Kale and White Bean Soup

IMG_0276IMG_0278 IMG_0280 IMG_0282Sometimes you just feel like making something very quickly and easy. I was in the mood for soup and felt like eating something comforting and hearty. I happen to have all the ingredients for this soup in the house and improvised with a little lemon for extra added flavor. This is why I always keep certain staples in my pantry such as chicken or vegetable stock, garlic, onions and always have extra cans of cannelinni beans. I love a good fresh bean as much as the next but sometimes only canned will do. This was one of those times. This soup can actually be made in an hour from start to finish. Big recommendation if you’re in the market for hearty comforting soup this winter. Leftovers were a snap , I just added a little more broth and heated it up. A little freshly grated parmesan never hurt any either.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large yellow onion, minced– I chopped it finely

1/2 Tbsp. fresh garlic–minced as well ( app. 1 large clove)

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter–you can omit but I liked the flavor it added

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary

1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. dried oregano

1 small lemon, juiced

4-5 cups chicken or vegetable stock/broth–depending on thickness of soup and consistency you like

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 (15 oz.) cans cooked cannellini beans, drained–not rinsed

1 – 2 cups loosely packed kale, spinach, swiss chard, etc. I happen to have a package of baby kale in the house so that’s what I used. Remove any rough stems and tear into small pieces if you’re working with whole heads of kale, etc.

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, I used my Le Creuset for this. Heat oil till it is shimmering and add the minced onion, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and translucent, I do this on a low flame. Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes. Add the butter, and as it is melting add in the dried herbs. Let cook for another few minutes.

Add the lemon juice, add the stock and stir to combine. Cover, and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and let it simmer uncovered for about 1/2 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the white beans and kale leaves, and continue simmering until it is hot through and through, about 5 more minutes.

Serve warm with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan or just as is.

A nice piece of warm crusty bread would also be a perfect addition!

Enjoy!

 

 

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.

Enjoy the game!

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.

Salmon Baked in Foil

Easy baked salmon on a baking sheet with aluminum foil with garlic, lemon and fresh rosemary. A delicious simple and healthy recipe. Turns out perfectly every time.

You’ll need a large rimmed baking sheet and aluminum foil

I served alongside long grain wild rice and roasted cauliflower.

Ingredients:

2 pound side of Salmon–boneless– I like the skin on and whatever kind of salmon you like

5 sprigs of fresh Rosemary

2 Lemons–1 for slicing and 1 for juicing

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic–peeled and chopped

Directions:

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature while you prep the other ingredients.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil.

Lightly coat the aluminum foil with baking spray, then arrange 2 sprigs of Rosemary down the middle. Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and place 1/2 the slices down the middle with the rosemary. Place the Salmon on top.

Drizzle the Salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Rub to coat, then add the chopped garlic cloves on top. Place the remaining 3 sprigs of Rosemary and lemon slices on top of the salmon. Juice the second lemon and pour the juice over the top.

Fold up the sides of the aluminum foil and place another sheet on top and crimp the two together making a sealed packet . Make sure to leave a little breathing room in there for air to circulate. Don’t make packet too tight.

Bake the salmon for at least 20 minutes and check it . I actually cooked my piece for 30 minutes. You’ll want the thickest piece to be cooked through. Check every 5 minutes after the initial 20 — you’ll want to ensure your salmon does not overcook. If your piece is very thick it may need longer . Depending on thickness and your oven .

*if you’d like you can change the oven setting to broil and open the foil so that fish is completely uncovered and return fish to oven and broil for about 3 minutes until the top of the salmon and garlic are slightly golden and the fish is fully cooked. It’s up to you — I didn’t this time but it’s a good option to finish cooking the fish but be careful you don’t burn the garlic.

 

Enjoy!

 

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

IMG_7067IMG_7069More of my favorite way to cook with Chicken Fajitas made on the Sheet Pan . I made this the other night and it is the easiest and most delicious meal. I am always experimenting with making Chicken Fajitas in new ways and trying to keep the oil down. If you use too little oil they come out tasting dry and that’s no good so use the 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil that I suggest.  This is what I did and I served with small soft tortillas and you can provide any fixings you like. I also served over rice in a bowl which is how I like to eat my fajitas. Obviously what you do with them is totally up to you! A little sour cream and guacamole never hurt anyone either. And buy some tortillas and you have perfection on a plate.

