Claudia and Hans Make Stuff

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Crock Pot Tortilla Soup

Thanksgiving is always an interesting holiday for vegetarians. Usually people serve turkey, ham, and gravy…all food items that are not vegetarian-friendly. Well, Hans’ family isn’t different. So in order to have “vegetarian-proof” food, a relative called a couple weeks ago and asked whether we could bring something we would like to eat. She mentioned that she was interested in the type of food we eat…I wish I could remember the exact phrasing she used…

Well, we decided we were gonna make Crock Pot Tortilla soup, which actually comes pretty close to Dutch Oven Tortilla Soup, and is soooooooooooooooo much better than Tortilla Soup made on the stove.

So we made Crock Pot Tortilla Soup, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops, and German Apple Crisp for Thanksgiving dinner.


Ingredients (3-4 servings, or more if used as appetizer)
½ onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeno pepper, minced
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 can organic tomatoes
1 can organic mixed beans (Whole Foods had salad beans which included kidney, pinto, and garbanzo beans)
2 rainbow carrots, sliced
3-4 fingerling potatoes, cubed
½ green pepper, cubed
1/3 cup multicolored quinoa
1 cup water
1 veggie bouillon cube
Taco seasoning
Cayenne pepper to taste

1. Saute onion in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper and continue sauteing until onion is translucent.
2. Add all ingredients to the crock pot (3.5 quarts). We added the tomatoes and beans first, including the water. Add all the other ingredients, except spices. Add the onion mixture.
3. Set crock pot to cook for 4 hours at high or for 8 hours at low. A few minutes before it is finished cooking add the taco seasoning and a dash of cayenne pepper to taste.
4. Serve with cheese sprinkled on it and cheese quesadilla. Pretty traditional Thanksgiving meal, don’t you agree?! Well, it just makes for a very yummy and delicious meal. Enjoy!

Tortilla soup is super delicious with cheese quesadillas.

Tortilla soup is super delicious with cheese quesadillas.

Note: Can easily be used as appetizer for Mexican-style pot-luck. =)


Garden-Fresh Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo recipes continued. I searched online for a simple salsa recipe to modify and add tomatillos to. This is what I came up with:

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 cups):
3 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a variety of garden-grown heirloom tomatoes)
1 cup (8 ounces) tomatillos, husked, washed, and chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 frozen cubes of freshly squeezed lemon juice)
½ jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt, to taste

1. Place tomatoes, onion, tomatillos, and jalapeno pepper in a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until desired consistency.
2. Add spices (cumin, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and garlic salt).
3. Enjoy fresh with chips.
4. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Alternatively, the salsa can also be frozen or canned for longer storage. I will post a more detailed blog about storage under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).


Note: I seeded the tomatoes before using them. Not because of the taste or consistency but in order to preserve the seeds. We want to be able to plant these heirloom tomatoes again next year. I will post how to save tomato seeds some time soon under “Useful Ideas” (RECIPE WILL APPEAR HERE).

Recipe inspired by

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here:

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Crock Pot Quinoa & Tomatillo Soup

Tomatillo month continues: After thinking about it for a long time, we finally bought a crock pot (3.5 quarts). It is only fitting that our first recipe included quinoa as well as tomatillos. It’s a simple and delicious recipe that is filled with lots of healthy and vegan-friendly protein. Enjoy =)

Ingredients (3-4 servings):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups chopped tomatillo)
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley (alternatively, you can use dried cilantro)
1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano (optional, we did not have it available)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cans (15-ounce) kidney beans (or black beans), rinsed well
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you could use canned vegetable or chicken broth)
1/3 cup multicolored quinoa (available at Trader Joe’s)

1. Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried parsley and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more.
2. While the vegetables are sauteing, rinse the beans thoroughly.
3. Put tomatillo-onion mixture into 3.5 quart crock pot. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, vegetable broth, and quinoa. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours.) Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time according to how hot your crock pot gets.)

Note: Recipe was inspired by


Tomatillo Salsa

While I am making another batch of the Sweet Potato Tomatillo Soup, this time to freeze it, I am trying to catch-up with posting recipes.

Here is another tomatillo inspired recipe: Tomatillo Salsa. Not only had I never made salsa before, I also had never made Tomatillo Salsa before. The recipe is super-simple to make. We took some to a Halloween Potluck and everybody liked it.


1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
small piece of jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 large white onion, cut into 4 wedges
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt, to taste

Coarsely purée tomatillos, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic, and water in a blender. Transfer to a large heavy skillet, this is when I added the lemon juice (as I used a lemon cube). Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature and salt to taste.
Make sure to chill and then enjoy with organic tortilla chips.

Note: We also jarred some of the hot salsa into canning jars for later use, see steps on how to can salsa below.

Super delicious Tomatillo Salsa

Super delicious Tomatillo Salsa


Recipe inspired by

Note: You can find two options for storing salsa here:

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Sweet Potato & Tomatillo Soup

It’s been far too long…sadly we have been cooking/baking things…but have had no time to blog about any of the recipes. Despite having 5000 other things, that I should be doing right now…I decided to blog at least one new recipe.

The month (November) has become tomatillo-inspired recipes. We had 5 tomatillo plants that produced enough tomatillos to feed a village. It is kind of comical that about 6 month ago, I didn’t know what tomatillos were and now I have already made 3 recipes with tomatillos.

This one was inspired by a recipe that a friend of mine posted on my facebook wall, after I had inquired about tomatillo recipes. Believe me, we still have plenty of tomatillos and if you know of other vegetarian tomatillo recipes, please DO NOT hesitate to share them.

This soup is likely one of my cold season favorite soups. It turned out spicy, tangy, and thick…perfect to dip homemade bread into. So here it goes, enjoy!

10-12 tomatillos, husked, washed, and halved (I used about 24 garden-grown tomatillos, they tend to be a bit smaller than store-bought tomatillos)
8 large garlic cloves, cut into small pieces
6 large cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth (4 cups water and 2 veggie bullion cubes)
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups water (depending on how thick you want the soup)
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper

Preparation (4 servings)
1. In a large roasting pan, combine the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes. Drizzle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast in oven at 350 F for about 25 minutes.
2. While the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes are roasting, boil the sweet potatoes in the vegetable broth for about 45 minutes.
3. Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil, for about 5 minutes until the onion looks golden.
4. Once the tomatillos, garlic, and tomatoes are done roasting, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the tomatillo mixture and the sautéed onion to the sweet potatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, then blend in blender for smooth consistency (alternatively for a chunkier consistency, you can just mash-up the potatoes with a potato masher or use an immersion blender).
5. Serve with home-baked bread and decorate with parsley leave. Enjoy!


Note: I have frozen a batch of this yummy soup. I will keep you updated on the taste and consistency, when I pull it out of the freezer.

Sweet Potato & Tomatillo Soup

Sweet Potato & Tomatillo Soup

Recipe inspired by: