TRAINING: in 3 days!
BREAKFAST: smoothie with a banana, Stoneyfield Farm plain yogurt, almond milk, organic cran/blueberry juice, my powdered multi vitamin, some ground flax-seed and organic frozen strawberries and blueberries. Basically anything that was quick at hand.
SNACK: Stoneyfield farm tube yogurt
LUNCH: pureed red lentil soup
SNACK: a few sips of my soy, cappuccino, mocha drink (I’ve been keeping things like these at work in case I get hungry. Smart move.)
DINNER: Leftover, frozen Shepard’s Pie (from about 2 months ago)
I found a lovely stash of soft, pre-made foods in my freezer! It was like Christmas!
I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve felt like cooking lately. It just depresses me. Last night, Matt and I spent 20 minutes or so trying to look up the menu for a Thia place near us, only to find it wouldn’t load, and me pouting un-necessarily because I wasn’t going to be able to eat any of it anyways.
We finally gave up and Matt ended up with leftover spaghetti and meatballs from the other night, and me with a larger than normal portion of my trifle I made and some oriental oodles of noodles (which is really Ramin but will ALWAYS be oodles of noodles to me! does anyone else have this problem?) This, was a low point. I found myself hating this stupid surgery. I’m usually exited about food, especially GOOD food and I could have cared less last night.
I want veggies. Like a big huge bowl of raw carrots, celery, cucumbers, peas, peppers. EVERYTHING! So count yourself lucky my friends, that you can eat your veggies! I’m so strange, I know I am.
ANYWAY, moving right along, I realized that I was going to need to have a better plan. this is my life for the next..let me see..10 days (ugh) so I need to be prepared! I’ve been saying this would have been so much easier in the summer or fall when I would have a plethora of fresh produce to choose from. I’d be able to just walk right out to my garden (which incidentally I have started to plot out!) and go ‘shopping’.
But alas I’m stuck with the meagerance that winter has to offer. After a trip down into the chest freezer I discovered a lovely stash of pre-made (by moi) dinners and a greater appreciation for my squirrel like freezing-meals-habbit. I was able to locate the following:
- 3 large servings of homemade Shepard’s pie (with lamb, beef is cottage pie fyi), mushrooms, peas, carrots, onions, Guinness gravy and mashed potatoes (swoon)
- 1 serving of my Light Broccoli Cheddar Soup (the last of it)
- I can’t even count how many servings of veggie lasagna! (I made a MASSIVE, giant pan of this. I thinly sliced zucchini, summer squash and eggplant the long way and used it as some of the noodles and then sautéed and added just about every other veggie you could think of in there…and smoothered the entire thing in alfredo instead of tomato sauce. It was a give and take kind of deal)
- AND 3 servings of regular, homemade lasagna (the one my Dad says is better than his mother’s…sorry!)
All told, I was quite excited. Pre-made, HOMEmade and ready to go. I came up the cellar stairs with my arms full and a big smile on my face.
Today I have plans though. There is a soup, one which is so incredibly familiar and reminiscent of things my father and grandmother made I can’t stand it, that will solve all of my problems. I am talking about, Swiss Chard & Cannellini Bean Soup of course!!
The original recipe for this, I saw some years ago on Everyday Italian with my dad’s girlfriend (not really) Giada De Laurentiis. This was back when the Food Network was still awesome and watchable and contained actual cooking shows instead of endless competition shows hosted by the same 10 over seen chefs. I deem it unwatchable these days.
However, upon seeing this I instantly thought of my father who has a profound love of all things dark, leafy and green and has been feeding them to me in various forms my entire life. I could NOT hunt down escarole as the original recipe called for BUT, I did have a beautiful crop of rainbow swiss chard growing in my parent’s garden at the time and used that.
This recipe has a few things going for it that make it so fantastic:
- it’s incredibly easy
- it’s incredibly FAST
- it uses very few ingredients
- it’s simple, and therefore delicious.
Easy. Here is the original recipe but I have included my modified version which isn’t very modified. The trick to this, a vital one, is one my family has been using for as long as I can remember; the parmesan cheese rind! What do you do when you have grated all of the lovely cheese off of your parm or romano cheese wedge and you have a hard, “un-usable” rind left? Why you stick it in your soup! It gives it such a salty, nutty, depth of flavor, you will be hacking off the rinds of your parm from now on just to use them.
*HINT: when you have rinds, put them in a freezer bag and freezer them to use later.
Swiss Chard & Cannellini Bean Soup
(adapted from “Escarole and Bean Soup” from “Everyday Italian” by Giada De Luarentiis)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large, sweet onion finely sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 pound swiss chard, chopped
- 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (1-ounce) Parmesan or Romano cheese rind (or piece of either)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions and heat until turning translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the swiss chard and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds.
- Add a pinch of salt.
- Add the chicken broth, beans, and Parmesan rind. Cover and simmer until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Ladle the soup in bowls and drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil. Enjoy.
this soup is infinitely better the next day, as most soup is. I’ve also used garlic fronds, or the greens that grow from the tops, as a substitute for some of the onions and garlic and they worked beautifully.
I hope this post finds you well and eatting better than I am. It is nearly the weekend so have a good Thursday my cyber buddies! Ciao!