Creamy Rustic Tomato Soup

Creamy Rustic Tomato Soup

Nothing beats comfort food on a cold and stormy day.  Whether it’s a snowstorm or rainstorm comfort foods are always welcome.  And what’s the best comfort food on a wet and windy day?  Grilled Cheese sandwiches dipped in a bowl of steaming creamy tomato soup of course!

Dipping a crunchy sandwich dripping with gooey cheese into a hot bowl of creamy tomato soup brings back awesome childhood memories sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen on a winter afternoon.  But for some reason my grandmother always served Campbell’s tomato soup to which she’d heat with milk instead of water.  I guess Filipino grandmas didn’t do homemade tomato soup, but her Arroz Caldo, chicken and rice soup, was always awesome.

I digress, back to tomato soup.  As an adult I still love creamy tomato soup.  When I was a newlywed grilled cheese and canned tomato soup was pretty much all I could make, having had lots of practice during my school days.  Then I suppose you could say my tastes got a bit more sophisticated and I actually learned how to cook.  Homemade tomato soup was something I finally figured out how to make.  It’s actually pretty easy, specially these days when there are immersion blenders and canned fire roasted tomatoes.

These days my love of creamy tomato soup has been passed down to my grandkids.  So I make a big pot of my Creamy Rustic Tomato Soup on stormy days.  Of course there’s grilled cheese for dunking!

Making this soup is very easy, it just takes a bit of time. I use Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes because I just love the Rustic flavors roasted tomatoes have.  To make the soup I sauté chopped onions and garlic, pour in the diced tomatoes, add spices and stock, then simmer for at least an hour.  I add lots of heavy cream, use my immersion blender to purée, then serve.

Ok, so maybe you don’t have an immersion blender, why not??, you really should consider investing in one, it’s a great kitchen small appliance; anyway don’t despair, you can use your blender, a bit messy and you must be very careful, but it’s doable.

Here’s a tip, if you are using a blender, cool the soup to almost room temperature, so you don’t get burned.  Pour  soup in the blender so it doesn’t overflow and leave room for blending space.  You may have to purée your soup in batches.  Return puréed soup to pot and heat before serving.  This is just one reason an immersion blender comes in handy!

So here’s my recipe!

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Creamy Rustic Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

3 Cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

1 Small onion finely diced

3 Garlic cloves finely minced

1 Tbl. Olive Oil

1 Tsp. Dried Oregano

1 Tsp. Dried Basil

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

Black Pepper to taste

16 oz.  Chicken Broth

2 Cups Heavy Cream

Fresh Basil or Oregano for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Heat Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven or large pot.  Sauté onions until they start to turn translucent.

Add Garlic and sauté another minute or two, don’t burn it.

Add spices and mix well.

Add tomatoes and broth.

Bring to a boil.

Turn heat down to low and simmer covered for about 1 hour.

Remove from heat.

Stir in cream.  Mix until well incorporated.

Purée carefully with a hand held immersion blender (if you don’t have one see tip above for using blender)

Blend until the soup is smooth and not lumpy.

If it’s too thick stir in more chicken broth until you get the consistency you want.  You may need to reheat if it gets too cold when  you add broth.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh basil leaf or oregano sprig if desired.

Serve hot.

 

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Pepper Steak

Pepper Steak

Pepper steak is a stir-fried Chinese American dish consisting of sliced beef steak cooked with sliced bell peppers, bamboo shoots and other seasonings such as soy sauce and ginger, and usually thickened with cornstarch. Sliced onions and bean sprouts are also frequent additions to the recipe.

We’re huge fans of homemade beef and broccoli, but no matter how hard they try, some people can’t seem to convert to the church of broccoli. This is the broccoli-free version of your favorite stir-fry and has quickly become one of our favorits. We like  to use both red and green peppers (because they make the dish so dang pretty!), but you can swap in whatever colors you like best. Serve with rice and you’ve got yourself a delicious dinner on the table in no time.

Tried making this awesome dish? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

 

YIELDS:

4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME:

0 HOURS 15 MINS

TOTAL TIME:

0 HOURS 30 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

 
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
4 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
green bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger

Cooked white rice, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

 

1. In a large skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add flank steak, season with salt, and cook until cooked through and seared on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove steak to a plate.

2. Add 1 tablespoon remaining oil and red and green bell peppers to the skillet. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook stirring until fragrant. Return the beef to the skillet and pour over prepared sauce. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is glossy about 2 minutes more. 

