Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

This week in NY has been particularly cold. I know, I know, it's winter. This type of weather most definitely calls for soup, particularly tomato soup with grilled cheese. This soup came out delicious and 3/4 family members approved. Except for the one that loathes tomatoes... in any form.

Soup: (Makes 12 servings)

2 tablespoons of butter
2 small yellow onions chopped
4 cups of chicken stock
1 28 can of crushed tomatoes
3 plum tomatoes chopped
roughly chopped basil leaves (2 tablespoons divided)
1 pita bread (I used whole wheat) finely diced
3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 cup milk (I used 2 %)
2-3 teaspoons of sugar to taste
Salt to taste

In a large pot, saute the onion in butter till translucent.

Add stock. Bring to boil

Add tomatoes--canned and fresh and 1/2 the basil. Return to boil. Reduce flame to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Add pita and allow it to absorb liquid.

Pure using immersion blended.

Add milk and cheese. Add sugar and salt to taste.

Serve topped with additional basil.

Grilled Cheese

2 slices of sourdough per serving
2 medium thickness pieces of gruyere cheese per serving
1/2 teaspoon butter per serving

Butter bread pieces on the outside.
Place cheese in the middle.
Preheat skillet.
Fry about 3 minutes per side on a medium high flame. I like to partially cover with a heavy cover to press down.

Serve hot and cheesy with the tomato soup.

*The recipe for soup was very much Adapted from my talented friend Marina at MakeMealsMama

Instant Pot Basics

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

These are the basics that I make in my Instant Pot (IP regularly). IP and I are slow to warm up to each other.

Soft boiled eggs 
1 cup of water, 6 eggs
3 mins on manual low pressure
Quick release 
Ice bath

Unsoaked 45 mins on bean setting
2 cups chickpeas to 4-5 cups of water 
Natural release 15 than QR

Rinse quinoa
Manual 8 mins LP 1:2 ratio
NR for 10

Steel Cut Oatmeal 
1/4 cup oats, 3/4 cup liquid 
15 mins manual, pressure HIGH, NR
Pour water under rack. Use dish on top

Spaghetti squash
Manual 15 mins high pressure NR
On rack
Cup of water 

Short Grain Brown Rice
Rinse under water, drain
1:1 Ratio of Rise to Water
Manual High Pressure 22, NR

BBQ Beef Short Ribs in Instant Pot over Spaghetti Squash

A few years ago, on Amazon Prime Day, in a moment of weakness, I purchased the mysterious Instant Pot that everyone has been raving about. I unboxed it about a month later and did the boiling water test. And that it just set there for a while. And all I make in there is boring things like oatmeal and eggs and chickpeas. And while I do like it, it, for me, it has been a slow sloooooow learning curve. Saw a version of this recipe and decided to try it. It was a fast weeknight dinner and a huge hit so I figured I would share. The original recipe had both the spaghetti squash and the meat cooking in the IP but I roasted the squash in my Breville while the meat cooked.

2 shallots chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 pounds of boneless beef short ribs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 spaghetti squash
Cooking Oil (I use grape seed oil)

Spaghetti Squash
Wash/Dry Piece a few small holes
Microwave for 2 minutes to soften
Cut in half and scoop out seeds
Roast face down for about 1/2 hour at 420, flip over face up and roast another 10-20 minutes till soft.
        *I used my Breville for this but it would be just fine in a regular oven
Scoop out the spaghetti like flash, add seasoning and keep warm.

Beef Short Ribs

Brown cut up short ribs about 2 minutes per side. I used a regular pan not IP for this.
But you can also use the IP saute feature. When cooked, add to IP. You may want to do this in batches to not crowd the meat.

Sauté 2 chopped shallots and 2 garlic cloves in a little oil. Added to IP.

Added 1 cup BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce, quarter cup of water to IP. Used Meat/Stew setting for 30 mins. I think next time I would go 5 minutes longer. Use Natural Release (aka wait till you can open the pot). This came out quite saucy. If you would like, you can simmer it a bit to thicken the sauce. I did this in another pot on the stovetop (bc IP newbie). Taste the sauce, you may want to add a bit of sugar to it at this point if you like the sauce a bit sweeter.

Serve over the cooked warm spaghetti squash. As you may be able to see in my photo, I also added a bit of already cooked chickpeas and quinoa. Because you know, us working moms want to spread that delicious meal into 2 days.

Voila. Drop me a note and let me know how you like it.