Healthy Option! 35 Minute Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is a healthy choice for your meal instead of using cans of chicken broth, beef stock, or even the instant powder mixes. This homemade version is quick, easy, and much lower in sodium!

healthy option vegetable broth

For my recipe, I use some of my favorite veggies, however this recipe will work with whatever you have on hand. No mushrooms? Try onion! Out of broccoli? Use celery! These are the ingredients that I choose to use, and I love the way it tastes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs parsley
  • 2 Quarts water
  • 2 tsp salt

Directions:

Warm butter over medium-high heat in a saucepan. While that’s warming up, cut all vegetables into about 1 inch pieces. Add the carrots, broccoli, and garlic to the butter first. Stir in salt and parsley. Allow these veggies to cook for about ten minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue sauteing for another five minutes.

Pour in water, and bring to a boil before reducing heat to an easy simmer. Add in the bay leaf.

Allow this mix to simmer for about 20 minutes. Then, strain the mixture to remove all vegetables, and voila! You are left with a tasty, beautiful broth.

What vegetables did you try? Let me know how it turned out!

*I use this broth for my  Simple and Hearty Crock Pot Pork Stew

Simple and Hearty Crock Pot Pork Stew

Of all the meals that I make, this hearty pork stew is my husband’s favorite! I love how easily it comes together, and that there’s an option to make it (even more) quickly.

Simple and hearty crock pot pork stew

 

This meal has 2 ways to make it!

  1. For the first and healthier option, use my recipe for Homemade Vegetable Broth.
  2. On a day when a quick and easy option is best, substitute vegetable stock for one packet of brown gravy mix. If you choose to use the gravy, just mix it up with water before adding it into the crock pot. Easy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 lb cubed pork shoulder
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • pinch of ground thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

Turn the crock pot to high and add in olive oil and pork cubes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Toss around and let it sit while you prepare the vegetables.

Peel the potatoes, and cut into chunks. They break down a lot so don’t make them too small. Throw ’em in the pot!

I buy the already peeled and washed bags of baby carrots. One small bag does the trick- just dump it on top of the potatoes.

Next comes the cream of mushroom. Open and dump in. Don’t worry about adding any water or mixing it.

Add in the vegetable broth next. Once the soup heats up in about an hour stir it. They will combine perfectly… try not to drool when you take the lid off.

Top with a bay leaf or two!

Allow the stew to cook on high for about 4-5 hours. It’s done when the pork pulls easily apart.

Enjoy my stew? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Husband Approved! Simple Ground Beef Shepherd’s Pie

 

Shepherd’s Pie is one of the best meals that ever was. It’s got it all! Thick and hearty through and through, with some veggies to add that health factor. Who doesn’t love anything coated with mashed potatoes?! I know I do, and if you don’t then you’re not in the right place.

Simple Ground Beef Shepherd's Pie

 

Potatoes are life… So without further ado, allow me to introduce my recipe for husband friendly shepherd’s pie!

PREP TIME: 50 min          COOK TIME: 30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs russet potatoes (~3-4)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 packet brown gravy
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 can mixed vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, carrots)
  • salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the potatoes. Cut ’em up into quarters, while pretending they are the pedestrian that stood behind your car at the grocery store while you’re trying to back out and go home finally, but no, they’re oblivious and you have to rev your engine and threaten their life to get them to move…  Put them in a pot of water. Bring to a boil.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up the onion, using the same scenario as above, if you have yet to resolve those feelings of today’s annoyances.

*If the onion makes you cry, try wearing those goggles you bought for that chemistry class you failed in college that are stuffed in your old book bag.

Onion goggles

Saute them in 3 tablespoons of butter.  Add the minced garlic. Add the ground beef, a pinch of ground thyme, salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary. Once it is nearly cooked, add the packet of brown gravy, a cup of water, and tomato paste. Let that simmer down a bit and add the can of veggies, drained.

While your meat and veggies are simmering, drain the potatoes. They’re feeling abused after your earlier display of rage, so give them the rest of the butter and hug them with a fork over and over and over again till they’re nice and mushed. Add in half-and-half, 3 tablespoons of butter, a dash of salt, pepper, and a few dashes of parsley. Mash ’em some more.

Put the ground beef mixture in an 8 X 8 glass casserole dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over top, and rough them up with a fork so that the peaks can brown in the oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top and it’s baking time!

Once the juices are simmering and the mashed potato peaks have browned, the dish is ready. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then dig in!

*Side note: My oven is a bitch and is about 15 degrees hotter than a regular oven. I have adjusted cooking times and degrees to what I assume a regular oven will do, but make sure to check on your dish.