Monday, July 5, 2010

Pasta Bean Soup with Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

When I was in Pullman, I did a Gallo wine sampling at a Taste of Home cooking show in Lewiston, ID. As a part of being there, I got a bag full of random stuff, including free issues of the Taste of Home cooking magazines. About a month ago, I went through and highlighted recipes I thought might be adaptable enough to try making. That's where this meal came from.

I was out walking with Meghan and Gorman (my big pup) and we got a little carried away, so I was super late starting dinner. I was a little worried that the recipes I picked out were going to take too long to make. Thankfully, my parents had a movie on, so they weren't in any hurry to eat.

The whole meal only took about a half hour; of course the chicken, broth and sweet potatoes were already cooked, so that made my life a lot easier. I'd recommend cooking a bunch of chicken and freezing it so you always have some on hand. Canned chicken breast also works if you're short on time, just make sure it's organic!! Same with chicken broth, its always better if you make it yourself, but make a huuuge batch then freeze it for future use.

Both recipes were a definite success, so I'm sharing them below. I also made gluten free, sugar free amaretto-hazelnut strawberry shortcake for dessert!

Pasta Bean Soup

1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1/2 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. safflower oil
4 c. homemade chicken broth
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup. gluten free pasta of your choice

In a large skillet, saute celery, chicken, onion and carrot in safflower oil over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large saucepan, add water, broth, beans, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add uncooked pasta and reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaf, and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4-6.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

2 medium sweet potatoes/yams
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. Frank's hot sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

Poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, turning once. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and mash in a large bowl with coconut milk. Stir in the syrup, ginger, hot sauce, and salt. Add walnuts and coconut. Spoon filling into shells and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Serves 4.

The Strawberry shortcake was easy. I just combined strawberries, a little stevia, amaretto and hazelnuts in the Cuisinart and poured the mixture over the shortcakes. I just use the Namaste Biscuit mix for the shortcakes, substituting stevia for the sugar. It is so easy to make and incredibly tasty! Plus, there is no added sugar in the whole thing, making it just about as healthy as dessert can get!

My family loved the whole meal, even my dad, who is still a bit hesitant about all the changes. It makes me feel great that my cooking tastes good even to those who don't have to follow the same restricted diet I do!

Hope you all had a wonderful fourth of July! More recipes to come!

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