Lasagna in the Slow Cooker

I have to say when I first heard about lasagna in the slow cooker I was sort of skeptical.  My friend Cathy told me about it; she said she had made it for her family and I should give it a go.   The original recipe is from Jessica Seinfeld, who sneaks vegetables and healthy stuff into her food. I did make a few changes from original recipe , I used more sauce and a little more salt , I used fresh spinach which can easily be substituted for ground turkey, sausage, or any type of meat you like.  Next time I make this recipe I will be using meat because it really was quite easy and pretty quick even by slow cooker standards. It cooked in 3 1/2 hours, looked amazing and tasted delicious. I am still a little surprised by how good it was. The spinach wilts down and almost looks like basil in there. Even if you don’t like spinach, don’t worry because even though you start out with 5 ounces (which looks like a lot),  you hardly taste it at all but for those of you who do like it, it’s an added bonus. This lasagna was moist, cheesy and hearty.   So get out your slow cookers and give it a go. This is especially great for a big crowd. It easily serves 6 people.  We of course had a chicken dish alongside, because no amount of prodding could get Joel to try the lasagna, once he saw the spinach. Oh well, what are you going to do? He doesn’t know what he’s missing.  Thanks Cathy for the great idea, and of course, Jessica Seinfeld.

Ingredients:

I used 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes (the recipe original calls for 3 14 oz. cans but I thought it needed a little more sauce and I used 2 large cans which are app. 28 oz. each . You can always use homemade sauce if you have it already made and want to use it. Just make sure you have enough.)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp. dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt

*1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (use as much or as little of this, whatever you like)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 containers (15 ounce each) ricotta (Fresh is awesome, but not always available. Use whatever you’d like. I used part- skim ricotta.)

2 cups grated mozzarella (again use whatever you’d like, package is fine. Just don’t use fat free, it doesn’t work well.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

12 lasagna noodles (about 3/4 of a 1 lb. box) don’t cook them*see note at bottom

5 ounces (or 6 cups) of baby spinach (1 package in the produce section is 5 ounces)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper and black pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

In the bottom of a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker (which I sprayed with Pam first), spread a thin layer of sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles (breaking to fit as necessary). Spread about 1 cup of the sauce over the noodles and layer with 2 cups of the spinach and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Repeat twice more with the noodles, sauce, spinach and cheese mixture. Top with the remaining 3 noodles, sauce and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.

Cook on low, covered, for 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Noodles should be tender in center by then, mine was. I then switched it to warm until we ate it. I served it from slow cooker with a big spoon, you don’t get those neat little squares but it really held together quite well,  I left some in fridge for leftovers and froze the rest for another time.

*I broke the side noodles in 1/2 and just angled them a little, keeping the center one intact. Once it’s all cooked it doesn’t matter that they were broken, it really came out perfectly.

White Bean and Tomatoes with Veggies Soup- can be vegetarian

photo (2)photo (2)photo (2)photo (2)photo (5)I decided to take a little bit different spin on my usual vegetable soup.  I did use chicken stock but you can certainly keep this completely vegetarian with vegetable stock. Play around with it and use whatever ingredients you like and whatever vegetables and stock suit your tastes best. This was delicious and heartwarming,  we ate some and froze the rest for another time. This should stay frozen for about 3 months in freezer. When you defrost you’ll thin out with a little stock while heating it up. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic , chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

1 can yellow corn, drained ( 15 oz. can)

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

2 15 oz. cans of white beans, drained and rinsed I used Cannellini but butter beans would be nice too, any white bean would work here

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

5 – 6 small red potatoes , cut into small pieces (had them in the house and they added a really nice flavor)

*fresh kale , rib removed and torn into small pieces.  This is totally optional, I had some kale on hand and decided to use it. Spinach would also be delicious.

