Spicy Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

Do you ever feel like you overthink things? Like maybe you put way too much time and energy into something that really would be better off if you’d just let it be? Or sometimes you try to make something more complex or intricate than it needs to be? Of course not, me neither.

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Hah, yeah right. For me it’s my recipes and food photos. Sometimes I think they need to have 20 ingredients or they’ll be too boring and simple. I will make something, taste it 1000 times and even though it’s delicious, I will stress over whether it could be better. More salt, some acidity, a hint of heat? Let it go already! Sometimes I think I miss out on the good looking for the perfect. Have you heard that saying before? It’s really been resonating with me lately. Don’t miss out on the good looking for the perfect. And honestly, when I see a recipe with too many ingredients or something that seems too difficult or time consuming, I generally scroll on past. So why, you might ask, would I think that my recipes need to be complex and over the top? Because, I tend to overthink things!

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My other obsession is getting the perfect shot. I hate to even admit it but I will sometimes spend 1-2 hours staging the scene and taking 389 shots of the same dish. Even though I know I really love the first 5 and probably don’t need to spend any more time fussing. And as you can see 4-5 is usually the sweet spot for blog pictures, so any more than that is really just overkill.

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So, here’s to not overthinking things. Appreciating whole foods prepared in simple recipes that taste delicious. I think I might have stumbled across my new catchphrase…

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Also, do you remember last week when I was all, “Oh, I’ve gotta get one more soup recipe in before spring arrives!” Well, spring is still here. Along with 12 inches of snow. Although I really shouldn’t complain because one year we got this much snow during the first week of May. So this is at least a couple weeks earlier. And this is a great excuse to hunker down and snuggle in with a hearty bowl of soup while the flakes fall and binge watch Netflix.

Spicy Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. ground hot Italian (or mild) sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of your favorite beer
  • 1 cup red lentils, uncooked
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 heaping cups chopped kale
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

In a large pot over medium heat, brown sausage, using a spatula crumble until cooked through. Add onion and saute about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and saute 1 minute, stirring frequently. Deglaze pot with beer, then add lentils, tomatoes, chicken stock and water. Stir to combine. Cover pot, turn heat up just to bring things to a simmer, then simmer on low for 15 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer, covered, for another 5 minutes.

At this point remove from heat, stir in cream if desired and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets

{Vegetarian} Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

We got our taxes back this weekend! Back in the pre-baby era I did our taxes with TurboTax every year and got them done by mid-February at the latest. Post baby, I am lucky if I remember to get them to the accountant before April! Since adopting our daughter we’ve handed our income taxes over to a professional in hopes of getting the full amount of the adoption tax credit. For those who aren’t familiar there is a $13,570 tax credit for those who adopt. Cool huh?! It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s really not. While it does off-set the cost of adoption slightly, it’s a credit, not a refund and you claim it over 5 years, so you get a little extra back each year. They don’t just hand you a check for $13,000 (boy, that would be nice though). And chances are good we probably won’t end up getting the entire credit because we make too much money, which is hilarious because we seriously do not make that much money at all. While we both love our jobs, we both work part time (about 28-30 hours a week) and neither of us have a college degree.

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Now I’m not complaining! Our adoption cost about $35,000 total so any amount of money we get back is wonderful. But it is pretty effing crazy that when a birth mom wants to place her child with a loving family, that loving family has to pay $35,000 (and that birth mom doesn’t see a single dime by the way). It’s no wonder that many people cannot afford adoption no matter how much they’d love to do it. But I get it, you gotta pay the people to do the jobs to facilitate the adoption. It is what it is. And our daughter was seriously worth every single penny, and every sleepless night and every failed adoption we went through. She is the most amazing thing that ever happened to us and I am thankful for her every single day.

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I was especially nervous with these new tax laws that we might end up owing money this year and wasn’t really sure how it was all going to pan out. The accountant called to tell us our taxes were done and left a message saying, “…you have a balance due of, (my heart starts racing, thinking craaaaap) oh woops, I mean you have a federal refund of…” (my heart slows down to a normal rhythm and I breathe a sigh of relief). Thank goodness we still make so little money that we get a tax refund!!!

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Oh yeah, this was a soup post wasn’t it? I’ve got to get one last soup recipe in before spring arrives! Technically it’s here already, but apparently Wisconsin didn’t get the message. We’ve still got tons of snow and are layered in long sleeves and winter coats. But the 5 day forcast is looking like we’ve got a few 50 degree days coming up (followed by a little more snow of course) and I haven’t had to scrape frost off my car for at least 3 days now–so that’s a win in my book!

