Immunity Soup

gluten-free / dairy free / grain free / vegan option

Cold and flu season is in full swing and its a four alarm, all hands on deck situation at my house. I recently had pelvic reconstructive surgery and so for the last 5 weeks I have had to have 24 hour help, to manage not only myself but the kids and our daily schedule. My hubby, who is incredibly supportive and helpful, has an insane travel schedule and so we have been keeping this crazy bus moving with the help of my two incredible nannies, my mama and a slew of supportive friends. But it has not been easy. And it has definitely taken its toll on everyone health wise. So in addition to the constant hand washing and the plethora  of Thieves oil we use, I decided to whip up a batch of this amazing Immunity soup. I had heard about the amazing benefits of a soup like this and then saw a recipe featured in Cooking Light magazine. I took their recipe, made a few adjustments and removed the chicken and subbed in tofu to make it vegetarian. To be honest, we loved the soup without either but I liked the option to add one in and increase the protein and zinc levels.

This soup is chock full of immunity boosters and is delicious!!! The mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins. The garlic contains allicin, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants we know about. The hot stock used, makes your nose run and therefore helps clear out congestion. It also helps to keep you hydrated which is so important when sick! The chickpeas, chicken, and tofu are an amazing source of zinc and the kale is a great source of vitamin C. So when you put these all together you have the ultimate cold fighting weapon. The bonus is that it actually tastes good AND works, unlike the cold medicine or essential oil that my family so dislikes! Enjoy!! nomnom

Ingredients

2 TBS. olive oil

1.5 cups of chopped onion

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced

3 large carrots, thinly sliced

1 lb of mushrooms, sliced

12 medium cloves of garlic, minced

8 cups of organic chicken broth

6 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained

1.5 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

8-10 oz of curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken or a batch of Crispy Tofu (optional)*

Directions

*This soup is great vegetarian style but if you want to add chicken or tofu for an added boost of protein, here is what you do!! For the chicken, just follow the instructions below. For the Crispy Tofu, click on the link and just follow the tofu recipe. Then add the tofu to the immunity soup with the kale.

  1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery; cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook three minutes, stirring frequently
  3. Add in the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaves and chickpeas to pot and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add in salt, red pepper flakes and chicken if using. Cover and simmer until chicken is done, about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from the Dutch oven; cool slightly and shred the chicken with two forks.
  6. Stir kale and chicken or tofu into the soup; cover and simmer until kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
  7. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Spaghetti Pie

gluten-free ~ dairy free ~ vegan option

I am currently basking in the sun in Florida, contemplating all the amazing seafood I could eat at one of the great, local restaurants. I can imagine the cocktail I will have while I wait for my dinner, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the ocean view. And just as my food comes out from the kitchen….I am ripped from my foodie fairytale and am promptly thrown back into reality. I am welcomed by the decibel crushing screeching of my two kids; age five and two. They are passionately screaming at each other over a plastic dragonfly while simultaneously trying to eat each other puffs and chase a deranged crab that has been bizarrely stalking us all morning. My daughter looks like the energizer bunny on steroids and my son is eerily reminiscent of Stewie from Family Guy. And at that exact moment, as my kids begin to meltdown from a full day at the beach, I also realize that I am NEVER going to have that meal.

So, instead of ordering the food I am now making the food. And I know three things. One, I’m sun stupid so I really don’t want to put in a lot of effort. Two, it needs to be “family friendly” aka satisfy the grandparents. And three, it needs to be simple enough to make in my limited kitchen at the condo.

Enter, Spaghetti pie stage left.

I found this recipe via the Cooking Light September issue. I made a few minor changes to make this gluten and dairy free, and added in the minced garlic for a little extra flavor. The original recipe also called for chicken sausage but I was unable to find any at my local grocer that didn’t have cheese in them. This would also be a great meal to make vegan. Simply switch out the sausage for crumbled seitan. Serve this with a simple salad and garlic bread and I promise you will have a happy family and maybe even find the time to have that cocktail (or two) you dreamed about. Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients

8 ounces of gluten-free spaghetti, I prefer the  Tinkyada brand pasta

2 large eggs, lightly beaten; or  vegan egg substitute

1 tsp olive oil

6 ounces of mild sausage, chicken sausage or seitan, casings removed if applicable. *30 day substitution below*