Directions:

In a large stock pot ( Le Creuset) over medium heat , saute onion and garlic until tender and onion is translucent , approximately 5 minutes or so. Stir in carrots and corn, season with salt and pepper. I just throw in some kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill. You will taste for salt and pepper towards the end , so don’t worry about seasonings. Cook carrots and corn for a few more minutes, give it a few stirs. Pour in chicken broth, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and thyme. Bring soup to a low boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for app. one hour.

Separate soup into 2 equal portions, I just took out 1/2 of the soup into another bowl. Allow soup to cool to room temperature, once cooled down sufficiently puree  the half that you took out in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return that pureed batch to the remaining soup in stockpot and heat until warmed through. Adjust your seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. If soup appears to be very thick you can thin it out with a little water or broth, add a little at a time. I also added some fresh kale at this time, I removed the rib and tore the leaves into small pieces.  This is totally optional, but since I had the kale I figured I would. Serve hot with a nice crusty bread . I love the pretzel rolls from Whole Foods, check them out.

Happy Valentines Day Brownies – Chocolatey and Fudgey

 

 

This is a delicious easy to make Chocolate Fudgy Brownie. Perfect for Valentines Day , as it is such a Chocolatey Holiday. I have always had a  rather large sweet tooth and  Valentines Day always meant candy, chocolate, dessert of one kind or another and it was always up there with my other favorite , Halloween for pretty much the same reasons. How can you not like a holiday that has so much sweetness?  Make this brownie  anytime and  top with ice cream and chocolate sauce for an incredibly killer dessert. I personally cut them up into small pieces and don’t feel as guilty when I eat them. I came in today from being out all day and saw them on the cake stand and because I had cut them up so small, I indulged in two pieces and it just hit the spot!!! Make no mistake these are the real deal, and I never really understand why anyone would use a mix when this is so easy and all the ingredients are so readily available.  And you have bragging rights for Homemade. Just make sure you use an 8 x 8 baking dish, this really does make a difference. Enjoy and Happy V-Day!!!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped ( when you buy the box, the chocolate comes in squares, each square is an ounce)

1/8 tsp. salt (regular table salt)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup Cake flour (make sure you use Cake Flour not regular Flour)

1 cup semi- sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts ( I used chopped pecans , but chopped walnuts are good as well)

*extra unsalted butter for greasing the pan, I admit to using butter but you can spray with baking spray. (Pam)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish with unsalted butter ( or spray with Baking Pam)  In a saucepan melt the stick of butter and then when it is melted add the chopped unsweetened chocolate on low heat. Stir often until all the chocolate has been melted. Add the sugar in and let cool for at least 10 minutes.  Once it has sufficiently cooled off , take out another bowl and add beaten eggs and vanilla, and mix well and stir in chocolate mixture. Blend in cake flour ,salt and mix, do not  over mix, just mix till blended. Then add in chocolate chips, and nuts if you’re using them.

Pour batter into greased baking dish and spread evenly. Tap the pan on countertop to get rid of any air bubbles, about 3 or 4 times ought to do it.

Bake the Brownies for 30 minutes ( it’s exactly how long I did)  insert a cake tester or toothpick and it should come out almost clean. Be careful not to over bake.

Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing into squares.

I actually took out of oven and let it sit out covered almost all day, so by the time I cut into them they were completely cool. I used a knife and wet it, so it would cut cleanly.

So yummy!:) Served with an ice cold glass of milk, perfection.

Also can sprinkle a little sifted confectioners sugar on top of cooled brownies before serving if you’d like.

Sexy and Sassy Shrimp for Valentines Day – Fra Diavolo

photo (3) photo (5)photo (2)OK it’s Valentines Day and that’s the reason for the sexy, and the reason it’s sassy is because this shrimp packs some heat known as Fra Diavolo sauce. What a perfect meal for Valentines Day and it’s red!!! this was so delicious and light. I highly recommend it and it really was an easy dish to make. I would say it’s downright easy to make. This 1 lb. of shrimp should feed 4. I made it with Bucatini pasta, which is a thick ropey spaghetti, you can use whatever type of spaghetti you prefer or none at all. I would say that this whole dish start to finish took 1/2 hour. That’s so perfect. Buy your shrimp peeled and deveined which will save you time. Happy Valentines Day!

