Sunday, September 16, 2012

Beet Soup with Three Legumes

We are so glad to have signed up for a CSA this year. Since it is only the two of us, we opted for a half share and it has been more than enough food for us. It is so nice to get a surprise bundle of fresh produce every week. There is only one vegetable that we are still trying to love...



We are trying. We really are. We love beet greens. I add them to pasta, soup, I even made beet greens ravioli. But those beets...

At least, I have this recipe. It is delicious and a great way to ease you into beets. And the garnish is soooo good. It adds a nice kick to this hearty soup. Make sure you add a little bit of garnish with each bite of soup. 

Do you have a favorite beet recipe? Send it my way :) ...please!

Beet Soup with Three Legumes:
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 medium beets, peeled and diced
1/2 cup brown or green lentils
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3-4 cups chopped beet greens
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch scallions, choppped

3 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (optional)

Place beets, lentils, and 8 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add kidney beans and chickpeas and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beet greens and 2 tsp salt. Simmer until greens tender, about 5 minutes. Add scallions and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat.

For the garnish, melt butter in a small saute pan. Add onions, tumeric, cayenne pepper and cook until onions soften, about 15-20 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with garnish and yogurt.

Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup and Roasted Vegetable Panini

Every few months, my mother and I will meet up to do some shopping and have lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe. I can't help it but I get the same thing every time I go: tomato basil soup with a roasted vegetable panini. So yummy.

I decided to make a copycat version. The results are delicious. It does take some time because you have to roast the vegetables but the soup and sandwich are so close to the original, I have to stop myself from making this every week.

Nordstrom's Tomato Basil Soup
adapted from
3 tbsp olive oil
6 medium sized carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tbsp dried basil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 28 oz cans peeled, whole tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup light cream
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add basil and garlic, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened.
Add tomatoes and chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and puree with an immersion blender (or allow to cool a bit and use a regular blender).
Over low heat, slowly stir in light cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm with a yummy panini.

Roasted Vegetable Panini
Sliced Harvati cheese
Ciabata bread, slice in half lengthwise
balsamic glaze (I used Colavita Balsamic Glace)
baby spinach
Garlic aioli  (I used this recipe from allrecipes
Oven dried tomatoes (2 tomatoes, sliced and placed on a baking sheet, roasted at 275 degrees for 30 minutes, turned halfway)
Roasted red and orange peppers (three red and orange peppers, cut into thick slices and roasted at 400 degrees for 45 minutes)
Drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze on one slice of bread, add baby spinach, cheese, one layer of tomatoes and one layer of pepper. Spread some garlic aioli on a slice of bread and top off your sandwich. Press in a panini grill. Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pink Sauce with Shrimp and Broccoli

With the weather warming and no AC, I look at my oven with distaste. During the warmer months, I usually look for recipes that can be made quickly and will not heat the whole house while cooking. This is one of them.

I love pink sauce. It is my favorite! What I don't like is the heavy cream that pink sauces call for. Most recipes call for 1-1.5 cups of heavy cream and pouring that much heavy cream into my food gives me the heebie-jeebies. I was interested in substituting yogurt for the heavy cream. Cassie at had a recipe that sounded delicious. I tweaked it a bit for my own taste and it was super tasty.

This recipe makes A LOT of food. It was like the never-ending pasta bowl at the Olive Garden. Using plain Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream really cuts down on the fat. I did use a bag of peeled and deveined shrimp so this recipe could not be made easier.  I had some broccoli in the house and used that instead of spinach. Since I love me some spinach and pasta I will have to add it next time.

Pink Sauce with Shrimp and Broccoli
Adapted from

one 1 lb box of angel hair (my favorite) or spaghetti or your favorite pasta
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1 can of sliced mushrooms or 8oz container of button mushrooms, sliced
16 oz bag of raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup your favorite marinara sauce (or more if you like more saucy)
1/2 cup of 0% plain Greek yogurt
the florets of one medium head of broccoli, boiled for 5 minutes and drained.
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to the directions.
Heat oil in a large pan. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes until garlic softens, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes or 5 minutes if using fresh. Add tomatoes and shrimp and cook until shrimp is opaque. Turn heat to low. Add marinara sauce and broccoli and allow to heat through. Add yogurt and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over pasta. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spicy Indian Eggplant

Oh the glorious crap!

I called the local dairy farm to see if they have cow manure for sale for our garden. They do. 5 bucks for 3/4 yard bucket. That is a whole lot of crap. About three large wheelbarrows full.

My husband Jared and my dad when to pick up the load. Despite it being fermented manure, our yard exudes farm smell. I don't mind it much. Jared feels nostalgic of his grandfather's farm. I think my neighbors have been giving us dirty looks.

Yoshi thought all this playing outside was great.

Yoshi thanking my dad for helping with the garden.
Nonetheless, I am excited to get my garden going. I have my seedlings started and most are looking good. I even planted butternut squash seeds I saved from winter cooking that have sprouted and are looking healthy.  I also have zucchini, sweet basil, dark basil, lots of cherry tomatoes, carrots, green beans, green peppers, jalapeno peppers and of course, my favorite, eggplant.

