Creamy Cream-less Tomato Soup

I don’t make soup nearly enough. I was totally enticed when I saw this tomato soup that doesn’t have any cream in it. It’s not that huge of a deal health-wise, but it doesn’t taste the same when it is reheated and it is just one more ingredient needed since we drink light soy milk and that gets wanky in certain recipes. I made it during one of the very brief winter-weather days here in New England.
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I loved that the bread made it thick and rich.
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I grabbed the canned tomatoes and almost choked when I got home. $5 something?!?! WHAT? In retrospect it was totally worth it for good stuff since there aren’t many ingredients annnnd it is the highlight of the soup. Maybe I ate the soup about 6 times so it is not much cost per serving anyway. Ok, I’m over it.

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Ingredients:

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
½  tsp red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (I used Pastene’s San Marzano Tomatoes with Basil)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Over medium high heat, warm olive oil before adding onion, cooking until translucent and starting to caramelize.
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Stir in tomatoes, sugar, bread, garlic, red pepper flakes.
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Stir occasionally.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium until bread starts to break down.
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Add broth and blend with an immersion blender/blender/potato masher to the consistency of your preference.
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I left mine a bit chunky because I like chunks in ice cream, peanut butter, apple sauce, and soup! I made it smooth when I recreated it for some new parents who I thought could use a meal or two.

I served it with grilled cheese (the secret ingredient was pesto) and it was a fantastic wintry meal. Mr. J isn’t into soup so I ate this myself a million times. It is surprisingly filling.
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Because I’m feeling especially dorky, I looked up what the nutritional facts are and this is a scant 53 calories per serving! A considerably smaller serving of a condensed tomato soup (who shall remain nameless) is 91 calories (with a lot more sugar, double the sodium, and less iron than mine).

Here’s the cost breakdown because I made such a stink about it:
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes: $4.99
3 slices wheat bread: $0.24
1 small onion: $0.99
2 cups chicken broth: $0.22
total = $6.44 (or $1.07 per serving)

Again, more red food in time for Valentine’s Day!
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Tomato and Zucchini for Wow Risotto

Risotto might be one of my favorite comfort foods. I love how creamy it gets and just how much flavor cooks into it. I have a few more in mind but this is an oldy-but-goody. I think I last made it for a girls night dinner circa 2008. This one is red and would be a fun Valentines Day dinner…if you wanted to be thematic.

Risotto really gets a bad rap for being difficult but I don’t agree at all. This one also packs an extra veggie punch with the tomato juice.

Ingredients

1 cup Arborio rice
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup water or white wine
1 zucchini
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Toast rice in olive oil for 5 minutes until slightly golden.
Chop zucchini into disks then into quarters.
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Warm tomato juice and water/wine over low heat.
Add one cup of the hot liquid at a time until absorbed.
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When adding the very last of the liquid, add the zucchini to cook for 5 minutes.
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Mix in parmesan and serve.
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I sprinkled in some rosemary flor de sal I got in Italy and it was a great use for it. I considered it our starch and our veggie. We had some grilled turkey kilbasa with it too for an easy dinner. The leftovers were good too though they’re a bit more sticky.
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Low sodium tomato juice would work well too if your blood-pressure isn’t ridiculously low like mine. Maybe next time I’ll use my trusty Kitchen Ready tomatoes/sauce since the tomato chunks might be good in there too.
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Gussy Up Glass Plates

When Journey Chic had a call for guest posts I was psyched and had a few projects in mind. For as many serving vessels as I have, I don’t have many dishes that aren’t huge platters. I saw these dressed up plates on Pinterest and thought ‘done’. Check out my guest post (as well as some other rockin’ projects) at Journey Chic.

I’m not quite as crafty as I’d like to be. I had a flopped glass etching project but have since been more realistic with napkin rings and tile coasters. These plates were easy, cute, and totally cheap.
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“Ingredients”

Glass plate
1 sheet of scrapbook paper
pencil
mod podge
acrylic sealer
scissors
paint brush (foam or bristled)

Directions

Trace the paper to fit your glass plate.
Cut your traced line leaving ⅛ less on all sides.
My plates were squares so I worried about my ability to stay straight/even so I used scrap booking scissors that look like a jagged cut.
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Snip from the edge towards the center in the four corners (or 4 times for a circle).
Brush the plate evenly with mod podge and stick the paper on (decorative side towards the glue). Prop it up with a jar lid or bottle underneath so you can easily paint with mod podge all the way to the edge.
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Smooth gently from the center towards the edges making sure wrinkles are out and all of the paper is stuck down.
Evenly spread mod podge over the paper allowing to dry between coats (1 or 2 coats).
Once fully dry spray paper side of plates with acrylic sealer in a well ventilated space.
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These looked really streaky before they dried but came out really nice in the end. I thought wrapping paper would have been fun to make birthday or holiday plates too. I’d advise against a directional design unless you can be really careful. I had a square plate and striped paper so the lines had to match up perfectly.
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I’m curious about trying it with fabric if it were soaked in mod podge. Hmmm. Maybe that’s a future test.
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Note that these can’t be submerged in water, they are more of a cookie plate. To clean, wipe them off and let air dry.

It seems like everywhere has plain glass plates for sale that are pretty cheap. Thrift stores usually have them too. I grabbed mine at Bed Bath & Beyond for only a few bucks per plate. I had the paper, mod podge, and sealer already so this was a very cheap craft. I will definitely keep this in mind next time I need to bring food to somebody then I don’t need the plate back!
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Cost breakdown:

Glass plate: $2.99
Scrapbook paper: $0.28 per page
Mod Podge: $7.00 which will last a lifetime
total: about $4.00

Superbowl BBQ Peanuts

In my moving maddness right before the holidays, I came home to a package and was surprised to find a gift! Mrs. K is totally supportive of The Three Bite Rule and saw the Hunting and Fishing cookbook thinking of my love of cooking and Mr. J’s hunting and fishing trips…not that he’s caught/shot anything for me to cook (just yet).
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I thumbed through and was impressed. I thought there were a bunch of fun recipes and the photographs are lovely as well. Most recipes use pretty standard ingredients which is nice. I saw the snack section and picked an easy BBQ peanut recipe to try. The breakfasts look awesome too. Mr. J will have to check out the venison section for the deer meat his brother hunted.
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
16 oz dry roasted peanuts

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine barbecue sauce, butter, garlic powder, and cayenne.
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Add peanuts; stir until evenly coated.
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Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in x 2-in. baking pan.
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Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Spread on waxed paper; cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
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I thought these were great! They are so easy and will disappear quickly. They’d make a fun superbowl snack or hostess gift. I had cashews and mixed nuts so I decided not to go out and buy peanuts. I used the mixed nuts and they worked just fine.

Thanks Mrs. K! There will be more meals to come from here! Now, if Mr. J would just catch me some salmon!