Easy Roasted Tomato Soup

fellp20150820_lowCalifornia’s multiple personality disorder has reared it’s ugly head again.  The weather, which had been giving us a normal winter for a change, has turned on a dime and we have Santa Ana winds, sunshine and warm temperatures just a day after rain clouds and temperatures in the low 60’s.  Ugh!  This is really screwing with my pre-planned menus!

Screw it!  I planned to make soup for dinner and soup it will be.  I don’t care if it’s warm outside or not.  If anyone complains they can chill theirs like gazpacho.

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 1 Poblano Chili (Stem and Seed Pod Removed if Desired)
  • 6 Large Tomatoes (Hard Stems Cut Out)
  • 1 Medium Sweet Yellow Onion (Peeled and Halved)
  • 5 Large Carrots (Peeled & Tops Removed)

Preheat oven to 350°F

Place the onion, cut side down, onto an oiled baking pan along with the peeled carrots, the poblano chili and the 6 tomatoes (cut tops up). Tip:  For added flavor, I roast my chili with the stem and seed pod in and remove them before throwing into the Vitamix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tomato skins begin to crack and peel.

Preparation Option 1 – VITAMIX:

If you have a Vitamix with a soup setting like I do (it’s on the Professional Series 750), the steps are simple from here.  All you do is throw all of the roasted vegetables into the container, place the lid on securely, turn the dial to the soup setting, depress the start button and wait for the cycle to end when it’s done chopping/blending and cooking the soup.

Preparation Option 2 -Blender or Food Processor and Stove Top:

Place the onion, chili and carrots into the blender/processor container and pulse to chop the vegetables up.  Then turn the blender to puree and mix until the vegetables are well chopped.  Add the tomatoes 1 at a time blending on high until all are well incorporated.  If you run out of room in your container, move 1/2 of your vegetable mixture to the pan you’ll be heating the soup in.  When all of the vegetables are blended/pureed, heat in a pan on the stove until warm enough to eat.

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Zero Effort Chicken For Dinner

Between the humidity coming up from a storm in Mexico and the temperature gauge hovering around the century mark, cooking is the last thing I want to do, but with my surgery date now 10 days away, I know that I will be making very few meals for the family due to movement restrictions, so I’m doing the deed today. 😉

The pressure cooker is definitely a cook’s friend on days like this!  With this recipe you get a bonus of 2 recipes in one!  The chicken, plus a bonus flavorful chicken stock that I am using as the base for my cabbage soup.  Yum!

chicken-on-cutting-boardChicken is the universal meat from which can spring any meal.  My Mom’s go-to was the Zacky Farm’s Cut up Whole Fryer, seems like a good place to start, so that’s where I’ll start.  I’ll make it early today and then the mood I’m in about an hour before dinnertime will determine how it ends up being served.

Zero Effort Pressure Cooker Chicken + Yummy Chicken Stock

  • 1 – 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lb fryer chicken (cut up)
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • Zatarain’s Cajun Spice Mixture (Seasoned Salt)
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 1 – Large Poblano Pepper
  • 5 Cloves Garlic

It should only take you 5 minutes to get all of the ingredients into the pressure cooker.  After that it’s pretty much set it and forget it!

  1. Set your pressure cooker to the “Brown” setting.
  2. Pour the Olive Oil into the pressure cooker pan
  3. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and veins, then cut into about 1″ chunks and place into pan
  4. Peel and chop the onion into roughly 1″ chunks and add to pan
  5. Peel the garlic and add to pan
  6. Sprinkle the Zatarain’s seasoning on both sides of the chicken
  7. Place each piece of the chicken, skin side down (or on edge so skin is in contact with the sides of the pan) into the pan on top of the vegetables
  8. Allow the chicken to brown, undisturbed for about 20 minutes, then close the lid of the pressure cooker and set to cook under pressure for 30 minutes
  9. When cooking cycle has ended, allow the pressure to return to normal naturally

At the end of the keep warm cycle, release the lid and remove the chicken from the cooker to a large bowl.  It should be falling off the bones.  I take the time to remove the bones, skin and cartilage at this point and use a fork to do a gentle separation of the meat.

Leave the remaining vegetables and garlic in the pan with the meat drippings.  Skim ant visible fat and allow to cool.

If you aren’t using it immediately in another recipe, move the cooled Yummy Chicken Stock to a sealable container and refrigerate (up to 5 days) or freeze until ready to use.

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Baked Chicken in Creamy Poblano Sauce

poblanochicken

I’ve fallen in love with Amazon Fresh.  Not just because I can be lazy and not go into the grocery store, although that keeps me from making impulse buys which is a definite plus, but also because the quality of the produce allows me to be creative when I cook on the weeknights.  Not only is the produce generally larger than what I am seeing in my local grocery store, but it stays fresh longer, and I’m paying less money per pound.  Win, Win, Win!

I hadn’t decided what to do with the chicken breasts I thawed this morning then remembered that two large Poblano chilies have been in the crisper for just over a week –  in my eyes they are begging to be made a couple!  Throw some rice into the pressure cooker and we have a trio!

