Friday, May 2, 2008

Spinach-Zucchini Soup with Savory Oatmeal Muffins

I made this on Tuesday for dinner tonight. We had just finished cleaning out all of my premade meals over the last week and I tend to get a little anxious with nothing stocked in the freezer! After eating a healthy portion of this we'll still have enough in the freezer for a second meal.
Whew! The muffins freeze well too.

Spinach and Zucchini Soup: (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
big pinch of salt
~2 large potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (~3 1/2 cups)
~3-4 zucchini , quartered and chopped (~3 1/2 cups)
6 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
4 cups fresh chopped spinach leaves, packed
1 cup cilantro, loosely chopped
lemon juice to taste (I think I used about 1 1/2 lemons?...try less first then just add to taste)

In a large, thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes along with pinch of salt - just until they soften up a bit. Stir in the potatoes and zucchini. Add the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft throughout, roughly 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the spinach, and wait for it to wilt, just ten seconds or so. Now stir in the cilantro. Puree with a hand blender until smooth. This may take a little time with the stick blender since the spinach tends to get bound up in ours. Chop the spinach pretty small or just use a regular blender. Whisk in a big squeeze of lemon juice. Now taste, and add more salt if needed. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt on top, or a drizzle of olive oil and muffins, or toast. We had a nice ripe avocado tonight so I chopped it up and topped the soup with it.

Savory Oatmeal Muffins: (Adapted from Real Food via Culinary in the Desert)

If you want to make a veggie muffin, just use cheese instead of the bacon.

1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (I think I added an 1/8th of a tsp more because of the Sucanat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage (I used 1 1/2 tsp fresh minced sage)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
2 tablespoons grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup packed brown sugar ( used 1/4 cup Sucanat)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I subbed 6 Tbs flaxseed meal for 2 of the Tbs. of butter)
3 ounces Canadian bacon, diced (buy a good quality bacon in the deli and have it sliced thicker...just say no to corn syrup. Ick!)

Preheat oven to 375

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sage.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the oats with cheese.

In a large bowl, stir together buttermilk and remaining oats - let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to let the oats soften. Stir in brown sugar, egg, and butter until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened - fold in diced bacon.

Evenly divide the batter between the wells of a 12 cup muffin tin lightly coated with nonstick spray. Sprinkle tops with oat-cheese mixture. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick placed in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before transferring the muffins to a wire rack. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

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