Since the beginning of the year, I've been trying to eat better, which involves actually (gasp) cooking meals at home & using fresh seasonal ingredients whenever possible. To help cut our food budget a bit, I've also been planning meals based on what items our local grocery store has on sale. To my surprise, I've found that with a little planning (and many hours lost to Pinterest) I'm able to plan meals that don't involve spending hours in the kitchen, are delicious, and keep things fresh and exciting. As an added bonus, my husband frequently follows me into the kitchen to see what I'm up to and usually ends up helping, so we've actually been spending more time together too.
Dinner last night consisted of homemade tomato basil soup (recipe to follow) and roasted chicken with potatoes and mushrooms. I used the roasted chicken recipe from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook, but added the mushrooms because I view most recipes more like guidelines than actual rules and I had baby bellas left over from last week's homemade mushroom soup. I opened a bottle of white wine to add some to the soup and as I went to pour myself a glass, my husband asked, "Is that the glass that was back in our bathroom?" "Yeah," I answered, "but I washed it first." Without even pausing he said, "You know, I bet there are some people who don't have any wine glasses in their bathroom, but I realize that's a bit too aspirational."
|Roasted potatoes and mushrooms after removing chicken from the pan|
Tomato Basil Soup
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 onion (med.), diced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic & onion
1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. black pepper (freshly ground)
1 cup white wine (Your choice. I use whatever is on sale.)
1 cup half and half
Shredded parmesan cheese (about 2 Tbsp. per bowl)
In the lid to a dutch oven (or bottom or a large pot), sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until the onion is translucent.
Put the tomatoes, half of the basil, black pepper, and wine into a dutch oven (or add to your large pot if you're using that instead of a dutch oven), add the garlic and onions, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove about half of the soup from the pot and set aside.
Add the half and half, and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot until smooth (you may also pour the half you removed into a blender to puree instead if you don't have an immersion blender).
Return the reserved chunky non blended soup to the pot. Add the remainder of the basil, stir to blend, and heat through.
Ladle into a bowl and top with about 2 Tbsp. of shredded parmesan cheese. The cheese will melt into the warm soup.
Note: For the wine, I used a Sauvignon Blanc from the Sterling Vintner's Collection. Also, when I make this in the fall, I substitute fresh tomatoes for canned.
PS - you may notice that I used a cast iron dutch oven when cooking my soup. It is so old and well seasoned that the acidity in the tomatoes doesn't harm mine, but if you're worried about stripping the seasoning from your cast iron, you can use a pot that isn't cast iron.