Tag Archives: canned tomatoes

Homemade Tomato Soup (with Grilled Cheese, of Course!)

11 Feb
Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

I have been wanting to try my hand at homemade tomato soup for years, especially since we grow and can our own tomatoes. When my friend Suzanne over at Pug in the Kitchen posted this recipe, I knew it was time. Besides, I had a can of San Marzano tomatoes that had been in my pantry over a year, and what about those 20 pints of canned jars of tomatoes I forgot about in the garage? How did I forget about canning those from the fall? I grabbed a few for my pantry lest I forget again.

This soup comes together quite easily after some initial prep. And if you are wondering how long it takes for tomatoes to caramelize in a hot oven, it takes 18 minutes according to the smoke alarm that went off during my 20-minute timer. I suggest using a vent fan during this process. 😉

My husband was amazed at the taste of this soup. According to him, it did not taste like tomato soup from a can. Errrmmm… We’ll leave it at that. Oh, and don’t forget to cook up some ooey-gooey grilled cheese sammies for dunking! We used sourdough bread and a combination of Monterrey jack, sharp yellow cheddar, and pepper jack that was leftover from Super Bowl. This makes about 3 to 4 dinner-size servings.

Homemade Tomato Soup
Adapted from Tomato Soup at A Pug in the Kitchen

1 28-ounce can San Marzano or good quality tomatoes, liquid reserved
1 pint homemade canned tomatoes (about 1 large cup fresh), liquid reserved
Ground pepper and sea salt, to taste
Olive oil, for tomatoes and vegetables
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
Small piece of Parmesan rind
3 large leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Additional basil, chiffoned for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place all the drained tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season to taste with ground black pepper and sea salt. Roast until caramelized or until your smoke alarm goes off (18 to 20 minutes).

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Roasted and Caramelized Tomatoes

Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and cook until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook about a minute more until fragrant. Add the roasted tomatoes and the reserved tomato juice (About 2 cups, add water if you don’t have that much. My canned tomatoes had a lot of of liquid.) Also add the bay leaf and cheese rind. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender. Remove the bay leaf, then add the chopped basil. Taste for seasoning.

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Pour into a large blender and puree until smooth (or use an immersion blender if you have one. I need one!) Return soup to the pot, then add the butter and cream and stir until incorporated. Keep warm while you griddle up some grilled cheese. Ladle into bowls, top with additional basil, and serve immediately with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Homemade Tomato Soup

Homemade Tomato Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Cheesy Baked Goulash

26 Mar
Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

How many of you have moms or grandmas out there that made this when you were growing up? (Or at least a version of it.) Lots of hands, huh? I am in that crowd of hands, except my mom made it with that red and white can of tomato soup. Yes, I loved it growing up, too. But tastebuds mature, and I fell away from thinking I would ever like Americanized Goulash again.

Until the night I made this from scratch! Wowee! What was I waiting for? I even got thumbs up from my teenage daughter and her friend spending the night, and that is AFTER they ate a value-meal Sonic hamburger (at their begging) at almost 4 pm in the afternoon as a snack. (My husband dutifully drove them to the fast-food drive-in, as I was still working. It’s Spring Break this week in my neck of the woods and the kids are restless and hungry all the time!)

I hauled out my old cookbooks from college where I figured there would be a version or two of this recipe to adapt. I was astounded I couldn’t find any variation of it, even in my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook from 1981. Am I dreaming I ate this growing up? I wondered then if it was a Hamburger Helper version I was thinking of that my mom added the soup to. Or maybe she made it up herself? Nonetheless, I scraped together a recipe from all the online versions I found. I am happy to say that it’s a keeper, and definitely in the rotation for a quick weeknight meal made with ground beef. One cannot have too many of those on hand with a hungry teenager around.

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash Just out of Oven

Cheesy Baked Goulash

1 pound ground beef
2/3 cup chopped onion
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup dry elbow macaroni pasta
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce (or 2 8-0unce cans)
1 jar homemade canned tomatoes diced, or 1 can low-sodium diced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the burger and chopped onions, then grind a bunch of black pepper over it. Cook until beef is browned and onions are translucent. In the last minute or so, add the minced garlic. Drain any grease, if needed.

Browned Burger and Onions

Browned Burger and Onions

When the water is boiling for the pasta, add the macaroni and cook until just before al dente, then drain and set aside. It will cook more in the oven. Meanwhile, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and herbs to the ground beef and stir to incorporate.

Cooked Macaroni and Tomato Beef Sauce

Cooked Macaroni and Tomato Beef Sauce

Or you can be like me and forget the parsley until later. Next add the cheddar cheese (or perhaps parsley if you forgot) and mix until cheese is melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni until combined.

Cheddar Cheese and Parsley Added

Cheddar Cheese and Parsley Added

Pour into a 2-quart casserole dish sprayed with oil. Top with the Mozzarella cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Let rest about 5 minutes, then serve with buttered bread, and a salad if you want.

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Cheesy Baked Goulash

Cheesy Baked Goulash

 

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

15 Jan
Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

I’ve mentioned numerous times in my posts about my husband’s spaghetti sauce. While it’s not completely made from scratch, he adds just the right amount of spiciness, meats, and veggies to make this taste “just like homemade.” One of the tricks is to use a quality jarred marinara sauce (and lots of garlic and pepper!) Another special ingredient is Hot and Spicy Italian Sausage. Our local grocery store mixes this up themselves. But if that is not available in your area, you can mix cayenne pepper into ground Italian sausage to your liking. Sometimes he adds a yellow or red pepper to the sauce, but we didn’t have one for this go-round.

Lots of Garlic and Pepper

Add Lots of Garlic and Pepper!

Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti Sauce

3/4 pound Spicy Italian Sausage
3/4 pound ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 jars quality marinara sauce
2 jars homemade canned tomatoes or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 to 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A bunch of ground black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves

Lots of Mushrooms

Add Lots of Mushrooms Too!

Brown the sausage, drain, and set aside. Wipe the skillet, then brown the ground beef with about a quarter of the chopped onions until cooked through. Drain and set aside. In a large pot or deep-sided skillet, pour in the marina sauce and the rest of the ingredients, plus the sausage and ground beef mixture. Stir to combine, then bring up to a simmer. Turn down to low, partially cover the sauce, and simmer for at least a couple of hours.

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and grated Parmesan cheese. (Don’t forget the garlic bread!) Freeze the extra sauce in quart-size zip-top baggies for a quick and easy future meal!

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Spicy Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

20 Nov
Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

I had it in my mind over the weekend that I really wanted to make soup with white beans and spinach. No rhyme or reason for that. It’s just what I “felt like.”  The afternoon of the day I decided on this, my husband had already put ribs the crockpot in the morning (unbeknownst to me), and the next day we were invited out to dinner. So, no soup for me!

I finally got to the day I would put this into action. White beans. Check. Spinach. Check. Homemade canned tomatoes. Check. Vegetarian? Maybe. But I scrounged around the freezer and found a pound of Spicy Italian Sausage that’s blended at our local grocer. Perfect! I wouldn’t have to spice it up too much with anything else. And this local blend is absolutely delicious! My husband uses it in his huge batches of spaghetti sauce that we always freeze for quick late night meals. I have yet to disclose that recipe. He might have to kill me if I do. 😉

I only used 1/2 pound of this sausage, as it is REALLY spicy. Now I know that 100% of my readers don’t visit this particular store (and if you do, then I don’t know about you) so my suggestion is to buy bulk Italian-spiced sausage, then add cayenne pepper, to taste. I’m going to guess maybe 1/8 teaspoon to start and build up from there? Either way, you can omit the cayenne or add or reduce to your taste.

I made this soup in less than a half-hour while on a conference call at work, as I was working after hours. Thank goodness for hands-free headsets and mute buttons, huh? While I’m sure you won’t be in that situation while preparing this soup, it’s nice to know you can.

I know this would convert into a wonderful vegetarian recipe by using vegetable stock and omitting the  sausage, as there are plenty of beans in this! You’d probably have to add salt and play with the seasonings, though.  I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

Spicy Italian Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Soup

1/2 pound Spicy Italian Sausage (or bulk Italian Sausage and add cayenne pepper to taste)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced 1/4-inch thin
2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 cloves minced)
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Italian dried seasoning herbs
6 to 7 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 pint jar homemade canned tomatoes, diced, or one 14-0unce can low sodium diced tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped (this was half of a 9-ounce bag)

In a dutch oven or soup pot, add the sausage, onion, and carrots over medium heat. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain grease, if needed. Mine was lean enough and did not have to. Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, add the Italian dried seasoning herbs, chicken broth, beans, and tomatoes (including liquid). Bring it up to a simmer, and then add the spinach. Give it a good stir, and as soon as the spinach wilts, it is ready to serve!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

How to Can Fresh Tomatoes

22 Sep
Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Basically you need about every large bowl, pot, and pan in your house, and lots of water. Oh and lemon juice and canning jars. And time. That’s about it, really!

Canning your own tomatoes is not a secret, there is no hidden method, and the directions are readily available on about 700,000 websites, according to Google. But, since my husband and I spent several hours at this yesterday (in between me being on conference calls for work) I thought I would share what we did.

How to Can Fresh Tomatoes

10 pounds fresh-picked tomatoes, give or take
6 or 7 pint canning jars and lids
1 tablespoon lemon juice per jar
Salt or sugar (optional)

First get a really large pot of water on to boil and add the jars (without lids) to it. I have a 15-quart canning pot that we used. Also put on another largish pot of water to boil to blanch the tomatoes. Next, get a full tea kettle of water on to boil, or another pot of water if you don’t have one.

Meanwhile, prep the tomatoes by washing and coring them, cutting off bad spots, and making an X-slit in the bottom to assist with peeling the skins.  Once the blanching water is boiling, dunk the tomatoes in the pot for 30 to 60 seconds until the skins just start to peel on their own. Oh yeah, have a large bowl of ice water ready. Remove the tomatoes and immediately submerge into the ice water.

Fresh-Picked Tomatoes

Fresh-Picked Tomatoes

Once the pot with the jars in it has boiled for at least 10 minutes, remove the jars and add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each one. Do not use fresh lemon juice as the acidity level of it cannot be relied on. You may add about a teaspoon of salt and/or sugar at this point for extra taste, but we did not do that and left them plain. Next get another bowl and add the lids and the seals and cover with the boiling water from the tea kettle to sterilize them. Then fill the tea kettle back up again, as you’ll need more boiling water later.

Now begin peeling the skins from the tomatoes and adding them to the jars, filling them up leaving a half-inch head space. You can cut or quarter any of the larger tomatoes. Once you have a full jar, pour the boiling water from the tea kettle up to the half-inch head space. At this point it is recommended to run a spatula around the edge of the jars to remove air bubbles, but I forgot that step. Some of the jars we didn’t pack as tight as the others, and that became evident after the canning process.

Oh, and you should bring the canning pot of water back up to a boil at this point. After all the jars are filled (we ended up with 7 jars), carefully wipe the rims with a wet paper towel to remove any tomato specks and juice. Add the lid seals and lids, and tighten hand-tight. Do not over tighten.  Using canning tongs or some other method, carefully add the jars to the boiling water bath. Make sure there is at least one inch of water over the tops of the jars. Once the water comes back up to a full roiling boil, keep the water boiling for at least 45 minutes for 0 to 3,000 feet altitude, 50 minutes for 3,001 to 6000 feet, and 55 minutes over 6,000 feet.

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Canned Fresh Tomatoes

Remove the jars from the water and set on a thick towel to cool. You will hear the lids “pop” once the complete seal has taken place. If any of the jars do not seal completely, you must re-do the process or use them within the week. And there you have it! Canned fresh tomatoes ready for your soups, stews, and pasta sauces over the winter.

p.s. We didn’t have enough jars to can all the cherry tomatoes, and we froze the rest of those. (Thank you Laura for the tip!) Well that was certainly easier than the canning, but the satisfaction of a day in the kitchen canning your own produce can’t be beat!

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