Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

IMG_6589Fresh rosemary, basil, and parsley along with fresh stalks of celery, onion, and garlic make this bisque one of the freshest, most fragrant tomato bisque’s you’ll ever eat. No broth is used in this recipe, just fresh ingredients, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese. This bisque is best when made with local tomatoes that are in season. If possible, buy your tomatoes from a local farmers market, but if that isn’t an option, vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store will give you the best flavor when tomatoes are out of season. Makes 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
butter (optional)
9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
a handful of parsley
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon pepper sea salt grinder
1 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c mozzarella

Turn a large pot on low heat and start to melt the butter (you can leave the butter out if you want, but still turn the burner on to warm up the pot). In a food processor, combine 5-6 tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley, and fresh rosemary leaves and blend until smooth. Add to the pot. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot along with the Italian seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Then, add the fresh chopped basil, heavy whipping cream and mozzarella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh scallions, croutons, or more cheese and serve.

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

This soup isn’t healthy in the least, and I make no apologies for it. The more butter, the merrier. And don’t forget the heavy whipping cream! This is an easy recipe to follow and can be on the table in about 35-40 minutes. Save it for those bitter cold winter days when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket. Makes about 6 servings.

What you will need:
3 large baking potatoes
lots and lots of butter. I didn’t measure here, so I’m assuming maybe 3 T? Maybe more??!
1 leek
1/2 a bunch of lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 packets of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
3 1/2- 4 c water
1 c potato flakes

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add them to the boiling water (cutting them into smaller pieces before boiling them cuts down on cooking time). Boil for about 15- 20 minutes, or until they are done. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Chop the leeks and add them to the pot. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the kale into 1/8 inch pieces. Once the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the pot with the leeks, along with the kale, heavy whipping cream, water, and the packets of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix. Turn the heat up to medium, add the potato flakes and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve garnished with scallions.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

This roasted red pepper bisque is made of fresh herbs and veggies, with a little bit of heavy whipping cream and delicious Asiago cheese and goat cheese- no need for veggie broth here. It’s best when slow cooked over low heat, letting all of the flavors infuse and come together. This bisque also works great as pasta sauce. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
4-5 large red peppers
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/2 of a red onion
a couple pinches of fresh parsley
a couple pinches of fresh rosemary
a pinch of fresh thyme
lots of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
1 c heavy whipping cream
3 oz goat cheese
5 oz shredded asiago cheese
a dash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
a pinch of sea salt (if you don’t have Bragg’s, just add more salt according to taste)

Preheat oven on the broil setting. Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and seeds, and place directly on the top oven rack. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to char. In a food processor, combine the celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, and fresh herbs along with all but one of the red peppers and blend until somewhat smooth. Transfer to a medium side pot and start to cook over low heat. In the food processor, take the last roasted red pepper and pulse it to a salsa consistency, being careful not to over blend it. Add it to the pot along with the heavy whipping cream, Bragg’s liquid amino acids, shredded asiago cheese and goat cheese and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Continue to cook over low heat for at least an hour and a half, letting all of the flavors combine and the veggies soften. Serve with crusty, toasted bread and shredded asiago cheese.

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

This slightly spicy soup is bursting with flavor from Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth, a hint of peanuts, almost 10 oz of mushrooms, chunks of tofu, and handfuls upon handfuls of spinach. And, it’s ridiculously easy to make! This soup is hearty and can be served as a main dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes! Makes about 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
oil for sauteing (I highly recommend coconut oil)
4 oz shittake mushrooms
32 oz carton of Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth (kudos to Swanson for that one, by the way!)
3 well rounded spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (not creamy!)
16 oz of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (if you can find it. It goes above and beyond the calls of extra firm tofu. Trust me.)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 oz beech mushrooms
large handfuls of spinach (I used about 5)

In a medium or large pot, melt the coconut oil. Remove most of the stem from the shittake mushrooms and cut any of the larger mushrooms in half. Add them to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into small cubes and remove the woody ends of the enoki and beech mushrooms. Add the spoonfuls of peanut butter to the soup along with the tofu, enoki, and beech mushrooms. Then, start adding the handfuls of spinach, letting each handful wilt a little bit before adding the next, until you have your desired amount of spinach. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts or scallions.

