Soupalicious

So yesterday may have been warm enough for me to go gallivanting about my neighborhood in running shorts for over an hour, but the evening still had a lingering bite to it and left me wanting a hot shower and a good bowl of soup. But who wants stew in March, or something heavy after exercising? Thankfully, there are out there transitional soups that are light and healthy while having still a buttery richness to them, and they of course are easy. If soups like this are your thing, investing in an immersion blender might be a good idea.

Winter Vegetable Soup

This recipe is pulled from one of my favorite recipe sites ever: www.cookstr.com.The thing I like about it is that with some good scrubbing of the veggies, no peeling is necessary and it is easy to double or triple the recipe.  Except for the potatoes, which will quickly brown, all of this can easily be cut up a few days in advance. If a leek (essentially a large green onion) is too fancy for you, regular yellow onions would be fine too. Also experiment by throwing in other root vegetables like rhutabaga, yams or turnips.

Ingredients

  • 4 small red-skinned new potatoes
  • 4 large carrots (i.e not baby carrots)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Slice the potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and leek crosswise into rounds about 1/8 in (2–3cm) thick. The potatoes can be peeled or unpeeled. Rinse the leeks well.

2. Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the potatoes, carrots, and sweet potato, and stir for 1 minute.

3. Pour in the stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart.

4. Transfer about one-third of the vegetables to a blender or food processor with the cooking liquid. Purèe then return to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Notes

Prepare ahead: The soup can be made 1 day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated, or frozen for up to three months

Curried Carrot Soup

It really doesn’t get any more simple than this.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 pounds carrots, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water, or as needed

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in the curry powder. Add the chopped carrots, and stir until the carrots are coated. Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the carrots and broth to a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour back into the pot, and thin with water to your preferred consistency.

Pesto….Presto!

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Don’t be misled. This isn’t how to make pesto quickly (here’s a recipe for that ). Rather this is how to make a couple delicious and fast meals using pesto, which, when added to something, has the magical ability to turn ordinary food into the best thing ever. Since oil is a natural preservative, the shelf life of pesto is quite long. So these are things you can pull out when you’re in a time pinch over and over.

To the unaware: Pesto is a super nummy, crushed mixture of pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil and sometimes cheese. The brainchild of the Genoese in Italy.

Italian Grilled Cheese
This may or may not be truly Italian but with all the red, green and white colors stacked together– you are pretty much taking a bite out of their flag (I mean that respectfully). Feel free though to experiment with whatever cheese you have on hand, or use a few kinds in one sandwich. White cheese does have a lower fat content so it won’t get as melty or sticky as say, cheddar, but it is healthier. If you’re like me and refrigerate your butter i.e. doesn’t spread easy on bread, quickly run the stick over the hot pan and throw the slice of bread in. It’ll work just as well as if you had buttered the bread directly. You may need to re-butter the pan when you go to flip the sandwich.

2 slices of bread, buttered on one side
1-2 slices of tomato
2 slices of white cheese (muenster, Swiss, mozzarella, etc)
1 T of pesto

Heat a frying pan over medium heat on stove. Spread pesto on the non-buttered side of a slice of bread.  Put slice of bread in pan, buttered-side down. Then lay down a slice of cheese, tomato, 2nd slice of cheese and 2nd slice of bread (butter side up) on top. Cover. Cook on one side until bread is nicely browned, flip sandwich. Cook until cheese is melted through and serve.

Pesto Pasta
This is so easy and delicious that I have to give credit to my girl Lauren for serving this to me once and enabling me to share it with you. If you are making this in a one-two punch some week, try dicing up some of the left over tomato from your grilled cheese and throw it in this.

1 package of tortellini noodles
5 tbls pesto, roughly
shredded Gruyere, Parmesan or Romano cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and place in large bowl. Spread pesto over noodles until evenly covered. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve.