Saturday, November 5, 2011

First Soup of the Season

There is a chill in the air here in Georgia, and that means soup! For some reason, I'm not a big fan of soups during the warmer months, but when the leaves are turning, and the wind picks up, there is nothing better than whipping up a big pot on a Sunday afternoon.

I like them for the sake of convenience too. One pot (read: fewer dirty dishes). Large quantities (read: I only have to cook once and I have meals for several days/nights now, or in the future in the freezer).

The other reason I love making soups is because I can control the ingredients. Yeah, yeah, of course it's better for my health...more veggies, lower sodium, leaner meats.

But, the real reason I like controlling ingredients is because I can be as creative as I want. Sure, there are tons of great recipes out there to follow (which I encourage!), but I've learned to let my imagination run wild with soups and throw a little of this in and then a little of that and viola! A masterpiece. Trouble is, I always forget to write down the magic formulas. Darn.

This past week, I was watching back episodes of Giada de Laurentiis on DVR and came across an episode where she made this delicious, easy tomato soup. It was so easy and absolutely delicious!

Even though I didn't make it up myself, I felt like I did since everything I needed was in my pantry or fridge, and I pulled one of those "on camera" moments where I effortlessly grabbed this and that and ended up with this:

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup
(by Giada de Laurentiis)


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce (recommended: San Marzano brand)
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper.

4. Simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hiatus is over!

Wow. It's been a really long time since I've posted. I have good reason though! Well, ok, for six weeks after my last post, life just got busy. But, on July 25, 2011, my world was turned upside down when the entire first floor of my home flooded.

Yep. Every last bit of it was under at least 2 inches of water.

I was literally living in a construction zone for nearly two months (more posts about that soon), not much cooking was going on unless it involved opening a Lean Cuisine and popping it in the microwave or making a deli sandwich.

But, I'm on the other side, and it is glorious! I have a brand new, updated, gorgeous, shiny, elegant, practical, spacious, magazine-like kitchen! There, I said it. It's fantastic. And I have been - and plan to continue - cooking up a storm in it...oh, the holidays have never seen such deliciousness!

I will be writing many, many new posts very soon, but here are a few pictures of the destruction to give you a mental image of why I've been away for so long.


I have missed you.