Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Uncream My Broccoli Soup

If you have not already been able to tell, I love soups. So I am always interested in discovering a new delicious soup recipe. Preferably one that is healthy, allows for easy modification, and stores well. Here is a recipe for super-delicious broccoli soup that even Hans eats. It is “creamy” without actually having any dairy added.

(Adapted from Eating Well)

Ingredients (Makes 6 large servings):
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Add a bit more for extra kick)
2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth (Alternatively use 2 veggie bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water)
16 ounces (1 lb) broccoli crowns (see Ingredient note), cut into 1-inch pieces, stems and florets separated (average broccoli weighs 1 to 1.5 lb)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation (Preparation time approximately 30-40 minutes)
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour, dry mustard and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

2. Add broth and broccoli stems; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the salt. Stir in florets; simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to blender and puree, until desired consistency.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Celery, rainbow carrots, garlic, and onion

Celery, rainbow carrots, garlic, and onion

Red potato, Yukon Gold potato, and broccoli

Red potato, Yukon Gold potato, and broccoli

Ingredients  prior to the blender

Ingredients prior to the blender

Broccoli soup

Broccoli soup

Healthful benefits:
* The amount of calories is much lower than broccoli soup that is dairy-based.
* Broccoli is rich in vitamins C. E, and B5. It also contains high amounts of beta carotene, folate, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium.
* The soup also allows the addition of one carrot, celery stick, onion, and potato. So it is a bit of a vegetable soup, sneaky, right?! Don’t tell anyone.

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Perfect Pizza Sauce (Accidental Find)

As I was going through the NYT looking for fun science facts to share with my students, I came across a recipe for tomato bisque with fresh goat cheese. I am still not sure whether red pepper flakes (what I used) are much more potent than chile flakes (what recipe asked for)…but the soup turned out superspicy…yummy but way too hot…even after some attempts to make it less spicy. We really like the soup, but better yet…Hans suggested to try it as pizza sauce because it had the perfect amount of spice and its smooth consistency…and it was perfect.

2 tablespoons red pepper flavored olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup diced onion, white or yellow
3 (14 ounce) cans organic diced tomatoes
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 ounces goat cheese

1. Put oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it simmers, add garlic until just fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add onion and continue cooking until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
2. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup water. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until flavors have melded. Pour into blender and bland. Add goat cheese and stir until mixture is creamy.

Note: Stores well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

In the future: The amount can be reduced if less than 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes is used. Also, with less red pepper flakes, it will make a delicious soup. I will re-post both recipes once I have time to tweak the spice combinations.

Here is finally the soup recipe for tomato bisque with goat cheese:


Beneficial health effects:
* Homemade pizza sauce will have fewer ingredients and fewer preservatives. It may also be lower in calories in comparison to store-bought pizza sauce.
* Onions are rich in vitamins A and C, manganese, iron, and phosphorus.
* Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and E, beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
* Goat cheese is easier on the human digestive system than cheese made from cow milk. Goat cheese is also lower in calories, cholesterol and, fat. In addition, goat milk cheese is a good source of calcium, protein, vitamins A and K, phosphorus, niacin, and thiamin.


Homemade Pizza

While I really love olives and mushrooms on my pizza, Hans does not like either on pizza. Luckily, I have found other ingredients we both like…and now we can share the joy of making pizza together and being able to consume the super-yummy result together.

Pizza dough
see recipe under:

Pizza sauce
see recipe under:

1/2 green pepper, sliced
2-3 tomatoes from the vine, sliced and seeded
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
fresh oregano leaves, cut into small pieces
4 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
top with additional shredded cheese (we like to use mozarella and italian shredded cheese)

1. Roll out the pizza dough. Spread pizza sauce on the dough leaving about 1/2 inch (or for the metric person 2 centimeters) on the edge uncovered.
2. Sprinkle with cheese. Add pepper and tomato slices evenly on the pizza, add the goat cheese, basil, and oregano.
3. Bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 13 minutes (or until it looks done).

