The other night, we had a dorm event centered around soup. That is my kind of event! I love soup passionately, and have shared many soups here across the years.
I started to ask my husband which soup he wanted me to bring, then amended my statement to, “Do you want me to make lasagna soup?”
He shook his head vigorously. This is probably his favorite soup that I make, and it’s a great crowd-pleaser for events. It’s hearty and satisfying and really much easier to make than a lasagna. With just a touch of cheese, you get the same lasagna feeling, too, without being weighed down with tons of carbs and dairy products.
Make some soup to survive these last weeks of winter. You won’t be sad to have a bowl of this on your table. And if you need more carbs, it’s a great dipping vessel for crusty bread.
You can never have enough soup recipes during the winter? Am I right? I could eat soup basically for every meal and be happy as a clam.
My assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club was Searching for Spice. Corina lives in Surrey, England, and has two little ones. Her recipes are for busy moms, loaded with hearty spices, and delicious. Many of her recipes are ethnic, especially falling into the Indian and Thai food categories. They look delightful, and I’m eager to try one on my husband, like Chicken Biryani with Spinach Raita. (OK, he won’t eat that raita, but I definitely will!)
I’m always a little daunted by recipes that are in metric and have unfamiliar ingredients, but my husband reminded me that Google is my friend and I can do it! Thankfully Corina’s recipe for Pizza Soup looked awesome and had few conversions for me to do.
This soup has big pieces of bell pepper, onion, salami, and mushrooms, making it hearty enough for a meal on its own, which sometimes soup is not. A slice of cheese toast on the top helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and adds and extra flavor layer. I made just a few modifications. Corin may be ashamed of me, but I can’t handle spicy foods, so I subbed in salami for chorizo and reduced the red pepper flakes a little. If you like spice, by all means, throw in as many as you want. And maybe some jalapeños, too!
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add salami and cook a few minutes, stirring, until it begins to crisp. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, and onion and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes to the pot, and stir well. Fill the tomato can about two-thirds with water and add it to the soup, stirring. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and some black pepper.
Top bread slices with shredded cheese and a pinch of Italian seasoning and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Ladle soup into bowls, then top with cheese toast. (You can substitute toasted garlic bread as well.)
It’s week 3 of the “Good and Good for You” pork challenge here at Vanderbilt Wife. I have been so thrilled by this challenge: we’ve found some great new recipes, had friends over each Thursday night, and may have established a new weekly tradition!
I all but command you to make one of these fiesty dishes for your honey for Valentine’s on Tuesday night. Neither takes a ton of time, but these two pork dishes are so tasty.
These Indian kebabs I made from PorkBeInspired.com are fragrant and the spice rub is simple to make yet delightfully complex. You blend garlic, salt, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, and water in a food processor (I used a mini chopper) and let the pork cubes marinate in the mixture for a few hours. Then thread the pork, sweet bell peppers, and sweet onions on skewers and grill for a short while. Delicious.
I served the skewers over couscous and with a Pineapple Raita. Raita is a traditional Indian yogurt dipping sauce. Mine is not super-traditional, I imagine, but I went with what I had and it turned out wonderfully. I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week.
The cut of meat that is on sale this week at Publix is bone-in sirloin roast. I have to say that for the skewers, that’s probably not the best choice. Get a boneless roast or a tenderloin; much easier to cut up!
But since I had a roast, and I love pork roast, I felt like I needed to make, well, a ROAST! But of course, I wanted something special. I had seen Honey Parmesan Roast on Pinterest and it looked like it had that “je ne sais quois” factor.
A few of my taste-testers went gaga over the amazing “gravy” that’s on this roast. You might want to just drink it instead of bothering with the meat. And you know what? Go for it.
Our Honey Parmesan Roast was served alongside mashed potatoes and asparagus with bacon and goat cheese. (Thanks, Leslie!)
Thickening the gravy is optional, but you'll probably want the extra sauce to pour on some mashed potatoes or rice.
3-4 lbs. bone-in sirloin pork roast
1/2 c. honey
2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese (preferably real!)
3 T soy sauce (LaChoy is gluten-free)
2 1/2 tsp. dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T cornstarch
1/4 c. cold water
Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix together honey, cheese, soy sauce, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Pour sauce over roast.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours, until the roast is falling off the bone. Use tongs to remove pork to a serving dish.
Carefully pour the sauce into a saucepan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch and pour into sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to gravy consistency. Pour over roast and serve. Serve any extra gravy on the side. (Great over mashed potatoes!)
[GIVEAWAY OVER] So, hey! At the end of this four-week series, I am giving away a great package including coupons for $40 of fresh pork, a meat thermometer, a reusable bag, a pedometer, and a nice reusable water bottle. To enter, comment on any post in the series. You can comment once on each one, and then you’ll have four entries! I will choose a winner after the fourth post goes live around February 17.
You just can’t go wrong with bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise, right? But when these ingredients come together with some fresh ones, it makes magic.
I have made these tasty appetizers a few times … even though I don’t eat them. I guarantee they’re good, though, because every time I make them there is a buzz of “WHO brought these?” around the room. I am pretty sure I had no fewer than eight women ask me for the recipe at a small Christmas party last week.
So make this your signature appetizer! I won’t tell anyone that they’re really not that hard to make. And you’ll be famous among your family and friends.
2 packages Campari tomatoes (or substitute cherry or grape, but Camparis are SUPER sweet)
1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled … or 4.5 ounces real bacon bits
2/3 c. mayonnaise
3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped finely
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 T fresh chopped parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
The hardest part of this recipe is prepping the tomatoes. Take the tiniest slice off the bottom of the tomatoes if you want them to sit flat on a plate. You don’t want to cut hardly anything off, just make it a little flat. If you are going to rest them on lettuce leaves or kale (my favorite presentation, although it’s a little retro), this isn’t as important.
Take a small slice off the stem end of the tomatoes and then scoop out pulp and seeds with a teaspoon. Set upside-down on paper towels to drain.
Cook your bacon. But really, I won’t blame you if you use one of these instead. I did. Otherwise I eat too much bacon before it makes it in the bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together cooled, crumbled bacon (or bits), mayonnaise, green onion, cheese, and parsley.
Flip tomatoes back right-side-up and sprinkle very lightly with salt. Spoon filling into tomatoes. Refrigerate for several hours before serving to let flavors meld.
I failed to get a picture of the finished product, so here is the Taste of Home photo. The Campari tomatoes are much bigger than the cherries, so you’ll want to do less “mounding” of the filling until you’re sure you have enough to go around.
I needed an appetizer, though, to share with the other women on the retreat I went to this past weekend. So I settled on Parmesan and Herb Chicken Tenders, a Rachael Ray adaptation.
I decided to forgo the frying step in the recipe, simply because I know I can make crunchy, baked chicken fingers; also, it’s another pan I would have to wash. I hate washing dishes.
I also had to make some changes in the herbs. (I didn’t realize the amounts were for fresh herbs, either, so I may have gone a little herbalicious!) We just moved, and the spice containers I use were still packed. I was missing several spices, so I exchanged the rosemary and thyme for plain old Italian seasoning, which I could find. I’m sure fresh herbs would be divine as well.
I’m pretty happy with how well we stuck to the menu plan for last week! Sticking to a plan is not exactly my forte. This week we’ll be eating almost exclusively from the freezer. Looking forward to a light cooking week.
During my gall bladder issue that wasn’t my gall bladder at all, I found myself trying to cook with as little fat as humanly possible. I was happy to make up this recipe using super lowfat ground turkey breast. The parsley and turkey come together to make really scrumptious meatballs!