White Beans with Fennel

White Beans with Fennel.

White Beans with Fennel.

Since I’ve cut back sharply on the amount of carbohydrates we are eating, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily on vegetables.  We have 2 – 3 veggies at each main meal.  In this dish you get three vegetables all getting cozy together.  So if you are trying to make healthy choices, this dish might be a good thing to incorporate into your menu plan.  It has white beans to provide some protein and complex carbohydrates, fennel for flavor and fiber, and spinach for color, and vitamins.

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Lunch is often the most difficult meal for me to get right.  I wait until I’m starving, then head for the kitchen to grab what ever is quickest to fill that empty hole, and often that’s peanut butter on toast.  ( Oh no, I just revealed my secret vice.)  Oh well, it was bound to come out sometime, so now you know I’m not perfect.  But I could be if I had a bowl of white beans and fennel in my refrigerator to munch on when I get hungry.  Actually a bowl of anything that’s healthy is a very good thing to have on hand when lunch-time hungries strike.   Good, hearty, real food that isn’t scrambled eggs, that you can eat right from the fridge….if you’re into that sort of thing, and aren’t we all?  This tastes as good cold as it does hot!

All I’m saying is,  if you decide to make this dish, make enough so you’ll have some left over for that bowl of real healthy food to munch on whenever hunger strikes.

WHITE BEANS WITH FENNEL

Yield:  Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large fennel bulb, cut in half vertically, core removedIMG_9290
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained (any white bean will do)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F.  Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray.

2.  Slice fennel into 1/4-inch thick slices.  In a medium bowl, toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and minced garlic.

 

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Arrange on baking sheet and bake at 450*F. for 15 minutes or until it is beginning to brown.  Stir.  Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.

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3.  In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.  Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the fennel and baby spinach, plus 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Sauté beans then add fennel and spinach.

Cook 2 minutes to heat through.  Add the splash of lemon juice and stir in.

Ready to serve.

Ready to serve.

 

Serve with salmon or other fillet of fish.  Add a salad and you will have a wonderful meal.

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SOURCE:    Unknown

 

 

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Soup’s On

 

A pot of soup for a cool fall evening.

A pot of soup for a cool fall evening.

With Fall just a few short weeks away, and school back in session, many of you (me included) are thinking about warm bowls of soup for cool autumn evenings.  Soups can be the main course or served as a starter.  Making a pot of delicious soup is easier than you may think with prepping being the most time consuming aspect of the whole thing.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while are familiar with the fact that I’m a soup lover, and have produced quite a number of them to share in this space.  New readers, however, may have missed seeing some of them, so today I’m going back into the recipe files and pulling up some of those nice warming bowls of soup for you to review.

With so many vegetables available now, make sure you use the freshest ingredients you can get and also be sure to include grains, pasta and beans for great variety.  Originally soup was made up of anything that was left over, so don’t be afraid to toss in bits and pieces and get creative with your leftovers!

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Bacon and Corn Chowder

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Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

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Butternut Bisque

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Fall Minestrone Soup

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Mexican Ham and Bean Soup

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Tomato Curry Soup

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Tuscan sausage and bean soup

Linguine, with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

 

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

This dish gets its flavor from lots of garlic.  Ya gotta love garlic!!  It makes the most bitter greens taste divine.  As it cooks and becomes sweeter, so do the greens lose their bitterness, and become silky and tender.  Pasta, greens and beans—typically an Italian-style meal.  All you need to think you’d “died and gone to heaven” is some Parmesan cheese dusted over the top, some crusty, toasted bread and a glass of white wine.  SIGH!

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Extremely easy to make with only five ingredients, and taking only about 30 minutes to prepare, this is a dish to put on the table when you’re in a hurry, but you want your family to be well fed on a healthy meal.  I used fresh leaf kale in my preparation, but you could speed up the process by using packaged prechopped kale, found in the produce department of most supermarkets.  Other than the kale, you probably have everything else to prepare this dish already in your cupboard.

I like the fact that only 1/2 pound of pasta makes 4 generous servings, because of the addition of the healthy kale and beans.  Calories are low/serving (381);  and the whole nutritional profile of this dish is impressive:  Fat, 11.8 g;  Protein, 13 g;  Carb, 58 g;  Fiber, 5 g; Cholesterol, O g; Iron, 4 mg;  Sodium, 34 mg.;  Calcium, 121 mg.

LINGUINE WITH GARLICKY KALE AND WHITE BEANS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings of about 1 3/4 cups  (calories:  381)IMG_7334

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 ( 15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese at the table (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

2.  Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.  When garlic begins to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and the kale;  cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

3.  Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add drained pasta and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan;  toss to coat.  Add the remaining cooking liquid if needed to liquify further.  Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the pasta.  Serve immediately with grated Parmesan if desired.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

 

Chicken Provencale

This is a wonderful one-dish meal that I came across several years ago.  I prepare if rather often, because it is easy, very tasty, and makes enough for a second meal.  The ingredients are ones you probably already have in your storage pantry.  It contains all the food groups recommended for a well-balanced meal, especially if served with a side salad and a crusty  bread to soak up all the juices.

I have served this entree when I entertain, and people always comment on the tender chicken and flavorful beans.  Any leftovers reheated seem to taste even better because all the seasonings have more time to “marry’.

Chicken Provencale

  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut up; or any combination of chicken parts to equal 3-4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can ( 15 1/2 oz.) Great Northern beans
  • 1 can (15 1/2 oz.) Black beans, both cans rinsed and drained
  • 1can  (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, brown the chicken in oil, a few pieces at a time.  Do not crowd the pan as the chicken will not brown nicely.  Remove to a platter and set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in drippings remaining in skillet until transparent.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Spoon into a large baking dish. 

Arrange chicken pieces on top.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.