*don’t leave out the fresh herbs, they kick it up a notch

Ingredients:

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon of kosher salt , plus more as needed

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 (14 oz. can) diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

1 cup dry white wine

3 garlic cloves , chopped

1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, I didn’t think this was too spicy ,  you’ll have to adjust to your own taste buds. I actually thought 1 teaspoon was pretty mild, next time I will add more, but we like it spicy.

3 tablespoons chopped fresh italian parsley leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Directions:

In a medium bowl toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for a few minutes, toss around a bit and continue cooking until shrimp is just cooked through. ( you’ll want it pink and slightly curled up)

Remove shrimp to a bowl, set aside.

In the same skillet add 1 – 2 teaspoons of olive oil and add onions and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano.  Simmer until the sauce starts to thicken up, about 15 minutes. If sauce sits for a while it may loose some of its liquid , you can just add a little bit of water at a time to get sauce where you’d like it, but just a little at a time.  When you’re ready to serve, add the shrimp back into simmering sauce with any juices that they may have accumulated, toss to coat the shrimp, and cook for about 3 minutes . You can cut into a shrimp to make sure it’s cooked , it should be opaque not translucent. Stir in the parsley and basil. Taste for salt, and serve.

*prepare pasta according to directions and serve shrimp and sauce right on top.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers

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Prep in separate bowls.

One of my most favorite sections of the New York Times is the Wednesday Food Section. One of my most favorite contributors is Melissa Clark. I have tried making so very many of her recipes and recently bought her new cookbook “Dinner”. When you have a favorite chef you follow her and I follow Melissa Clark.

This recipe jumped out at me because it’s a Sheet-pan meal which I love and ingredients sounded very good. I made a few changes to the recipe to better suit us but you can google Melissa Clark @NYTimes and get the whole recipe the way she did it if you prefer.

Recipe took a little prep but nothing too bad and don’t omit the pickled red onions–it was delicious. I used sweet potatoes but felt that I could have used butternut squash as well. Chicken Thighs hold up so well and don’t dry out so they win out for sure. The red onion becomes crispy at the high heat  and caramelized beautifully. This is a winner of a recipe and I highly recommend. The ground allspice gives it a very definite layer of flavor and the cayenne pepper gave it the kick it needed. Enjoy!

This is what I did.

Thanks again to Melissa Clark for another amazing meal.

Ingredients:

Pickled Onions for garnish

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 Tsp.Honey

1/2 medium size red onion thinly sliced

Chicken:

1/2 medium size red onion thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic , minced

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as necessary

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs. bone in skin on chicken thighs (4-6)

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 large sweet Potato cut into small cubes of uniform size

1 large Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper thinly sliced

3/4 tsp. sweet paprika

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp. ground allspice– this is a must

Directions:

In a small shallow bowl mix together the vinegar and the honey. Mix in 1/2 thinly sliced red onion and throw in a pinch of salt and set it aside. Mix it a few more times while you’re doing everything else and let it sit and marinate till you’re ready for it.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 tsp. kosher salt, garlic, coriander, and black pepper. Add chicken to the bowl and rub the dry mixture all over the chicken. Let it sit and marinate for 30 minutes at least.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl toss together 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil , sweet potato, pepper, remaining 1/2 red onion, another 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, paprika, cayenne and allspice. I let this sit for a while as well and stirred it around. When you’re ready spread vegetables out on a rimmed baking sheet that’s been sprayed with your favorite cooking spray.

Add another 1/2 Tablespoon to the marinated chicken. If it seems super dry add a drop more and toss to coat. Place chicken pieces (see photo) skin side up among the vegetables, making sure the chicken is surrounded by the veggies not on top of them. Chicken should rest on the baking sheet directly.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove pan from the oven and raise heat to 450 degrees. I used a spoon to flip veggies over or a small spatula–don’t flip over the chicken. Drizzle chicken but not vegetables with a few teaspoons of the vinegar from the pickled onions — about 2 teaspoons — just a drizzle.

