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I have a new obsession. Pinterest. First of all, let me explain to you what this is if you don’t already know. It is a website that acts as a message board for all the coolest things people find on the world wide web. I could just keep scrolling and scrolling down the endless page of pins. Well, sometimes I do… SO many interesting things. Anything from hair do’s to nail colours and recipes to quotes. I have saved many a link. Especially for crocheting. When I am going to find time to do all this crafting, who knows? But, man, I am loving this resource.
There also have been many a recipe saved. Althought, pinteresters are keen on slow cooker recipes involving pop and also baked goods involving pop. A little cringe worthy, but also….. interesting. You see what I mean? Lots of cool stuff. So, brought to you by Pinterest is this lasagna soup. I think it’s a cool twist on a favourite. I love me some lasagna. My mother is actually known far and wide for her lasagna. She says the secret is cooking it in the stone, but whatever it is, it is the one thing that is always requested from family and friends alike. So, I am like a lasagna connoiseur, if you will.
This recipe is basically lasagna soup. Ok, duh, that is what it is. Lasagna with a thinned out sauce in a bowl. I thought it was easier/quicker than making the real thing. And it was also kind of cool to have a switch up. With the foggy, chilly, cold weather here, soup really does hit the spot better than anything else. On the whole I give this soup a 9 because I can get all the goods from a real lasagna in it, have the cosiness of soup to warm my chilled bones and it is interesting (or should I say Pinteresting?). Happy slurping!
Lasagna Soup – adapted from this link A Farm Girl Dabbles (check out her picture -delish!)
You could definitely add some veggies into this soup. I like to put zucchini and broccoli in my lasagna, so why not in the soup?
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
300g extra lean ground beef
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 28oz can or 2 smaller cans diced tomatoes (she used fire-roasted, so if you can find it…)
4 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water
2 cups dry mini lasagna noodles (or rotini etc)
For the cheese dollop:
cottage cheese or ricotta
Start by heating up some oil with the red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic. I’ve been doing this lately and it seems like the seasonings really come alive inthe warm oil. Have your onion and beef ready to dump in before it burns though. Once yo ucan smell the oregano and garlic, dump in the onions and saute for about a minute and then dump in the beef and break it up. Continue cooking until the beef is browned. Now, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Next, in goes the tomatoes, broth and water. Bring this all up to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
When you are 10 minutes away from serving, throw in the dry pasta and cook until al dente. While the noodles are softening in the soup, prepare the cheesy dollop. Mix together some cottage cheese or ricotta and some grated mozarella and paremesan and dollop it into the bottom each bowl. Pour the hot soup over the dollop and throw on some fresh basil if you like. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.
With the weather we have been having this week, my mind and my stomach are craving some soup. A warm hug, steaming up my glasses and warming my insides. That is what I am talking about. Back in the day, when I was a little kid, I did not like tomato soup. I know! What kid doesn’t like Campbells tomato soup? That is what the commercials try to tell us, but true story, I could not stomach the stuff. If it was chicken noodle, then I was in, but the canned tomato soup just didn’t taste like tomatoes to me.
More recently, as an adult, I pride myself on getting to know the foods I don’t like. I once spent a month eating cottage cheese and fruit for breakfast until I “acquired” the taste for the curded cheese. It is a fun game of forcing myself to like things that my taste buds are just saying no to. You should try it some time. I’ve got myself to also like olives and blue cheese. Y’all can throw a new challenge my way at anytime, but make it reasonable!
Anyways, I finally got my self to like tomato soup. All I had to do was make it from scratch. Now I am a huge fan of the stuff and my recipe is just as easy as popping open a can of Campbells and warming it. Sorry Campbells, but I gotta get people to make their own soup out there. That salt commercial you got, just isn’t that appetizing. I know there is a heck load still in that tiny can…
As for the mini meatballs, that is typical Dutch as the Dutch would say. I had never found a meatball in soup until I ate soup at a hotel in Holland when I was here for a world cup. I must say, it is quite tasty and fits on the spoon just right. Nothing beats the combo of tomatoes and meatballs (think spaghetti and meatballs), so this is just a natural combo. Adding the meat also takes this soup into the main course category. Now all you need is some bread on the side and that is coming up in my next installment!
