Food

Two Easy & Delicious Winter Soups

Baby it’s cold outside.

As I sit down to write this, it’s 15 degrees below zero outside. That’s damn cold.

I will be the first to admit I am one of those weirdos who actually loves cold weather (though I could do without the snow and ice). One of the fun things about winter is the comfort food to warm you up.

If you’re like me and love soup this time of year, I have two super easy recipes that are going to knock your socks off. They’re cheap to make, delicious, require few ingredients, and are actually quite filling.

Just kidding…SOUP FOR YOU!!! Treat yourself to easy, homemade meals that you don’t have to share with anyone else. Both soups keep well so you can eat them over a couple days. Pair with bread and salad, and you’ve got a full meal!

So grab those ladles ready and let’s go.

French Carrot Soup

This first recipe is one I’ve never seen written. My best French friend’s eighty-year-old mother taught me how to make this, and I’ve been hooked on it for about fifteen years.

It’s a thick, hearty soup, and it’s perfect to make when you have veggies in the fridge or pantry that are past their prime. You can tweak the recipe and put in leeks, squash, or parsnips. Don’t want to make so much soup? The amounts don’t matter. All you are doing is boiling veggies, then puréeing them!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby carrots
  • 1 potato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • Seasoning to taste—I prefer red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop all the vegetables except for baby carrots.
  2. Put all ingredients in a large pot filled ¾ with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat when vegetables are thoroughly cooked and easily speared with a fork or knife—about 45 minutes.
  4. Removing vegetables from water, put in blender and purée. Use about two cups of the boiled water to thin out the soup.
  5. Serve when hot. I added a dollop of sour cream here. You could also use crackers, croutons, bacon bits, or sunflower seeds.

Serves 8.

Tiny Pasta Soup

One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is Joanna Farrow’s Cooking with Just Four Ingredients. I don’t have the patience for tons of ingredients, so I appreciate how simple the recipes are and come out delicious.

This soup is lighter than the previous recipe, but I made a full meal of it with ciabatta bread and a salad. The itty bitty pasta is super cute and while I used stellette (stars), you can use orzo, farfalline (little butterflies [bowties]), or anything else tiny that strikes your fancy. Hell, you can even use alphabet pasta!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups of beef stock (I recommend low sodium as mine was waaaaay too salty)
  • ¾ cup dried pasta
  • 2 pieces of jarred, roasted red bell pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring beef stock to boil in a large pan. Add seasoning to taste (I used red pepper flakes), then drop in the pasta. Stir well.
  2. Reduce heat so that the soup simmers and cook for seven or eight minutes until the pasta is al dente.
  3. While soup is simmering, drain the red pepper slices and dice them finely. Place them at the bottom of the soup plates.
  4. Serve soup immediately with the Parmesan cheese to taste.

Serves 4.

I hope these two recipes have inspired you to get in the kitchen and play around a little bit. They are absolutely perfect for this time of year, inexpensive, healthy, and keep easy as leftovers. Wow your friends with what a great cook you are, or enjoy it all to yourself!

What is your all-time favorite soup? Comment bel

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Super Easy Summer Pasta Salads

The dog days of summer are here.

It is too hot to walk. Too hot to move. Too hot to cook.

Well, maybe there’s a little time to cook.

If you need to bring a salad to a summer barbecue or are just looking to change up your summer cooking repertoire, I found two super-duper easy pasta salad recipes. These can be eaten as a side dish or because they both have veggies and protein, they make a great meal if paired with a green salad.

As many of your know, I am a fan of simple recipes with as few ingredients as possible. The first recipe has just four ingredients, and the second has seven (not counting salt and pepper). Get ready to wow whoever eats these!

Caprese Pasta Salad

I found this on a beautiful blog called The Recipe Critic. Alyssa Rivers is a Utah-based food blogger. Just looking at her Pinterest-worthy recipes is enough to make you want to lick your screen. Check out her take on a classic Caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, basil, and fresh tomatoes).