Creamy Roasted Poblano Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream + more for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay peppers in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes then flip each pepper over and roast for another 20 minutes.

Allow the peppers to cool enough to handle. Remove the waxy skin, then remove the stems and seeds from each pepper and discard. Roughly chop pepper and add it to a high speed blender.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with a splash of veggie stock and then transfer onion and garlic to the blender.  Add remaining veggie stock and blend on high for about 5 minutes.

Transfer soup to a large pot and stir in cumin, white wine vinegar and a generous pinch or two of salt along with a pinch of pepper.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, then stir in cream. Salt to taste and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (5)

 

Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

This is my most favorite soup I have ever made! It is so hearty and creamy–perfect for the single digit temps and windy nights we’ve been experiencing up here in the Midwest. My husband made a delicious potato soup last week (maybe you saw it on Insta?) so we still had broth, carrots, celery and onion waiting to be transformed into something delicious.

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I debated long and hard about whether it would benefit from the addition of chicken breast and in the end, I’m glad I decided to skip it and add mushrooms instead.

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It has just enough cream to make it feel indulgent, but it’s also loaded with veggies so you can feel good about eating and serving it to your family. A big loaf of crusty bread and a side salad of mixed greens would round out this dish into the perfect winter meal!

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Creamy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 16 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 teaspoons dried sage + 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

Directions

Start by heating olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic and cook for another minute.

Add veggie broth and wine to the pot. Then dissolve cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water and add the slurry to the pot as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on medium high for 50 minutes.

Then stir in cream and parsley, add more salt and pepper to taste and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets

Roasted Curried Squash Soup

I am IN LOVE with fall. You know, all the classic parts that everyone loves — the changing colors, the cool crisp air, the pumpkin spice everything — but even those dreary, rainy days where the leaves get soggy and everything is a little chilly and dingy and dirty. Actually those days might be my favorite! Sneaking out for a walk around the neighborhood, dodging raindrops. Or a quick trip the grocery store and then scurrying back inside to roast something warm and comforting for dinner. Like this soup! You can snuggle up and get cozy with the fam while your oven does all the work and warms up your house a bit too. Then toss everything into a high speed blender for a few minutes, simmer in a pot and serve.

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Although we’ve had quite a rollercoaster of weather lately, I have comfortably settled into my cool weather meal rotation already. Which means you’ll be seeing lots of soup, chili, and my personal favorite, pasta sauce! You’ll probably be seeing some pizza recipes pretty soon here because I can’t stop ordering Domino’s and Pizza Hut for dinner and it’s starting to become a problem. It never tastes as good as I think it’s going to, it’s never worth the exorbitant amount of calories, and it never makes me feel anything but stuffed and tired! But damn, it sure is easy to order online and not have to worry about putting a meal together! I have some leftover spaghetti sauce that would be a perfect pizza sauce in fact…

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If you’re looking for a departure from your classic squash soup, you’ve found a comforting crowd pleaser with this soup!

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Roasted Curried Squash Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and pulp removed
  • 1 head garlic, halved widthwise
  • 1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic in the center of a small piece of foil, drizzle cut side with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the corners of the foil up, creating a sealed pouch around the garlic. Lay squash cut side up on a foil lined baking sheet. Arrange onion in a single layer next to squash on the baking sheet. Make sure there is room for your foil garlic pouch on the baking sheet as well. Drizzle squash and onion with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a small bowl combine curry powder, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the spice mixture across the surface of the squash and the onion wedges. Set the remaining seasoning aside.

Roast squash, onion and garlic for 1 hour or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove skin from squash and transfer it along with the onions to a high speed blender. Squeeze roasted garlic from the skins and into the blender as well. Add the vegetable stock and blend on high for about 3-5 minutes or until it is smooth.

Pour pureed mixture into a large pot over medium heat. Stir in coconut milk and the remaining seasoning mixture. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pecans.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (1)

Cheesy Broccoli and Leek Soup

Before I was a mom I used to read all of these uplifting quotes on Facebook and scoff. You know the ones; You are good enough. You do enough. You are enough. And I always used to think they were so silly. Like, damn right I’m good enough! I don’t need some inspirational quote to tell me that?! Oh, how the tide has changed. Since becoming a mom I am constantly wondering if I am enough. Am I reading to her enough? Am I feeding her enough of the right foods? Am I snuggling her enough? Am I teaching her enough? Am I setting a good enough example for her? It’s literally a constant struggle in my mind whether I’m doing good enough, being good enough, and giving her enough.