*it is important that all veggies be cut up into fairly uniform sizes this will help cooking process and timing

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. of chicken breast tenders– or just cut some chicken cutlets into strips

1 yellow bell pepper –sliced into 1/4″ slices

1 red bell pepper–sliced into 1/4″ slices

1 orange bell pepper–sliced into 1/4″ slices

1 small red onion–sliced into 1/4″ slices

3-4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Oil –now I have tried 2 Tablespoons and it was a little dry so use your own discretion here –depending on how much chicken you’re using and you’ll want a light glaze all over the chicken and veggies

1 teaspoon of kosher salt –this was enough for us but again use your own discretion

several turns of the pepper mill — freshly ground black pepper always works best

2 teaspoons of chili powder

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Lime for squeezing at the end

*fresh chopped cilantro for garnish and delicious flavor if you like it

*warmed tortillas–if you like

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a large bowl , combine onion, bell pepper, chicken strips, olive oil, salt and pepper and all the spices. Start with 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil and add more . I really felt it needed more than 2 Tbsp.

Toss well and combine and allow to sit for a while before cooking. I find that the longer it sits the better it tastes. I prepped and let it sit for an hour or so.

Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray

Spread chicken and onions and everything on baking sheet

Cook at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, if you’d like to use a meat thermometer here chicken should be 165 degrees. After 20 minutes I turned the oven to broil and cooked for additional 2-4 minutes just letting the veggies get some nice color. Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.

I served in bowls over rice with warm mini tortillas and sour cream and guacamole.

*should serve 3-4 nicely with the rice and sides

Enjoy!

–Set it and Forget it Chicken Taco Chili

This is a very easy recipe and will cook in the slow cooker on high in 6 hours! So set it and forget it. This is a re-blog from last October so if you missed it you get another shot at it and if you already made this recipe here you go again. If you’re looking for something easy to make this week that is also delicious — here you go.

 No muss No Fuss come tonite, all the heavy lifting will be done by noon. My kind of cooking.

Slow cookers make for perfect cooking all year round. Nothing better than setting it and forgetting it! Making life easier and less clean up after dinner. I happened to have a package of Taco Seasoning Mix in the house so I used it along with cumin and chili powder. I used dark meat and white meat chicken, you can use whichever chicken you’d like. Just set it and forget it and come home to this delicious meal of chicken . If you don’t own a slow cooker this may be a good time to buy one!

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi I’ll be looking for you!

Ingredients:

1 small yellow onion , chopped

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained-you don’t have to rinse the organic beans. If you already have them in the house and they’re not organic just rinse them with water and drain.

1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained -you don’t have to rinse the organic beans–same instructions as above

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

10 oz. package frozen corn kernels

2 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with chilies –available in the Mexican Food aisle in the supermarket

4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, chopped–also available in the Mexican Food aisle

1 packet Taco Seasoning- *if you don’t like using Taco Seasoning see note below

1 tbsp. cumin

1/2-1 Tbsp. chili powder

Kosher Salt to taste–if using the package of Taco Seasoning you may not need extra salt , wait till 6 hours of cooking are over and taste for salt . I sprinkled a little bit at the end of seasoning to taste.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts and I added 6 small skinless , boneless chicken thighs and if you cannot find boneless don’t worry because the meat will fall off the bones and you can remove all the bones from the chili before serving.

I don’t know the nutrition information but I have to believe that this is a fairly low-fat , low caloric way to go. I added the dark meat so maybe not as light as you can make it. Enjoy!

*handful of fresh cilantro – chopped if you would like

Directions:

Combine drained beans, onion, chili peppers, corn , tomato sauce, diced tomato, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and mix well.

Nestle the chicken in to completely cover and cook either on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. I did it on high for 6 hours.

App. 1/2 hour before the cooking was over I thought I would shred the chicken, when I opened the slow cooker and started to stir the chicken it all just fell apart on its own!!! This was so amazing how I didn’t even have to do that. I guess it cooked so long that it just fell apart! This was just perfect and tasted so delicious! If that is not your experience and you only cook for 4 hours you may want to shred the chicken yourself about 1/2 hour before finished. But mine really did shred itself as I stirred it with a wooden spoon.