Return to oven which is now 450 degrees and roast chicken till cooked through–app. 15-20 more minutes.

To serve I plated chicken and vegetables with a spoonful of pickled onions !!!!

This was delicious!

 

 

Chicken and Rigatoni in One Pot–One Pot Pasta

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 (2) photo 5 (2) photo photo 2 (2) photo 1I must say that the first time I saw this recipe for one-pot pasta I was hesitant. I read up on it and found out that the actual recipe for this one-pot pasta hailed from Puglia. So for all of those “haters” out there I am just saying that I did do my homework here and found out that yes they do this in Italy and original recipe was from there. OK that’s enough of that. It doesn’t really matter where it’s from now does it? I have made 2 versions of this type of pasta and all I can say is yum. I will also add that you need to be a little bit more attentive during the cooking but the result was fabulous. We loved the creaminess and the pasta came out perfectly al dente.  You just don’t want to overcook it, taste for doneness and sit down and eat. It was delicious the next day cold out of fridge as well. Give this one a try you won’t be sorry. Joel was very happy with the clean-up detail as well because it was one pot! Whole thing took under an hour from start to finish. One pan, people!!! dry noodles, sauce ingredients, water, wine a few good things and you’ve got a delicious impressive dinner.

*I used my large Le Creuset pot. A large skillet would work fine here as well.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast, cut into small chunks. Just buy a regular package of chicken breasts and cut them up as I did ( see photos)

2 large roasted red peppers, sliced into thin slices ( straight out of the jar) see photos

6 cherry peppers, chopped and de-seeded , you can use hot if you like it spicy or just mild cherry peppers which is what I used (straight out of the jar) see photos

1 cup water, you will probably add about 1/2 cup more but you should start out with a cup

1 lb. rigatoni, I like the way the rigatoni works of course penne or another type of macaroni will work just fine

1 cup white wine, use what you have open as long as it’s not a sweet wine

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 cup Parmesan Cheese grated, more for serving

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons fresh basil torn, you’ll want to add a little more at the end of cooking as well.

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes, optional. If you like the heat add a little bit during cooking and you can always add more at end. 1/4 teaspoon to start is good.

Directions:

In a large skillet type of pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the garlic and chicken . Saute the chicken until it is just browned on the outside but not cooked through.

Stir in the roasted red peppers and cherry peppers, and sauté for another minute or so. Add in the crushed tomatoes and wine. Add in the water and the raw pasta and bring to a low boil. If you need more water you’ll know at this point , add a bit more water (a little at a time) Continue to cook, stirring very often, until the pasta has cooked to al dente , it will take anywhere from 15- 20 minutes. Taste pasta and judge how much longer it needs.

When pasta is done to your liking, reduce heat to low and add in the butter, basil and salt. When the butter is completely melted into the past, add in the cream and the cheese. Let simmer on low for another ten minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Top with additional cheese, basil and red pepper flakes if you like.

Serve warm.

Seven Layer Dip

Winter cont'd 021Seven Layer Dip 005This is a super easy and beautiful dish to entertain with. Since Super Bowl is tomorrow this would be most perfect! It’s great in a glass bowl where you can see all of the layers. I prefer to make this without meat but if you would like make one of the layers ground beef or ground turkey. Just drain the meat before adding and make sure that the meat has cooled before adding all the other ingredients. Feel free to play around with ingredients, whatever works for you. This recipe is best served at room temperature, I’ll usually make it earlier in the day and take it out of refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Another thing I would suggest is to go to a local Mexican restaurant that you like and buy your refried beans, guacamole and salsa there. It’s usually the best. Sometimes I will make my own guacamole etc. If you’d like to you can double down on all the ingredients. This will probably serve 12 as an appetizer.

Sadly, my pictures won’t be posted till tomorrow because I won’t be making it till then. It’s just such a fun , good recipe that I wanted to get it out to you.

