Tag Archives: Food

Souper Easy Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

29 Oct

Now that soup weather is finally here I decided to make tomato soup. Growing up we always had Campbell’s and I always loved it but now that I rarely eat anything processed or pre-made I thought it was time I grew up and made my own tomato soup. I found a super easy recipe and it tasted great.

As far as what kind of tomatoes to use, you can really use any kind. I did a mixture of Roma and Compari. The recipe called for white onion, not sure I’d use that again, I think I’ll try a Spanish onion the next time I make it. Not crazy about the white onion flavor.

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Ingredients:

6 cups tomatoes, chopped

1 white onion, chopped

Salt

5 or 6 garlic cloves, peeled

2 large red peppers

Red pepper flakes, optional, to taste

2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp olive oil, plus more for roasting

To do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss tomatoes and onions in olive oil, spread evenly on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. You may need 2 baking sheets, you don’t want them too close together.

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Peel garlic and place on tin foil, drizzle with olive oil, fold tin foil and secure edges, place in oven.

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Roast everything for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping tomatoes and onions half way through.

 

After removing the tomatoes and garlic from the oven, roast the red peppers under the broiler. Turn on the broiler, place red peppers whole on baking sheet. Put under broiler on the highest rack so they are close to the flames. Roast about 2 to 3 minutes each side turning as they get charred.

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Once they are well charred, remove and place in a bowl, cover bowl tightly to allow the steam to loosen the skin. At least 5 minutes. Remove the skins, just be careful, they are hot. You can leave some of the char as it adds a nice flavor to the soup.

Once the peppers are peeled; cut, core and remove seeds.

In batches add tomatoes, onions, red peppers, vinegar and olive oil to a blender, only till the blender is half full. Blend until smooth.

 

As you blend each batch, put the blended batch in a pot over low heat, once it is all blended and in the pot you can taste and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add more salt or red wine vinegar for a little more tang.

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Serve with a loaf of rustic bread and enjoy!

 

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Cacciatore, Hold the Chicken!

16 Aug

Since becoming a vegetarian I learned how to make all kinds of recipes without meat, and this has become a favorite. Summer time in New Jersey means lots of fresh local vegetables including eggplant, peppers and the famous Jersey tomatoes all of which I used in this recipe. Now I know most of you think of New Jersey as crowded and dirty, with bad drivers but in fact, there is a lot of farmland and beautiful rolling hills. We have lots of local farmers markets where we can get everything from local produce to homemade pies. (We are called the Garden State for a reason.)

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This is the perfect summer time pasta dish that is light, has lots of taste and loaded with healthy veggies!

eggplant-cacciatore

Just a few notes-I peeled the eggplant, I don’t like the skin but it’s up to you. You can use your favorite mushrooms, I used baby Portobello, just about any kind will do. Finally, instead of the 14 oz can of diced tomatoes I used fresh Jersey tomatoes.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb eggplant, sliced into 1/4 thick slabs

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

6 oz dried penne pasta

1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, any color, sliced into strips

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp capers

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dry

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub eggplant slabs with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake until eggplant are slightly browned and tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

 

While eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Drain when done and return pot, toss with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.

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While eggplant bakes and pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and  place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add garlic and sauté’ for another minute. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until liquid is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, capers, rosemary, oregano and red pepper flakes to skillet and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and add eggplant, simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve over pasta with a salad, crusty bread and a glass of delicious wine!

Thank you to Connoisseurusveg.com for this recipe and the photo of the final dish, mine didn’t look quite as good.

 

Vegetable Soup Mexican Style

29 Jan

Two things I love combined together to make something really great and tasty-Mexican food and soup. It is souper easy, tastes souper and it is vegan! It has lots of healthy vegetables and plenty of flavor, my husband ate 3 bowls of it, that says it all.

Ingredients:

1 tbs olive oil

3 bell peppers-1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow-all seeded and diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

2 (4 oz) cans mild diced green chili peppers

8 cups vegetable broth (I used 6, it would’t all fit in my pot and it was fine)

1 can corn, drained

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 zucchini, diced

salt to taste

Suggest serving it with:

lime juice, fresh squeezed

avocado

cilantro

tortilla strips

chopped scallions

shredded cheese

sour cream

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Directions:

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add diced bell peppers, red onion, jalapeño and a bit of salt. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add minced garlic and spices-cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook for another minute.

Add diced tomatoes, green chilies and vegetable broth. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add beans, corn and zucchini. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until zucchini is tender. Add more salt to taste if needed (mine did).

Soup is ready to eat! Ole!

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*Recipe courtesy of Show Me the Yummy blog.

