Category Archives: Recipes

Garden Vegetable Soup

I hate wasting food. HATE it! It’s hard when you are first learning how to cook because unless you take the time to painstakingly meal plan, you end up with miss-matched food that you don’t know what to do with. So you just ignore it until it turns some unnatural color and you eventually throw it away. Sound familiar? It’s worse when your a vegetarian too because vegetables go bad so quickly. I always felt guilty buying broccoli and kale because I felt like I was throwing away half of what I bought due to the stalks. Until I learned this fun little trick during my Whole Foods challenge. Our instructor (if that is what you would call her…) said to chop up the stems and save them in a reserve baggie in your freezer. They actually have tons of nutritional value. When you don’t have anything planned for dinner one night you can whip up a fabulous vegetable soup!  And to think, all these years I was throwing away all that vitamin-packed goodness! Oh, the horror!

Anyways, the other night, when we had nothing planned for dinner and our fridge was looking exceptionally bare, I decided it was veggie soup time! It turned out SOOOO much better than I expected! You can certainly substitute different veggies depending on what you like or what you have on hand – another big plus to this recipe! Enjoy!

Garden Vegetable Soup (Adapted from Alton Brown)

Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 45 minutes. Yields 8 servings


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 C chopped leeks, white part only
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • kosher salt
  • 2 C carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cans of diced peeled, tomatoes (14.5 oz cans)
  • 2 C frozen corn kernels
  • 2 C frozen green beans (instead I used the bag of frozen stalks I mentioned)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 C packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until softened.

2. Add carrots and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. (mine were a bit crunchier than I would have liked so I suggest maybe boiling them first)

3. Add the stock, increasing heat to high. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add tomatoes, corn, green beans, and pepper.

4. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.


My Manicotti Man

Corey loves manicotti. No, he really loves manicotti. And since I love him, we had manicotti the other night – vegetarian of course! This week we challenged ourselves to eat in everyday, so I decided he could cook one night 😉

It was really nice being the one waited on and truthfully, he is a great cook. When we first met though he was used to Mama’s cookin’. Butter, cheese, meat, salt and sugar were his 5 main food groups and boy did his life change when we started living together! He has now eaten things he never dreamed of (insert Green Goddess soup…which he loved, might I add…) So I agreed to the manicotti so long as he did his best to make it healthy (without losing the taste). So while I would have loved to have seen more veggies incorporated into this dish, it was very delicious.

(P.S We had a side salad to make up for the lack of veggies which was a great pair with the heavy pasta. And I apologize for the lack of pics, I really took advantage of my night off….)

Corey’s Manicotti (adapted from Food Network’s)


  • 12 Manicotti shells
  • A little less than a whole bag of spinach (you could go with the whole bag, honestly)
  • 3 cups or so of marinara or spaghetti sauce (we just used store bought)
  • 1 1/2 cups of part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Ground pepper and salt to taste
  • Large baggie
  • Optional: Fresh parsley for garnish


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and season generously with salt. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and season with salt, as well. Boil the spinach, uncovered, until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, (do not drain), and immediately plunge the spinach into the ice water. Drain and squeeze the excess water from the spinach and finely chop. (NOTE – You can also saute the spinach instead of boiling, boiling makes the spinach lose some of its nutritional value and I tend to think sauteing just tastes better.)

2. In the same large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta shells until al dente (tender but still slightly firm – VERY IMPORTANT! If you overcook them, they will fall apart when your trying to stuff them…) Drain and pat dry.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Cover the bottom of a 9- x 13-inch ovenproof baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, evenly combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the eggs, and the spinach. Season with a few sprinkles of salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. You can try to spoon the cheese mixture into the manicotti shell but we opted for the baking approach and put our mixture in a large baggie with one of the corner cut to create a small hole to fill the shells. Fill one side then the other until they are bustin’ with cheesy goodness.

5. Line them up in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce. Scatter the remaining cheese on top. The sauce will sort of bake into the shells for optimum taste so don’t worry, your not wasting the sauce! Bake for 30 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes then serve.