Watermelon Gaspacho

I love this tangy and refreshing soup in the summer! You can serve it as a light lunch or serve it as an appetizer at your next summer BBQ. This is my version of the recipe I recently found in The NY Times from Chef Brian Streeter at Cakebread Cellers. Here it is!

Serves 8 (or 12 if appetizer portions)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped*

3 cups watermelon, cut in 1 inch cubes

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/2 large red pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 bulb fennel, coarsely chopped

1/4 – 1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

2 T. Extra virgin Olive Oil

3 T sherry vinegar, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 T finely diced watermelon (optional for garnish)

PROCESS

  1. To make tomatoes easy to peel, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a separate bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes to create an ice bath while water boils. Make a small X with a sharp knife in the bottom of the tomatoes just enough to penetrate the skin. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the pot and place in the ice bath. You can now easily peel the tomatoes. Next, seed and coarsely chopped them and place in a large bowl. Place all the other fruits and vegetables in the large bowl together.
  2. In a blender, in batches, puree all the ingredients except the last two ingredients (salt and watermelon garnish). add a little bit of ice water (about 1 cup) to achieve a soup-like consistency. Season with salt, taste and add a little more vinegar if necessary. Chill Thoroughly.
  3. Divide the soup among eight cold bowls or 12 small appetizer cups. Garnish each serving with a spoonful f diced watermelon. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil if desired and serve.

3 Step Lentil Soup

What could be better than an easy and savory soup that’s chock full of vitamins and nutrients? It’s low in fat and high in fiber and protein too. Sometimes I modify this recipe and toss in a handful of cherry tomatoes while cutting in half the amount of crushed tomatoes. I make up a large batch and store it in the fridge for a quick but satisfying meal during the week. It also freezes well.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped in 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 T fresh)
  • 2 cups dry lentils (I like red)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Step 1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Step 2. Stir in lentils*, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until lentils are tender, at least one hour.
  • Step 3. When ready to serve, stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust as needed.

* Don’t forget to rinse the lentils well before placing in the pot as this removes some of the indigestible sugars that can cause you to feel bloated and gassy and also removes any dirt or debris.

Nutrition Facts 

Per Serving:

Lentil Soup Nutritional Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 8
Calories: 349

% Daily Value *

Protein: 18.3g 37 %

Carbohydrates: 48.2g. 16 %

Dietary Fiber: 22.2g. 89 %

Sugars: 3.3g 

Fat: 10g 15 %

Saturated Fat: 1.4g 7 %

Vitamin A 85 %

Niacin Equivalents: 5.7mg 44 %

Vitamin B6: 0.5mg 33 %

Vitamin C: 13.3mg 22 %

Folate: 333.7mcg. 83 %

Calcium: 98.1mg 10 %

Iron: 6.2mg 34 %

Magnesium: 104.4mg 37 %

Potassium: 969.5mg 27 %

Sodium: 130.5mg. 5 %

Thiamin: 0.4mg 39 %

Calories From Fat: 90.1

Lemony Chicken Rice Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes            Cook Time: 40 minutes          Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 6

298 calories/serving

Ingredients

2 sticks celery chopped finely

2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons flour

6 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1.5 pounds uncooked chicken breasts

1 cup uncooked white rice (or orzo if you prefer)

3 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley or to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with the butter and oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the flour and cook for another minute or so.

Pour in chicken broth and stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the Italian seasoning and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil.

Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the orzo and cook for another 10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Take the chicken out of the pot and cut it up, then add it back in. Add the lemon juice, parsley, and season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. ( I like to add even a little bit more lemon juice but you decide).  Serve immediately.

This soup can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months and simply thawed and reheated on the stove.

Italian Sausage Soup

As the weather starts to change, so does my cooking.  Warm hearty soups replace summer’s repertoire of grilled and barbecued fare.  This cozy soup recipe will warm you up this fall.  It’s both satisfying and comforting.

