Simple Tomato Soup

tomato soup 5Winter in Southern California doesn’t exist. To attest to that, I’m currently wearing a tank top and sandals. I have jeans on too, in case you thought I was pantsless. But seriously, this just isn’t right. I saw on Instagram yesterday that it was snowing in New Jersey. I know you East Coast people are probably sick of the cold and can’t believe that I’d complain about the 80 degree weather we’re having today but still…. I’d like to experience a mild winter for once. Since “winter” in California isn’t really happening, I thought now was as good a time as any to share my simple tomato soup with you. This is great for lunch on a cold day (I don’t know much about cold days) or a quick dinner. And this must be served with a grilled cheese. It’s a requirement. At least with my soup. This makes a medium sized pot and is supposed to be an accompaniment soup. Yes, I’m very fancy that way.

Simple Tomato Soup

  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (or crushed)
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or 1 frozen basil cube)
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil on medium. Once heated, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes (juice too) chicken broth, sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaf and the rest of the seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and then with an immersion blender, pulse soup a few times to thin it out to a smoother consistency. Turn off the heat and add the half & half. Stir and taste and add more pepper or more sugar if necessary. Serve immediately.

tomato souptomato soup 3tomato soup 2tomato soup 4tomato soup 6tomato soup 7I’m still holding out hope that a little bit of winter will arrive soon. That snow on New Year’s Eve was a total fluke and won’t happen again for at least another 10 years but I’m still wanting to get some use out of my boots. But for now, sandals it is.

Potato Cheese Chowder

potato cheese chowder 3Rain is in the forecast! Not that I really want it to rain because that means I have to clean a total of 8 Boxer paws whenever they go outside and need to come back in (which will be immediately after exiting the house), but I just really want to comfortably wear long sleeves and boots. I’d prefer cool comfortable weather, but one day of rain, I’ll take it.

As for the lack of pictures for this recipe, I apologize. This meal came about because I literally had no meat at all in the freezer. But I did have some bacon. And some potatoes. And it was slightly cool out so I decided to make some soup with what was laying around. I wasn’t sure if it would be that great so I didn’t take very many pictures. Well lo and behold, my favorite man told me that this soup may have surpassed Corn & Cheese Chowder! *gasp* That is a huge compliment because Corn & Cheese Chowder is by far my favorite soup, EVER. And he thoroughly enjoys it too. So that big of a statement means it’s good.

I know the rest of you are probably already cold and long overdue for a comforting recipe. So here you go!

Potato Cheese Chowder

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • dash cayenne pepper

In a stock pot of Dutch oven, heat on medium. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes, then add the garlic and potatoes. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add in broth and all of the seasonings. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 12-15 minutes. Turn all the way to low and with an immersion blender, pulse 2-3 times. Mix together the flour and half & half, using a whisk (this is a slurry). Add into the soup and bring back up to a boil. At this point it will thicken. Once thickened, reduce heat, add in cheese and stir. That’s it!

potato cheese chowder 2potato cheese chowderGreat additions to this soup would be extra bacon crumbled on top or even some chives. Like I mentioned above, I was really limited on what I had on hand in my kitchen and this soup as is was delicious! Also, if you don’t have an immersion blender, a hand masher or even putting a portion of the soup into a blender will do. Using the immersion blender will smooth out the soup but just pulsing it a couple times ensure texture.

It’s the Best Soup Ever!!!

corn chowder 3So if you replace the word “soup” with “day” in the title of this post, do you know which kids’ show that’s from? If not, it’s from SpongeBob! And I am as happy as SpongeBob is when he sings “It’s the best day ever….” when I think about this soup. By far, this is MY favorite when it comes to soup. And I have Pioneer Woman to thank for that. So thank you PW!

Corn & cheese chowder. She had me at chowder. It’s comforting, creamy, filling and delicious. Great served with a French baguette. Just typing this makes me crave this soup. And it comes together so fast, but has so much flavor, you’d never know how quick it was to make. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m passionate about this soup!!!

I have adjusted this recipe slightly to cut down on calories and to work with what I usually have on hand. However, if you want full fat and to see how PW does it, check out the original recipe. Of course, she has amazing step by step pictures.

Corn & Cheese Chowder (original recipe at Pioneer Woman)corn chowder 4

  • 3 15.25 ounce cans of corn, drained
  • 1/2 stick of butter (4 tbsp.)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, finely diced or a small jar of pimientos, drained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk (I use 1%)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 c. pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onions for a couple of minutes. Add bacon and cook until almost crisp.Then add diced bell peppers or pimientos and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add corn.

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in milk and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Stir in cheeses and green onions. When cheese is melted, add salt and pepper to taste, with a dash of cayenne. It’s now ready to eat!

corn chowder 2And you should seriously make this. TONIGHT!!!!!!

Spicy Tuscan Soup

I love a good bowl of soup for dinner. It’s just so comforting and filling. I typically make the same soups over and over because they’re just so good, but I wanted to try something different and came across this recipe. It has kale in it, which I’m a big fan of. It’s a super food! It’s so good for you, and it tastes really good in this soup. Enjoy!!!kale

Spicy Tuscan Soup (original recipe at Tasty Kitchen)

• 1 pound pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 2 slices bacon, diced (I used turkey bacon)
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 medium potatoes
• 1 quart chicken broth
• 1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
• ½ cup heavy cream
• salt and pepper, to taste

Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain off the grease and set the sausage aside.

Add onions and bacon into the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are clear and the bacon has crisped up. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and cut into smaller chunks. Add chicken broth and potatoes to the Dutch oven and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are almost done.

Add remaining ingredients, as well as the sausage and simmer for 5 more minutes. Then it’s time to eat up!

spicy tuscan soup*The original recipe calls for spicy breakfast sausage. However, to satisfy my kids’ needs, I used regular pork sausage and added red chili pepper flakes so I could control the spice level. If spice is not an issue, use the spicy breakfast sausage instead.