Tag Archives: vegetables

My 4 ingredient Quick & Easy Creamy Pumpkin Soup

As much as I love to cook, and cook from scratch, I do appreciate a good tasty recipe with not too many ingredients and no fussing about!  A recipe where for only a few minutes of chopping and blending a good amount of delicious food is produced.  This pumpkin soup is a staple recipe of mine that I make often as it fits in this category – it is soooo incredibly quick and easy and it is very yummy.

Pumpkins are one of my favorite vegetables when cooking as they go in virtually anything, sweet or savoury – muffins, cupcakes, casseroles, curries….and who doesn’t like pumpkin soup!  I love butternut pumpkin as the flesh is not too hard so it is easy to cut and most of the time you don’t need to take the skin off which saves time and adds extra fibre (doesn’t a dietitian love that!).  Pumpkins are in season right now which is why the price has come right down.  My butternut pumpkin (weighing nearly 2kg) cost only a little over $1 which makes for a very cheap soup 🙂

This would be a great snack for kids after school at this time of year as not only will it help to warm them up, it is a great way of getting extra vegetable serves into them!  Of course a larger serve makes a great lunch with some wholegrain or sourdough toast topped with a lean protein like chicken, tuna, salmon or low fat cheese.  This is what we had for lunch today and it was delicious.  Enjoy 🙂

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Makes 10 snack sized servings (320g per serve = 1 1/3 cups approx)

  • 1.75kg butternut pumpkin (= 1.6kg pumpkin after discarding seeds etc)
  • 2 medium sized brown onions
  • 1.2 litres stock or water + 1 heaped Tablespoon Massel stock powder (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk – the light and creamy one

Cut pumpkin in half just above the bottom bulb shaped bit

Cut off the hard top bit that was attached to the plant, then without taking the skin off, roughly chop this section of the pumpkin.  The smaller you cut it will cut down on the cooking time.

Cut the very bottom off the bottom bit that has the seeds in it, then chop it in half lengthways, then in half again (so it is now in quarters).  Using a spoon you can now easily scoop the seeds out.  Again without skinning it, chop all four sections roughly.  Add all of the pumpkin to a reasonable sized pot = one that can easily hold approx 3 1/2 litres of soup.

Chop top and bottom off onions and cut into quarters.  This is the easiest way to peel them.  Place peeled onions in pot.

Add stock or water and stock powder to the pot, place lid on pot and over a high heat bring to the boil.  Once at boil, turn heat down to a simmer and with the lid still on, continue to cook for 15-30 minutes depending on size of pumpkin (larger sized pumpkin pieces will require longer cooking)

Blend either in food processor or with hand blender.  When smooth, add evaporated milk and stir thorough.  Taste and add a little salt or pepper according to your requirements.  Some fresh chopped herbs like parsley or coriander can also be sprinkled on top.

   Per serving  –  103 Calories    6g Protein   

1g Fat   0.8g Saturated Fat    16g Carbohydrate   3g Fibre   

120mg Calcium (that’s more than 10% of the daily requirements for most of us!)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Soups, Uncategorized

Zucchini Corn & Basil Soup

Just back from a few days away for Easter, I had some zucchinis in the fridge looking a little tired, just begging to be rescued.  With little else available, not much time on my hands and as I hate throwing food away, soup seemed like the easiest and best option for them. 

Green vegetables are an important part of any healthy eating plan and are of course best eaten soon after buying them to make sure they retain all of their wonderful nutrients.  Zucchinis typically are an excellent source of manganese (an important trace mineral) and vitamin C (antioxidant, immune system) and a very good source of magnesium (nerve & muscle function),  beta-carotene (precursor for Vitamin A – eyes & immune system), fibre (healthy bowel function), potassium (blood pressure), folate (red blood cell production & cardiovascular health), copper (trace mineral that works along with iron), riboflavin (vitamin B2 – important role in energy production) and phosphorus (mineral required for good bone and cell health). Wow!