Top with fresh cilantro and your favorite chili toppings! I also serve with soft corn tortillas. You can use crunchy taco shells or whatever you’d like, this is totally optional. And some avocado never hurt anyone!

Yum!!!

*to make your own seasoning follow this

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cumin

1 1/2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Onion Powder

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Sheet Pan Chicken –Meditteranean Style-String Beans and Potatoes

I love one pan and one pot dinners! Just amazing! This is an easy no-fuss meal cooked in the oven on one sheet with a marinade that has a distinct Meditteranean flavor from the lemon juice, olive oil and oregano.  Use chicken thighs or legs , I prefer dark meat for this but if you insist on using white meat –go ahead. Some green beans and potatoes make this a one pan staple. Delicious and Nutritious. Did I mention super easy to clean up? It was the Golden Globes so I wanted to eat and watch without a big mess to clean up. You’ll need a rimmed baking sheet for this recipe.

Enjoy! this is for 2 +people but you can double for 4. It will probably feed 2+ but depends on your people. This is what I did for the 2 of us. We ate the whole thing! no leftovers! If you are making for a larger crowd (4 or more) either use a very large baking sheet or 2 baking sheets .

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. baby red potatoes- I quartered them but if they are very small you can cut in 1/2

1/2 lb. green beans , trimmed

2 Tbsp. olive oil plus for marinade

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, I salt chicken liberally and potatoes because they tend to be bland –see notes below on salt and pepperimg_3437

*2 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Parsley – totally optional along with some slices of fresh lemon for beautiful presentation

 

Marinade for the Chicken- Marinate for about an hour

app. 1 package of chicken thighs– bone in , skin on . When I say 1 package it is usually a little under 2 lbs ( 6 smallish thighs)  which is more than enough for 2 people. Usually about 6 chicken thighs in a package depending on the size of thighs.

1/4 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon- I used juicer because I wanted to make sure I got every drop

1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper , to taste–I used 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and about 10 grinds on the pepper mill for the marinade

In a large Ziploc Bag, combine chicken, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and oregano; season with app. 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds (10-12) of freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Marinate for at least an hour, turning the bag occasionally. Remove the chicken from the marinade by draining it, discard the excess marinade.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a large size baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place potatoes and green beans in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with chicken in a single layer. Salt is an important component here–I sprinkled a light amount over chicken and potatoes and string beans –probably another 1/2 teaspoon and a few grinds of the pepper mill

Place into the oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, should register 165 degrees with a meat thermometer after about 1/2 hour . After I check for readiness I place under the broiler for a few minutes, till skin is golden brown and a little charred ( but not too charred) watch chicken for signs of burning.

Serve immediately, you can garnish with lemon slices and parsley for a beautiful presentation!

Enjoy

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Being I am so much more of a morning person than a night person I love to cook in the morning, not elaborate breakfasts mind you but Dinner. I prep , chop and set up my slow cooker and it’s all in by 8 a.m. I cooked this on low for 8 hours and then on high for 2. You can do it on high for 6-8 as well. Almost fool-proof and you’ll love the benefits. When you enter your home at the end of the day your house will smell amazing, your dinner will be almost ready and you’ll have one pot to clean after dinner! Wow! Now of course you’ll have a bit of a mess in the morning but that’s OK because you’ll have more energy in the morning . Shop ahead and have all your ingredients ready and you’re set . I love slow cooker meals.

This is what I did:

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes — the butcher usually has this meat already cut up. You can add an extra lb. of meat if you have more people.

5 medium size carrots, sliced into chunks

1 lb. baby potatoes — they come in a bag and are perfect just the way they are. Of course you can cut up larger potatoes if you wish.

1 small white onion–diced

3 cloves garlic–minced

3 cups Beef Broth

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings–dry and available in most spice sections

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 cup Flour

2 cups Frozen Peas– I used frozen peas you can also add frozen corn if you like or use both.

Directions:

Take out the meat and dry it off with a paper towel. Sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper on all sides. Heat a skillet with a little olive oil and sear on each side for a few minutes just to get a crust on the meat. You will not be cooking the meat just searing.

