Split Pea and Ham Soup

IMG_6498Happy almost New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2016 starts on Friday. Hopefully you had a Merry Christmas with your families and ate a bunch of yummy food, I know I did. Christmas is a time for ham and I am sure that you have some leftovers that you are dying to do something different with! One of my favorite things to use leftover ham for is split pea soup. Despite the fact that is looks totally disgusting, its actually totally delicious. Its one of those food items that are impossible to photograph. I took one of Ina Garten’s recipes and tweaked it. I love using honey glazed ham for this recipe because it adds a bit of sweetness to the soup. Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year… See you in 2016!!

Split Pea and Ham Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
  • 1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
  • 1 pound dried split green peas
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups diced cooked honey ham

Directions:

  1. In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, ham, water and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking.
  3. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.
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Spicy Black Bean, Sweet Potato & Quinoa Veggie Burgers

photo-523All this warm weather has been getting me in the mood to BBQ! Today in Park City it was 50 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It was just gorgeous! photo-525 Many years ago a friend of mine (Bridgit!) who’d recently became a vegan introduced me to her favorite black bean and quinoa burgers from her vegan cookbook. At the time I was not vegan or even vegetarian, thus I was a bit skeptical, until I tried one!

It instantly became one of my favorite go-to veggie burgers for years to come. Over the years, I have tweaked and added a few things and adapted the recipe to make it my own.

I love making a double batch of these burgers and wrapping them individually so I can freeze them. They make for a quick and easy dinner when you’re not in the mood to cook or are great to bring to a BBQ. See note below about freezing the patties**

I haven’t bought a veggie burger from the grocery store in years because nothing compares! This recipe will turn any meat eating burger lover, into a vegan spicy black bean sweet potato burger lover, after just one bite! Cheers, I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Veggie Burgers (click for printer friendly version) (Serves 6)

  • 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup roasted, diced sweet potato* see below
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crubs
  • 1 tablespoon cholula
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 6 burger buns
  • optional avocado, tomato, arugula, cheese

Directions:

  1. Peel a small to medium sweet potato and cut it into small cubes. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until tender and golden brown. Set aside and let it cool.
  2. Mash black beans and sweet potato together with a fork until somewhat smooth but still chunky. Add quinoa, onions, garlic, cilantro and bread crumbs and mix until combined.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together water, tomato paste, cholula, cumin, chili powder salt and pepper. Pour over black bean/sweet potato mash and mix with a fork.
  4. Using you hands, make 6 patties. If the mixture seems to wet add a tablespoon more of bread crumbs or if its too dry add a tablespoon more water before making the patties. The mixture should be sticky enough to easily form patties with out crumbling. **If freezing some patties wrap them individually in saran wrap and freeze. when ready to eat, thaw and follow steps 5 and 6!**
  5. In a medium skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the burgers for 5 minutes on each side on medium heat, until golden brown on each side.
  6. Serve on a toasted bun with desired toppings such as cheese, avocado, tomato and fresh arugula.

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Butternut Squash Minestrone

photo-484Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a happy and healthy holiday season. If you did as much celebrating, eating and drink as I did over the last few weeks you’re ready to start the new year on the healthy side! It’s easy to reach for comfort food when the weather is cold but there is no reason that comfort food can’t also be healthy!
Like this butternut squash minestrone! This soup can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. The butternut squash gives this soup a hearty and filling base while adding a touch of sweetness. Fresh spinach adds some color and leaves you feeling like you’ve eaten your greens for the day! Perfect for dinner, lunch or apres skiing snack, everyone will love this soup! Cheers!
photo-471
Ingredients:
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Directions:
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.
  5. Just before serving, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
  6. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot with fresh bread.
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa

Joanie’s Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

photo-220Happy Valentines Day everyone! Whether you’re a lover or a hater of this pretty ridiculous holiday- You’ve gotta love an excuse to stuff your face with baked goods, chocolates, fruit covered in chocolate, candy hearts and then wash it down with wine or (but preferably AND) champagne with out getting a belly ache… Yeah, good luck!

My friend Aly brought me these beautiful tulips, I’m feeling pretty lucky and its not even officially Valentines Day!photo-223These almond cookies are pretty outrageous- in the healthiest way possible. Pom Pom got this recipe from her friend Joanie and Joanie must have got this recipe from an angle because they are that good. photo-219

They are made with almond flour/meal which gives it a chewy, nutty texture. Then you mix that with a hint of mint extract and dark chocolate chips and it’s like a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie and a chocolate chip cookie got married and had little chocolate mint almond cookie babies. Plus… they are gluten free, vegan and guilt free (kind of) after you eat the whole plate. Enjoy!

Heaven on Earth Almond Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Almond flour/meal (this can be found in the bulk section at Whole Foods or any health food store. Bob’s Red Mill also makes it, usually in the gluten free section)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil (I used canola this time because I didn’t have grapeseed on hand but either is good)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup 70% dark chocolate, chopped (or use dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
  • Mix dry and wet ingredients together and stir in chocolate chunks
  • Roll dough into 1″ balls and softly press/flatten dough onto a well greased cookie sheet
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes until edges begin to brown.
  • Cool on wire wracks (if you can wait that long)
  • These would also make really good ice cream sandwiches- place a scoop of your favorite flavored ice cream or sorbet and let them set in the freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

Healthy Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle Cream

chiliHappy New Year Ski Boots in the Kitchen fans! What a wonderful holiday season of eating it was… and now my pants are feeling a little tight. Seems like people all over have been making New Years resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more (the gym parking lot has been pretty full lately) But why not eat yummy food that’s both healthy and tastes good? New Years resolutions don’t mean giving up everything you love. This healthy (and easy) chili is vegetarian (can be vegan if you skip the Chipotle cream) its loaded with flavor and is a perfect alternative to meaty (calorie packed) classic chili (which I also love!) This recipe is from Ambitious Kitchen – I hope you enjoy! I’m looking forward to sharing all my holiday recipes with you soon!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle Cream
Ingredients:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce (I used Cholula because I didn’t have Chipotle Tabasco)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 can black beans (15.5 oz), drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more to thin if desired
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • For Chipotle Creme:
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce (Again I used Cholula)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in  a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and salt; saute for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the entire can of tomato sauce to the pot. Next add the black beans, vegetarian broth, all spices, and quinoa. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Make the smoked chipotle yogurt combine tabasco sauce, honey, and dijon mustard in a medium bowl.
  4. Spoon chili into bowls and add yogurt sauce on top.