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I spend so much time researching how much she should be sleeping, the milestones she should be hitting, what she should be eating. Literally my entire life revolves around her. Which, don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of. I feel like my life’s purpose was to raise children and I have never experienced as much love and happiness as I have while raising my daughter. Case in point, look at me now–I’ve got a little “me time” to blog and I’m still focused on her! 🙂

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So now when I mindlessly scroll through my Facebook feed and my eye catches an inspirational quote I think, ohhhhhh so this is who those were for. Moms like me. Who often wonder if they are enough. While I still don’t think an inspirational quote on FB is going to change my entire outlook, it is a nice reminder from time to time. So, let me remind you (and also myself) that you are enough. You are doing enough. You are good enough. Your kiddos are just as lucky to have you as you are to have them.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Oh, also this soup recipe is super easy! Like “come home from work and have your family eating in 45 minutes” easy. Enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli and Leek Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1.5 + 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 6 cups chopped fresh broccoli

Directions

Heat 1.5 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Set aside.

Heat the same large pot over medium low heat melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add flour and stir to combine. Once smooth, cook mixture for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly stir in chicken broth, heavy cream and milk. Then stir in ground mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Next add the cheddar cheese and stir until almost completely melted. Then add Monterey jack and stir until both cheeses are completed melted. Stir in broccoli, cover and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

If the soup seems to be simmering too rapidly or almost boiling, turn the heat down a bit. You want a slow, soft simmer for 30 minutes.

The soup is finished when the broccoli is tender. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and a slice of crusty sourdough bread and enjoy!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (10)

Creamy Curried Corn and Coconut Chowder

Talk about a mouthful! Speaking of mouthfuls…get a mouthful a this chowda’ ASAP. This corn chowder is the perfect kick-off to the sweater weather and colorful scenery that are just around the corner. As Fall closes in you’ll be seeing lots of soup recipes here on Midwest Foodie. Over the years, Fall has slowly become my favorite season; usually because the summer is so dang hot that Fall is a welcomed relief! This year’s summer wasn’t even that oppressively hot though. We don’t have central air; just good ‘ol window air conditioners and I think we only turned them on a handful of times. Which was quite a different story from last summer! However last summer we had a newborn baby, so I think we just felt everything a little bit more because we were so sleep deprived. Boy am I glad those days are over. This momma needs at least 7 hours to function (although I prefer a sold 9 hours).

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We practice co-sleeping in our house so I usually get about 8 hours of moderately interrupted sleep peppered with several little toddler kicks to my ribs and every once in a while a little hand reaching out to find me. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I heard somewhere, It’s the best worst sleep you’ve ever had, and I couldn’t agree more! We’ve co-slept since our baby girl was about 4 months, and she has slept through the night ever since! I love waking up to her cheerful “HI!” and hearing the little giggles she lets out in her sleep. I feel like it’s such an important bonding experience for her and for us.

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People often ask if we are worried she will never sleep in her own bed? Honestly, no. As she gets older she will want her autonomy. She will want to do everything herself and eventually I expect that will include sleeping in their own bed. I am in no hurry to kick her out of ours; as I said before I think it’s a really special time for us and I am going to soak up every second of snuggles and kicks to the ribs I can before she grows up and starts rolling her eyes at me and telling me how lame I am! 🙂

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I’ve spoken with other parents who have co-slept and they tell me the kids always find their way to their own bed in time. I find that those who have the most apprehension about co-sleeping are those who have never done it! I’m not saying co-sleeping is for everyone. It’s certainly something that should be researched (ie: safe co-sleeping habits, your sleeping habits, age of the child, etc.) and discussed thoroughly before the decision is made. But for us, it works. And if you have a fitful baby who’s not sleeping through the night, it might be a good option for you to consider too! So as they say, let’s eat soup!

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Creamy Curried Corn and Coconut Chowder

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 7-8 ears of corn (about 8 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk + more for garnish

Directions

Start by shucking the corn. Carefully cut corn from the cob and discard cobs. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add corn, onion, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Then add curry powder, chili powder, paprika and cayenne and stir to coat veggies evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes still on medium heat.