I always have frozen corn on hand as it is so handy, although I will admit fresh corn does always taste better.  Corn, a  low GI starchy vegetable is a good source of many nutrients including thiamin (vitamin B1 – nerve, muscle & heart function), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5 – lots of roles including energy production), folate, dietary fibre, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

Fresh herbs are a great addition to any dish adding a wonderful fresh flavour as well as extra nutrients.  Basil is one of my favourite herbs as it is so versatile (goes well with Asian, Italian or Greek food) and very easy to grow here in Sydney. Adding milk to the soup gives it a little creaminess but also adds calcium (for bone strength) which most of us don’t get enough of every day.

This is a really quick and yummy soup which makes a very healthy snack.  A larger serve could also be a great lunch along with some crusty sourdough bread topped with a lean protein source (turkey, tuna or even a little cheese for extra calcium!).

I think this is one of those staples you will make again and again….Enjoy 🙂

 

Zucchini Corn and Basil Soup

Makes 4 serves

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Massel vegetable stock powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, shredded (or you could use chives, parsley, coriander…)
  • pepper

Place zucchini, corn and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer over gentle heat for 10 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Remove from heat and puree in a blender or with a hand held blender until smooth. Stir through stock powder, milk and basil. Add pepper to taste.

Each serve (just over 1 cup/250ml) has 81 calories, 4g protein, 1 g total fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 3g of fibre (approx 10% of daily fibre requirements) and 67mg calcium (roughly 7% of your daily calcium requirement)

Leave a comment

Filed under Soups

spiced pea and corn pancakes

About 6 months ago I subscribed to a new magazine called HealthSmart which I quite enjoy.  It is published by readers digest and I got onto their website today looking for a carrot cake recipe they mentioned in this months mag.  I couldn’t find the cake recipe, but found these instead which I thought looked rather good and I particularly liked that they have oats in them.  So I thought I would give them a go and they are really yummy!

The type of curry paste you use will greatly vary the flavour of these pancakes.  I used a Malaysian curry paste which isn’t very hot, but you could use a green or red Thai curry paste which would add a bit of a chilli kick, or even tandoori paste (which I think I will try next time).  I would imagine that the addition of some fresh herbs, like coriander would also be good.

I served my pancakes (actually they look more like pikelets) with some really yummy plum & apple chutney I had made recently and it teamed really well with them.  Mango chutney,  tomato relish or even just natural low fat yoghurt (or natural yoghurt with a little horseradish in it) would also work well.  Or you can eat them just as they are.

You can find the original recipe here on the readers digest website.  Of course I changed it a little.  I used a greater amount of wholemeal flour and I just threw the frozen peas and corn in without thawing them, patting them dry etc etc, and hey, they worked out just fine!!  I also used such a small amount of oil (less than 2 teaspoons, where the original recipe mentions 2 Tablespoons!) when cooking them – in my new Tefal non-stick flat frying pan, which I LOVE! 🙂

Give them a go.  They are quick, easy, healthy and yummy.  What a great after school snack for hungry kids!

Enjoy 🙂

spiced pea and corn pancakes

makes 18

  • ½ cup wholemeal flour
  • ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons curry paste
  • 150 ml low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1⅓ cups frozen peas
  • ½ red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Sift the plain and wholemeal flours and baking powder into a bowl, adding any bran left in the sieve. Stir in the oats, corn, capsicum and peas and salt and pepper if you like.

2. Blend the curry paste with 2 tablespoons of the milk, then stir this into the remaining milk and add the beaten eggs.

3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and milk. Mix until well combined.  Leave the batter to stand for 5 minutes to thicken.

4. Heat a large, heavy-based (Tefal 30cm) non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, then brush with a little of the oil. Using a large spoonful of batter per pancake, cook them in batches for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Turn the pancakes over using a spatula, then cook the other side for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a low oven while you cook the remaining batter. Serve warm.