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of tomatoes, chopped

1 cup of onion, chopped

1 (9oz) bag of spinach

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 oz shredded cheese or cheese substitute, I used shredded Daiya Cheddar

Cooking spray or oil

*to make this Arbonne 30 day compatible substitute with ground turkey and season with 1/2-1 tsp of salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Directions

  1. Place an 8-9 inch cake pan or pie dish in oven. Preheat oven to 500F (leave pan in oven as it preheats).
  2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to boil over high heat. Add pasta; cook 6-7 minutes or until almost done; drain.
  3. Place eggs in a large bowl. Add hot pasta; toss to coat.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato, onion, and spinach; cook 7 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add sausage mixture to pasta mixture. Stir in pepper, salt and 2 ounces of cheese.
  5. Carefully remove pan from oven; coat pan with cooking spray or oil. Add pasta mixture to pan; sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce of cheese. Bake at 500F for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven, cut into wedges.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake

Wow! It has been a minute since I posted last!! Life has taken some unexpected, crazy, and sometimes gut wrenching turns over the past few months. And I am guessing I am not the only one who feel like this out there. 2016 was a rough year for ALOT of people, but I also feel that 2016 brought many of us out of a complacent slumber, opened our eyes to what is going on, and revved up the activist fire within us. Those of you that know me personally, have seen my meteoric race to becoming a full-time activist as Co-founder of HELP, the Human Equality Love Project and as the Milwaukee chapter event lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. And that is in addition to my roles of mom, wife, friend, chauffeur, food blogger, and entrepreneur. Throw in a pelvic reconstructive surgery two days after Christmas and you got yourself one nutty mama with a crazy high BP.

Needless to say, my doctor recommended a “vacation” from anything “stressful” until after my surgery. Once I got over the sheer hilarity of that statement, I did realize one thing about my “vacation” and upcoming surgery. I was being given a rare gift, that most stay at home moms rarely (if ever) get. A hall pass to do ALL the things I NEVER have the time to do. Like what you ask? Well, there is the redecorating of my office, the family photo albums of 2013,2014,2015, and 2016 (I’m a little behind, ok?!). The re-organization of my kitchen pantry, the kids baby books (am I the only one whose books are still wrapped??) A stack of books I have been meaning to read since 2014, and binge watch all 6 seasons of Game of Thrones. And last, but certainly not least is to bake, cook and blog my way to happy town. So enough about me, let’s talk food!

This recipe is a MUST for those of us with kiddos! It is the age-old problem of every parent. The kids want carbs and dairy and you would like at least a fleck of vegetable to go with their beloved carbs and dairy. Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake to the rescue! My oldest loves to help sprinkle the cheese and place the salami. She prefers salami as it tends to be less spicy than pepperoni. I also love this recipe because it doesn’t “hide” the vegetable it just presents it in a manner that is appealing to kiddos. Because believe me, this does not look like pizza!! The kids will know immediately that you are full of…beans. But, it won’t matter in the end because it tastes like PIZZA!!!! Enjoy! nom nom

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 large or 2 medium spaghetti squash, appx 4 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, I used Rao’s homemade marinara sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/2 oz thinly sliced salami (or pepperoni, which my daughter thinks is too spicy!)
  • 1/2 vegan parmesan cheese, I use Go Veggie Parmesan style Cheese or make my own.** You can also just use a bit more mozzarella and leave out the parmesan.
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, I use Daiya brand

**Here is a quick and simple way to make vegan parmesan

Instructions

Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Cut ends off the squashes, place cut side down and slice in half.
  3. Clean out and discard the insides of the squash
  4.  Drizzle each half with olive oil, salt and pepper
  5. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until spaghetti squash is soft and slightly browned
  6. Remove from oven, let cool until you can handle the halves. Shred with a fork and remove “spaghetti” from the skin

Pizza Bake

  1. Once the squash is cooked, drop the oven temperature down to 350 F.
  2. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, brown the Italian sausage until cooked through.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sausage, marinara sauce, eggs, sea salt, oregano, and garlic powder.
  4. Add the spaghetti squash to the marinara mixture. Stir to combine and put into a 9×13 baking dish. Smooth mixture into an even layer.
  5. Top with half of the salami/pepperoni, a layer of parmesan cheese, and then a layer of Mozzarella cheese.
  6. Top with the remaining salami and bake for 30-35 minutes until it sets and is bubbling.