Inside Out Cabbage Roll Soup – Crockpot

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I’m late to the “get bikini ready” party. It is the end of June and I’m just now starting to worry about eating healthier, exercising more and ultimately looking decent this summer. Better late than never I always say! I was unsure of this soup at first because I am not a huge fan of cabbage unless it is in colcannon on St. Patrick’s Day. However I needed something to start me off right and everyone raves over cabbage soup. I have to say this recipe took me by surprise. It had a great flavor that was not overpowered by the cabbage. Also, my apartment did not stink as the cabbage cooked either which was a fear of mine. I was pleased with how easy and tasty this recipe ended up being. We had many meals, lunches and dinners, out of one batch. This recipe will make it into our soup rotation for sure! The original recipe can be found at http://www.sugarfreemom.com, but I did modify the ingredients a bit. I halved the amount of ground beef and upped the amount of veggies.

Serves: 9-12     Calories: about 290 per serving    Time: 3.5 hours on high or 6.5 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 16 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, riced
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1 large head of cabbage

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over high heat and sauté until soft.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant
  3. Add the seasonings, cauliflower and marinara sauce to the beef and mix until combined.
  4. Add beef broth, cabbage, and beef mixture to your crockpot. Stir until combined
  5. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.sugarfreemom.com

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Grilled Romaine Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

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I am good at cooking. I am scared of baking and terrified of grilling. If you frequent this blog you know of my experiences with the grill. If you don’t frequent this blog I’ll clue you in quickly. I have been known to set a grill to flames and even when the gas is turned off the grill is still engulfed by fire. Up to this point I have not had the finesse to master the grill. Now that it is 2016 and I’m feeling quite comfortable in the kitchen I’m taking it outside and learning to conquer my fears.

This salad is my first attempt and I am happy to report that so far I am pulling it off. I quite enjoyed the charred bits of romaine and would liken the wilted bits to spinach. The entire thing does not wilt or char, but the enfolded parts stay crisp leaving this salad with a lot of texture. The grilled corn and tomatoes with feta add a sweet and creamy taste. The star of this show, however, is the Dijon vinaigrette. It is the perfect tangy addition to this salad. The onion and garlic gives you a little bite but the vinegar and Dijon really stand out and balance out the sweet creaminess of the corn, tomatoes and feta. I am certainly going to make this dressing and try it on other salads. For someone who does not grill this was extremely easy to pull off. If you’re a beginner like me and are looking to learn the craft of grilling I highly suggest you start here.

Serves: 4  Calories: approximately 220 per serving  Time: 1 hour soak, 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes grill

Ingredients:

  • 3 ears fresh sweet corn with husks on
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, depends on how large your lettuce is
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Soak corn with the husks still attached in a bowl of full of enough water to cover them. Let soak for an hour
  2. Prepare dressing by combining 3 tbsp of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, chives and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Once an hour has passed place the corn (still in husks) on your grill rack over medium heat, approximately 350 degrees F. Cover and grill for 20-30 minutes or until the kernels are tender. Turn the ears of corn once to get an even char. Once kernels are tender remove corn from the rack and set aside to cool enough to handle.
  4. While corn is cooling brush the romaine with remaining 1 tbsp of oil. You may need a little more oil if your romaine is bigger. Depends on the size of your lettuce really. After they’re all oiled place them on the grilling rack over medium heat (again approximately 350 degrees F). Let them grill for about 3 minutes until they are charred to your liking and slightly wilted. Plate the romaine chunks.
  5. Corn should be cool enough to handle by now. Strip off the husks and the silk. Using care, cut the kernels from the ears of corn into a large bowl. Add the tomato halves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this corn and tomato mixture with about a tbsp of the dressing and toss. Top the each romaine chunk with a bit of this mixture. Sprinkle feta over the salad and drizzle the whole plate with more Dijon Vinaigrette.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Better Homes and Gardens. “Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomato and Corn Tumble.”  Fresh Grilling. Ed. Jan Miller. Iowa: Meredith Corporations, 2014. 215. Print.

Grilled Spicy Black Bean Patties with Guacamole (+ added condiment bonus at the end)

After vacationing in Central America and eating from a buffet for 7 days (can you say fat girl in paradise?) we decided it was time to get back on the healthy eating train. Yesterday was the first day back and with it being Labor Day we decided grilling was the only way to go. When I hear “grill” I usually picture beefy slabs of meat and juicy hotdogs, but not in this house. We substituted the dogs and burgers with a new recipe for black bean patties topped with a lighter version of fresh guac. Be warned that these puppies have some heat so if you do not like spicy be ready to modify the recipe a bit. They do not take long to make (unless your toddler locks the sliding glass door on you and leaves you waiting outside for 15 minutes) so this would make for a good quick weeknight dinner idea.

Serves 4: 178 calories/patty

Ingredients:

– 1 Medium Avocado

– 1 Tomato, Chopped (I like Roma tomatoes)

– 1 tbsp Lime Juice (if you LOVE lime like me kick it up to 1.5 tsp.)

– Salt and Pepper to Taste

– 2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread (Toasted and Torn)

– 3 tbsp. Fresh Cilantro

– 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

– 1 15oz. Can of Black Beans (go for no sodium if you can), rinsed and drained

– 1 Canned Chipotle Pepper in adobo sauce (seriously only use 1 of these unless you really like hot. Save extra chipotle peppers for added condiment bonus at the bottom of this post.)

– 1-2 tsp. adobo sauce depending on taste (more if you like spicy)

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1 egg

Directions:

1. First make the guacamole. Seed and peel the avocado then mash. Stir in lime juice and add pepper and salt to your taste. When mixed well add the tomato and gently fold into the guacamole. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Put the toasted and torn bread into a blender/food processer. Blend/process until the bread becomes coarse breadcrumbs. Put in a bowl and set aside. ( For those who do not have a blender/food processer don’t worry. You can do all of these steps with your hands. It does get sticky but that’s part of the fun 🙂 ) 

3. Place garlic and cilantro into blender/food processor. Don’t overdo it with chopping these guys because I feel like you get a better flavor the less mushed together it is. Once chopped add 1/2 of the beans, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, and cumin. Cover and blend/process. Don’t worry about it being perfectly processed. You’ll want there to be some partially intact beans to keep the patties together. Add contents of blender/processor to breadcrumbs. Add rest of the beans and 1 egg. Mix with your hands until you have a nice combined mixture.

4.) Form into 4 – 1/2inch patties.

5.) You can add the patties directly to the grill (Medium Heat) but I like to use foil instead of running the risk of loosing one of these guys. If you put them directly on the grill don’t forget to grease the rack and same goes for foil. Grease it up!

6.) Cook for 8 minutes total flipping them half way through. Do not kick it up to high heat or overcook or else they will be very dry.

7.) Top with guacamole and enjoy!

BONUS!:!:

If you or someone in your family loves spicy and also loves mayo add a left over chipotle pepper and some adobo sauce to some mayo to spread on sandwiches. My husband loves it when we have left over chipotles because that means lunch with a kick! I also think it would be good to wrap one of the black bean patties in lettuce with some chipotle mayo and guacamole. We will definitely be trying that next time we make these 🙂

**Photo is original taken by me

**Original recipe can be found at:

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beans/southwestern-black-bean-cakes-with-guacamole/