Mushroom, Lentil and Kale Stew (Vegan!)

SAM_4809This hearty stew is full of fresh veggies like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and kale. And it’s vegan, too! Lentils are full of fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and help keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. I like to make this stew with intentions of freezing half of it for when I don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook. This recipe yields a lot of stew, so I’d recommend freezing some of it if you don’t have intentions of eating it throughout the week. This is also a great recipe to make on the weekend when you have a Saturday afternoon free since this crock pot recipe is time consuming.

What you will need:
a large crock pot and medium pot
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
1 c red lentils
1 c green lentils
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 of an onion
5 c vegetable broth (preferably mushroom based)
1/4- 1/2 lb of kale

Turn crock pot on high heat and start to melt the butter. Cut the crimini mushrooms in half and add to the crock pot, stir and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the red and green lentils to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and drain any excess water. You can also chop the onion, celery and carrots while the lentils cook. Set lentils aside. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 45 minutes, add the onions, celery and carrots and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale into thin slices, then cut those slices in 3rds. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the crock pot and add the kale and cooked lentils. Continue to cook for about another hour and a half or until the kale has wilted and the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with crusty, buttery toast on a chilly winter day.

Thanksgiving Leftovers- Baked Potato Soup

Thanksgiving Leftovers- Baked Potato Soup

Keep the Thanksgiving feast going by turning leftovers into veggie baked potato soup! Do you have leftover gravy? What about all those sweet potatoes and baked potatoes? And (this wouldn’t happen in my house, but…) leftover stuffing? Throw it all in there! The more, the merrier, right?

I started off this soup by melting butter over low heat and caramelizing onions and celery with it. I then added about 2 cups of water with a packet of dry onion soup mix. You can also use vegetable stock. Now, if you have leftover gravy, you might want to skip the onion soup mix or vegetable stock all together and just use water (it’ll end up really salty otherwise). Start pouring in any leftover mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, veggies, cheese and any meat substitutes and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Serve with scallions, sour cream, cheese, or bake the last of the stuffing in the oven and make croutons! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Meatball Stew

Vegetarian Meatball Stew

This is a great crock pot recipe full of veggie meatballs, mushrooms, onions, butternut squash, and kale. The rich, savory, mushroom and onion soup broth is really what makes this stew so crave-able. My secret is using Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup packets. It’s a dry soup mix that is very hearty, savory, and buttery, giving it a very French feel. It almost tricked my friend into thinking it was beef broth (even though she knows better!).

The great thing about stew is that you can throw in any vegetables you want. If you’re not a fan of butternut squash, you can always use sweet potatoes or just regular old potatoes. Swiss chard and spinach are also great greens to use if kale’s not your thing.

What you will need:
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1 small red onion (or half of a large one), diced
1 box of MorningStar Farms Veggie Meatballs
10 oz package of frozen butternut squash
2 very large pieces of kale, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 tbs butter, plus more for sauteing
1 1/2- 2 packages of Lipton Mushroom Onion Soup Mix (depending on taste)
5 cups of water

Turn the crock pot on to high heat and add 2 tbs butter. Dice the two portobello mushrooms (including the stem) into large cubes and add them to the crock pot. Large chunks are good here. It’s a stew, so big, “meaty” pieces are a good thing. Dice the red onion and add that to the crock pot as well. Cook for about 45 mins- 1 hour, or until mushrooms reduce and are cooked through. Meanwhile, In a skillet over medium heat, add butter and veggie meatballs and cook until they are golden brown on the outside and heated through. Set them aside. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the butternut squash and broth. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Then, chop the kale into 1/4 strips and add to the crock pot. Continue to cook until kale is wilted. Add the veggie meatballs and serve with bread and butter.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup paired with Apple, Caramelized Onion and Sage Grilled Cheese

Curried Butternut Squash Soup paired with Apple, Caramelized Onion and Sage Grilled Cheese

The use of yellow curry and chili powder adds just a subtle kick of flavor to this creamy, autumn soup, while still using the traditional butternut squash soup seasonings of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Pairing it with a smoked gouda and sage derby grilled cheese, sandwiched together with caramelized onions, red apple (sliced paper thin) and baby kale on a sweet, cinnamon bread, makes for the PERFECT combination of fall flavors.

