Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

tomato soup 1
It’s a step up from the classic tomato soup, but just as comforting!

Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Roasted Red Peppers (instructions follow)
1 small Onion
2 Carrots
Salt & Pepper
2 28oz. cans Tomato Puree or Whole Peeled Tomatoes
2 cups Water
1 Bay Leaf
1 tablespoon Fresh or Dried Parsley
1 cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Place the onion, carrots and roasted red peppers into a food processor and chop until finely minced. About 5-8 pulses.
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the vegetable mixture.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for about 5-7 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley and water. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes.
With a hand or counter top blender puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream.
Tip: if using a traditional blender fill it only halfway per batch. Hot liquid can expand and splatter.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or a grilled cheese sandwich.

To Roast Red Peppers:
Buying jarred is totally acceptable, and probably preferable. However, if you’ve never tried it yourself you’re missing out on a money saving way to pump up the flavor of pretty much anything.

Heat your oven broiler to high.
Place two red peppers onto a baking sheet.
Position the peppers until they are just two inches away from the heating element.
Broil the for two minutes or until they are burnt (that’s right burnt, as in black!)
Turn over the pepper and char the other side.
Place the peppers into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. What you’re doing is keeping the heat in to steam the peppers through and allow the skin to peel off easily. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
When cool enough to handle peel off the charred skin, remove the stem, open it up and remove the seeds.
You can use immediately or store in the fridge covered in olive oil for a week or more.

Lazy Day Spaghetti & Meatballs

SPAGHETTI

You want a big bowl of something comforting, but it’s too much to handle on a Tuesday with homework waiting and the kids howling for their dinner. Definitely time to whip out your lazy day repertoire.

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 package Sweet Italian Sausage (I like Johnsonville)
1 32 oz. can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 1/2 cup of Water
1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning
Salt & Pepper
1 package Dried Spaghetti

With a knife slit the sausage casing open and remove the sausage. Discard the casing.
Roll the sausage into small balls (about the size of a cherry tomato).
Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Place the meatballs into the pan and brown for about 10 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and water to the pan and stir gently. Add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the pasta in a big pot of salted boiling water for about 12 minutes. Drain and serve in bowls with the meatballs and sauce spooned over the top.

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Minestrone Soup

Here’s a recipe to warm you up in the chilly weather.

Minestrone Soup

1 cup Pasta Shells (Cooked)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup diced Onion
3 cloves Garlic (sliced)
1/2 cup diced Carrot
1/4 cup diced Celery
1 teaspoon pepper

1 small Zucchini (large dice)
1/2 cup White Wine
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 cups Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon dried Oregano

1 can Kidney Beans
1/2 cup Frozen Green Beans (thawed)
1/2 cup Frozen Corn (thawed)
2 cups Fresh Spinach
5 leaves Basil

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot. Cook the onion and garlic gently until onion is soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add in the carrot and celery, and pepper, cook for another 5 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini, oregano, white wine, stock and tomato sauce. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat, simmering for 15 to 20 minutes.

Drain and rinse the kidney beans and add to the pot, stirring gently. Stir in the green beans, corn and spinach. Cook until heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
Serve with the torn basil sprinkled on top and with a hot ciabatta loaf.