Tomato Soup with Mini Meatballs – my own invention
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 medium sized cans of whole tomatoes or 1 large monster can
1 bunch fresh basil
150g ground beef or pork
salt and pepper
Start by heating up the oil and butter together. Toss in the onion and celery and soften them up. Add the garlic when the onions are almost clear. You don’t want to over cook the garlic because it will get bitter. Dump in the cans of whole tomatoes (I heard that whole tomatoes are only cooked once before canning, but diced are cooked twice, that means that the whole ones have more of their fresh flavour). Take the empty can and fill it three times with water and add it to the soup (1.5 times if you are using one big can). Add salt and pepper. This will need quite a bit of salt since we just used water, but now you see that we are controlling the amount of salt going in. Brilliant, right?
This is your soup. Let it simmer for as long as you have time for. Tonight I let it simmer for 30 minutes, some nights as soon as it is boiling I am moving to the next step. Next step, take a handheld blender and whiz all this up. Leave it a bit chunky for texture, but this is why we get to just roughly chop. Brilliant, right?
Now make up the mini meatballs and toss them in one at a time. Think small grape when you are making them. Gently stir and make sure the meatballs are cooked through. Takes about 5 minutes. Right before serving, tear up some basil and toss it right into each bowl. Trust me this is some good fresh tasting tomato soup!
Buttermilk. It’s one of my pet peeves. Why, you ask? Because I have only ever seen a 1 litre carton at the grocery store. Have you ever seen a recipe that calls for that much buttermilk? What do you do with all the leftovers? I made something or other with it and then I am now stuck with more than half a carton left. Well, gentle readers, I have a couple recipes to ease your pain. You are feeling this pain too, right?
The asparagus soup is curtosy of Christine Cushing. Thank you Christine. You have given me a recipe that I can change the veg and keep adding the dreaded left over buttermillk. You can make this soup as broccoli soup, cauliflower soup, etc, but asparagus is a cool switch up that no one expects.
Recipe 2 is an easy/great cronbread from a Food Lovas’ fave – Smitten Kitchen (check the blog roll). So many cornbreads call for cream. Remember, I once was an athlete and therefore still steer clear of heavy cream. Buttermilk is thick and creamy and has the added bonus of a little zip! Dress it up as you wish. You could add cheese and jalapenos, your favourite herbs or just keep it straight forward and plain like I did.
4 cups fresh green asparagus trimmed, then peeled and chopped (approximately 2 bunches), cutting and reserving the tips
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek, white part only, washed well and chopped
1 medium sized carrot, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 ml)
1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced
1 cup spinach, chopped (125 ml)
4 cups chicken stock (1litre)
optional: 1/2 cup white wine (125 ml)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (1 ml)
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup buttermilk (60 ml)
Start by sauteing the leek, carrots and onion until the onions are clear. Now add the wine if you are using it. simmer until it is almost gone. Add the broth, potato and asparagus stems. Boil until the potato is tender. Check by poking with a fork. When tender, add the chopped spinach. This is for colour, so add it and wait until it wilts. Use an immersion blender or table-top blender to smooth the soup into a luscious velvety liquid. The potato will help it to become thick. It’s important that you peel the asparagus and cut off the ends so that there is minimal strings. If the soup is stringy try straining it with a mesh strainer. Now add the buttermilk (you can add more if you would like) and the cayenne for a little heat. While the oup is cooking you can steam the reserved asparagus tips and use them for garnish when plating. Hint: You can put a strainer above the soup to steam the tips.
Cornbread – Smitten Kitchen
1 tbsp butter
1.5 cups stone-ground cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large egg
1.5 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit. Put the pan (9 inch round or square) into the oven with the 1 tbsp butter while it is preheating. Mix dry ingredients together and then add the wet. Pul out the pan from the oven and the butter should be melted and very hot – possibly smoking. Swirl the butter to cover the pan. Pour in the batter and it should sizzle. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet. Serve warm. Hint: A cast iron pan is perfect for this recipe, so use it if you have one.