Monday, December 26, 2016

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup



A long time ago, there was a tomato basil soup mix that I loved.

I made it a lot during the winter months and we would swoon over it.

I've not been able to find a mix similar, but we still love a creamy tomato basil soup.

I've looked for recipes that would seem to mimic that soup.

While this one doesn't remind me of that mix, I sure do like this one!

Since it's gotten cold, I had the Mr. grab the ingredients when he ran into town the other day.

We were wrapping presents and I whipped this up and kept it warm until we were ready to have dinner.

This is what the Mr. likes to do:

wait until the very end and wrap all the presents at once.

When Christmas day is practically here.

This is what it does to me:

causes me undo stress and tears.

22 years of this and I've said no more.

As we both grabbed our own set of paper, scissors, and tape, I divided the gifts between us.

While he was still finishing up the boy cherub's gifts,

I had wrapped and put bows on our girl cherub's, my mom's, my in-law's, and family friends' gifts.

He said he was being particular on how he was wrapping.

Sounds to me like he was insinuating that I was being sloppy!

I said call it what he wanted . . .but he was slow!

After a our wrapping fun, we had this delicious soup!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

3 TBSP butter
1/2 onion,chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and onion
2 cans chicken broth
2 oz tomato paste
1 TBSP sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP cornstarch, mixed with 1 TBSP cold water, optional
3/4 cup heavy cream
chopped basil, garnish
grated parmesan cheese, garnish
toasted croutons

Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent.  Add the tomato paste and stir and mix together with the onion until well combined.

Add in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the chicken broth and the sugar.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to the desired consistency.  You don't have to do this, but we prefer a "smooth" tomato soup.  You may prefer your soup with pieces of tomato, that's fine!  You can puree the ingredients just a bit, or a whole lot, or not at all!

Using a clean spoon, taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper, if desired.  Stir to combine then continue to heat until almost boiling.

If you like the consistency, do nothing.  If you want it just a wee bit thicker, and we did, this is where you will add the 1 TBSP cornstarch mixed with cold water.  Do not add the cornstarch while the soup is boiling.  You'll end up with an unpleasant glob.  While stirring, slowly add the cornstarch slurry in.  The soup base will "slightly" thicken quickly.  Keep stirring so that the cornstarch doesn't clump together and settle on the bottom of the pan.  After adding the cornstarch slurry, do not return to a boil. 

Remove from the heat. 


Stir in the cream.

As you serve, top each bowl of soup with a smidge of chopped basil, some grated parmesan cheese, and a few croutons. 


Serve immediately!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Cocktail Little Smokies




It doesn't seem like it's the holiday season until someone brings these gems to the party!

I'm not really big on this appetizer.

I've never really been impressed with small cocktail sized smokies in a bbq sauce.

Now!  There are other ways I like these done,

like wrapped in bacon,

or phyllo dough,

or even a crescent roll.

But not swimming in a sauce that I usually don't like.

So when the Mr. suggested we do a small snack break at the office,

and thought these would be good,

I went to searching for something different to do!

Do I mix them with grape jelly,

or cranberry sauce,

or pineapple preserves?

The options were great,

but I finally decided on this recipe!

Holiday Cocktail Little Smokies

28-32 oz package of little smokies
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey Dijon mustard

Place the little smokies in a crock pot.

In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, ketchup, and honey Dijon mustard together and pour over the little smokies.

Because the little smokies are fully cooked, you just really  need to heat them thoroughly. 

But I go way beyond that!

I heat them, on high, until they are fully heated, then I remove the lid and continue to cook in the crock pot until the sauce thickens.  I like the sauce to stick a bit to the cocktail smokie.

Serve warm.