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz. pasta (I used cellentani)
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 2 cups (10.5 oz.) grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook and drain your pasta according to package directions. Drain with cold water and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine pasta, basil pesto, grape tomatoes, and mozzarella balls. Toss together until it is coated in the basil pesto.

Serves 4-6 people.

I wolfed this down in two sittings. It is easy-peasy to do. Although Rivers gives a recipe for homemade pesto in the original recipe, I am lazy and used store-bought pesto. I can use it again for sandwiches, pasta, meat, etc.

20-Minute BLT Pasta Salad

Baker by Nature is another mind-blowing food blog. Ashley Manila cranks out decadent photography and damn easy recipes. Look at this BLT salad you can nosh on all year round! (Note: The original recipe is HUUUUUGE so I halved it here.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
  • 1/2 pound thick cut bacon, fried until crispy then cut into strips (I used salad bacon bits to save time, but they didn’t work well after they soaked in the dressing. Real is best here.)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 5 leaves of crispy romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water until cool.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a skillet over medium heat; add bacon strips, and cook until crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Place cooled pasta in a large serving bowl; set aside.
  5. In a small bowl combine zesty Italian dressing and ranch, mix well. Add dressing to pasta and toss well to coat pasta.
  6. Add bacon, tomato, and onion to the pasta bowl, mix well to combine, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve at once, or chill until needed.
  7. Add romaine right before serving, or else it will get soggy and gross.

Serves 8-10.

There were no leftovers when I made this for my family. Like I said, real bacon is best because my real bacon bits didn’t hold up in the soggy dressing. But I like it even better than BLT sandwiches. There, I said it.

Both of these recipes are super easy and guaranteed to wow you or your guests. I loved them, and you will too!

What is your favorite summer salad? Comment below!

Easy Breakfast for Dinner Recipes for One

What’s not to love about having breakfast for dinner? You get to eat the foods you love when it’s dark outside, you can wear your jammies, and binge-watch the latest season of BoJack Horseman while you eat, so you got the cartoon aspect covered, too!

There are lots of good casserole recipes, or you can make pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, or even just cold cereal. But I have two quick egg recipes that require about six ingredients apiece and are perfectly portioned for one person!

  1. Savory Egg Bake (modified from a Weight Watchers recipe)

Ingredients:

  • No-stick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon marinara or pizza sauce
  • 1 tablespoon feta (or similarly crumbly cheese)
  • 1 large egg
  • Spices of your choice (the original recipe called for fresh thyme; I used garlic powder, herbes de Provence, and crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 2 pieces bread for toast

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Spray ramekin with the cooking spray (be sure your ramekin can resist temperatures of 400!)
  • Add all the ingredients into the ramekin (I like to poke my egg so it comes out runny)
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees

After it cools just a bit, enjoy with toast and fruit. Plenty of protein, filling, and super easy!

 

  1. Easiest Quiche EVER (modified from a Food.com recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 premade frozen pie crust
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups filling – cheese, leftover veggies, meat, or any combination (for this one I use ½ cup cheese and 1½ cups from a bag of frozen onions, celery, and peppers, which I thawed and drained)
  • Season to taste (I like crushed red pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl
  • Add the filling and milk, then mix all together
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pie shell
  • PLACE THE PIE ON A COOKIE SHEET (I have had more than one quiche drip onto my entire oven)
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is browned, and a knife inserted in center comes out clean

This is so easy and so good. Enjoy with a green or fruit salad, and maybe a piece of toast. It refrigerates very easily for breakfast or lunch the next day.

There are so many ways to make this: Tex-Mex with peppers and steak, Italian with garlic, onions and spicy sausage, or the classic quiche Lorraine with bacon and Swiss cheese. 

I am definitely not a huge egg fan, but these recipes are so simple that I can have them whipped up in very little time with minimal effort. And let the brenner party begin!

What is your favorite breakfast food to eat for dinner? Comment below and try one of these recipes this week!