Saturday, October 15, 2011

RERUN! Ratatouille Part Two!!

Today was pretty cold and rainy, only 7c when I took Michael to work at 8:30am. It was a really really good day anyways though because the cold reminded me of all the things I enjoy about winter! I bought BOTH the Globe and Mail and the National Post newspapers early this morning and enjoyed a nice cozy read INSIDE in my lazyboy!  Lest you think that's all I did today I also did the laundry and made my first pot of Ratatouille of the cold season. Nothing better than reading the paper with a great cup of joe, the smell of soup cooking wafting through the air and the rattling of the dryer in the background. The only way the day could have been ANY better was if Michael was home with me too! He's one hurting unit today let me tell you but that's a story all it's own for another day:)

In honour of "soup season" I am rerunning a post I wrote 2 1/2 years ago in March of 2009:) Yup, I've been blogging for quite a while, since 2007 I think. Tell me what you think - is my writing style the same? or different?

OK, the miracle is that we still cook (some of us anyways) even though we're surrounded by the convenience of pre-packaged, processed, partially & fully cooked, vacuum-sealed, individual serving sized "food". For those folk who care about what they put into their bodies and care about what all that packaging is doing to the environment this post is for you. This soup is also meatless and therefore kinder to our land and our water. And a lot CHEAPER!

Shown above are the ingredients for a mouth-watering ratatouille, a recipe given to me by another homemade meal maker, my sister-in-law Pat, but with a few variations of my own.

You will need: a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, a 19 oz can of red kidney beans (or any legume of your choice - I've used chickpeas too), a couple of onions, fresh or minced garlic, a handful of carrots, 2-3 medium sized zucchini, and a nice plump green pepper. You'll also need a few spices: salt and pepper to your taste, oregano, Mrs. Dash and a couple of All Vegetable Bouillon cubes, either beef or chicken for body and flavour. Plus any other spices that you like in soup.

Throw a dollop of olive oil in a soup pot, let heat on medium-low for a few minutes and start tossing things in: diced onion (this recipe is great for getting rid of wilted veggies in that bottom drawer you dread looking in - today I used up some old green onions, previously I've used up mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower).

Toss in chopped up green pepper once the onion is looking brown and yummy.

This recipe doesn't call for carrots but I threw in some old ones once and now always include them as they taste so good. Cut up the zucchini (wash but don't peel). Add in oregano, salt and pepper, minced garlic giving it all a good stir.
Dump in the cans of tomatoes and kidney beans, don't drain the beans or you'll lose good flavour. Fill the tomato can about 2/3's full of hot water and dump that in too. Add bouillon cubes. Stir, stir, stir. Your veggies should be just slightly submerged in liquid so add more water if needed.
Give it a taste test and adjust spices accordingly. I also add in half a package of onion soup mix too if I have it on hand, adds flavour and body.
Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat, uncover and let simmer about 20-30 minutes depending on how soft you want your veggies. 20 minutes if you still have all your own teeth!
Add an ancient grains bun (from the Real Canadian superstore of course!) and a piece of fruit and you have about a 300 calorie meal that will keep you satisfied at a cost of less than $1.00 a bowl. Put the $30+ you would have spent on buying your lunch into your RRSP. Or, if already retired you will need cheap, nutritious eats! (You want to stay alive as long as possible to get the most out of that pension!) You will have satisfied your needed servings of vegetables in one meal, you'll have lots of protein without resorting to a bloody piece of meat, and you'll have great fibre from the soup and the bun. And God knows you need fibre!
I make this soup about once a week and take it for lunch at school everyday. I swear that it keeps me from succumbing to all those germs my runny-nosed kids bring with them as I haven't had a cold for 2 years or more.
You're welcome!

(*I'm blaming my current cold on the fact that I wasn't eating my soup!!!)

1 comment:

Marguerite said...

I haven't had ratatouille in ages but your bowl looks so good I'm thinking I should make some. We didn't get any tomato soup this season because of the blight so I was pretty disappointed there but made up for it with carrot soup last weekend. I do enjoy cooking in the fall, there's just something so homey about it.