Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Quick Tomato Soup May 28, 2014

1. Saute yummy vegetables and spices together in olive oil.

1. Saute yummy vegetables and spices together in olive oil.

A few years ago, my sister and I were at the store and grabbed a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, thinking we’d have a quick dinner together.  When we heated the soup later, we were sadly disillusioned.  I hadn’t expected to be able to taste the high fructose corn syrup that Campbell’s had (inexplicably) added.

We tried seasoning it, but in the end we had to give up: the soup of our childhood did not taste anything like we remembered.

Giving up Campbell’s tomato soup was easy since it wasn’t even edible to me.  However, giving up tomato soup in general was impossible–it’s the best thing ever with grilled cheese.  So here’s a quick recipe that doesn’t involve long cooking times, roasting tomatoes or red peppers, or doing any other sort of elaborate cooking. I’m sure you can find more delicious recipes out there, but this is a good, basic, and fast way to have soup without having to buy the high-fructose-corn-syrup version.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-5 tomatoes, chopped
1 32 oz. can tomatoes (I like the diced ones)
a splash of broth (chicken or veggie)
Italian seasoning to taste
salt & pepper to taste

2.  Add the liquid ingredients to make the soup base.

2. Add the liquid ingredients to make the soup base.

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent (about 2-3 minutes).  Add in garlic, then tomatoes and Italian seasoning, and sauté another minute or so (sautéing your spices makes even dried spices far more flavorful, and it means you don’t have to later simmer the soup quite as long).
  2. Just before the veggies start to stick, dump in can of tomatoes.
  3. Add broth and salt/pepper.
  4. If you, like Campbell’s, feel the need to sweeten your soup, you can add about a teaspoon of sugar, but please don’t overdo it!  I don’t find I really miss the sugar, and it’s just extra calories that I don’t need.
  5. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the flavors mix together.
  6. Blend with a handheld blender (also called a stick blender or immersion blender–if there was one kitchen appliance I could take to a desert island, it would be my handheld blender).
  7. Serve with grilled cheese.
3. Simmer, blend with handheld blender, and serve with grilled cheese!

3. Simmer, blend with handheld blender, and serve with grilled cheese!

 

Sarah: Egg Drop Soup May 18, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking,Soups,Veggies — suburbanpioneers @ 3:29 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Friday night dinner: rice wraps filled with chicken and veggies, rice, and egg drop soup.

Friday night dinner: rice wraps filled with chicken and veggies, rice, and egg drop soup.

 

One difficult thing for me about eating in all month is that, while I’m pretty good at cooking pastas, vegetable soups, and frittatas, I don’t know much about ethnic cooking, and I really miss going out for Thai or Chinese or Nepalese.

 

However, there is an exception: egg drop soup is so easy to make that even I can’t mess it up.  Keith went ahead and grilled some chicken with a little hoisin sauce, and, since I was waiting for him to finish the chicken and we had leftover veggies, I decided we should just go all out and have rice wraps with chicken and veggies to go with our soup.  It was a feast outside my usual repertoire, which was a welcome change for us all!

 

 

 

 

Easy Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth (you could use veggie if you’re going vegetarian, but it won’t taste like restaurant egg drop soup)
4 eggs
1/4-1/2 tsp. sesame oil (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)
green onions (optional–I didn’t have any, so the soup went without)

Directions:

1.  Bring chicken broth to a boil; add in sesame oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

1. Bring chicken broth to a boil; add in sesame oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

2.  Crack eggs and gently break up the yolks with a fork (no vigorous beating, folks).

2. Crack eggs and gently break up the yolks with a fork (no vigorous beating, folks).

3.  Turn down heat on the broth and slowly pour eggs into it, stirring in circles with a fork until the eggs are distributed in streamers through the soup.  Top with green onions if desired.

3. Turn down heat on the broth and slowly pour eggs into it, stirring in circles with a fork until the eggs are distributed in streamers through the soup. Top with green onions if desired.

In case you’re wondering about the rice wraps, these can be found at most major grocery stores (King Sooper’s or Kroger carries them) or at Asian markets.  They’re just sheets of dehydrated rice starch, but if you dip them in hot water and fill them with veggies or meat, they’re the perfect vehicle for a healthy and delicious meal!  We like to have hoisin sauce and plum sauce on hand (also easily found at major grocery stores) to add a little flavor.