3. Serve with rice.


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The Best Garlic Shrimp Recipe – Just like Hawaii Food Trucks!

The Best Garlic Shrimp Recipe – Just like Hawaii Food Trucks!

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, or are like my family are fortunate enough to live there, then you’ve tried some delicious island favorites.  I’m sure you made your way to one of the island’s Shrimp Trucks.  The best ones are located on Oahu’s North Shore!  A shrimp truck specialty is the Garlic Shrimp plate; succulent shrimp in rich garlic butter sauce served with steamed white rice and macaroni salad.  A local favorite!

Shrimp trucks usually serve this plate with shell on shrimp.  I love the stuff but hate the mess of peeling shrimp while eating outdoors on picnic tables; specially if you have kids to peel for.  That’s why I make them at home using peeled shrimp with just the tail on.  It’s a very easy recipe to make and doesn’t require a lot of time.  For the best results I use fresh chopped garlic, lots of it!  So if you’re hankering for some shrimp truck Garlic Shrimp, or just what to try it here’s the recipe.  You may just love it so much that you’ll want to come to Hawaii to try the real thing!

Shrimp Truck Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 Lb. Extra Large Shrimp – peeled but leave tail on

1/2 Cup Flour

1 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Cayenne Red Pepper

1 – 2 Bulbs of Fresh Garlic – Chopped (adjust according to your taste)

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Lb. or 1 Stick Butter

1 Lemon

Parsley for garnishing (optional)

Directions:

Combine flour, cayenne red pepper, and paprika in a bowl.

Toss peeled shrimp in flour mixture until well coated.

Place bowl in fridge and allow to marinate at least a half hour but no more than 2 hours.

Heat Olive Oil in a heavy pan.

Add butter and stir until butter melts.

Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to brown – color should be golden not brown.

Add marinated shrimp and cook until shrimp is no longer translucent, about 2 minutes on both sides.

Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of one lemon over all.

Plate and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.

Serve fresh with your choice of starch and veggies.

 

Shrimp Truck Garlic Shrimp
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Shrimp Truck Garlic Shrimp
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Instructions
  1. Combine flour, cayenne red pepper, and paprika in a bowl.
  2. Toss peeled shrimp in flour mixture until well coated. 
  3. Place bowl in fridge and allow to marinate at least a half hour but no more than 2 hours.
  4. Heat Olive Oil in a heavy pan.
  5. Add butter and stir until butter melts.
  6. Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to brown - color should be golden not brown.
  7. Add marinated shrimp and cook until shrimp is no longer translucent, about 2 minutes on both sides.  
  8. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of one lemon over all.
  9. Plate and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.  
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Zucchini Pizza Boats

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Anyone’s New Year’s resolution involve dieting?  I know at our house it does.  Yes, now that the holidays have been put away it’s time to get back to normal eating and perhaps back to a diet.

To my husband that means eating low-carb and even Keto.  Whenever he went on one of his strict no carb diets I always ended up making 2 different dinners, no or low carb for  him and normal for the grandkids.  Well not this year!  I decided that low-carb or Keto friendly doesn’t mean that those not on diets can’t enjoy the same foods.  Seriously!  So I embarked on a journey to find dishes that would meet my husband’s needs and be tasty enough for the whole family!  I’ll be sharing recipes as I go!

My first keto friendly dish enjoyed by everyone in the house are these Zucchini Pizza Boats.  They are absolutely delicious, even for those who don’t particularly care for zucchini.  (That would be the grandson who refused to eat anything “green”! But he loves these Pizza Boats!)

This is such as easy recipe to make and it is seriously yummy!  It’s a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

They’re a meal on their own, but feel free to serve them with Garlic Bread if you feel the need for carbs.  I serve them with a nice crisp salad of mixed greens with Italian dressing.  Very nutritious!

The recipe calls for Marinara Sauce, you can use store bought, your favorite homemade sauce, or try some of my yummy homemade Marinara Sauce.

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Ingredients:

3 Large Zucchini

1 Tbs. Olive OIl

1 Lb. Ground Beef

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

2 Cups Marinara Sauce

1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese

1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cooking spray

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan.

Place ground beef in pan and add garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

Cook until meat is crumbly.

Add marinara sauce and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-15 minutes.

Combine 3 cheeses and stir in half of cheese mixture into beef mixture.  Set aside.

Cut off zucchini stems and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise.

Using a melon baller scoop out insides of zucchini, save the insides for later uses.

Place Zucchini boats on to baking pan.

Spoon meat mixture into each boat making sure each boat is filled to the brim.

Sprinkle remaining cheese over each boat.

Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and started to turn brown.

Serve hot with salad or garlic bread.

 

Zucchini Pizza Boats
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Heat oil in frying pan. Place ground beef in pan and add garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cook until meat is crumbly. Add marinara sauce and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 10-15 minutes. Combine 3 cheeses and stir in half of cheese mixture into beef mixture.  Set aside. Cut off zucchini stems and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller scoop out insides of zucchini, save the insides for later uses. Place Zucchini boats on to baking pan. Spoon meat mixture into each boat making sure each boat is filled to the brim. Sprinkle remaining cheese over each boat. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until cheese has melted and started to turn brown.  Serve hot with salad or garlic bread.
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Sugar & Spice Halloween and Fall Cookies

Sugar & Spice Halloween and Fall Cookies

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There’s a bit of a nip in the air, even here in Hawaii it’s been rainy and gloomy.  And Starbuck’s has added my seasonal favorites like Pumpkin Spice Latte!  This can only mean Fall is here!

This time of year I get a yen for spice cookies, nothing smells better than oven fresh cookies.  It fills the house with those delicious fall aromas like cinnamon and ginger.  And since this year’s Halloween will probably be very different from Halloweens past cookie baking is one of the activities we’ve added to our yearly festivities.  I mean Halloween parties (or parties of any type involving multiple people from different households) is out of the question and for our family and friends Trick or Treating is a no go too.  Instead we’ve been making Halloween crafts, watching Halloween movies, and reading Halloween books.  And now we’ll also be baking and decorating Halloween cookies.

These Sugar & Spice cookies are yummy without the icing.  They’re great for all the Fall occasions including Halloween and Thanksgiving.  That’s right one recipe different styles!

 

 

 

 

 

You can even use the same cookie cutter, well at least the pumpkin shape!  And the same icing colors!

These cookies are so easy to bake and they are so yummy!  To make them pretty I used royal cookie icing in 2 different consistencies, piping and flooding.  I also saved some cookies and icing so the kids can decorate them next when they’re in the mood!

This cookie recipe makes a dough that is great for rolled and cut cookies without having to refrigerate it before cutting!  Here’s the recipe for the cookie icing, the cookie recipe is below.  Enjoy!

Royal Cookie Icing

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. Meringue Powder

1/2 Cup Water at room temp

7 Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tsp Vanilla extract or other flavor

2 Tbs Shortening

2 Tbs Corn Syrup

1/8 tsp Salt

Procedure:

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment mix together meringue powder and water until frothy and all powder is dissolved.

Add 1/2 of the sugar and beat on medium speed about 4 minutes.  It will be thick and glossy.

Add flavor, shortening, and corn syrup and mix well.

Slowly add in remaining sugar.  Mix on slow/medium until well blended.  Mix for another 3 minutes.  It should be thick like a  piping consistency. (if you want it really thick add another cup of sugar, this is used for hard decorations like roses, eyes, and more that you stick to the top of cookies and cakes.)

Cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp cloth to keep moist.

Divide to make different colors and consistencies.

To make flood icing thin with water but add 1/8 to 1/4 tsp water at a time until you get desired consistency.  Flood icing should be a bit thin and runny, but not too runny and watery that it rolls off the sides of the cookie.

To decorate cookies place a small amount of icing in a small bowl and color using gel food coloring.

I usually color a bowl then separate it again so that I can change the consistency of a portion of the colored icing.   I place the Piping or thicker consistency in a piping bag and the thinner flood icing in a plastic squeeze bottle.

Pipe a thin line of icing, piping consistency of course, around the edges of the cookies and any other place you want to separate the flood icing from.  Let dry.

Squeeze flood icing on the cookie surface and spread out making sure it all stays inside the piped lines.  Let dry.

Pipe other decorations onto to dry flood icing, like words, eyes, and designs.

Let everything dry completely and store in air tight containers.


Sugar & Spice Fall Cookies
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Sugar & Spice Fall Cookies
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Instructions
  1. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and spices.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together butter and sugars.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated.
  4. Gradually add in flour mixture scarping down sides and bowl bottom to make sure the dough is well blended. Dough will be thick.
  5. Roll out dough on floured surface. The thickness should be between 1/4" and 1/2".
  6. Cut out shapes and place on parchment or silicone covered baking sheet.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 11 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit on sheet about 2 minutes.
  9. Gently transfer to wire racks and cool completely before decorating.
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