Minestrone Soup

I have outstanding news.

No wait – stupendous news. Stellar…….profound…..unbelievable….first rate….

Are you ready for this? Today, I made it from L.A. to Las Vegas without commanding the attention of the California Highway Patrol.

In layman’s terms? I didn’t get a speeding ticket.

Hooray for me!

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Minestrone Soup – adapted from Williams Sonoma

2 tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups vegetable stock (or broth)
1 28 oz can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 large carrot, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
¼ head savoy cabbage, cut into shreds
1 can cannellini beans – drained
½ tbs. dried basil
½ tbs. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup small pasta (like gemelli or shells)
balsamic vinegar
2 tbs. fresh parsley
fresh grated parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent – about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute – then add the stock, tomatoes, carrot, zucchini, cabbage, beans, basil, oregano and bay leaf. Season with black pepper, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Cook the pasta separately – and add to the pot. Serve with a dash of balsamic, parsley, and fresh grated parmesan.

Chicken Corn Chowder (and a prebirthday shoutout)

Ugh……… I’ve been down with a migraine for the past 15 hours. I woke up at 3:45 this morning in so much pain I didn’t know whether to cry, throw up, or pass out. It was that bad. However, right now, my head is just a bit woozy, my vision is slightly blurred, and I still feel like last weeks’ leftovers.

But other than that, I’m great and on the road to recovery. :)

We have a busy week ahead of us, though, since the posse return to school tomorrow, work is picking up again, and Friday we head to L.A. to throw a birthday party for a very, very special person.

My dad ♥

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He’s the best there is – no one could ever possibly compare (or even come close). He is kind, considerate, compassionate, generous beyond belief, smarter than anyone I know, and quite frankly, I don’t know what I would do without him.

He’s just that amazing of a person – and I’m lucky enough to call him my father. Love you Dad!

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Chicken Corn Chowder – adapted from bon appetit (2003)

10 bacon slices, chopped
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 medium onions, chopped
2 cups chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/4 cup all purpose flour
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (cut from one 1 3/4-pound squash)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 16-ounce bags frozen corn kernels
1 cup whipping cream
4 cups diced skinned roast chicken
2 cups chopped green onions
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cook bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from pot. Add butter to pot; melt over medium-high heat. Add onions and 1 cup bell peppers. Sauté until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Mix in broth, then squash, potatoes, and thyme; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until squash and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes. Add corn, cream, and 1 cup bell peppers. Simmer until corn is tender, about 10 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add chicken, 1 cup green onions, and 1/2 cup cilantro; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle chowder into bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup green onions and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Creamy Tomato Soup

As you may (or may not) remember, I was down all last weekend with the flu.

It sucked.

On a positive note, though, the preceding weekend I was very ambitious and prepared two batches of soup, and I had the foresight to freeze a few containers for another time. Well, last weekend was that time.

How propitious.

This tomato soup, straight from the October issue of Bon Appetit, was the first recipe I tried. While it was delicious all by itself, it was even better with a slice of ciabatta bread that I had toasted and covered with pepper jack cheese.

Mmmmmmm…… cheese…….

Creamy Tomato Soup – adapted from Bon Appetit

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
10 sprigs thyme, tied together
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/4 cup (or more) heavy cream
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add thyme, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is completely soft and translucent, 10-12 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add tomato paste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until paste has begun to caramelize in spots, 5-6 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices and 6 cups water to pot. Increase heat to high; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer until flavors meld and soup reduces to about 2 quarts (8 cups), 45-55 minutes. Remove soup from heat; let cool slightly. Discard thyme sprigs. Working in small batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot.Stir in 1/4 cup cream. Simmer soup until flavors meld, 10-15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more cream, if desired.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Wow …… has it really been four days since I last posted?

Why yes Megan, yes it has. And, believe it or not, I didn’t even have to use a calculator for that.

Sheesh… for someone who is usually so talkative………so eloquent…and sometimes long-winded, I’ve been quiet. But definitely not inactive. This weekend was quite action packed because we had company from Friday afternoon till about 8 this morning.

This was Anthony – our houseguest.

He was Alexander’s baby project assignment. It’s part of the school-mandated program to make middle school kids think twice about sex/pregnancy.

I don’t know if it worked for him, but it certainly worked for me. No more kids thankyouverymuch. Just the sound of the baby crying was enough to send Sabrina and I running…….

Alexander, however, surprised me with his dedication and perseverance towards the care of the baby. He only requested assistance twice during the entire weekend and he handled that baby with more care and finesse than I expected.

He really is changing and maturing……every.single.day…….right before my eyes.

*cue the lights and angels singing*

Chicken Tortilla Soup – adapted from Ina Garten

  • 4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
  • 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional
  • 6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

For serving: sliced avocado, sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using. Cut the tortillas in 1/2, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated Cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.