Tomato Florentine Soup Recipe

Tomato Florentine Soup

5 Stalks Celery
1 Medium Onion
2 cups Fresh Spinach Leaves
1 Cup elbow macaroni (or any pasta)
3 Cans Stewed Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes (depending how chunky you like them)
1 Can Chicken Broth
2 Cups of water
1 Bay leaf
Salt, pepper, thyme and grated parmesian cheese to taste.
1 teaspoon butter

Chop onion and celery and melt butter in the bottom of soup pot. Add onion and celery and sweat out the vegies for 5-10 minutes. Its ok if the onions carmelize a little bit, but don’t completely brown them.

Add chicken broth, water and tomatoes, bay leaf and spices. Bring to a boil, if the soup looks too thick add more water as needed.

After the water has reached a boil, add in the spinach leaves. Don’t worry if they look overwhelming at first, they’ll tend to disappear as they cook.

Let it boil a while, until spinach is completely softened. Then add pasta, the soup will be ready as soon as the pasta is cooked (10-15 minutes)

Split Pea Soup Recipe

Split Pea Soup

1 large or 2 medium onions
5 stalks of celery
10 carrots
8 potatoes
16oz pkg. of dried split peas
1 lb ham
2 bay leaves
black pepper

This recipe works best if you soak the peas overnight in water, but I’ve made it without doing this and it comes out fine, but takes a lot longer to cook.

Dice the onions and celery, and slice the carrots into coins, set aside. Peel the potatoes and cut them into bite size cubes. Dice the ham into bite size pieces.

Put a small amount of butter in the bottom of a large stockpot and heat under a medium flame. When pan is suitably hot, add the onions, celery and carrots. (If you’re not sure, add a little onion and see if it sizzles.) Let the vegetables saute’ for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The vegetables will be ready when the onions are transluscent.

Add 1-1/2 quarts of water, peas, potatoes, and ham; reduce heat to a simmer. Stir every few minutes or so to prevent peas from sticking. This is especially important if peas were dry. Add bay leaves, 2 pinches of thyme, 2 pinches of pepper, a pinch of salt, and allow to simmer for 2 hours while continuing to stir every 10 minutes or so.

Keep the soup simmering until the peas have dissolved into a porridge like consistency. If soup is too thin, allow it to cook down; if it’s too thick, add water to thin.

Serves about 8. Goes great with a slice of dark pumpernickel bread on the side.

Greek Lemon Soup Recipe

Greek Lemon Soup

1/2 gallon chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
2 eggs
2 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped dill
salt to taste

Heat chicken broth to a simmer. Add rice and cook 20 minutes. While rice is cooking, whisk together lemon juice, egg, and parsley. Blend chicken broth and rice into lemon-egg mixture. Heat for 2 minutes. Stir in dill and serve. Garnish with thyme.

Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 large or 2 medium onions
6 stalks of celery
8 carrots (10 if small)

1 lb chicken, pre-cooked
1 qt chicken broth (the natural broth from the chicken works best, otherwise canned broth or boullion can be substituted)
24 oz. egg noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce
ground thyme
black pepper
chopped parsley

Dice the onions and celery and slice the carrots into small coins.

Cut the chicken up into bite size pieces.

Add a small amount of butter to a large stockpot. Melt butter and let it get hot enough for veggies to sizzle. You can test the temperature by dropping a small amount of onion into the pot.

Add the veggies and stir every few minutes, until they’ve sweated down. The onions will look translucent when they are ready.

Add chicken broth, and water if necessary.

Add chicken, add pepper and thyme to taste. Add two pinches of salt. Allow to simmer for at least 1 hour.

Add soy sauce. (It should darken the color of the soup just a little.)

Add noodles and raise burner to a medium heat. Cook for 20 minutes.