Pizza--before baking

Pizza–before baking

Pizza--after baking

Pizza–after baking

Pizza 2_before baking


Pizza 2 after baking

Pizza with goat cheese


Homemade Pizza Dough

Hmmmm…pizza. I have to admit from time to time we endulge in cheese pizza from Costco…but there is just something magical about making pizza from scratch at home. Whenever we make homemade pizza, we use the following dough recipe.

1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3½ cups regular flour

1. Please yeast in the bowl, and pour warm water in bowl. Stir in the sugar, mix with a fork, and allow to stand until the yeast has dissolved and starts to foam (5-10 minutes).
2. Use a wooden spoon to mix in the salt and about one third of the flour. Mix in another third of the flour, stirring with the spoon until the dough forms a mass and begins to pull away form the sides of the bowl.
3. Sprinkle some of the remaining flour onto a smooth work surface. Remove the dough from the bowl and begin to knead it, working in the remaining flour a little at a time. Knead for 8-10 minutes. By the end the dough should be elastic and smooth. Form it into a ball.
4. Lightly oil a mixing bowl. Place the pizza that is lightly-covered in oil (to prevent forming a “skin”) into the bowl and let the dough rise for 40-50 minutes.
5. After the rising period, we usually split the dough into equal halves: One half to use to make the pizza crust, the other half gets wrapped with plastic wrap. It can be stored for several days in the refrigerator.
6. Roll the dough out and place directly on a pizza pan.

Check out our homemade pizza recipe

Note: this makes 2 large round pizzas. We often make just one pizza and store the other half of the dough in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator. Make sure to use up the dough within 1 week. Alternatively, just use half of the dough ingredients and make half the dough.

Healthful benefits:
* Next time you buy frozen or fresh pizza dough, look at all of the ingredients. This recipe only has 5 ingredients. =)

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Spinach & Black Bean Enchiladas

Yum…enchiladas…maybe our favorite dish at the Mexican restaurant. This recipe combines healthful spinach and black beans. It also stores well and allows for healthy lunches.
(I just noticed that this recipe has no picture…I guess next time I make it, I will have to take a picture)
(Adapted from American Heart Association)

Several quarts of water
8 cups fresh spinach leaves, stemmed (1 pound)*
Vegetable oil spray, if needed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups low-sodium salsa, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
14 (6-inch corn) tortillas**
4 ounces shredded nonfat or low-fat Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 cup)
2 Italian plum tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced

* Substitute 1 (10-ounce) package of no-salt-added frozen spinach. Defrost spinach and drain completely, then continue with the recipe.
** Heat tortilla one at a time for approx. 30 seconds in microwave to prevent from breaking when rolling. Or place in hot non-stick pan and flip quickly.

1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. While water heats, thoroughly rinse spinach. Add spinach to boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible with the back of a large spoon.

2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the casserole dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, black beans, 1 cup of salsa, ½ teaspoon of cumin, and chili powder. Spoon mixture down the middle of one tortilla. Roll the tortilla around the filling and place it seam down in prepared casserole dish. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.

3. Combine remaining 1 cup salsa, tomatoes, and cumin; pour over tortillas. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 25 to 30 min. or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and let stand for 2 min. Place ½ cup lettuce on each individual serving plate. Arrange 2 enchiladas over lettuce on each plate. Top each serving with one tablespoon sour cream.

Tip: This dish freezes well. After rolling the enchiladas, place them in a container and cover tightly with foil or put them in an airtight plastic freezer bag. Increase baking time to 35 to 40 minutes.

Healthful benefits:
* Spinach is a good source of beta carotene, vitamin C, iron, calcium, folate, potassium, and fiber.
* Black beans are rich in protein.
* Corn tortillas are healthier than flour tortillas. Corn tortillas have fewer calories, less fat (also less saturated fats), less sugar, and less sodium than flour tortillas. In addition, corn tortillas have more fiber and magnesium than flour tortillas.