Baked Chicken in Creamy Poblano Sauce with Mexican Rice

  • 2 Poblano Chilis
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 3-4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 – 8oz Package Cream Cheese
  • 2 TBLS Dried Cilantro
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lime
  • 2 TBLS Flour
  • 4 TBLS Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F)
  • Cut the poblano peppers in half, stem & seed, then slice thinly with a Mandoline
  • Cut the cleaned and skinned half white onion into thin slices on the Mandoline
  • Peel the garlic
  • Place these above items in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, turn to coat completely
  • Place in the oven and roast for approx 20 minutes
  • In the meantime cut your chicken breast halves with the breast flat on the cutting board use your knife to cut parallel to the board to divide it into two equal pieces
  • Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides
  • Remove the roasted veggies from the oven & lower the temperature to 350 degrees
  • Place the roasted veggies, cilantro, salt and evaporated milk in a blender
  • Puree the mixture
  • Saute’ the chicken breast pieces in the 2 TBLS oil for about 2 minutes per side until they have a little color on them
  • Remove the chicken to the baking dish you used to roast the veggies
  • In the same pan you used for the chicken, over medium heat, melt the butter
  • When the butter is melted add the flour and stir for a minute until fully incorporated and brown bits are scraped up
  • Add the poblano puree to the sauce pan and stir
  • Add the 1/4 up Milk to the pan and stir
  • Add the Cream Cheese to the sauce pan and stir constantly for a couple of minutes until fully incorporated – it will be thick
  • Remove from the heat an add the juice of the half lime, stir to incorporate
  • Pour the Poblano Cream Sauce over the chicken
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through

Serve with your favorite version of Mexican or Spanish rice and a salad or sliced and roasted zucchini squash.

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Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

chickenpoblanosoupAfter another Southern California winter week with temperatures over 80 degrees, I was looking for any excuse to make soup.  Today the Santa Ana Winds blew in and dropped the temperature to a “Brisk” 69 degrees so I rushed to get the pressure cooker and Vitamix working so I could enjoy my favorite cool night meal:

Creamy Poblano Chicken Soup

  • 2 Roasted Poblano Peppers
  • 1 Roasted Sweet Potato (or Yam)
  • 1 Roasted Small Yellow Onion
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 32 oz Chicken Stock (I use Emeril’s)
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (Room Temperature)
  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 2 Cups Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Roast the sweet potato in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes on high.  Remove and set aside.
  2. Using the Brown function on the pressure cooker, roast the Poblano peppers, the quartered onion and the garlic in the olive oil for 10 minutes after the cooker comes up to temperature.  Remove from pan when done.
  3. Add the chicken to the pressure cooker pan and again set it to the Brown function.  Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.
  4. Remove the seeds and stems from the peppers.
  5. Add peppers, onion, sweet potato, garlic, 1 Cup of the broth, and cream cheese to the Vitamix container.  Process on low to medium speed until well combined and smooth.
  6. Add the chicken to the Vitamix container and process on the low setting until chicken shreds and is no longer in chunks.
  7. Pour contents of Vitamix container back into the pressure cooker pan.  Add remaining 3 cups of stock, the shredded cheese.  Stir until well combined.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  8. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and select the Stew/Soup function.  After the machine reaches cooking temperature, cook for 10 minutes.
  9. When cooking is complete, release pressure, stir and serve soup while hot.

Serve with buttered toasted sourdough croutons, a dollop of sour cream and sliced avocado if desired.

**Vegetarian Option:  Don’t add the chicken if you would like to serve this as a side or keep it meat-free.

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Bacon Roasted Cauliflower Chowder

dinnerreservationsI haven’t been to the grocery store this week and was at a loss as to what to make for dinner tonight.

The meat & cheese drawer gave me a pound of uncooked bacon fresh from the butcher, a wedge of parmesan cheese and another small chunk from a wedge of aged gouda-parmesan.

In the crisper was a bag of fresh sweet mini peppers, a head of cauliflower that was nearing extinction, half a red onion, some carrots, celery, a Rubbermaid container with some still viable sliced Portobello mushrooms and a few other items that found their way right into the compost bucket.

Not a lot to work with, but I’m a gamer (and thankfully my husband will try anything I make) so I trudged forward hoping for some inspiration.

A wrinkly but still salvageable Poblano chili was on the counter and inspiration for a nice warm soup struck.

Bacon & Roasted Cauliflower Chowder

  • ½ Cup Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
  • 6 Slices Bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ Poblano Chili finely diced
  • ½ Red Onion diced
  • ¼ Cup diced Orange Sweet Bell Pepper
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 2 Ribs Celery chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Medium Head Cauliflower
  • 4 Cups Beef Broth (4 Bullion Cubes in 4 Cups Boiling Water)
  • 1 – 5 ounce can Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper to taste (1 added about 2 tsp)
  • Reserved Rind of Parmesan or Parmesan-Gouda Cheese
  • Shredded Parmesan or Parmesan-Gouda Cheese (if desired)

Cut the cauliflower in thirds, trim off the stem, spritz with olive or coconut oil spray and roast 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

sweatvegetablesCook the bacon over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the diced Poblano chili and continue to cook until bacon is crisp but not too brown. Remove both from pan and drain on paper towel.

In the same pan add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and bell pepper.  Saute’ about 8 minutes over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and return the bacon and Poblano chili to the pan. Continue cooking another 10 minutes while bacon fat breaks down some more then switch heat to low.

addcauliflowerRoughly chop 1/3 of the roasted cauliflower into small pieces and add to the pan. Add the bay leaves and seasoned pepper, stir and cook on low about 5 minutes to allow the cauliflower to absorb the flavors of the bacon and other vegetables.

Put the remaining 2/3 of the cooled roasted cauliflower and 2 cups of the cooled broth into the Vitamix or Food Processor/Blender container and process on low until well combined. It will have plenty of texture, but if it’s not thin enough to easily pour, add a bit more of the reserved broth.

Increase heat to medium, then add the can of evaporated milk, a can of water and the contents of the Vitamix container to the pan. Stir well to incorporate. Stir in the remaining broth, the reserved cheese rinds (if you have any) and bring soup just to a boil. Return heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes.

soupRemove the bay leaves before serving.  Serve with toasted French bread chunks/croutons or crusty bread and butter.  Sprinkle chowder with shredded parmesan or parmesan-gouda cheese and chopped parsley if desired.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood