Tomato Soup

This is one of my go-to recipes for those days we want to eat a little lighter but it’s too cold outside to entertain a salad for dinner.  Nothing chases the cold away better than a bowl of piping hot soup, paired with a loaf of fresh bread, a perfect Monday night dinner.  This recipe is full of shortcuts, I promise it’s delicious.

2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes

1 14 oz. can seasoned diced tomatoes

1 package of knorr brand  vegetable soup mix

1/2 tbsp. herbs de provence

4 stalks of celery chopped

2 carrots chopped

1 chicken boulliion cube

1/2  24 oz. package frozen small meatballs (sweedish or italian style)

1/2 to 3/4 cup small pasta such as ditalini, rings or pastini

salt and pepper to taste

Place everything except the pasta in a large pot on stove top.  Bring to a gentle boil.  Add the pasta and stir occasionally to keep from sticking.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about one hour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Corn Chowder

I’ve learned never to throw away that left over corn on the cob.  Cut it off the cob and freeze for another day.  A drizzly bleak fall afternoon calling for an easy and fulfilling dinner is just the perfect use…..corn chowder.

5-6 slices of bacon

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 medium onion finely chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2 medium yukon gold potatoes – unpeeled and diced

2-3 cups of fresh or frozen corn

1 1/2 tbsp flour

1/8 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp italian seasoning

3 Cups chicken stock

1/2 pint half and half

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot (preferably cast iron dutch oven), render the bacon.  Set aside to cool and coarsely chop.  Drain off most of the fat.  Add the butter to the pot and slowly saute the garlic, onion and bell pepper.   Add the potatoes and continue to saute on medium low heat to keep the potatoes from sticking.  When potatoes have browned slightly add the corn and bacon, stir in the flour to coat all the vegetables well.  Add the seasonings and slowly add the chicken stock, stir well.  Cover and cook on medium low heat for approx. 45 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender and soup has thickened slightly.  Reduce heat to low.  Add the half and half and season with salt and pepper. Do not allow to boil.  Heat through and serve.

Grilled Beet and Tomato Salad

If you have ever grilled beets, you will agree they are delicious.  However, sometimes there are leftovers.  I found them too good to throw away so I came up with this salad idea at the end of tomato season to rave reviews by my test kitchen committee (my family). If you don’t have leftover grilled beets, then just grill them first and use still warm from the grill in this salad.

4-6 1/2 thick slices fresh grilled beets*

2-3 tomatoes sliced 1/2″ thick

4-5 thin sliced rings from a red onion (or more as desired)

2-3 oz. crumbled feta cheese

4-5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

course ground sea salt and pepper

*If you need to first grill the beets, place the slices over a hot grill and cook until soft on both sides.  Baste with olive oil while on the grill.  Remove and put aside.

Arrange the beet and tomato slices on a serving platter.  Place the onion slices on top.  Sprinkle the chopped rosemary evenly over the salad then add the feta cheese.  Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the salad and add salt and pepper to taste.