Lauren McLean Iuppa Ayer

Poet | Artist | Optimist

Category: Self Care

Cheaters Curried Butternut Soup

It’s November and cold outside, despite the clear-skied New Mexico sun, and that means it’s time for soup. But because I’ve spent the last few weeks sick in bed with a cold, I haven’t been very inspired to actually cook. Thankfully there are tidily box-packed, Imagine brand organic soups of which I have a consistent stash on my upper shelf. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is a godsend when you’re sick, except that after two weeks alternating free-range chicken broth with creamy butternut, I find myself longing for something different. Lucky a quick review of pantry contents revealed yet one more single serving cheaters recipe perfect for combatting the cold that just won’t quit.

Cheaters Curried Butternut Soup

1/3 box Imagine Organic Creamy Butternut Squash soup

1/3 can Eden Organic garbanzo beans

1/3 cup organic frozen peas

1 tablespoon Morton & Bassett organic Curry Powder (or whatever curry powder you have on hand)

1/3 to 1/2 tin Trader Joe’s skinless & boneless sardines in olive oil (or whatever sardines you have on hand) — optional

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and cook until very hot. Meanwhile, crush the desired quantity of sardines with a fork until it flakes and soaks up the oil. When soup is cooked, stir in crushed sardines. Eat.

NOTE: You could probably substitute tuna or chicken for the sardines, but there’s something really tasty about the fish/oil combo when mixed with the squash. You might also experiment with curry quantity. Frozen green beans, cauliflower, or other veggies instead of or in addition to the peas might also be awesome.

Pasta with Zucchini Faux-Alfredo

Every once in a while I manage to mix a few ingredients together that actually work. This one I came up with in college, shortly after becoming a vegetarian while on a momentary vegan kick. I wanted something simple that included veggies and protein. Plus it’s a really great way to use up all that extra zucchini that seems to be turning up everywhere these days. So here you go:

Zucchini Faux-Alfredo

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Italian seasoning to taste (I usually use about 1.5 teaspoons)

1-2 cloves of garlic – diced

3 small zucchini – sliced into thin coins (best fresh out of the garden)

1 can Cannellini beans

Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in large saute pan. Add Italian seasoning. Saute until aromatic. Add garlic. Saute until almost brown. Add zucchini coins (cut in half if too big). Brown and cook until slightly translucent.

Meanwhile, empty beans into a bowl and smash with a potato masher until all skins are broken. Add to pan with salt and stir over medium heat until they form a creamy sauce.

Serve hot over pasta some sort of sturdy pasta (I use gluten-free spirals or bowties).

Spaghetti Squash with Tuna and Chard

Last night my housemate made a chard recipe that called for just the leaves, leaving just the ruby-red stems. They were just too pretty not to eat, so in a fit of hunger, I scoured my tiny food shelf and came up with this recipe.

Spaghetti Squash with Tuna and Chard

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 fist-full of chard stems (bonus if you have the leaves, too)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (or two cubes of Dorot frozen garlic from Trader Joe’s)

1 can of sustainably-caught, BPA-free canned tuna in water (or whatever you have handy)

Poke 5 or 6 sets of fork holes in the spaghetti squash. Pop it in the microwave for 12 minutes, turning every 3 minutes.
While that’s going, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the garlic. When the garlic is browned (or melted) toss in the washed and cubed chard stems. Saute until translucent.
Cut the finished squash in half and scrape out the “spaghetti” — there should be about four servings-worth.
Pile squash onto your plate, drizzle with olive oil and salt, add chard, and tuna, and enjoy!
Save the extra squash to eat with tomato sauce, butter and parmesan, or whatever other topping sounds good to you.

Cheater’s Cashew Chicken Curry

I hate to cook. I know there are a ton of people out there who find chopping and stirring a form of relaxation, but I am just not that girl. Add to that a ton of food allergies and sensitivities and you have a recipe for avoiding recipes at all costs. Still, a girl has to eat, and although I preach a good game of “fresh, local, organic” sometimes I just need something quick, easy, and tasty made from ingredients that won’t rot in my fridge when my schedule gets busy. This is one of those, made entirely from canned, jarred, and frozen foods. (Thank you Trader Joe’s.)

Cheater’s Cashew Chicken Curry

1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Jasmine Rice

1 can Trader Joe’s canned Premium Chunk Chicken

1/4 cup chopped cashews

1 cup Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Peas

1 tablespoon Morton & Bassett organic Curry Powder (or whatever curry powder you have on hand)

1 tablespoon Artisana 100% organic Coconut Butter, broken into small pieces; add more or less to taste (coconut milk would probably be better, but the butter was all I had on hand, if using coconut milk, I’d double or triple the amount)

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Put into bowl with rest of ingredients. Stir. Cook on high setting in microwave for 2-3 minutes. Serves two.

Enjoy.