Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Hans and I were in the mood for tortilla soup. Most recipes that we came across online were not vegetarian-friendly. So we decided to come up with our own recipe. So we choose the ingredients (including veggies and spices) and just trusted in the Dutch oven magic. Anything that is cooked in a Dutch oven, will by default be amazing, right?!

Ingredients (Makes 4 servings):
½ onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can (15 ounce) organic garbanzo beans, including liquid
2 cups (16 ounce) medium salsa
1 cup water
1 veggie bouillon cube (½ cube for 1 cup water)
1 cup tricolored quinoa
1 teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon chili powder

Preparation (Preparation time approximately 40 minutes)
1. Add all ingredients into the seasoned Dutch oven (8 inch).
2. Place Dutch oven on hot coals and heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. The quinoa is fully done, when the grain looks translucent and the white-germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.
3. Enjoy with cheese quesadilla.

Note: This recipe can be adapted to accommodate whatever you can find in your pantry. Need to use up potatoes and carrots. Just cut them into small pieces and add to the Dutch oven. No salsa, just use a can of cut tomatoes instead. Don’t like garbanzo beans, just use kidney beans. I would suggest buying organic tomatoes and beans, so you will not have to drain either can before adding them to the dutch oven. For another example, see Tortilla Soup Version 2.

Tortilla soup_before cooking

Tortilla soup_before cooking

Tortilla soup

Tortilla soup

Tortilla soup_full meal

Tortilla soup_full meal


Healthful benefits:
* Quinoa is glutenfree and rich in protein. It is also a good source of essential amino acids like lysine and acceptable quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
* Chickpeas are a great source of protein.


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Spaghetti with Walnut Sauce

I was a bit skeptical at first. Pasta and walnuts?! Not a combination I had grown up with in Germany or knew from visiting Italy. And let’s be honest, nothing comes close to traditional, home-style Italian pasta. Well…I loved this dish…even though any Italian out there may say that this is not authentic Italian cooking =P

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings):

1 cup walnut pieces or halves
3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs, see note
3 tablespoons olive or walnut oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve, see note

Preparation (Preparation time approximately 20 minutes):
1. I used the walnuts as they came from the bag. (Alternatively, to remove the skins you can drop the nuts into a small pan of boiling water, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain. Slip of the skins. Dry on paper towels.) Coarsely chop and set aside about a quarter of the nuts.

2. Place the remaining nuts, the breadcrumbs, oil, parsley, and garlic (if using) in a food processor or blender. Process to a paste. Remove to a bowl, and stir in the softened butter and the milk. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped nuts, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

* I like to use home-made bread crumbs. See suggestion under:
* We have grown fond of Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan cheese. It is a bit milder in taste.
* This dish stores well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container and can easily be reheated using the microwave.

Pasta with walnut sauce

Pasta with walnut sauce


Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking by Carla Capalbo


Healthful benefits:
* Walnuts (including their skin) are a good source of vitamin E. They also are rich in magnesium and potassium. They even contain a fair amount of calcium.

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Dutch Oven Home-Style Vegetable Chili

It’s a cold night and you are camping. You want something to warm you back up, this may be just the recipe to try. It is simple, delicious, and healthy… and it can be adapted easily to whatever beans and veggies you like.

Ingredients (Makes 4 large servings):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cans (15 ounce each) organic dark red kidney beans, undrained
2 cans (14.5 ounce each) organic diced tomatoes, undrained
shredded cheese, optional (cheese suggestions: Mexican style cheese or Cheddar cheese)

Preparation (Preparation time approximately 40 minutes):
1. Add olive oil to 8-inch Dutch oven and spread around. Add all the ingredients (minus spices). Place on hot coals and place some hot coals on the lid. Allow to heat, stirring occasionally. (Heat of the Dutch oven can be adjusted by adding or removing hot coals from underneath or the lid.)
2. Once heated through (approximately 30 minutes), add spices. Stir and enjoy sprinkled with cheese and fresh baked bread.

* Ingredients mentioned above would more easily fit a 10-inch Dutch oven, but if you temporarily place some of the chili into one of the empty cans, while the rest is heating, an 8-inch dutch oven will work as well.
* Combine spices before camping trip and store in little plastic container or ziploc bag. Reducing recipe by half will be sufficient for two people and will more easily fit into 8-inch Dutch oven.
* Assuming, you are making this when camping: Cut all the veggies before cutting the jalapeno pepper. Also, it will be best if you have a ziploc baggy that you could use as a glove substitute when cutting the jalapeno pepper. This will make it easier to avoid getting a lot of the jalapeno juices on your hand and prevent needing a lot of water to wash it off later.

Homestyle vegetarian chili

Homestyle vegetarian chili

Home-style vegetarian chili

Home-style vegetarian chili with sour cream and cheese


Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Vegetarian Cooking


Health benefits:
* Carrots are a great source of beta carotene, vitamin C and B, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium.
* Kidney beans are rich in potassium and magnesium, thus they help to keep blood pressure in check. In addition, the high fiber content can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.. Kidney beans are also rich in iron and protein, making them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.