Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zuppa Toscana

It's been very cold these last few weeks.  I found this soup recipe on line and I tweaked it a little to make it low fat and freezer friendly.  It has a great creamy quality that makes it feel indulgent, but there is no actual dairy in this recipe.  I also swapped out the Italian sausage for turkey sausage.  I like to leave the peels on the red potatoes, but feel free to peel them if your family doesn't care for them.   We are partial to baby spinach, but kale would also be great in this.


1 pkg (20 oz) sweet turkey sausage  $4.58
1 large onion-chopped $ . 50
3 carrots-shredded $ .35
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves-minced  $ .10
1 box of chicken stock $1.72
2 cups water  
6 red potatoes-sliced thin $1.50
1 can navy beans $ .68
2 heaping cups of baby spinach $1.50
 Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)


In a large pan brown the turkey sausage.  Remove and drain.
Chop the onion, peel and shred the carrots and mince the garlic.  Add two tsp of olive oil to the now empty pan and saute the onion, carrot and 1/2 tsp red pepper flake.
After the onion begins to get soft...about 8 minutes, add the minced garlic and cook stirring frequently for two minutes.  Once the garlic is fragrant add the chicken broth, water and the sliced potatoes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile drain the can of navy beans.  Use a chopper, food processor or blender to cream the beans.  I have a small chopper so I blend my beans in two batches.

Once the soup has simmered for 15 minutes stir in the creamed beans and simmer for 5 more minutes.
Now the soup has been simmering for a total of 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the turkey sausage and the baby spinach.
Now it's time to taste the soup and add salt and pepper to your liking.
This soup is so smooth and creamy, you wont even miss the cream!   The potatoes and sausage make it hearty and the red pepper flake adds a nice heat to the background.

We had two large bowls for dinner.  We like to top ours with grated Parmesan cheese.  You could also add a few sprinkles of hot sauce if you like yours with more of a kick!
The rest of the soup made two quarts for freezing.
We made this recipe into three meals that cost $3.64 each.  Not bad.  The soup freezes and reheats beautifully because there is no cream.  It stays smooth and delicious every time. 

I hope this soups warms your belly on a cold winter's evening.  
Christie aka Keeza

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Thai Inspired Peanut Chicken

I would consider this an entry level Thai recipe.  My husband and I are by no means Thai experts, but we love all the herbs and flavors in this recipe.  We add Sriracha at the very end so that it's not spicy for my toddler, but enjoyable for us.


1 can (13.66) lite coconut milk
3/4 C peanut butter
1 bunch green onions
1 tsp ground ginger
4 small garlic cloves (or two large)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 C cilantro leaves
2 limes
3 chicken breasts
1 bag of frozen stir fry vegetables
2 cups shelled and salted peanuts
Hot sauce to taste


Cook and cube your chicken breasts.  I like to bake mine with a little salt and pepper at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

In a large pan melt the 3/4 C peanut butter into the whole can of lite coconut milk.  Add 4 Tbsp of soy sauce and turn heat to low.  Chop the green onions and mince the garlic.  Add to the pan. 

Let the sauce reduce gently while you chop your chicken.  Once sauce has reduced for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally, please add the chicken and vegetables.  Heat through.
Once the vegetables have warmed up, turn off the heat.  Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves and the juice of two limes.

Then divide into two quart containers and put 1 C of salted peanuts into a sandwich bag.
Freeze together until ready to add to your weekly meal plan.  Please allow two days for the sauce to thaw in the fridge before eating.  When you are ready to eat, then heat the sauce through on the stove and serve over rice.  Garnish with peanuts and hot sauce to taste.  Here is the finished product with nuts...
 and with hot sauce...
It was so delicious.  Between the peanut butter, the ginger, the cilantro and the lime it is just a playground of flavors.  My husband loved this meal!  With a little hot sauce he was in heaven.

I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did!
Keeza aka Keeza

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hawaiian Chicken Foil Packets

This is my second foil chicken packet recipe.  What can I say?  It's quick to assemble and really flexible in cooking preparation.  You can grill, bake or even roast in the coals after a campfire.  You don't have to heat up your kitchen during the hot summer months.  If it pours rain you could even cook the foil packets in your crock pot on low for 4 hours.  I assembled this meal in 30 minutes.  That includes set up, making the sauce, assembly, clean up and some picture taking.  You could probably make it faster than me if you don't stop to take photos! 


4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables
20 oz can pineapple chunks in it's own juice
1/4 C teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Heavy duty aluminum foil


In a large sauté pan pour the juice from the pineapple chunks.  Add the 1/4 C teriyaki sauce, 1/2 tsp ginger powder and 1 Tbsp brown sugar. 

Simmer over medium heat stirring occasionally with a whisk until the sauce gets dark brown and syrupy. 

Meanwhile set up an assembly station for your foil packets.  Lay down 4 sheets of 12-16 inches of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place a frozen boneless skinless chicken breast in the center of each foil sheet.

Then open the bag of frozen stir fry vegetables and place 1/4 of the vegetables on each chicken breast.

Now top each foil sheet with 1/4 of the pineapple chunks.

When your sauce is reduced spoon it evenly over each chicken and vegetable portion. 

Now lift up the sides of the foil and fold over in the middle.  Fold in the sides and press to seal.  If you need to please wrap in a second sheet of foil to prevent leaks. 

Place two Hawaiian Chicken foil packets in to a gallon zippered bag and label.  Repeat with the other two packet and place in the freezer.

When you are ready to meal plan, please thaw the foil packets on the fridge or cooler for 2 days before cooking.  Then grill at medium heat for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total).  You can bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Or put in the hot coals after a campfire for 30 minutes. 

Then carefully peel open your foil packet and pour out onto a plate and enjoy!  Only one sauté pan to clean during assembly and no pots and pans to clean on cooking day!  We ate ours with some rice that I whipped up in my rice steamer.

Christie aka Keeza