**Obviously adding sour cream or cheese makes this dish non-vegan.

 

Not your Momma’s 7 Layer Dip

15 Jul

Who doesn’t love 7 layer dip? Well, here’s a Greek version and not only is it super tasty, it is also kinda healthy. I made it this past weekend for a small gathering and it was huge hit (there was nothing left). You can serve it with pita chips, warmed pita bread cut into triangles or bagel chips. Stacy’s actually makes a new pita crisp that I happen to love because it is thinner and lighter than the regular pita chips. Vegetables are good too, especially if you or your guests are gluten free.

I dip, you dip...we dip!

I dip, you dip…we dip!

I adapted this from SkinnyTaste.com. There are just a few changes, the first one being she makes hers in a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex pan, not to insult her but I happen to like to serve in a prettier way so I made mine in a white ceramic serving dish. Secondly, I beefed up the amount of hummus and greek yogurt to make it more substantial, 8 oz seemed to spread out too thin. Give it whirl and let me know what think!

1 1/2 cups hummus

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat or no fat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh chopped dill

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Pinch of Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 cup chopped English or regular cucumber (seeded)

1 cup seeded, chopped tomato

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

In a small bowl combine yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the dish of your choice, spread the hummus as the first layer, then the greek yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and lastly the olives.

Super easy, super tasty and good for you!

*The dish should be 1.5 or 2 quarts.

From Tarts to Tartines

26 Apr

The definition of a tartine is a “fancy French open faced sandwich topped with a rich spread”, what could be bad about that?…  And now that asparagus season is in full swing here is a very easy, very yummy asparagus tartine; the perfect hors d’oeuvre.

Tartine a la Asparagus!

Tartine a la Asparagus!

1 lb Asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 Tbsp Olive oil

Sea Salt

Pepper

1 Loaf crusty rustic bread

1/4 Basil pesto

1 Cup ricotta cheese

2 Scallions, chopped

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl toss the asparagus with 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread asparagus out on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 8 minutes until tender but not mushy.

In the meantime cut bread into thin slices, put on baking pan and brush with remaining olive oil. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes until slightly crispy.

Combine pesto with ricotta cheese to create the spread. To assemble, spread the ricotta mixture on each slice of bread, top with two or three pieces of asparagus and sprinkle with sliced scallions. Arrange on a pretty platter and serve’m up!

 

One Last Soup before Spring…

20 Mar

So, I sit here writing this on the first day of Spring and it is snowing out. When will it end? Hopefully soon but until it does, let’s eat soup. This recipe is a copy cat recipe of Olive Garden’s famous Pasta e Fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, it is traditionally a meatless Italian dish however this recipe adds ground beef but I stuck with tradition and left the meat out, which makes this a great meal for meatless Mondays. This is easy, healthy and makes a great meal, definitely give a whirl!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef* (I omitted)

2 tbsp olive oil (if not using meat)

1 small onion

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

28oz can crushed tomatoes

15oz can tomato sauce

15oz can beef broth (vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)**you may want more depending on how you like it

15oz can kidney beans (with liquid)

15oz can great northern beans (with liquid)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp pepper

8oz ditalini pasta

*with the salt, pepper and dried herbs-increase or decrease depending on taste

Heat olive oil large dutch oven or pot, add carrots, celery, onion and sauté for about 10 minutes then add minced garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until garlic becomes fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients, except the pasta and simmer for 1 hour.

You may want to add more broth at this point depending on how you like it.

About 15 minutes before the hour is up, boil water for pasta and cook pasta for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Now, a tip from a friend is: to not add the pasta to the soup…add it as you eat it so that it doesn’t blow up in the soup and absorb all the liquid. This was great advice. I kept mine in storage container and added as we ate it. Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and warm, crusty bread; delicious!

*If you would like to do the meat version the first thing you do is cook the ground beef until browned, drain the grease. Set browned ground beef aside and cook veggies as above in same pot, when veggies are ready, add ground beef back into pot and follow the recipe from there. Enjoy!

 

 

Winter Salad: Pears, Pomegranates & Spinach

2 Dec

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we have to stop eating salad, especially when pomegranates are in season. Pomegranates can add a clean, sweet burst of flavor and are super healthy. I love this salad and it’s a great one to serve at a dinner party.

Now, I like to make the dressing first so that it’s ready when the salad is done and ready to be dressed. I also like my salad not to be too cold, I take the ingredients out a bit before so that they “warm” up.

Winter Salad Goodness!

Winter Salad Goodness!

Dressing:

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tblsp honey

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and blend well.

Salad:

9 oz. baby spinach

2 bartlett pears (firm but ripe, cored, sliced)

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

3/4 cup pomegranate arils

*2/3 cup chopped, toasted pecans if you like nuts in your food

Place all salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve and enjoy!

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