Also, there’s no need to use a food processor for this soup, like most butternut squash soup recipes call for. I’ve found that mashing the butternut squash into the pot after it’s been roasted gives it the best consistency. It felt like eating adult baby food when I once tried blending it in the food processor, and no one wants that.

I used a very small butternut squash for this recipe that made 4 servings.

What you will need:
1 small butternut squash
2c onion soup broth
2 1/2 oz coconut milk
1/3 c yellow curry sauce (my favorite is the one from Trader Joe’s)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of clove
Coconut Greek yogurt to garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove the seeds and discard. In a pot over medium heat, add the onion soup broth, yellow curry sauce and butternut squash. Mash the squash into the pot with a spoon and add your cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, coconut milk and butter. Serve garnished with coconut Greek yogurt.

IMG_6214

Now, to make this delicious, savory grilled cheese, you will need sage derby cheese, smoked gouda, thinly sliced red apple, caramelized onions, and baby kale, all sandwiched between two slices of sweet cinnamon bread. Grill in a pan with butter and serve with curried butternut squash soup.

20131007-181124.jpg

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Truffle Butter- Soup Week!

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Truffle Butter- Soup Week!

The combination of heavy whipping cream and truffle butter makes this soup sinfully delicious and rich, while oyster and shiitake mushrooms make it hearty and filling. Enjoy as a side or as a main course. Makes about 6 servings.

What you will need:
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb oyster mushrooms
1/2 lb enoki mushrooms
5 tbsp truffle butter from Ohio City Pasta
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
a touch of olive oil
6 tsp Better Than Bouillon Mushroom Base
6 c water
1c heavy whipping cream

In large pot, heat truffle butter on medium low heat until melted. Meanwhile, remove stems from shiitake mushrooms and discard. Remove any bad parts of the stem from the oyster mushrooms and chop up the remaining parts of the stem. Chop the mushroom caps into 1/4 inch chunks, leaving any of the smaller, bite sized mushrooms fully in tact. Add all oyster and shiitake mushroom pieces to the pot, as well as the thyme and rosemary sprigs, and a touch of olive oil (if needed) and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened. Add the enoki mushrooms for the last few minutes of cooking. Then, add water and mushroom bouillon base and stir. Continue to cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the heavy whipping cream, stir, and cook on low heat for another 5 minutes. Remove thyme and rosemary sprigs and serve.

Vegan Corn Chowder- Soup Week!

Vegan Corn Chowder- Soup Week!

Tis the season for sweet corn! Well, at least it is in northern Ohio! The sweetness of sweet corn and red bell pepper really complements the touch of smokey, spiciness in this chowder that comes from sriracha and liquid smoke. If you are planning on making this chowder, please use fresh ears of corn. Frozen or canned corn just won’t cut it, and the corn cobs are what makes the flavor of this broth. This also makes for an amazing chilled soup. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
food processor and large pot
6 ears of corn on the cob
3/4 red pepper
1/2 onion
3 c vegetable stock
1/2 c almond milk
1 1/2 tbsp earth balance
a couple drops of liquid smoke
sriracha to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast all 6 ears of corn for 30 minutes. While they’re roasting, chop the red bell pepper and onion. Once the corn is done, carefully remove the kernels from 5 of the ears of corn with a knife and set aside in a bowl (I’ll tell you what to do with that 6th ear in a minute). Add the corn cobs to the pot, along with chopped peppers, onions and vegetable broth and cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, take the kernels from the 5 ears of corn and add to the food processor along with almond milk. Pulse and blend until creamy and smooth, about a minute or more.

Once the broth and veggies have cooked for 20 minutes, use tongs to remove the corn cobs and discard them. Remove the corn from the remaining corn cob and add it to the pot along with the corn and almond milk mix from the food processor. Add just a couple of drops of liquid smoke and sriracha to taste, just for a little kick. Stir and continue to cook on medium low heat for another 5 minutes. Pour into bowls and serve with bread or a tasty cheddar jalapeno scone, like I did.