I spray my slow-cooker with cooking spray (Pam) and then add the meat, the carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic.

Add the beef broth , tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, italian seasoning, and I added about a 1/2 tsp. of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill (6) . You can taste at some point and always add more.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours or High for 6-8 hours. An hour before serving, I take out about a cup of gravy from the beef stew and whisk with 1/4 cup flour. Then stir into the stew along with the frozen peas. Stir and taste for S and P at this point.

I let it cook on high for 2 more hours. You should let it cook for at least 1 more hour after the addition of the flour. The flour will thicken the gravy, so you’ll want to cook for at least 1 more hour on high setting.

Enjoy! a loaf of crusty bread would be in order on the side.

White Bean Chili

Original post was back in the winter of ’13. For those of you who are new to the blog or missed it, I am re-posting the recipe. It is delicious and the inspiration comes from Bonnie’s on Aspen Mountain. It is probably my most favorite thing to eat at Bonnies , so if you ever find yourself out here skiing go to Bonnies and get the White Bean Chili with Chips of course!

Perfect recipe for Superbowl! I like to make it a day or two ahead and let the flavors all come together but if you can’t it’s fine to make the day you’re eating it. You can use your slow cooker and you will probably have to add some more liquid, or use a Le Creuset type of pot which is deep enough to hold all the ingredients. You can change up recipe and use ingredients which you prefer, it’s a very “flexible” type of recipe.

*when I use the slow cooker I brown meat and veggies first on the stovetop

*you can double up on this recipe by adding ingredients,  I will usually increase the meat to 2 lbs. and maybe a little more diced tomatoes, spices, and a little more onion and vegetable. This is a very flexible recipe.

Or make now — have some and freeze the rest for some other time. It can keep frozen safely for 3 months.

Ingredients:

1-2 lb. dark meat turkey , I prefer the dark meat turkey flavor but use whatever you’d like, I stretch recipe by adding an extra pound of meat here (2 lbs.) you will have to increase liquids though

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 large white onions, chopped

1 green pepper , chopped( I use the green for color here, but feel free to change it to any color pepper you prefer)

1 yellow pepper, chopped (same goes for this pepper)

1 Tablespoon chopped garlic ( about 1 large clove or 2 small)

3 15 ounce cans of White Northern Beans, or any white bean you like. Drained.

7 oz. salsa or picante sauce

1 8 ounce can of diced green chiles. ( I used 2 cans of 4 oz. hot green chiles)

1 8 ounce can of whole kernel corn

1 lb. can diced tomatoes ( drained)

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. oregano ( I love to use Mexican oregano) but no worries if you can’t find it

Kosher Salt to Taste– keep tasting , I added a fair amount of salt. Add at your own discretion.

Freshly ground black pepper, but if you have it you can use white pepper !

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock –start out with 3 and if it is too thick you can always add more liquid.

12 oz. Sour Cream–I use light not fat free. Strain the sour cream to get rid of the little bit of liquid. You can also use yogurt if you like. Add this ingredient last and blend it in well.

Shredded Cheese ( Mexican Style, Jalapeno or Cheddar. This is a topping so I just put it out in a bowl alongside some fresh chopped jalapeno. Tortilla chips on the side as well.

Directions:

In a large stockpot or slow cooker ( I use my Le Creuset pot) melt the butter on medium heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic until softened. I add the garlic and some kosher salt here. Add in the 2 lbs. of dark meat turkey and brown that up as well.

Puree 1 1/2 cans of the drained white beans. ( Food Processor here) until beans are smooth and then I add them to the pot.

Add the rest of the drained beans, along with the salsa, chiles, corn, tomatoes and spices ( plus anything else you may want to add) Cook for a few more minutes on a low heat until all of the ingredients are blended.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. I then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour on the stove top.

Before you’re ready to serve it, add the sour cream and blend it in while chili is simmering.

I place the shredded cheese, extra sour cream, chips, fresh cut up jalapenos, salsa and guacamole in bowls on the side so everyone can make their chili their way.

Enoy!!!

I know there are a lot of ingredients but this is so easy you can make it in the morning and it sit all day in the fridge. You may need to add more liquid when you go to serve it. This freezes really well also.

 

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 Tablespoon 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.