Italian Sausage Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. Italian sausage – mild or spicy (broken up out of skin or sliced with skin on)
1 large onion (cut into ½ inch dice)
4 cloves minced garlic (or more if you like)
1-16 oz. can crushed Italian tomatoes (or plain crushed tomatoes with a few shakes of Italian seasonings)
32 oz. chicken broth (Homemade if you can.  See my favorite recipe here)
2 large (or 3-4 medium) zucchini (cut into a ½ inch dice)
2 T fresh basil  (Use just 1 T if using dried Basil)
1/4 cup pasta noodles (like elbow macaroni)
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1.  Brown sausage with onion and garlic in a medium frying pan (drain fat).
2.  In a large pot, add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, zucchini, basil, and pasta noodles.
3.  Add sausage, onion and garlic mixture to the pot.
4.  Simmer slowly for 1 hour.  Enjoy!

Psst!  Soup can be frozen for up to 2 months and then reheated for a quick weekday meal.

Apple Vichyssoise

DFTSI - Apple Vichyssoise_6495My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me.  Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering.  You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will  be coming back for more.  Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess!  It is my new favorite!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes  approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups of apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened.  Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream.  Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.  Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness.  Season with more salt if needed.

6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top.  As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired.  The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).

Enjoy!

PSST!  You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.

15-Minute Thai Coconut-Broccoli Soup Recipe

Can’t wait to try this yummy goodness!

food to glow

A 15-minute vegan take on the Thai dish, tom kha kai (chicken coconut soup). A green soup in disguise. Hopping from family gathering to party to dinner. Zapping in and out of airports and train stations. Catering like a boss for family and friends. Too.Many.Cocktails. The holiday season definitely takes its toll. Not only on one’s routine and normal diet, but also one’s  motivation to get back to real life – which unfortunately isn’t fruit-spiked mugs of glögg, and 8 a.m. slices of stollen. 

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Ina-Inspired Tomato Soup

IMG_1324Easy Tomato Soup inspired by Ina Garten

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation

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Spicy Mexican White Chicken Chili

mexican chicken chiliGrowing up as a kid, the definition of chili was both a  small pepper with a very hot flavor and a spicy stew of ground beef usually with beans too. Both meant yummy goodness.  Now chili in our family seems to be synonymous with Monday Night Football.  Our version is a chicken variety with savory mexican spices.  It’s always a hit, even when our team doesn’t win.

Spicy Mexican White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

2-3 cups shredded chicken (I use rotisserie chicken from the deli section at Sprouts)
2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans
2 cups roasted corn (I use frozen from Trader Joe’s)
1-2 ounces taco seasoning mix (I use part of the envelope from Trader Joe’s)
1 (7 1/2 ounce) can of chopped green chilies (use less if you like a milder chili)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (14 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth

TOPPINGS

1/2 cup sour cream
chopped green onion (optional)
Monterey jack cheese (optional)

Directions:

Pour beans, corn and chicken in large pot.

In a medium bowl, combine taco seasoning, chiles, condensed soup, and chicken broth.

Pour over top of ingredients and stir together over medium heat.

Simmer for 15-30 minutes.

Serve topped with green onions, sour cream, and jack cheese, if desired.

Vegetarian Jambalaya

vegetarian jambalayaMy sister recently sent me a subscription to Blue Apron and a box arrived right to my door.  I was intrigued.  The company sends you all the fresh ingredients to prepare three delicious meals for your family during the week, along with the recipe (including photos) to help you prepare it.  It was Mardi Gras this week so the meals all seamed to have a creole/cajun theme.  I decided to start with the Farro Jambalaya. Full of fragrant vegetables, this hearty meal was a hit with my family.  I have included the recipe here so I can make it again.  Yummy!

Vegetarian Jambalaya

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Ina’s Mexican Chicken Soup

Ina's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ina’s Mexican Chicken Soup

(Serves 6 to 8 )

Ingredients

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2½ quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

Directions

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