub feta with chopped mushrooms)
1 Tablespoon ghee for saute (can sub with coconut oil)
½ teaspoon parsley
½ teaspoon basil
dash salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350.
Start quinoa first - put 1 cup dry quinoa in a medium saucepan and add 2 cups vegetable broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If quinoa starts to get dry, add a tablespoon of broth at a time to it and continue cooking. You will know it's done with little sprouts appear from the grain.
While quinoa is simmering you can get everything else ready.
In a small frying pan melt ghee and add spinach and onion. Saute until spinach is wilted and onion is softening.
Add parsley, basil, salt and pepper to spinach and stir. Remove from heat. You want the spinach/onion to cool down for a minute before adding it to the egg mixture so the heat doesn't cook the eggs prematurely.
In a medium bowl whisk eggs.
Add almond milk and almond flour to eggs and whisk to combine until smooth.
Add spinach/onion mixture to eggs, stir.
Add cooked quinoa next and stir to combine thoroughly.
Fold in fire roasted tomatoes and feta (or mushrooms if making paleo). You just want to incorporate them into the quinoa mixture, not smash them in.
Pour mixture into a baking dish (8x8 or a pie pan)
Bake for 45 minutes.
Serve topped with remaining uncooked fire roasted tomatoes. Delish!