We love eggplant. It is so versatile and can be incorporated into many dishes. This meal is so easy and requires no salting or roasting to remove bitter juices. Enjoy!

Spicy Indian Eggplant
2 tbsp olive oil
one eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
one medium onion, diced
three garlic cloves, minced
one tsp minced ginger
one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
one heaping tbsp of tikka paste
plain yogurt (optional, but not in my house)
cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat oil. Saute eggplant, onions, garlic and ginger, stirring frequently until softened. Add can of tomatoes and tikka paste and stir. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve over rice or couscous. Add a dollop of plain yogurt and some cilantro leaves.

Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

I am notorious for not eating a healthy breakfast.

I usually drink coffee and eat a sweet treat. Like a girl scout cookie. Or the leftover hard ends of brownies I baked the night before. There may have been a morning I ate a snack-sized candybar for breakfast (don't tell my mother).

My husband on the other hand eats a bowl of organic oatmeal with flax with a banana as well as some yogurt with fruit. Every morning, I get the lecture that cookies or cake isn't for breakfast. I sigh and continue chewing on my cookie as crumbs cling to my monkey pajamas.

So I was on a mission to find a recipe that was fairly healthy, filling, and yummy (i.e. included chocolate). That is, when Roni at GreenLiteBites posted this recipe for The Most Amazing Bowl of Oatmeal EVER!, I was skeptical but I had all the ingredients at home and decided to try it.

Guess what?
She was right.

This is super delicious! The small amount of chocolate chips is all that is needed to make this a decadent and yummy dessert...ummm...breakfast. It might not seem like a lot of chocolate but a little goes a long way as it melts into the oatmeal. Pure awesome. And it only takes about 5 minutes to make!

Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal
from GreenLiteBites
1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 tbsp chocolate chips
Place oats, water, salt and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed and oatmeal is gooey, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add mashed bananas and mix well. Add chocolate chips and stir. Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken and Avocado Sandwich

So, why is this blog called Loves Avocado you ask? It is super cheesy and a little lame. OK,  a lot lame.

When my husband and I were dating, I asked him what is favorite vegetable was. He said tomato (however, now that I think of it, isn't that a fruit? Whatever, we will pretend it is a vegetable). I said mine is avocado. Well, then I started calling him my "Cado" and he called me his "Mato."

I warned you of the cheesiness.

Last week, my husband and I saw David Guetta in concert at UNH. This was my Valentine's Day gift to my Cado and we had a blast. It was awesome despite the fact that we were 10 years older than pretty much everyone there and we missed the memo that we were supposed to wear white. So THAT is what Winter White Tour means lol. Nonetheless, we had a great time and danced all night. We <3 Guetta

I realized during the show that he looks a lot like Ellen DeGeneres

David Guetta

Ellen DeGeneres person

Totally! Right? Right?

Ok maybe just a little.

Anyway, we got home exhausted and way past our normal bedtime. My husband woke up in the middle of night with some sort of vicious stomach bug and stayed in bed for the next two days. He sipped on some chicken soup, orange juice and Pedialyte and hid himself under the covers.

So I opened the fridge and found cooked chicken breast that needed to be eaten ASAP and a couple avocado that I bought because they were on sale. I made this super yummy recipe in no time at all, which left me plenty of time to Lysol the whole house and dance around to David Guetta.

Chicken and Avocado Sandwich
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 chicken breast, cooked
1/2 avocado cut into slices
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
one slice of sharp cheddar cheese
handful of mixed greens

Toast bread. Pile rest of ingredients between bread. Wrap sandwich in paper towel. Microwave for 15-20 seconds. Enjoy with a side of cherry tomatoes and the other half of the avocado.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Collard Greens

OK OK I know what you are saying. Collard greens again, Jessica?! And this looks surprisingly like the sweet potato soup you made. And the carrot soup you made. And collards again! Come on!

OK, so I like orange vegetables.

And maybe I eat a lot of collard greens. I am Portuguese, people. We sustain ourselves on collard greens soup and chorizo.

The difference is I roasted an entire butternut squash and a bunch of carrots. The squash family is all new to me. Growing up we NEVER ate squash. This past year I ate more squash than I did in my entire lifetime...acorn, sweet dumpling, buttercup, butternut, spaghetti. It didn't hurt that the farm stand up the street was practically throwing  free squash at us. Not literally of course, because that would hurt like something else.

We had friends with babies over for dinner the other night. I put aside some carrots and butternut slices on their own tray to roast without salt and olive oil. After roasting, I added them to a small saucepan with two cups of water and pureed with a handheld immersion blender. Heated it up, and voila! Instant baby food. The babies loved it! I think, lol

Peeling squash does take a little time so put on some Pandora and get to it!

