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December 17, 2014

Red Lentil Pumpkin Soup

2 tsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
3-1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 cup dried small red lentils
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 cup water
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion and garlic to pan; saute 4 minutes.

Stir in 3 cups broth, lentils, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Use immersion blender to blend until smooth.

Add remaining 1/2 cup broth, 1 cup water, and pumpkin to pan; cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Stir in ginger and lemon juice.

Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 2 teaspoons yogurt, 1 tablespoon pumpkinseeds, and 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Serves 4.

Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Copycat

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, undrained
1 15-oz can great northern beans, undrained
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 12-oz can V8 juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 lb ditali pasta

Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan. Drain.

Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.

After about 50 minutes, cook the pasta as directed, just until al dente. Drain.

Add pasta to soup just before serving.

Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup water
1 package of your favorite pasta, prepared as directed on box

Start by seasoning chicken well with salt and pepper. Add the rest of ingredients EXCEPT for the pasta. Stir well to combine.

Cover and set crockpot on LOW for 7 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.

Serve over a bed of your favorite pasta.

Serves 4-6

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (regular or light)
2 Tbsp sugar
8 Tbsp Splenda
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together.