Add cannellini beans, chicken broth and white wine vinegar. Turn heat to medium high, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then transfer to a high speed blender and blend on high until mostly smooth, with just a bit of texture. Transfer back to the large pot and stir in coconut milk. Dish it up and garnish each bowl with a quick pour of coconut milk and fresh chopped herb of your choice.

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (3)

Spicy Sausage and Swiss Chard Soup

This soup is so perfect for this weird, rainy, crappy weather we have been experiencing and a great way to use up the chard from your CSA or the farmer’s market! Enter the raincloud:  It’s also great if you are in the process of re-homing your dog who has been your baby for the last 7 years and you’re feeling pretty blah. Our toddler and our doggie have been good friends since our daughter started crawling and being mobile. However our sweet little girl (toddler) is also pretty rough with our other sweet little girl (doggie) and no amount of discipline has seemed to work to make this situation better. Last weekend it resulted in a nip on the finger that drew blood and it was pretty traumatic for all involved. It’s not that our dog is a bad dog; she’s a lover. She loves to snuggle, give kisses and bark at squirrels. But she doesn’t love dealing with our toddler constantly exploring and pulling on her fur. And it’s not fair to keep her in her room all day (yes, she literally has her own bedroom complete with her food/water dishes, a couch, blanket and pillow that are exclusively hers to snuggle with). So in the end we decided our doggie will be better off with another loving family who doesn’t have small children. We are choosing to take action now, before something worse can potentially happen. This is where you can start judging me if that’s something you’re into.

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I took to Facebook of course to find a new home for my little doggie in a “Pets for Sale” group and I was overwhelmed by the response! There were tons of folks right in our area who offered to adopt her and provide her a loving home! So many in fact that I had to send out a blanket message saying I will keep everyone posted as we meet with potential families and make sure we find the right fit for her. And while I was expecting the crazy internet trolls to come out of the woodwork on my post (because that’s just what they do; sit at home all day and wait to pounce) I was still quite appalled at the things some people had to say. “Get rid of the baby!” might have surprised me the most. Like duh, why didn’t I think of that?! Are you kidding me??? That comment was followed by several other (very grammatically incorrect) jabs at my parenting and many folks questioning my capability of raising a child.

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Of course I threw a few snarky comments back because sometimes I just can’t help myself, but in the end I decided to take the high road…and block all those haters! Seriously though, thank you Facebook for the block button. Because sometimes you don’t need Facebook trolls to make a very tough situation even more difficult. I also must note that for every one judgmental person spewing hate, there was at least 2-3 people with messages of encouragement and positivity, so the good certainly outweighed the bad (funny how you only remember the bad though, right?). I am trying to find comfort in knowing that our doggie will find a loving home and people who can appreciate her in all her glory and treat her like the princess she is.

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So, make this soup. It’s delicious and it might make tough situations just a tiny bit easier to deal with.

Spicy Sausage and Swiss Chard Soup

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 19.5 oz. hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stalks removed and diced, leaves roughly chopped (about 6 cups chopped leaves + 1 cup chopped stalks
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups V8 (or generic vegetable juice)
  • 15 oz. can cannellini beans
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • shredded Parmesan for garnish

Directions

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Squeeze sausage from the casing and discard casing. Brown sausage, crumbling with a spatula. Drain most of the grease off of the sausage and transfer to a bowl. Heat the same pot over medium heat. There should be just a sheen of grease from the sausage still. Add Swiss chard stalks and onion to the pot along with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Return sausage to the pot and add Swiss chard leaves, chicken stock, V8, cannellini beans, diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine, turn heat up to medium high and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid, turn heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove soup from heat and slowly stir in cream. Garnish with shredded Parmesan and serve!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (2)

 

Secret Family Recipe Chili

So you can just throw away all your other chili recipes right now–all those ones that boast they are the best in the world or even claim to be the best ever. This is the only one you will ever need. It’s got the classic duo of chili powder and cumin along with a bit of a kick from one of my secret ingredients–diced chiles in adobo (smoked, dried jalapenos in a tangy, sweet red sauce). It’s also loaded with fiber rich beans and lean ground turkey which means it’s a healthy meal that you can feel good about serving it to your family!

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If your kids (or significant other) are super sensitive to spice you can certainly omit the chiles, however I would strongly urge against it. They add a slow, smoky flavor that builds with each bite. Even those who don’t typically enjoy spicy foods can appreciate the flavor of these chiles. I add them to EVERYTHING–enchilada sauce, fajitas, pork carnitas, chicken marinades, tortilla soup. They add so much depth of flavor and just the right amount of heat.