Roasted Butternut and Carrot Soup (with Collard Greens)
1 butternut squash, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced in 1 inch width pieces
1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut in quarters
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 quarts of chicken stock, (I made my own in a another stock pot with a skinless chicken breast on the bone, one onion diced, salt and 1 tbsp crushed red pepper.  Simmer on medium heat until chicken cooked through. Remove chicken and use stock in this soup)
1 bunch of collard greens, removed from center stem, coarsely chopped in ribbons

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix squash and carrots and spread onto two baking sheets. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil and some salt over veggies and mix well with hands. Roast for 30 minutes or until softened. Half way through you may want to flip over veggies to prevent burning.

In a stock pot, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute onions for a couple minutes. Add garlic and saute for several minutes, stirring frequently. Add roasted vegetables and stir well. Saute for a couple minutes. Add stock and heat through. Puree with immersion blender. Season to taste. Add collards and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Serve.

Pin It

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chicken Tikka Masala

This is one of me and my husband's favorite meals. It is from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution cookbook. Every so often when I find myself with a bunch of cilantro in the fridge I make this. I always keep some coconut milk and tikka paste in the pantry for when we get the craving for this dish. It is so delicious with a significant spicy kick. It warms you to the core. If you don't like spicy food, you may want to omit the chile since the tikka paste is a bit spicy on it's own. We add a hefty helping of plain greek yogurt on top to cut through the heat. My husband enjoys adding a huge pile of cilantro and mixing it in as well. Enjoy.

Chicken Tikka Masala
From Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Cookbook

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced (I use jalapeno)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh cilantro, leaves removed, stems finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup prepared tikka masala paste (I use Patak's)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch strips
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of coconut milk
  • plain yogurt
Heat oil and butter in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, chile, ginger, and chopped cilantro stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and golden, about 10 minutes. Add tikka paste and chicken; stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with yogurt and cilantro leaves. Serve with rice.

Pin It

Stuffed Mushrooms

So it is detox time. OK next week is detox time. First we must clean out the fridge.

We had an Italian themed dinner gathering a few nights ago and apparently I cooked enough for an elementary school because my fridge was bulging with lasagna, meatballs and eggplant Parmesan. I also made a couple appetizers: some artichoke dip and THESE AMAZING MUSHROOMS.

Yeah, that good.

O-face good.

Good luck eating just one.

I made these with mild Italian sausage instead of spicy since one of our guests does not enjoy spicy foods. Come to find out, he also does not enjoy mushrooms or sausage as well. What kind of person doesn't like sausage?! Only a close second to bacon. Anyway, he didn't try THESE AMAZING MUSHROOMS. (OK I will stop now).

I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's website. I love her home on the range, her cookbook, her cute pets, and her adorable kids. And then she starts talking about her Marlboro Man...his denim jeans...his cowboy boots...his arms. Yeah, he is a cutie too ;) She is so awesome that she has been featured in magazines and on the Food Network!! I want to be her neighbor.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Adapted (barely) from

24 oz white button mushrooms (almost three packages)
1/2 lb mild or hot Italian pork sausage
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz cream cheese (one package), I would suggest leaving it out for 30 min to allow it to soften
1 whole egg yolk
3/4 grated Parmesan cheese (I used 1/2 grated and 1/4 cup shredded)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse mushrooms in cold water and wipe off with paper towel. Pop out stems. Chop stems finely and set aside. Brown and crumble sausage and set aside on a place to cool. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and saute for several minutes over medium low heat. Pour wine to deglaze pan and allow liquid to evaporate. Add chopped mushroom stems to the pan and stir to cook for three minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and set mixture aside on a plate to cool.

In a bowl, stir cream cheese and egg yolk until well combined. Add Parmesan cheese and combine well. Add in cooled sausage and mushroom onion mixture and stir until well combined. Fill cavities of mushrooms creating a small mound over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Pin It

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

The first blog I ever followed was Heidi Swanson's before I even knew what a blog was. She is extremely talented and her dreamy photography makes me swoon. Her cookbooks have yet to reside on my bookshelf but they are on my wishlist. She emphasizes natural and wholesome foods and her recipes look delicious. Despite following her for so long, I have never made a recipe. Not Heidi's fault, I can be a bit of a slacker in the trying new recipes department. I finally got around to making this broccoli pesto pasta and it was delicious and easy. She also used black olives and spinach which I am sure would make this even more delicious. Make sure to head her way and be prepared to swoon :)

Broccoli Pesto Pasta
Adapted from

1 medium head of broccoli cut into little florets
1/2 toasted pine nuts
2 cloves roasted garlic
1/3 freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1/2 lb angel hair pasta
salt to taste
more parmesan for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt and add broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds (thanks Heidi :) ). Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop cooking. Puree the broccoli, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. Salt to taste. Drizzle in olive oil while still blending. Adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed. Cook pasta until tender. Drain and stir in pesto. Taste and add more to your liking. Add more Parmesan cheese on top and serve.