March 23 - Tomato Soup with Parmesan Toast and Chicken Salad
March 24 - Moussaka Stuffed Baby Eggplant with a Horiatiki Salad
March 25 - Roast Chicken ala Christian Delouvrier via Chez Pim with roasted broccoli with lemon & chili flake
So, it's finally happened. I had my first real struggle with craving something for dinner that we have already eaten. We got hit with a whole bunch of snow on Wednesday. It was absolutely in the forecast but I'm not sure anyone expected as much accumulation as we got. I have to say I actually didn't mind it that much, since I'm not quite ready to give up my warm, cozy and winter weight camouflaging sweaters. But when that snowy weather hits I just want warm, comforting foods and my most comforting, as I've said before, is grilled cheese and tomato soup.
The boy was set to work late, so I could make anything I wanted and I wanted my perfect tomato soup. The tomato soup the Boy's not really a fan of that I can't make too often when he's around, but there was one little problem, I made it already. It turns out I made it far too early on. I mean what am I going to do next fall/early winter? But I remember that day, we were exhausted from insane work schedules, I didn't want to go to the store and I wanted something comforting and easy. I knew it was early but all I cared about at that moment was dinner., But that rich, creamy soup is my ideal and it would have been perfect for a solo dinner for me this week. What to do? I mean how could I get the same satisfaction and comfort that my favorite creamy tomato soup brings with a nice grilled cheddar cheese to dunk in it? Remind me why I signed up for this crazy challenge again, because at that moment I was absolutely regretting it.
I regrouped though and since I had a fresh loaf of bread and plenty of last summer's canned tomatoes, I decided to look in my ever growing cookbook collection for a recipe that sounded like it might work. Lucky for me the adorable and talented Jamie Olive had a recipe in his Food Revolution book, that while not entirely what I was looking for I had the ingredients to make it work and it was completely different from my tomato soup, so I decided to go with it. Rather than make a standard grilled cheese, I went toasted some slices of fresh bread and broiled them with some pecorino romano & parmigiano reggiano, to make like a cheesy toast to dunk in the soup.
adapted from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
1 celery stalk
1 clove garlic
3 cups chicken stock
extra virgin olive oil
1 liter jar of whole plum tomatoes, canned with basil
8 cherry tomatoes with vine
10 basil leaves
sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
1. Peel and roughly slice the carrot. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel & slice the garlic. Place the stock in a small pot and bring to a boil.
2. Heat a good glug of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a 4 quart pot. Add in the chopped and sliced veggies and toss with the heated oil. Cooke over medium heat, cover with the lid askew for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the veggies don't stick or brown too much, you just want the carrots to soften up and for the onions to be golden.
3. Add the boiling broth, canned tomatoes and fresh tomatoes (Jamie says to include the vine for good flavor, so I did). Give it a good stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to lower and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Add in the basil leaves. Using an immersion or regular blender, pulse soup until smooth. Taste and season as necessary. Serve with cheesy toasts
Just as I was ready to sit down and eat my soup and cheesy toasts, hoping it would satisfy my craving, the Boy called and said he was on his way home. I'm good with just tomato soup for dinner, but I had a feeling he wouldn't be psyched about it, so I told him and apologized that I didn't really have anything else, except for some leftover ziti. He decided to stop at the store to pick up a rotisserie chicken or as we like to call them Bubble Chicken (after the bubble like container they come in) and make a sandwich with it.
He got home with his Bubble Chicken and of course asked ME to make him chicken salad with it. So much for my super simple supper for one! I did it though because my chicken salad is absolutely superior to his, no matter what I make it with. My dad always made tons of chicken salad when we were growing up so I can put a pretty good one together with whatever we have on hand. I made this quick chicken salad and served it over greens with walnuts for some added crunch, since he decided he'd rather that than a sandwich. Shocking!
Chicken Salad with Dried Cranberries over Mixed Greens
1/2 of grocery store roasted chicken
3 Tbsps honey or dijon mustard, depending on your preference
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 shallot - minced
handful of dried cranberries
3 big handfuls of mixed greens
2 Tbsps walnut pieces
extra virgin olive oil
Dice the chicken into 1/2" pieces. and gently mix with minced shallots, cranberries, mayonnaise and mustard. You may need to add more mayo or mustard to taste. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.
He enjoyed his salad and some of the soup and it turned out to be a pretty tasty and healthy dinner. Much healthier than my creamy soup and gooey grilled cheese. I can't say that this version will replace my go to recipe but it was tasty and a nice fresh soup to remind me that spring is just around the corner. I look forward to changing it up in the summer maybe with tomatoes roasted on the grill for a gazpacho type soup.
I'm just happy I made it through the craving and though it wasn't completely satisfied I tried a new recipe that turned out very nicely.
If you made it all the way through this epically long post, thanks for reading, I'm impressed!