Larrupin

Uncommonly Good

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup

I came across a Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup in an email today, and since I had a zucchini in the fridge I decided I needed to make it for lunch.

So I did.

Italian Vegetable Soup in Larrupin

I pinned it, and then printed the recipe. I made a few changes off the top, mostly to the sequence of events, and switched out the broth, the beans and the tomato products. My recipe—with the changes—is below.

I started with this deep cast iron skillet acquired at a garage sale. Paid a whopping $5 for the rusty old thing. The size is midway between a skillet and a Dutch Oven. I cleaned it up and this is my first time to use it.

Should have taken a “before” picture! It was a mess.

Iron Skillet, Flea Market Find

Ain’t it purty? Cleaned up right nice, din’t it?

Beautiful seasoning! This is what a well-seasoned iron skillet is supposed to look like! My plan was to resell it because it was so gross I didn’t know if I could get it all the way back. But I might be in love. Even though it’s a no-name skillet, it will do the job.

Celery and onion went in first.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

I always chop the onion last, just in case it makes me cry. When the onions and celery are soft and smelling good, I add the garlic. Garlic will burn if you cook it too long or if the heat is too high so I wait to add it just before the next step.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

I added the carrots here because I’m not a fan of soggy cooked carrots. Adding them now means they still have some crunch when the soup is done. If you like soft cooked carrots, you can put them in the pot at the beginning.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

This is where I added the dried oregano. I could have added it sooner, but I forgot. I like to stir it around and coat the veggies with it before adding the liquids.  I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I think the veggies take in more flavor when I do this instead of letting the herbs just swim around in the liquid later.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

Now I add the broth, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Then the zucchini—I don’t like soggy zucchini either—and the rosemary. I intended to drop in a sprig of fresh rosemary, which is why I didn’t put it in with the oregano, but instead of taking the time to go outside and snip some, I used what I had in the cabinet.

While I waited for everything to come to a boil, I built a salad.

Salad on Larrupin

A couple of handfuls of spring mix; two slices of seasoned, crispy, oven-baked French bread croutons, broken into pieces; a sprinkle of sunflower seeds; and some slivers of Parmesan. I dressed it with homemade vinaigrette: olive oil, cranberry vinegar (homemade), brown and spicy mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, garlic granules, and sugar).

When the soup came to a boil…

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

… I added the pasta.

Then I ate my salad.

Italian Vegetable Soup in Larrupin

When I finished the salad the pasta was done, and, as pasta does, it absorbed a lot of liquid. I added the beans with the liquid (again, I don’t like soggy, smushy beans) and filled the empty can with water to add to the soup. I didn’t want to dilute the flavor, so I sprinkled a teaspoon or so of chicken bouillon granules on top and stirred it into the mix.

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup on Larrupin

Salt and pepper to taste. I only added a smidge of salt but I gave it several good cranks of the pepper mill. I add pepper to practically everything.

Then I spooned it into my salad bowl. I used a wooden stirring spoon so I didn’t get a lot of liquid. I gave it a good splash of Tabasco and  garnished with slivers of cheese. I used a potato peeler.

It was larrupin!

Italian Vegeable Soup on Larrupin

Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup

It was 1 hour and 4 minutes from the first picture to the last. The original recipe said 30 minutes, 10 for prep and 20 to cook, but I couldn’t do it that fast unless I had help chopping the vegetables.

This would make a yummy brown bag lunch with a salad, and it will freeze well for leftovers. Leftovers and freezing are two more reasons I don’t overcook the veggies.

1.

3 large stalks Chopped Celery In Dutch oven, sauté onion and celery in oil.

2.

1 medium/smallish Chopped Onion

3.

2–3 Tbsp Olive oil

4.

2–3 Garlic Cloves Minced garlic Add garlic to sauté.

5.

1–2 tsp Dried oregano Season with dried herbs, stir to coat veggies.

6.

2–3 carrots Chunky chopped carrots Add carrots.

7.

1 32 oz box Swanson’s Chicken Broth Pour in broth, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.

8.

1 14.5 oz can Crushed tomatoes

9.

1 8 oz. Tomato sauce

10.

1–2  stems Fresh rosemary Add rosemary and zucchini. Bring to a boil.

11.

1 small zucchini Thick sliced zucchini

12.

2 cups Uncooked pasta Add pasta. Stir. Cook al dente.

Eat your salad while the pasta cooks.

13.

1× 15.5 oz can Great northern beans Add beans and liquid.

14.

1 15 oz. can Water Use the empty bean can to add water.

15.

1–2 tsp. Wyler’s Chicken Bouillon Granules Sprinkle on top. Stir.
To taste Salt & Pepper

Finish eating your salad and then ladle the soup into your salad bowl.