Look for these--you can make spring rolls, or you can fill with meat, veggies, or tofu!

Look for these–you can make spring rolls, or you can fill with meat, veggies, or tofu!

Some of our favorite fillings: cilantro, peppers, avocado, spinach, steamed veggies, or chicken.

Some of our favorite fillings: cilantro, peppers, avocado, spinach, steamed veggies, or chicken.

Boil water in the kettle, pour into a bowl, and then dunk the rice sheets in--you don't need to leave them in.  Just a quick dip and then put it on your plate.

Boil water in the kettle, pour into a bowl, and then dunk the rice sheets in–you don’t need to leave them in. Just a quick dip and then put it on your plate.

Pile on the fillings and fold two sides over, then roll the rest.

Pile on the fillings and fold two sides over, then roll the rest.

Ta da! Don't forget to dip it in sauce!

Ta da! Don’t forget to dip it in sauce!

 

Sarah: Leftover-Vegetable Stock December 19, 2012

Replace THIS

Replace THIS

with THIS!

with THIS!

And for our next Deprocessed December recipe, here’s something that I use frequently as a soup base, to cook rice for extra nutrients and flavor, and to thin mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or other vegetables: vegetable stock.

A lot of recipes call for chicken or beef or vegetable stock.  For most recipes, I substitute vegetable stock for chicken or beef just because of the environmental benefits of eating less meat, but no matter what type of soup stock you’re buying, it gets pricey.  You can expect to pay at least $3.00 for a 32 oz. container (about 4 c.).

My favorite butternut squash soup recipe (see upcoming post) calls for 4 cups of stock, for instance.  Lauren’s recently-posted recipe for Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash asks for 2 c. of the stuff.  Even though I use stock a lot in my cooking, I have a hard time putting it into my grocery cart because I figure I’m basically paying for water with flavoring.

Instead, clean out the refrigerator!

I used to compost all the extra vegetables rolling around (or mushing around) in the bottom of my refrigerator’s vegetable drawer (see previous post about our prolific composting habits).  But there’s a better thing to do with the limp celery and the carrots that are on their way out, and this allows you to control the amount of salt and type of ingredients in your cooking.

Leftover-Vegetable Stock

Ingredients:

  • Leftover Vegetables (nothing actually rotten, just veggies that can’t pass for fresh): carrots, celery, peppers, mushrooms, parsley, kale, onions, garlic, parsnips, leeks (I would avoid starchy veggies like potatoes and sweet potatoes because they will thicken the soup and you won’t get a clear broth)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 6 – 8 c. of water (depending on number of veggies and size of pot)
  • spices (I used leftover fresh thyme that was drying out in my fridge and needed to be composted)

Ingredients:

  1. Fill a stockpot with water and turn heat on medium-high.
  2. Chop veggies into large pieces (quarter the onions, halve the mushrooms, etc.) and put in pot.
  3. Stir in salt.
  4. Boil for an hour or until the liquid turns golden-brown.
  5. Scoop out the veggies and compost them.  Then freeze the broth that’s left (I recommend cutting the tops off of whipping cream or half and half contains and washing them out, then freezing stock in these–cover with tinfoil.  They’re a convenient size for the freezer and it’s a great reuse of something you usually chuck in the garbage!).

After two hours of being in the kitchen, I had vegetable broth made with the wilted veggies, stew made with the good veggies (enough for 4 meals), and pureed carrots for Little Bear (I’ve been making all her food, and I swear it’s easier than cooking for myself–I’ll tell you more in an upcoming post).  I had also washed all the dishes while the broth and stew were boiling away.  “I am,” I told my husband, “a domestic goddess today.”  He did not disagree.

Frozen carrots and limp celery...yum.

Frozen carrots and limp celery…yum.

Use pre-compost heap to make stock.

Use pre-compost heap to make stock.

While making stock with the limp vegetables, I used the good parts to make vegetable stew.

While making stock with the limp vegetables, I used the good parts to make vegetable stew.

And to make it a three-for-one, I also made pureed carrots for Little Bear while stewing my veggies.  I like to make the most out of my kitchen time.

And to make it a three-for-one, I also made pureed carrots for Little Bear while stewing my veggies. I like to make the most out of my kitchen time.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: