Tag Archives: carrot

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. ūüėČ

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!

 

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

3 Oct
Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

Fall is in the air, at least where I live. And that means SOUP season! This is another recipe I made several months ago during a cool spell. The hardest thing about writing a recipe months after the fact is interpreting the scribbles hastily written down while cooking and photographing. I’m sure at the time I thought I would remember what it all means. So if I’ve missed a step or ingredient, please forgive me! But what I do remember is how much I enjoyed this soup.

Don’t let all those bottled sauces intimidate you, as very little of each is used and they keep for a long time in the refrigerator.¬† And it’s always nice to have just the sauce you need when you’re in the mood for an Asian dish. I think I’ll make this again very soon, as the cool, fall air is making me hanker for some warm, soothing soup!

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated carrot
1­ inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
4 to 5 cups homemade or low­sodium chicken broth
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
1 serrano or jalape√Īo pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 heads baby bok choy, sliced crosswise
2 green onions, green part only, chopped
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (optional)
Lime wedges, for serving

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup Ingredients

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup Ingredients ~ I started to crop this photo but couldn’t after I spotted our darling Hannah Banana in the background!

Add the oils to a wok or Dutch oven heated over medium high. Add the shredded carrot and sauté for a few minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant.

Pour in the chicken broth, rice wine vinegar, oyster, soy and fish sauces to the broth. Raise the heat and cook until starting to boil, then add the chicken tenders and sliced chile pepper.

Simmering the Chicken

Simmering the Chicken

Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a low simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness. Remove the chicken from broth and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Bok Choy and Green Onions Added

Bok Choy and Green Onions Added

Meanwhile, add the bok choy and green onion to the broth. Optionally, add the Sambal Oelek if you like a little spicy. Simmer until greens are just tender, about 5 minutes.

Shred the chicken tenders with forks, then add back to the pot until warmed through.

Shredded Chicken Added

Shredded Chicken Added

Serve in bowls with a lime wedge for squeezing into the soup, to taste.

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

Chicken and Bok Choy Soup

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Braised Pork & Cider Stew

29 Nov
Braised Pork and Cider Stew

Braised Pork and Cider Stew

This is usually cooked in an oven-proof Dutch oven started on the stove, then placed in the oven for a couple of hours, but mine is still in storage. So I did the next best thing and used the crock pot! Yes, it is slow cooker season. I made this the past weekend, but only just now getting around to posting it.

I really enjoyed the tartness of the cider and it added an entire new level of taste to your standard braised stew. My daughter really liked this, and the husband said he enjoyed the different taste of the stew, then suddenly announced that he no longer likes pork anymore. What??? I think it has to do with the quarter side of beef we just stocked up in our chest freezer. Nonetheless, I’m sticking with this recipe, as I do like the variation from your standard beef stew. The rubbed sage with the apple cider is a winner! Trust me, it is delicious!

Braised Pork & Cider Stew

1.25 pounds pork loin
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash seasoning, or salt, to taste
Flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil, divided
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 sticks of celery, rough chopped
1/2 large sweet onion, rough chopped
8 to 10 baby carrots
1/2 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
1 pint homemade jarred tomatoes, or 1 can diced
2 cups apple cider

Prepping the Pork Loin

Prepping the Pork Loin

Generously season the pork loin with pepper and Mrs. Dash, or salt. Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces, then dust with flour.

Searing the Pork in Batches

Searing the Pork in Batches

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of the oil. Sear the pork (in batches if needed) until browned on all sides. Remove and add to the crock pot.

Prepping/Sauteing the Veggies

Prepping/Sauteing the Veggies

Add one more tablespoon of oil to the skillet, then add all the chopped veggies. Sprinkle with the rubbed sage and additional ground black pepper. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and add to the crock pot.

Stew in the Crock Pot Ready to Cook

Stew in the Crock Pot Ready to Cook

Now add the tomatoes (crushing if jarred) and apple cider to the crock pot and stir all the ingredients to combine. Cook for low on 8 to 10 hours, or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Serve with a thick crusty bread for mopping up all the wonderful juices!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Crock Pot Creamy Navy Bean and Ham Soup

22 Nov
Crock Pot Creamy Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Crock Pot Creamy Navy Bean and Ham Soup

We are in the stages of meltdown after a long, cold, and snowy week. Nothing on the scale of the Great Lake Effect snowstorm in New York, but we had enough snow, ice, and snow, thank you very much. What better way to soothe your cold bones than a nice, big bowl of creamy navy bean soup?

I’ve made huge batches of this soup before using a large ham bone, but this version is scaled down. To lend to the creamy factor, I roughly chopped all the veggies in my Ninja food processor. If you have good memory, I used to have a gray one. I now own a red one because the “dishwasher safe” base on my gray one warped from being washed on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, apparently too close to the heating element. I now hand wash my Ninja. I recommend the same if you own one.

I used homemade ham broth for this recipe, as my husband cooked up a large batch of it before our transition to our temporary home. If you don’t have any ham broth, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth will work just as well, although you may have to taste for the addition of salt.

Crock Pot Creamy Navy Bean and Ham Soup

1 pound dried navy beans
1/2 medium onion
6-8 baby carrots
2 stalks celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt to taste, if needed
4 to 5 cups ham broth
1 to 2 cups diced cooked ham
About 1 cup diced tomatoes

Rinse and sort the dried navy beans, then soak overnight in a pot covered an inch over with water.  The next day, reserve 4 cups of the soaked navy beans, and freeze the rest of the beans in a resealable freezer bag for future use. Add the beans to a 3-quart crock pot.

Soaked Beans with the Holy Trinity2

Soaked Beans with the Holy Trinity2

Add the onion, carrots and celery to a food processor, and pulse several times until roughly chopped. (I had to do this in batches.) Scrape the veggies into the crock pot, then add the garlic, seasonings, ham broth, and ham. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 to 5 hours.

Assembled Soup Ready to Cook

Assembled Soup Ready to Cook

About an hour before serving, remove about two cups of the beans and vegetables and puree until smooth in a food processor or blender, then return to the crock pot.

Pureed Soup in my RED Ninja

Pureed Soup in my RED Ninja!

Now add the diced tomatoes and cook for the last hour until ready to serve. (I almost forgot this step and took my final photo before adding the tomatoes! I thawed, peeled and chopped some of my tomatoes from the freezer.) Mmmm, mmm, good!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Navy Bean Soup with Ham

3 Nov
Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

This can be a delicious vegetarian meal, and it pretty darn nearly was. (Which is not a bad thing, really.) While prepping the soup, I didn’t even notice there was no ham in any of the photos. It was only after I got the soup in the crock pot that I realized I forgot it. AND, when I looked in the freezer for the bag of ham chunks, I found it was dark turkey meat instead. I rummaged around some more and came up with two small chunks.

Soaked Navy Beans

Soaked Navy Beans

Now I am all for a meatless soup, but I just love ham in my navy bean soup. I added the small amount of ham, and drove to the store later for a ham steak. My husband suggested adding some Italian sausage we had instead, but that did not sound appealing at all. So ham steak it was! I ended up with a pretty largish ham steak, but I wanted a good quality one and this was the smallest one and it was made fairly local, in Pendleton, Oregon! Now I have a half of ham steak in the freezer for a future use.

Navy Bean Soup Ingredients

Navy Bean Soup Ingredients ~ Minus the Ham

Navy Bean Soup with Ham

1 pound dried navy beans
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
2 bay leaves
Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb, to taste
Lots of ground black pepper, to taste
6 to 7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1 pint jar of tomatoes, drained and diced, or 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes

Veggies, Spices, and Beans Ready for Broth and Ham

Veggies, Spices, and Beans Ready for Broth and Ham

Ham Steak

The Missing Ham

Rinse the beans then cover with at least an inch of water, and soak overnight. The next morning, drain and rinse the beans again and add to a large crock pot (slow cooker). Prep all the vegetables, then add the rest of the ingredients (except the tomatoes) to the pot. The acid in the tomatoes will prevent the beans from softening properly if you add them at the beginning.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. In the last hour or so, add the tomatoes. Remove the bay leaves. To make a thicker soup, you can smash some of the beans against the side of the pot, or remove some from the soup and puree in a blender. We served this with Skillet Cornbread. A delicious, filling soup for a chilly fall evening!

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

Navy Bean Soup with Ham and Cornbread

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

24 Jul
Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki and Cole Slaw

Oh my goodness, it’s been a week since my last post but this time you get a FOUR-FER! Yep, four recipes in this post. And, I think I may have found my new favorite sandwich! We had lunch two weekends ago at our annual downtown Summer Fest, where you get to peruse local artist’s crafts and maybe stop for a bite to at at local vendor’s food trucks. It was a really hot day so decided on a Mediterranean Chicken Wrap. It was quite delicious and figured I could make them myself.

And I did! Except I didn’t use regular flatbread, I used flatbread pocket bread, which is like a Pita Pocket except now it’s been renamed to the fancier Flatbread Pocket Bread and made with whole grain wheat, but really, who cares, right? Because it all holds the fillings the same and it’s all good! So light, so refreshing. And the fam gave it two thumbs up. In fact, we liked it so much I made it again last night. Now that’s telling you how good this is. My hubby made a fabulous cole slaw to go with it last night too with the other half of the English cucumber, which rounded this meal out perfectly. The list of ingredients below looks long with four recipes and such, but it’s not, since you use most of the same ingredients in them.

Greek Chicken

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon of crushed dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chicken breast, sliced in half length-wise or pounded thin

Tzatziki, Flatbread, and Condiments.

Tzatziki, Flatbread, and Condiments.

Tzatziki with Dill

1 cup Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
Small amount of ground sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste

Homemade Cole Slaw (Sort of)

1/2 small cabbage, sliced thin and chopped in half
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup small chopped or shredded carrots
1/4 cup store-bought cole slaw dressing
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 good squeeze of a half of lemon
Lots of black pepper, to taste

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwich

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwich

Greek Chicken Pocket Sandwiches with Tzatziki

1 pound grilled Greek Chicken, diced
Diced tomato
Diced red onion
Flatbread pocket bread
Tzatziki
Chopped romaine lettuce

Mix together the marinade, then marinate the chicken in it for at least an hour or more. Meanwhile prepare the Tzatziki by mixing all those ingredients in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator. Now make the cole slaw by combining all those ingredients in a big bowl and also refrigerate. When ready to cook, grill the chicken over medium-high heat until done through, about 5 to 8  minutes per side.  Chop up the chicken into bite size pieces, and lay out the sandwich condiments in bowls. Assemble the pocket sandwiches with the chicken and yummies, serve with the cole slaw and enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup for Rainy Day Blues

6 Jun
Italian Wedding Meatballs

Italian Wedding Meatballs

After a pleasant burst of warm and sunny weather, this past weekend greeted us with wind, chill, and rain. So of course a big pot of soup came to mind when figuring out what to make for dinner. Italian Wedding Soup is one of my favorite soups, but I had never made it myself before. I didn’t feel like venturing to the store if I needed any ingredients for it, so I was tasked with scouring the internet for recipes that I could cobble together to make this soup with what I had. I was actually quite surprised I had pretty much everything I needed! I also finally used the last of the frozen spinach for this, so my next dish with spinach will finally have fresh. As with most of my recipes, feel free to substitute, add, remove any of the ingredients where it makes sense. Especially when it comes to using salt. I did find this to be only slightly blander than I wanted, but I’m sure the use of fresh lemon juice helped. I also added lots of extra Parmesan cheese to my bowl. But feel free just to supplement with salt if your diet can take it.

Cooked Meatballs

Cooked Meatballs

Concerning my dismay on boring food shots, I also wanted to start using some features of my camera that I’ve never really experimented with this time around. I worked on using the depth of field for my main photo of the meatballs, and I am quite pleased with the results! Oh, and one of the things I noticed about all the recipes I looked at, the meatballs were cooked directly in the broth. I was worried about all the grease that would leave behind in the broth, so I baked the meatballs in the oven first to render out some of the fat then drained them on paper towels. I’m really glad I did that.

Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 green onions, chopped very small, including the green part
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed, dried sweet basil
Black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking oil. (I didn’t spray with the oil and they stuck a little bit, so I do recommend it.)¬† Mix all the meatball ingredients in a bowl until well combined.¬† Form meatballs with your hands about the size of a quarter, maybe a little smaller, and place them evenly apart on the baking sheet. I ended up with about 40 of them. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.¬† I also patted the tops of them with more paper towels. Set aside while making the rest of the soup.

For the soup:

2/3 cup baby carrots, diced thin
2/3 cup  chopped onion
2  tablespoons Olive Oil
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Regular
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 ‚Äď 2/3 cup Orzo pasta
1 cup thawed frozen spinach, with 1/2 lemon squeezed over it
The other 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Meatballs
Shredded Parmesan cheese for serving

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

In a dutch oven or soup pot, saut√© the carrots and onion in the olive oil until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic in the last few minutes. Add the next six seasonings, then the chicken broth.¬† I only had 3 cups of homemade chicken broth in the freezer, so I used 3 cups of vegetable broth I had from my first attempt at making beef broth. You can read that adventure here: How to Make Homemade Beef Broth.¬† Bring to a boil, then add the pasta. Stir and bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes. Next add the spinach with lemon and squeeze the other half lemon into the pot.¬† Add the grated Parmesan cheese and the meatballs, and bring to a simmer again for about another 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese on top and a loaf of crusty bread. This soup came out very thick, so next time I’ll either add additional broth, or reduce the pasta to 1/2 cup. This was a wonderful, comforting meal to have at the end of a very dreary weekend, however it came out so good I think I’ll make this often throughout the summer!

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