Ingredients:

16 oz. refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 cup sour cream, I used light not fat-free

1 cup guacamole

1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

4 ounces black sliced or chopped olives

1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if adding meat use app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey and make sure it is drained and cooled down before adding it to dip.

Directions:

Layer in this order

1. refried beans mixed with 1 package of taco seasoning – I remove 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning for the sour cream, if you don’t it’s no biggie I just do it to give the sour cream a little punch

2. 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

3. 1 cup guacamole

4. 1 cup salsa

5. 1 cup Mexican cheese

7. 1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if using meat just heat up a little bit of olive oil in pan and cook meat and drain meat after cooking. You’ll want to cool meat down completely before adding to dip.

* if you like cilantro you can sprinkle on top or sliced green onions are a nice touch

*lime wedges are a nice touch as well

Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and remove about an hour before serving. Serve with chips for dipping and have a spoon handy to help serve it.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore 011My daughter Jennifer turned me on to this delicious and I do mean delicious recipe. Original recipe from Giada de Laurentis . I took a few liberties with it and it turned out just perfectly. I only used 4 thighs and 2 breasts with skin on and bone in, if you’re not comfortable with the skin I would take out skin but leave the bone in.  I am certain that  there is enough sauce for at least 1 more thigh and 1 more breast , there was more than enough sauce.  I served over brown rice and it was just perfect. This is a beautiful meal for a dinner party  or just the two of you. I used my Le Creuset pot and it was a one pot meal. Thanks to Jenn for pointing it out to me, this one is a keeper.

Ingredients:

4 – 6 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in

2 -3 chicken breasts skin on and bone in

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 box ( 8 oz.) of Mushrooms, I used sliced Cremini ( Baby Bella)

3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

all-purpose flour for dredging

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3/4 cup white wine

1 28 oz. can of diced Tomatoes with juice

3/4 cup chicken broth

1  1/2 teaspoons of dry oregano

Directions:

First thing I do is dry all the chicken pieces on paper towels, this will help hold the salt and pepper and make a crackly crust. Sprinkle dried chicken pieces with Salt and Pepper generously. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour to coat lightly. In a large heavy pot ( I used my Le Creuset) heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and saute till just golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken doesn’t fit , do it in 2 batches, I did thighs and then I did breasts. Transfer the chicken to a plate with tongs and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is translucent and pepper is soft, about 8 minutes. Then add in mushrooms  season with salt and pepper and cook for another five minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, and oregano.  Then return the chicken to the pot and turn chicken pieces to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue to simmer over low-medium heat until the chicken is just cooked through, at least 30 minutes, I cooked for 40, and chicken was perfect.

Using tongs, transfer the chicken to plates. If you’d like you can boil the sauce without the chicken till it thickens, my sauce was perfectly thick. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

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Slow-Cooker Bolognese

I love my Bolognese recipes which are also on this site. Sometimes I just want to use my slow-cooker so that my meal is ready when I am home at the end of the day. This is what I did and I have to say it came out very tasty. I made all 4 lbs. of ground beef ( you can sub turkey or chicken if you would like) and I had about 4 meals out of this. Perfection! I froze in individual containers for 3 meals after the night we originally ate it. It’s perfect for the cold winter nights ahead of us. File this under cozy comfort foods.

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This is what I did.

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 lbs. ground beef–I prefer the meat with a little fat so if you’re using turkey make sure it’s not 100% fat free because it will be rather dry and tasteless

6 cloves garlic, chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

2 whole carrots, chopped

2 onions, chopped

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

2 cups whole milk

2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 Tbsp. dried basil

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*if you’d like instead of all these dried spices you can use dried italian seasonings which come in a spice jar but I would still add the nutmeg and  red pepper flakes

Grated Parmesan for serving

*Chopped Fresh Basil and Chopped Fresh Parsley for serving if you’d like

Directions:

Heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mirepoix ( carrots, celery and onions) season with salt and pepper and cook until softened and onions are transparent ) app. 10-15 minutes — I stirred in the garlic at the end and then added the tomato paste , stir around and cook for another few minutes. Pour in the red wine. Cook until most of the red wine is evaporated, app. 5 more minutes on a low flame. Pour this into the slow cooker.