 

Each pancake/pikelet has 60 calories and almost 2g of fibre

Leave a comment

Filed under Fritters, pancakes

Beetroot Dip

 

Many commercially available dips can be high in fat, high in calories and contain fillers like breadcrumbs as well as undesirable  preservatives, acidity regulators, extra salt and even sugar.

Dips are really easy to make yourself, especially if you have a food processor, and beetroot dip is one of the easiest as it has only 3 ingredients.  It is also one of the cheapest if you use homebrand beetroot (75c per tin in Woolworths and a product of Australia) and this beetroot dip is low in fat, especially saturated fat.

When eating dips, one of the traps can be what you serve them with.  Many savoury style biscuits are very high in fat and so is the trendier dipping choice, lavoche.  I prefer to use vegetable sticks (VERY low in calories!) or pita crisps which are quick and easy to make yourself (watch for upcoming post).  Just dry bake sliced pita breads in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes.

I encourage you to give this a go as it is deeelicious.  Enjoy 🙂

Beetroot Dip

Serves 8

  • 1 x 425g tin sliced beetroot, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish cream

Place beetroot, tahini and horseradish cream in food processor and process until smooth.  That’s it!!

Per serve 55g = approx 3 tablespoons = 56 calories 🙂

Served with 1/4 large lebanese bread = approx 120 calories

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dips

Cornbread…yum!!!

It may be hard to believe considering my track record of posting many, many sweet recipes, but I actually prefer savoury foods over sweet.  One of those savoury foods which has always intrigued me is cornbread.  For some reason I have been on a mission to try to find a great cornbread recipe (during which time I have found many terrible ones)…and I think I finally have found it 🙂

Cornbread is very common in American cuisine, more specifically south or southwestern cuisine where it is often served with barbecued meats or chilli con carne.   Cornbread can be baked, steamed or fried.  These different cooking techniques will dramatically change both the taste and texture of the finished product.  Sometimes it can be so sloppy it is eaten with a spoon!  However I prefer the baked style which is also known as a quick bread = a bread which is quickly made since it doesn’t contain yeast. 

Some cornbread recipes I have tried in the past have been quite dry as the cornmeal or polenta used in it has a dry and gritty texture, but this also helps to provide cornbread with the lovely crunch.  With this recipe I added zucchini and used buttermilk (1/2 yoghurt, 1/2 milk)  to provide a little extra moisture.  I also added some fresh red capsicum as I think it teams really well with corn.  Roasted capsicum could be used instead.  Other ideas for more flavours to add are cold roasted pumpkin, crumbled fetta and/or fresh basil.  I think I will try all of those next time and make them into individual sized muffins.  They would be a great picnic food.

This recipe made 1 x 8 inch (20cm) square tin.  It is very easy to slice so can be slice quite thinly (or thickly of course).  It lends itself to spreading butter on it, but try to resist the urge as it is not necessary and will only add many extra unnecessary calories and saturated fat.  It is lovely warm straight out of the oven on its own, and I can imagine serving it with some delicious homemade tomato & basil or pumpkin soup….mmm. Enjoy 🙂

Cornbread with zucchini and capsicum

  • ½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • ½ cup white self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 medium zucchini (150g) grated
  • ½ cup diced red capsicum
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used half yoghurt, half milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg

 Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Into a large bowl, sift flours and baking powder, add salt, polenta, sugar, zucchini and capsicum.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and olive oil, pour into dry ingredients and stir through until well mixed. 

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 mins approximately, until firm to touch on top. 

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then place on rack to cool.

Would easily slice into 24 pieces with each piece having:

312kJ = 74 calories

2g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat with only 0.5g saturated fat and 0.7g fibre

Oops, I forgot to add that it is a little odd putting sugar in a savoury bread, however I have tried it with and without and it definitely has a better texture WITH the sugar.  The end result is in no way sweet.

