Saturday, February 2, 2013

Soup's On!

Happy weekend friends!  Geez it seems like its been forever since I've posted, things have been busy!  Last weekend Chris and I went to look at wedding venues with our families, I think we left more confused than when we got there but we'll make a decision one of these days!  Anyways, who else is ready to say adios to this cold and snowy weather?!  Most definitely THIS GIRL!  Bring on sunshine and summertime!  Although I can wish winter away everyday it seems sucking it up and dealing is going to be the way it goes but at least I can make it better by sharing some yummy soup recipes with you!

Lately our Sundays have been pretty free, giving me plenty of time in the kitchen.  In an effort to keep on track with our eating I've been prepping some soups for us to take for lunches.  I also split it up so there's a dinner portions worth for us for an evening during the week I don't feel like doing much cooking.  So the past couple Sundays along with Sunday dinner I make a soup for the week.  So far I've made Beef and Stout Stew and Tomato Tortellini.

Beef and Stout Stew
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 lb. diced stewing beef
- 2 c. Guinness or stout beer
- 2 sticks celery, chopped
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 c. frozen peas (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. beef demi glace (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste (optional)
- salt
- pepper

- Chop celery, onion and carrots (I just used two small baby carrots that Chris uses for lunches because I'm not a fan of the vegetable).  Fun fact for ya: this mix of veggies that's used as a cooking base is called mirepoix (pronouced: meer- PWAH), stick that in your fancy cooking terminology! :)
- In a large pot over medium heat olive oil (bottom of the pot's worth should be fine), put in vegetables and bay leaves and cook about 10 minutes.

- Add meat and flour.

- Add beer and tomatoes.

- Stir then season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for three hours.
- For the final half hour, uncover, add peas, demi glace, tomato paste and let it continue to simmer.

- Before serving remove bay leaves.
- Taste to see if you'd like any more seasoning to it.
- Serve and enjoy!

Tomato Tortellini
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced 
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil 
- 1 pkg. (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini 
- 1 can tomato soup (I used Campbell's Harvest Tomoato with Basil, the original recipe calls for 2 cans of condensed tomato, I don't love condensed soups so I altered it) 
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1 1/2 c. milk
- 2 c. half-and-half (I used fat free)  
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste (the original recipe I found says to use sundried tomato paste, I didn't want to fuss with finding that so I used regular)  
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning 
- 1/2 tsp. salt 
- 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

- In a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown.

- Add tomato soup, half and half, milk, chicken broth, tomato paste and spices.

- Bring to a simmer for 8 to 10 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.  

- In another saucepan cook tortellini according to package directions.  You can cook the tortellini in the soup if you'd like when it comes to a simmer but since I wasn't serving it right away I didn't want the tortellini to get mushy. 
- Combine tortellini and soup then serve with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

- If you aren't serving this right after cooking, let cool, package accordingly and store in the refrigerator.  When serving simply add tortellini when you heat up the soup so it won't get too mushy sitting in the soup.  I broke this down into one dinner portion and three lunch portions.  I put the tortellini in the lunch size because I didn't want either of us to have to fuss with putting tortellini in the soup before we left for work or whatever.
- I decided to thicken the soup when I warmed up the dinner portion because I didn't like it so runny, I used a "slurry" (a couple tablespoons cream cheese, flour and milk whisked together) and added that to thicken it up as well as simmered it for awhile.  Chris didn't mind it either way but I thought it was much more pleasing after it was thickened.

Chris and I both liked these soups.  I preferred the beef stew and thought the tomato tortellini could be simplified rather than adding all that milk and half and half.  Both recipes are incredibly simple so I highly recommend them for that aspect.  Hope you can warm up and enjoy these soon!  I've been really bad about blogging lately, too much STUFF going on!  But to my loyal readers I do promise to get better!  

Next up we've got Superbowl party!  Chris and I are BIG football fans so even though neither of our teams made it to the big game we still love to have a party and watch!  I'm also going to be trying Chicken Parmesan Soup for the week!  Stay tuned!


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