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V8 juice is my other secret ingredient. I’ve never seen it in another chili recipe and I have no idea why! It’s the perfect liquid to simmer and marry all those delicious flavors and it also lends a nice smooth texture to the chili–not too watery like some that I’ve come across, but also not too thick!

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Seriously I don’t mean to toot my own horn here. But, yeah I do…TOOT TOOT!

Secret Family Recipe Chili

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (you could use ground beef if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon diced chiles in adobo
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups V8 (or generic vegetable juice drink)
  • 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. can pinto beans
  • (2) 15 oz. cans black beans
  • (2) 15 oz. cans kidney beans

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, jalapeno and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.

While the veggies are doing their thang, heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown turkey, using a spatula to crumble as it cooks. Once it is just about cooked sprinkle chili powder and cumin over turkey. Stir to distribute spices evenly. Cook for another minute or so, until the turkey is completely cooked through.

To the large pot add, browned turkey, sugar, chiles in adobo, tomato sauce, tomato juice, diced tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans. Season again with a large pinch of Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper and stir to combine.

Turn heat to medium high and bring the chili to a simmer. Cover pot and simmer on medium low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green onion and a dollop of sour cream. If you’re feeling really rowdy, serve it with some Fritos too!

Fig Jam, Pear and Grogonzola Tartlets (5)

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Gazpacho

So I’m going to get really real with you guys. I failed at gardening this year. My husband and I got this super cute little plot in our community garden and envisioned ourselves bringing home bounties of fresh vegetables each weekend. We figured we’d have tomatoes coming out our ears and zucchini for months.  We expected juicy, ripe summer strawberries, and boat loads of green beans. We planned to get to the garden once a week to weed and a couple times a week to water. Our hearts were in the right place, I swear.

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However, what we ended up with was a weed infested rectangle of Earth that we maybe visited a total of 4 times. It gave us 2 tiny strawberries, 2 ridiculously huge zucchini and a constant nagging feeling that we never should have done this in the first place. I know what you’re thinking… There’s still so much more summer left! It’s just the beginning of August! Give it another shot! Yeah. No. It’s over. We’re done with the damn garden. We have given the green light for it to be passed on to someone else. Someone who will take care of it and spend time with it and give it the love that it needs. And we’re totally okay that with admitting that’s not going to be us. I’m not going to beat myself up over it either. Between our crazy work schedules, and caring for our child, we haven’t felt like prioritizing time for the garden. And so the garden must go.

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Sometimes you have to cut your loses, move on and accept the fact that you did your best, but now it’s over. Thankfully we have a delicious CSA from Square Roots Farms that delivers us fresh veggies every week so we can try to forget about our own gardening shortcomings and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This week our box was filled with a bunch of big, beefy slicing tomatoes. Bright red, perfectly tender and ripe, juicy tomatoes grown with the appropriate amount of love and care. And so this weekend I made gazpacho and sipped chilled sauvignon blanc and came to terms with the fact that I will not be adding gardening to my list of hobbies any time soon.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Gazpacho

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beefstake (or any slicing) tomatoes, core removed, quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, sliced in half width wise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can coconut milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic, cut side up, onto a small piece of tin foil. Drizzle each half of garlic with about a teaspoon of olive oil, then fold the tin foil up into a small pouch. Spread tomatoes and onions across a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle remaining olive oil across the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Scooch veggies over to make room for the garlic pouch and place baking sheet in the oven. Roast for 1 hour. But remove the garlic after 40 minutes or it will start to burn. After an hour, the edges of your tomatoes will look burnt. This is good–the tomatoes will be most flavorful.

Allow the tomato and onion to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a high speed blender. Squeeze garlic from the peel into the blender. Add basil and blend on high for about 3 minutes or until smooth.

Transfer pureed mixture to a large pot over medium high heat. Stir in Parmesan, oregano, chicken stock and coconut milk. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow soup to cool for at least 1 hour on the counter. Then place in sealed container in your fridge and allow to chill for another hour. At this point your gazpacho is ready to be served!

I like to serve mine with crusty French baguette topped with a schmear of goat cheese or burrata, but it’s totally up to you.

Optionally, you could also serve this soup warm, which I did on an unseasonably rainy, cool, July day. I ate it with crusty French baguette topped with a dollop of burrata and it was divine.

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