Add parsley to taste and then serve.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Sweet Potato Bisque with Tortellini

As some of the regular readers might have realized, we’ve become enamored of the selection of soups and soup-bases at Trader Joe’s. So on our last store trip (an hour each way, but still worth it) we picked up a container of their sweet potato bisque.

I emptied it into our small crock pot, thinned it with water a bit (it was still quite thick), added a few spices, and let it cook while I started making the homemade tortellini. I just wanted to make the noodles, no filling. (Sorry no ‘in progress’ photos – I was covered in flour and very focused – LOL!). I let the soup ‘crock’ for a number of hours. About two hours before we were going to eat, I tossed in the small tortellinis – it took them a while to cook, but they did fine. When we served it, we added a dollup (I’ve always wanted to use the word dollup) of sour cream in the middle, and a sprinkling of nutmeg.

It came out very tasty! And although the bisque has a lovely flavor, it IS rather mild – the sour cream sort of finished it out with a nice tang.

[Tags: , , , , ]

Easy Tomato Soup Florentine

This isn’t a ‘cooking from scratch’ sort of thing, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious!

We cooked up half a pound of mini-raviolis (Trader Joe’s brand) and then added them to the carton of Creamy Tomato Soup (also Trader Joe’s brand) that was already in our small crock pot. I also added more water and a good amount of black pepper and some finely grated parmesan too. It simmered on low for hours and hours. About 45 minutes to an hour before we were going to eat, I chopped up a bunch (as much as you like, as it tends to shrink up and disappear somewhat, just don’t overdo it) of organic baby spinach leaves and added them to the soup.

It was fantastic and very hearty!

We also had some leftover French bread and so I made buttery garlic bread to go with it, which was a fantastic match up.

A funny aside: We have limited counter space so I keep putting the crock pot away in its box when we’re done with it, but I keep having to pull it out again every other day since we’re having so much fun making stuff in it!

Also, we have a recipe for a completely from scratch Tomato Soup Florentine recipe in our archives for those that want to go for broke.
[Tags: , , , , ]

Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever!

We made chicken soup from scratch the other day – first time ever – and it was, if I may say so, fantastic!! We already had leftover cooked chicken and chicken stock. We shredded the chicken and put that in the crock pot with the broth. Then, we chopped onions, carrots, and celery and saute’d them in a frying pan. I took a picture of the raw carrots and celery because it looked so neat…

Then, we added the veggies to the crock pot and set that to cooking. A few hours before we were going to eat, I made some homemade noodles with our hand-crank pasta machine and the wavy wheel cutter. Here’s a photo of the noodles drying out a bit on a rack.

About an hour or so before we were going to eat I added the noodles. Not surprisingly, the noodles plumped up a LOT more than I expected – LOL – and so we had a LOT of noodle content in there. Just before we were going to eat, we chopped some green onions and added them to the soup and WAH-LAH! Best homemade chicken noodle soup ever!!

[Tags: , , , ]

Tomato Florentine Soup

I was cleaning out the fridge and realized I had half a bag of spinach leaves that needed to be used very soon. I decided on Tomato Florentine Soup, which I was already familiar with from work.

At work, I’ve always used frozen spinach, which is more bitter than the fresh leaves and made flavoring the soup more of a challenge. The fresh leaves were a pleasure and the soup had a wonderfully sweet taste.

One thing I did notice was that the pasta seemed to absorb the salt, and I found myself adding a lot more to flavor it. I never noticed this at work, but I had to be light on the salt anyway, since many of our residents were on low sodium diets.

Speaking of work, my full time job as a cook often kept me too busy to post here. As of last Monday, that’s no longer an issue, I am no longer employed. Ironically, now I will have more time to cook and write up recipes for the site.

I’ve learned a great deal as a professional cook; however, its a very demanding job, often unnecessarily so because of poor management policies and corporate downsizing. Cooking at home is far more enjoyable, even with no counter space and less equipment. Its far better to learn the tips and techniques from television (and blogs like this one!) and practice them on your own.