Garnish Parmesan Cheese
Optional Tabasco Sauce

 

December 6, 2012 Posted by | Brown Bag, Salad, Soup | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leftovers Lasagna, NOT Leftover Lasagna—yet

Lasagna and Breadsticks

Leftovers Lasagna and Cheesy Parmesan Breadsticks

I thought my brother was coming to town over the weekend so I offered to help mom out by fixing lasagna for a family dinner/football watch party on Saturday night. I offered because I had a package of ground beef and two packages of Italian sausage I needed to freeze or use.

I’m still out of a job so my mom wouldn’t have let me cook if I was going to have to buy anything.

I cooked up the meat the same day, bagged it up and put it in the fridge.

Turns out my brother got sick and had to cancel, but fortunately I found out before I’d committed to using the entire three plus pounds of meat. I split the meat into three freezer bags and put it in the freezer.

Game night rolls around so I pulled one bag out of the freezer and made a quick batch of spaghetti for Dillon and I to eat during the game. It was really good! The dinner, and the game! We won!

I have a tendency to make too much pasta for the sauce I’ve prepared so this time I went on the conservative side and ended up with just the right amount for dinner, but then had leftover meat sauce when we finished.

I was still in the mood for lasagna so on Sunday I whipped this up with the leftovers… thus the title.

Following my plan to use only what I had on hand I pulled out an opened tub of cottage cheese for the cheese layer. I added an egg, a scoop of sour cream (just because I like it) and mixed it up. I also had some slices of provolone and Farmers cheese handy.

Lasagna

Leftovers Lasagna: Layered and Read to Bake

Instead of boiling the lasagna noodles, I tried a tip I saw on TV recently. I soaked the noodles in a casserole dish filled with hot water. I used hot water from the tap and let the noodles soak while I mixed the cheese and got everything ready to layer. It worked like a charm.

Since I wasn’t making a full size lasagna, I put this together in a loaf pan. I was able to use scissors to cut the noodles to the right length and size. The noodles were a tiny bit crispy, but if I’d let them soak 5–10 minutes longer, or poured boiling water over them they would have been perfect. At any rate it removed one gigantic step from the process.

So I layered it and put it in the oven and went to work on my cheesy Parmesan breadsticks.

Cheese Parmesan Breadsticks: Before

Cheese Parmesan Breadsticks: Before

I popped open a can of Pillsbury Breadsticks and dried the casserole I used to soak the lasagna.

Pillsbury Original Breadsticks

Pillsbury Original Breadsticks

I swirled a splatter of olive oil in the bottom of the dish. I wanted to use melted butter, but opted for a healthier fat. I separated the breadsticks and coated them with oil. I left them flat and sprinkled my own blend of seasoning over the top and then turned the breadsticks and seasoned the other side. Next I grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses over that. I twisted the sticks as directed added more cheese and then put the dish in the oven next to the lasagna.

About 12 minutes later the breadsticks were golden brown.

Cheesy Parmesan Breadsticks: After

Cheesy Parmesan Breadsticks: After

Mmmmm!

Leftovers Lasagna: After

Leftovers Lasagna: After

Very impatiently, I tried to wait the suggested 5-10 minutes to let the juices set a bit before cutting it, but I still dipped it out pretty juicy. No matter. It tasted great!

Now I have leftover Leftovers Lasagna to warm up for lunch or dinner the few days.

Larrupin.

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Casserole | , , , , | Leave a comment

BLT—and then some—Soup

This isn’t your old-fashioned Campbell’s lunchtime  soup.

Although as a kid I loved my Campbell’s Tomato Soup filled with an equal part of crumbled saltines.

Craving a BLT, I pulled a Ziploc bag of homemade tomato soup from the freezer.
The frozen slab of soup went into the microwave on defrost and while I spread a few slices of bacon in a hot skillet.
When the soup defrosted enough to break into pieces, I put it in a 4 quart glass measuring cup to finish. The bacon cooked until crispy and I pulled the other ingredients together:

  • 8–10 small leaves of baby spinach
  • 6–8 leaves of cilantro
  • Sliced almonds
  • Parmesan and Romano cheeses
  • Janz seasoned croutons
  • Pepper mill filled with black pepper

 

Bacon, Spinach, Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup garnished with baby spinach, cilantro and crispy crumbled bacon.

When the soup was hot I poured it into a shallow soup bowl and garnished it as follows:

  1. Make a rosette of baby spinach leaves in the center of the bowl
  2. Add a few cilantro leaves
  3. Crumbled crispy bacon on top of the spinach

 

BLT Soup And Then Some

Tomato Soup layered with spinach, cilantro, bacon, almonds, cheeses, and a great big crusty crouton.

Continue garnishing with sliced almonds, grated cheeses and crunchy croutons. Don’t forget to add a generous grind of black pepper.

Larrupin!

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Soup | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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