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Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup

 

We are half way through the week! This week has felt like the longest week. Honestly it feels like it took an eternity to get to Wednesday, but we’re here and that feels comforting. So, I offer you this comforting classic. Something about a creamy tomato soup makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. This version is super easy and healthy. Rather than adding cream, you use Greek yogurt which provides creaminess, but also ups the protein of the dish. It’s such a quick and easy weeknight meal. I used my immersion blender to blend it up, but you can use your food processor or blender to get the job done. What I find, when I use the immersion blender, the more liquid the better success you will have (duh!). I use a heavier pot for soups, so often the liquid is shallow, especially if I’m not making a huge pot. If you start out on the slower speed, tilt the pot to allow the liquid to pool on one side, giving you more liquid to work with. Once you slowly start to blend the liquid, you can crank that baby up and go to town. It’s seriously that easy. This soup is incredibly tasty and pairs VERY well with grilled cheese sandwiches or a nice piece of toasty warm bread.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion cooking until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in the bay leaves and dried basil.
  2. Add in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir in brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes allowing the flavors to combine.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and using your immersion blender, blend the soup together. Stir in the Greek yogurt and Orzo. Serve warm.

Notes

This recipe is slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Steak and Veggie Kabob

 

You know what I usually love about this time of year? Grilling. You know what we haven’t been able to do a ton of? Grilling. On the days it’s nice, you can bet that we will be out there making something on the grill. Lately though, it’s been unseasonably cooler, which wouldn’t be a problem, I’m from New England after all, but it’s been rainy. But, on one of the warmer days I was able to test out this recipe. The homemade marinade was so good. We happened to use steak for this version, but you could use anything, even just veggies. The marinade is so simple. You probably have everything you need already on hand. I literally just combine everything in a mason jar and shake it up to combine. Pour over the kabob and let it sit overnight, and you have got yourself a tasty lunch or dinner. It’s always a delicate balance to make sure you don’t under or overcook the veggies that you are using. Keeping cuts consistent, is key. And get creative with the combination. I personally love the grilled flavor of vegetables and pretty much anything.

 

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade, combine the marinade ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up.
  2. For the kabobs, soak wooden skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Assemble the kabob by alternating vegetables and meat. Pour marinade over the kabobs and let them sit overnight.
  3. To cook, place on a hot grill and grill up to preferred doneness.

Notes

BLT Pasta Salad

 

Since flaking on my post yesterday, I wanted to make up for it by posting something that included bacon. This BLT pasta salad is something I’ve been dreaming about. When reality set in, I was not disappointed. This turned out fantastically. For me, spring/summer time sides are so fun. Various salads, fresh produce, so many options. Pasta salad is not something we eat often, but when we do, I want to make it worthwhile. Also, any time I have an excuse to add bacon to a dish, I will gladly do so. Any pasta would be great, but for this I opted for heartier tortellini. The dressing is adapted from this veggie dip that I had made, which essentially tasted like a homemade ranch dip. It was the perfect dressing for this dish. Bonus, the fresh herbs make it look so pretty.

Ingredients

For the salad

For the dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook your tortellini according to the package instructions. For the bacon, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place strips of bacon on your baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon.
  2. To make the dressing combine the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Let the tortellini cool. Once at least room temp, add to a medium size bowl. Add in the dressing. I start with small amounts and gradually add more as I feel it needs it. Add in the chopped tomato and spinach. Toss to combine. Crumble the bacon over the top of the dish.

Notes

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

 

I love my slow cooker, but especially when the weather is chilly and I get to come home and not have to think about dinner. The weather just happened to be on the chillier side this week, so I took advantage of that with this slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs dish. I love this comfort food. I’ve made a variety of meatballs, like Rachel Ray’s mozz stuffed meatballs (drool!) but typically the standard version is my favorite. This was so easy to put together before I left for work. Despite the hectic morning of my son wetting his bed, needing to do laundry, while he’s demanding a cup of milk, and still needing to get ready for work. So really, if you are in a jam and want something yummy for dinner that;s low maintenance, this will be your jam! My husband commented that hands down this was the best version of this classic that I have ever made. Although my son was more hesitant and insisted his stomach was “full”, he at least tried it and did do his usual sound effects indicating disgust that I’ve diverted from his usual preference of chicken.

Instructions

  1. To make the sauce, add the onion, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasoning, salts and pepper, and garlic to your slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. To make the meatballs, combine the meat, cheese, seasoning, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients by hand until they are incorporated. Scoop them into 1" balls and submerge into the sauce in your slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve over cooked pasta and top with additional cheese. That's it!

Notes

This recipe is adapted from Hip Foodie Mom

Baja Style Fish Tacos

 

I have to learn to be flexible. Or at the very least being ok with being more flexible. Like when you plan to post one thing, but then decide to go another route because…..Monday. I intended to share an awesome salmon dish, which I will eventually. But I felt like Monday needed some uplifting so I went with these fish tacos. I only recently made these, for Cinco de Mayo. I have never battered fish and fried it like this and I was so excited by the result that I had to share. When I made these my husband and I just stared at them amazed that they came out as good as they did. He somewhat recently has decided he no longer likes seafood, so coming from him this was a compliment. The other bonus is that after you fry the fish, you can freeze them so you have them any time you feel the need for a fish taco. I’ve had this a couple times since, and I just reheat them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so, depending on the size of the fish. They have been perfect each time. I also love the sour cream sauce that goes with it. The original recipe calls for a mix of sour cream and plain yogurt. For this picture, which became lunch after, I used just sour cream and it was delightful. If it’s a dreary Monday where you are too, add some fiesta to it with this dish.

 

Ingredients

For the crema

For the tacos

Instructions

  1. To make the crema, combine all of the ingredients and mix well to blend. Adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside, in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
  2. Season the fish pieces with salt. Set aside. In a deep heavy pot, pout olive oil so that it's 1 1/2 inches deep. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir in the beer and mix until smooth.
  3. Using tongs dip a piece of fish into the patter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the pot with the oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes, flipping once. You will want the batter to be golden brown and the fish cooked through. It's easiest to do this in batches, you do not want more than 4 pieces of fish in the pot at a time. Remove the fish to the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the fish is cooked.
  4. Serve with corn tortillas, cabbage, crema. You can also top with cilantro.

Notes

This recipe is adapted from Annies Eats.