Crock Pot Night Meets Vegetarian Night

Tuesdays are usually crock pot night in our house.  With soccer during the day for our preschooler and CCD for me and our 1st grader in the afternoon, the crock pot helps keep my sanity most weeks.

Merge this effort to maintain sanity with my effort to bring healthier meals to the table and you get tonight’s dinner — a vegetarian creation in a crock (..and a bowl… and a bread maker…)

Ginger Carrot Soup.  Spinach Salad.  Homemade bread.

And… did I mention???…. It was simple!!

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First — the Ginger Carrot Soup.  Oh my goodness… sooooo yummy!  The WHOLE family loved it.  And my little boys had TWO HELPINGS!!  WHEEEEE!!!

This was VERY loosely based on a Guy Fieri recipe I saw in a Food Network magazine.  (the Fieri recipe isn’t made in a crock pot, for example, and his was served with a yogurt/honey dollop on top.)  But once I was in the thick of making the recipe, I realized I needed to make some changes in order to make it crock-pot friendly.  So I channeled a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup that’s tried-and-true for our family.   Here’s how I did it:

-2 lbs carrots and 2 russet potatoes peeled, chopped, and thrown into the crock pot

-cover them with chicken or veggie stock

-in a saucepan.. saute minced onion in olive oil.  once this starts to cook, add some kosher salt so it caramelizes.  add some minced garlic and some minced fresh ginger and cook for a minute or two.  toss this mixture into the crock pot.

-season with thyme, salt and pepper.  (I added a bit more powdered ginger so it would have more ginger taste.)

-TRICK TIME:  I like to do this to ‘cream’ soups.  I take a can or two of cannellini beans and blend it with my emulsion blender (right there in the can!) and add it to the soup.  It’s a trick I learned from Weight Watchers.  I feel it makes soup like this a little more hearty and adds protein to a veggie meal.

-When the carrots and potatoes are soft, blend with an emulsion blender.
-Once I’m serving the soup, I add a splash of fat-free 1/2 and 1/2.

**I was in a hurry tonight, so the crock pot was set for 4 hours.  Ordinarily, I’d cook this for 8 hours.

***Did I mention my boys ate TWO HELPINGS???

On the side, there was a Spinach Salad and my kids went crazy for this:

  • Spinach
  • heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • chopped peppers
  • mushrooms
  • cucumbers
  • shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • toss ingredients — sprinkle juice of 1/2 lemon and a little EVOO

If you have a bread maker, you know how easy bread making is.   And my kids LOVE when I make bread.  It tastes so good and makes the whole house smell warm and inviting.  Here’s my go-to recipe:   http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-bread-machine-bread/

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I’ll admit:  I had my doubts — but this meal gets a 5 fork rating!!!  Everyone loved it — and my 6yo even asked for me to put the few leftovers we have into his lunchbox tomorrow!!

Phew!  Another good review from the kids.  But, trust me.  I know what’s in my fridge and there’s a bad review in my future.  I can almost guarantee it.  I told my son what I’m making later this week and he’s already groaning!

Stay tuned!  In the meantime, happy eatings!!

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