Gnocchi and Vegetable Soup

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My husband and I recently returned from a dive trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing trip filled with great diving, good friends and TONS of delicious food and drink. That said, when we returned home from a week of lush eating and drinking we needed to incorporate a healthy dose of vegetables into the week’s menu. It is not necessarily soup weather where we live at the moment but I could not pass this recipe up. As is my pattern, this is a super easy dish to throw together. Seriously, the most difficult part is prepping the veggies. This recipe will be ideal for brisk fall and brutal winter nights to warm up your core and fuel your body with nutrients. This recipe was adapted from Umami Girl who hosts a wonderful recipe blog.

Serves: 8

Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (32 oz) cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can of white beans
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • crushed red pepper flakes to top

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-hot heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until tender/crisp (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the three cartons of vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to create a simmer.
  3. Once simmering stir in the white beans and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add in one gnocchi and cook it until it pops up to the top. I do this in order to taste the broth. Taste your tester gnocchi with a healthy spoonful of broth and veggies. Add salt/pepper to your taste at this point. Once you have the broth up to your standards add in the rest of the gnocchi and cook until they pop up to the surface of the soup.
  4. Dish the soup and top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

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Garden Fresh Guacamole – ★★★★★

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Last night we had friends over for a Mexican inspired dinner. If you follow my blog you know I’ve gotten into Asian and Indian cuisines so it was really nice to step back into SoCal and whip up a nice south of the border dinner. We started with two variations of fresh guacamole, hot (mild) and regular. The original recipe called for half of a jalapeño but instead I threw a whole one (with seeds) into one batch and left jalapeño completely out of the second batch. Six adults went through one whole batch so I think it’s safe to say it was a hit! Perry gave five stars and this is why:

“I hate it when you order guacamole in Mexico and the waiter brings back a bowl of chopped onion and tomato with very little bit of avocado. I understand that avocado is expensive, but isn’t it the core ingredient of guacamole? Kelsey’s guac was the opposite as it was chock full of avocado making it really creamy and fresh tasting. The hot guac could have been a little spicier but it was tasty nonetheless. Full stars for a great appetizer”

 

Assembly time: 20 minutes      Set time: 1 hour at room temperature

HOT Batch Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved pitted and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Regular Batch Ingredients:

  • 3 Haas avocados, halved pitted and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne 
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Decide if you want hot or regular guacamole and use that ingredient list above.
  2. In a large bowl place avocado and lime juice toss to coat. 
  3. Add spices and with a potato masher mush it up.
  4. Gently fold in the onion, jalapeño (if you are making it hot), tomato, cilantro and garlic.
  5. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving
  6. Enjoy!

*Original recipe found at http://www.foodnetwork.com

**Photo is an original belonging to me