Friday Food : Chickpea and Spinach Soup

When I went to type this up, just for fun I looked at the last time I posted a “Friday Food” and saw it was the Lighten Up Guide to Sonic. WOW, that was right before Labor Day and when I left for VA Beach. I’d love to say I’m sorry for not posting the last 4-5 weeks, but based on my other posts you all know I’ve been out of town every weekend (except the one where I had horrible poison ivy so I sat around sans pants and quilted). Now, I’m not making excuses, what I’m saying is this…I haven’t been cooking. Not sure what type of Friday Food it would be to explain how to make a bowl of cereal or oatmeal for just about 2/3 of your meals.

Anyway…let’s get back on track shall we? Somehow I came into ownership of a subscription to Shape Magazine. In the October 2013 issue there is a recipe for Chickpea and Spinach Soup. It looked delicious and seemed not only easy to make, but super budget friendly. I took to the store and the kitchen and I present to you my variations. BTW all ingredients except the spices since I already owned them came, to about $13 dollars. See? Told you it was budget friendly!

Chickpea and Spinach Soup

Chickpea and Spinach Soup

What you will need:

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
  • 1-2 cups celery (chopped or diced)
  • 1-2 cups carrots (sliced or diced)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound baby spinach

Directions:

  1. In a large pot or slow cooker combine the beans, carrots, celery, water, red pepper and bay leaves
  2. If using a pot, bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours
  3. If using a slow cooker, cover and allow to cook on high for 2 hours
  4. Remove bay leaves, add your spinach and stir
  5. Allow to cook another 20-30 minutes
  6. Add any additional spices of your choosing, serve and enjoy!

Comments:

The original recipe calls for only chickpeas, and suggests trading them out with other type of beans, but I wanted to add more beans to give it a chewy/meaty texture. I also wanted more color. It also requires fewer vegetables, an additional pound of spinach and 8 quarts of water. I prefer a thicker soup, which is where many of my adjustments come into play. Oh and it calls for leeks, but I’ve had leeks and I want them no where near me ever again.

Friday Food : Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Last weekend I decided to get creative with my weekly pasta. One reason is that I like Alfredo sauce, but it’s very heavy and I wanted to find a way to thin it out and make it enough to use for a whole box of pasta.  Usually pasta is easy to get creative with, so when it comes out really really delicious I am even more excited. The only issue with recipes like this is I don’t measure as I cook. GASP-SHOCK-HORROR. The truth is, It actually makes me feel very Food Network Star. Haha. However, I am able to closely estimate what you would need to make your own at home version.

Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli, Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

What you need:

  • 1 box whole wheat pasta
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 box (10 oz) frozen broccoli (or equivalent fresh) chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large pot prepare and drain the spaghetti, set aside
  2. In the same or another large stock pot pour the jar of Alfredo sauce
  3. As the sauce warms, add the milk, butter and Parmesan cheese
  4. Mix in the spinach, tomatoes and broccoli, stir until thoroughly heated
  5. Add the pasta and stir until well blended
  6. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze

Questions/Comments:

How often do you eat pasta? It’s such a go to meal for me, I love making something on Sunday and having dishes for the whole week.

Do you like Alfredo sauce? Do you make your own sauces or find ways to doctor up store bought?

Friday Food : Spicy Southwest Tuna Quiche

Do you remember last year when I worked with Wild Planet Foods to bring you the BBQ Tuna post? It was one of the most popular recipes I have ever posted and I KNOW it’s one where I keep going back for more!

Well, I am working with Wild Planet again and I have yet ANOTHER fun recipe idea to help get more tuna in your diet. How about using it at breakfast? Not just any tuna added breakfast meal though. No, let’s make an egg pie! Let’s make a quiche and let’s give it a lil fire. Please note, my recipe makes two 9-inch quiches, adjust as needed to make yours less/smaller.

Spicy Southwest Tuna Quiche

Spicy Southwest Tuna Quiche

What you will need:

  • 2 9-inch pre-made crusts
  • fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • 1 can (11 oz) mexi-corn
  • 1 can (15 oz) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can (5 oz) wild plant tuna
  • 8 oz Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Spices : I used McCormick Perfect Pinch Southwest Sweet & Smoky and Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degree F
  2. Prepare crusts according to package
  3. Chop fresh spinach (as much as desired) and spread along the bottom of the crusts
  4. Drain and rinse beans, corn and tomatoes
  5. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, and the tuna
  6. Next add your eggs, flour and milk and whisk
  7. Blend in spices as desired
  8. Add about 4oz of cheese to your mixture
  9. Divide mix evenly between the two crusts and top with additional spices and cheese
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes, careful not to overcook

Pictures & Comments:

Spicy Southwestern Tuna Quiche
I had a feeling this recipe would turn out well, but I was still blown away by the result! It was fantastic. Maybe because I used spices? Probably because I used quality tuna.

I accidentally forgot Wild Planet Tuna is a larger capacity than other canned tunas and I used two cans in my recipe. VERY tuna-rific, but probably a good idea to scale it back some.

If you skip the crust (which is totally doable) you can fit the entire mix into a standard 9-inch pie plate. I personally like the crust so I wanted to split it into two quiches.

Last year when I did my post I was so excited to share my take on Wild Planet.

…Wild Planet tuna is wild caught, not farm raised giving it a better source of nutrients and IMHO a better life.  I may not be a vegetarian, but I care about animals. If you follow up on the fishing methods for your tuna, make sure you read about Wild Plant’s stance and why they fish differently from most of their competition. Nutrition-wise, there is only 100mg of salt and 16g of protein in a can! WOW! I’m impressed! Worried about the higher calories? Please note this is because the tuna is packed in its own juices, which will of course have calories. Other tuna is often packaged in water or oils, lacking the calories, but also lacking nutrition.

And about their tuna according to the source:

Firm in texture with a rich, clean taste, our tuna steaks are hand packed raw into each BPA-free can without any added salt, oil, water or fillers. Our tuna is cooked just once to retain all of the natural juices rich in Omega 3 oils, and also contains less than half the mercury as compared to nationally branded tuna due to the smaller fish we catch. Please don’t drain our tuna – the juices enhance your meal with pure flavor. A Wild Planet tuna sandwich just may be the best you’ve ever tasted!

No joke about the tuna though. It really IS the best I personally have ever tasted, so I believe ’em. When I opened the can there wasn’t an odd “fishy” odor, nothing was oozy or weird shaped. The color was great, the texture was awesome and it mixes well into any recipe.

Since last year it seems other people are in on my tuna secret. Wild Planet has won awards from Greenpeace and Cook’s Magazine and even has a “Healthy Recipes” section directly linked on their homepage.

Tell me, did you try Wild Planet products last year? Are you tempted to try them now? What’s your favorite tuna recipe?