Pour the remaining 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil into the same skillet, add the beef and season with salt and pepper, cook breaking up the beef until it is nicely browned about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in the milk and continue cooking until it is mostly absorbed by the meat, app. another 5 minutes. Add this to the slow cooker along with the tomatoes and all the dried spices. Add some more salt–taste for salt I was pretty generous with the salt.

Give the pot a good stir , cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

I didn’t have any fat to skim on top because I drained the fat earlier and used 15% fat ground beef. The totally lean beef is a little to dry for my liking but use what ever meat you like. Check the consistency if it is too thick add a little bit of water. If it is too thin, cook for another 30 minutes or so with the cover off.

I have to say mine came out perfectly after 6 hours in the slow cooker. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if you desire. Also a little note about slow-cooker, once the initial cooking process is over my slow cooker goes to warm and will stay on warm for another few hours or so . This is perfect because it will not cook anymore just stay warm. This is what I did.

Serve over pasta with lots of grated Parmesan Cheese and top with fresh basil and fresh parsley if you’d like.

By all means freeze the extra in air-tight containers for another few meals!

Enjoy!

 

 

Creamy Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

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Parmesan Crisps with Tomato Soup

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Soup at the beginning of the cooking process

 

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Parmesan Crisps

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Tube of Tomato Paste–I love the tubes

FullSizeRender (27) FullSizeRender (26)FullSizeRender (23) FullSizeRender (24)One of our most favorite soups is Tomato Soup. I love the creaminess in this soup and the texture and tang of the tomatoes. I added parmesan crisps to the top which only add another layer of “deliciousness” to the soup. I did add 1/2 cup of heavy cream mostly because I had it in the house but also because over the whole recipe it’s just a little bit of richness that goes a very long way. I suppose you can omit it but I wouldn’t. We loved it just the way it was and I have 2 large containers that went into the freezer for another night’s meal. The parmesan crisps are super easy and all you’ll need is some grated parmesan. Croutons would work well as well.

*you’ll need an immersion blender and a Dutch Oven type of pot with a tight fitting lid.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

1 whole onion, finely diced

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 minced garlic clove

3 whole Large Carrots, Peeled and finely diced

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste–the tubes make life so nice and easy

3 Cans Whole Tomatoes — 28 oz. each–Italian whole plum tomatoes with their juices

32 ounces , Vegetable or Chicken Broth

1 cup water

1/2 cups Heavy Cream

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil ( approximate amount) you can eyeball and you can use more for garnish if you’d like

Grated Parmesan if you want to make the Parmesan Crisps (recipe to follow soup recipe)

Directions:

In a large Dutch Oven kind of pot ( Le Creuset) , heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat, then add onion, garlic and carrots. Stir and cook till vegetables soften but be careful not to burn the garlic and onions. This will take app. 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and incorporate it into the vegetables with a wooden spoon. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Add canned tomatoes with their juice, broth and water. Stir together and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for at least 30 minutes. I had time so I allowed it to simmer for about an hour. The longer the better.

I then turned heat off and allowed to cool for a few minutes before using immersion blender. Be careful because hot soup can burn. I gave it a quick few minutes with the immersion blender , the tomatoes completely broke down because they had cooked so long. You can leave some texture in the tomatoes if you like chunkier pieces.

Add the cream, salt and pepper to taste, I used about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and about 12 grinds on the pepper mill. You should taste for salt to your own particular taste. Add the basil and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. I then topped with parmesan crisps and they just kind of melted in to the soup which was just divine.

Parmesan Crisps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 heaping teaspoon of Grated Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Pat each teaspoon down a little, leave about 1/2″ apart. Cook for  3- 5 minutes till edges turn brown and crisps are golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes and lift off cookie sheet.