I also do not usually add salt when cooking but this is another time when it makes such a difference in bringing out all the lovely flavours of the bread.  It is only a small amount after all and would be a lot less than what is in regular bread 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Breads

Zucchini, Walnut & Cranberry Loaf

I fully embrace any way in which you can increase your vegetable intake so this sounded like a good recipe to try – plus I got a heap of cheap zucchinis recently so was looking for something to do with them other than make soup!

This cake in many ways is similar to a carrot cake (so I may try it with carrots next and will let you know how that goes).  Zucchinis make a good base for a cake as they are pretty tasteless, however they add plenty of moisture.  Walnuts add a great crunch as well as being a good source of the essential omega 3 alpha linolenic acid and dried cranberries add a nice tartness (even though they are covered in sugar!)

This cake is very moist so it keeps quite well and is not too sweet.  I urge you to try it.  Enjoy 🙂

Zucchini Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

Makes 14 serves

  • ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¾ cup white self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups (200g) grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Line a loaf pan with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Sift together flours, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.  Add walnuts and cranberries and stir to coat with flour mix.  Add zucchini and set aside.  In another smaller bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Pour egg mix into flour bowl and fold through until thoroughly combined.  Plop into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake in oven for 30-35 mins until firm to touch.  Note that this cake doesn’t rise very much when cooking.  Wait until cool before cutting. 

This mix can also be used to make individual cakes or muffins

Makes 14 yummy slices at 150 calories each

Leave a comment

Filed under Cakes

Japanese Pancake – Okonomiyaki

Last Sunday the weather was so lovely that my husband and I decided to be tourists in our own city and went for a wander through The Rocks.  Of course we couldn’t miss walking through the market there and worked up quite an appetite doing so. 

There were plenty of food venders there to choose from and we set about finding a ‘healthy’ snack option.  That was when we saw these delicious looking pancakes being made.  Even though we frequent Japanese restaurants, I had never seen these pancakes before.  Called Okonomiyaki, there were 4 varieties to choose from – chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable.  All were chock full of vegetables and you know what a fan of vegetables I am, so that was it, decision made.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese style pancake that is made with a batter, shredded cabbage, other fresh grated/sliced vegetables & some type of meat/seafood – batters and fillings vary between the different regions of Japan. 

According to wikipedia, the name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”.  Normally they are served topped with mayonnaise, a Japanese style barbecue sauce and are sprinkled with bonito flakes which appear to ‘dance’ as they move around in the heat rising from the pancake.

The one we ordered contained chicken as well as a stack of vegetables and we asked for only a little of the bbq sauce on top.  It was so yummy I couldn’t wait to try making them at home.  So after googling for ideas, I set about assembling my own version this afternoon, copying the vegetables in last weeks version (but you could pretty much use whatever you like – whatever is in the fridge) but omitting the chicken, and they turned out great.  Quick, easy and oh so healthy with all of those veggies tucked inside.  They were so tasty that they didn’t need any sauce or topping.

They make quite a decent sized snack which fills you up, but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.  Perfect!

Please, Enjoy 🙂

My version of the Japanese (Vegetable) Pancake “Okonomiyaki”

  • 1/6 of a cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced into 3cm lengths
  • ½ small red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup water (supposed to be dashi, but I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tspn Massel vegetable or chicken stock powder (for flavour since I didn’t have dashi)
  • pepper

In a large bowl mix together all of the chopped vegetables

In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, then gradually add flour.  Add water slowly and when fully mixed in and smooth, add stock powder and pepper.  Pour onto vegetables and mix well

Heat a small non-stick pan (with a matching lid – I used a saucepan lid) over low heat. Add a small amount of oil (1/2 tspn approx) and swish around to spread across base of pan. Using a large spoon, spoon about 3/4 cup of mixture into pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.  Place the lid on the pan and cook over low heat until golden brown about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip pancake over and cook other side for 2-3 more minutes.

And there you have your delightful, delicious, chock full of veggies – japanese pancake ready to eat 🙂

Each pancake has 160 calories, 8g protein & 6g of fibre

Leave a comment

Filed under Fritters, pancakes