Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simple Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon of dried basil

In a medium size saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil, red pepper flakes, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste; cook 1 minute.
To saucepan, add thyme, broth, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your fingers. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes. (Remove thyme sprigs before blending.)
Using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot, leaving a fair amount of the tomatoes in chunks. Or, working in several batches, puree half or all of the soup (if you want to have a smooth consistency) in a conventional blender until smooth; return to pot. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot with garlic croutons on top and grated Parmesan cheese.

Directions for Garlic Croutons:
Over medium heat, spray a non tick pan with olive oil. Add in chopped white bread or small Portuguese roll. Spray bread with olive oil spray and dust with a little bit of garlic powder and salt. Toss bread constantly over heat until golden brown.

Martha Stewarts Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are, by far, the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I was so excited to finally come across a great recipe just in time for Christmas this year and of course I want to share it with the rest of you! :D

Makes about three dozen cookies!

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
2.Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
3.Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Spinach, Potato, Onion, Bacon Frittata with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 box frozen spinach thawed. Squeeze spinach in paper towel to remove excess water.
6 bacon strips chopped
1 medium onion diced
10 small yukon gold potatoes sliced thinly
7 large eggs
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 grated garlic clove
salt & pepper to taste

On medium heat render chopped bacon in a large non stick skillet. Once bacon is browned remove bacon onto a dish layered with paper towels. Add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to bacon fat and add in diced onions along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Once onions start to become soft, mix in the potatoes and lower the flame to low. Cover the skillet with a lid and allow the potatoes to steam for 7-10 minutes. In a bowl, beat eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside. Add in spinach and cover again with a lid for another 7-10 minutes. Make sure you mix the spinach in well. Add in the bacon pieces that you cooked earlier to the mixture. Add eggs to the skillet and bring the heat back to medium. Add finely grated cheese to the top. Cook on stove top for 10 minutes and transfer to a 350 degree heated oven for 30-45 minutes or until the top is browned and the center is firm.

This recipe does not contain milk like many other recipes call for. I personally do not like milk and find this recipe to be good without it. You can also add any type of cheese into this dish like cheddar or mozzarella. You can also omit the spinach and add broccoli! This dish is very versatile. Its great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Here are some different mixtures you can add to this dish:
Caramelized onions, potatoes, and bacon.
Sausage, sauteed red peppers, caramelized onions, and potatoes.
Broccoli, potatoes, and cheddar cheese.

Have fun!