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 https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/moist-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies/, and German Apple Crisp https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/german-apple-crisp-apfelkuchen/ 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 https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/seven-layer-dip/
Cayenne pepper to taste

Preparation:
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. =)

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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)

Instructions:
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 http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2008/10/crockpot-recipe-for-vegetarian-black.html


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Minestrone soup

Minestrone soup is among my favorite types of soups. It is so easy to make and it is offers so much flexibility. It is a great way to use up a variety of veggies that need to be used up. It also easy to change the ingredients, so you can choose your favorite ones or can skip one if you do not have it at hand. Furthermore, depending on what you add to the soup, you can change how filling it is.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
same asparagus
3 rainbow-colored carrots, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 veggie buillion cube
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
optional pasta (for example, elbow pasta)

Preparation:
1. Saute onions and carrots, until softened. Then add the other ingredients, except pasta and cheese (if using).
2. Continue heating the soup on low to medium heat. You do not want to cook the soup. Heat until all vegetables are desired tenderness. Meanwhile (if using pasta), prepare the pasta according to directions on pasta package.
3. Once vegetables are tender, pour soup into bowls and add pasta. Serve with shredded cheese, baguette bread, or grilled cheese.
Note: This soup stores well in air-tight container in refrigerator. If you add the pasta before storing it, the pasta will soak up all the liquid in the soup, so it may be best to store the pasta in a separate container.

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone (sad this picture has glare on it)

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

Minestrone soup with elbow pasta

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


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Minestrone soup–Dutch Oven Version

Here is another recipe that we successfully adapted for cooking in the dutch oven. The great thing about this recipe is that you can adjust its list of ingredients based on what produce is in season and better yet based on what you need to use up from your fridge or pantry.

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings):
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, sliced (my favorite type of carrots to use are rainbow carrots)
3 fingerling potatoes, cubed (these are small potatoes which come in different colors, I used one purple, one violet, and one yellow potato)
1 can organic kidney beans
3 Roma tomatoes, diced including the juices
1 veggie bouillon cube
Approximately 3 cups of water
salt, pepper, dried oregano, and dried basil to taste
a dash of Cajun pepper

Cooked pasta (we used bicycle-shaped pasta) and shredded cheese (optional)

Preparation:
1. Use a little bit of butter and coat the bottom and sides of the Dutch oven (8 inch).
2. Add all the ingredients, except the pasta and cheese. Add some water to the dutch oven. I rinsed the can of beans and the flexible cutting board with some water that I added into the Dutch oven–it’s the whole leave-no-trace thing. (It is advised especially in areas where there are bears to not dump any water that may contain food particles on the ground. Therefore, I used the rinse water for the soup and brought pasta that I had cooked at home. If you cook pasta in “bear-country” without outhouses or restrooms, you are advised to drink the pasta water…yuck!!!)
3. Place Dutch oven on hot coals and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. The length may vary depending on heat of fire, size of the veggies, and the desired done-ness). Check periodically and stir to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom or the sides of the Dutch oven.
4. Once heated, serve in bowls with pasta and shredded cheese. Enjoy =)

Minestrone soup in Dutch  Oven

Minestrone soup in Dutch Oven

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

Minestrone soup served with bicycle pasta

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.


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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.

Notes:
* 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.