Ingredient: bay leaves

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Manhattan Clam Chowder

Serve with garlic-lemon Swiss chard saute and artisan bread-

If you love tomato-based soups you’ll want to give this clam chowder a try; and it’s as authentic in taste as it comes. Nothing like the thick, creamy New England version but just as delicious in its own way. I’ve paired it with one of cool season’s hearty greens, Swiss chard. It’s bitter component is a nice complement to the sweet clams.

All Seasons, American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Slow Cooker, Soups, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker Senator Bean Soup

This simple soup is on the menu of the U.S. Senate’s restaurant every day and with good reason. It’s really good and simple to make. This is my slow cooker version as most days I am not able to watch a simmering pot for hours.

There is a history behind this soup but it is not exactly known where this soup mandate came from. According to one story, the Senate’s bean soup tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho. Another story attributes the request to Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903. Regardless of its origins, this is one tasty substantial soup you’ll want to make over and over again during the nippier times of the year.

American, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Pork, Slow Cooker, Soups, Spring, Sugar Free, Winter

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

I really like this version of split pea soup because it’s brothy, rather than thick like a stew. Artisan rolls or slices of bread with a pat of creamy butter are a must for dipping in the filling soup. I usually serve a simple side salad of romaine mixed with escarole (or other bitter lettuce) and shredded carrots in a mustard vinaigrette.

All Seasons, American, Chicken, Dairy Free, Fall, Main, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Pork, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Gumbo is probably the most traditional Creole food, and once fall rolls around, heavy pots are pulled out for this cold weather favorite. Most gumbo recipes call for chicken pieces or a whole chicken, a roux that take a long time, and the gumbo takes hours to simmer. I was determined to create an equally delicious version that could be made in 60 minutes or less. Considering my family went back for second and thirds, I would say this version fits the bill!

Crown, Heart, Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Third Eye, Throat

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

Served with Columbia Restaurant’s 1905 salad-

When I first moved to Tampa, Florida, I had never heard of black beans, let alone tasted them. A staple of Cuban food, black beans are very versatile and used almost everyday. Now I eat them on a regular basis, and this is my version of Moros Y Cristianos (Moors and Christians), by far my family’s favorite recipe for this humble bean.

The name of this dish refers to the wars between the Moors (blacks) and the Spaniards (whites). It is a reminder of the Spanish influence on Cuba.

The Columbia is a famous Spanish restaurant in Tampa. It is known for its flamingo dancers and authentic Spanish/Cuban cuisine; the 1905 salad being one of its specialties. This is my vegetarian version, as I have omitted the meat and changed out the iceberg to butter lettuces.

All Seasons, Beans/Legumes, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Italian, Main, Sides, Slow Cooker, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Slow Cooker Tuscan White Beans

This is an extremely versatile bean dish. I have served this as a main meal over brown rice with lots of veggie sides and as a side dish to grilled meats. The leftovers are perfect for using in Wild Rice and White Bean Stuffed Tomatoes (see The Whole Meal for the recipe). The mashed garlic really adds unique flavor (as well as being great for cardiovascular and immune health).

All Seasons, Beef, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Main, Mexican, Paleo / Primal, Paleo/Primal, Slow Cooker, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Winter

Slow Cooker It’s-Just-Like-Chipotle’s-Spicy-Barbacoa

Chipotle is about the only fast food that I will eat because the meats and dairy are hormone-free, they try to use as much fresh organic local produce as possible, and it tastes so good! The spicy barbacoa beef is my favorite and is perfect for cooking in a slow cooker. I searched the internet for ideas of how to recreate Chipotle’s fantastic shredded beef and ended up with this version that is pretty outstanding. Mission accomplished!

All Seasons, Beans/Legumes, Crown, Dairy Free, Fall, Gluten free, Heart, Main, Root, Sacral, Sides, Solar Plexus, Spring, Stews, Sugar Free, Summer, Third Eye, Throat, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Slow Cooker Lentils

Although I usually think of lentils for fall or winter, this slow cooker version is also warm weather friendly, especially topped with cooling yogurt. I developed this when one morning I looked in my pantry for something to put in my slow cooker and found a bag of brown lentils. Bingo!