Thursday, January 22, 2009

Good For You Creamy Tomato Soup with Rosemary Focaccia

Hey-Hello everybody, and welcome to any newcomers!

Someone once tried to tell me that soup wasn't dinner. (I don't want to name names, but he's five years old, keeps rocks in his pockets, owns five light sabers, has big brown eyes and lives at my house.) To him I say, have two bowls. Maybe even three. And with soup as good for you as this one, you could probably get away with four. And who's counting, anyway? Darn it, it's January and we're all counting. Counting calories, counting pennies, counting minutes. Fortunately, this soup measures low on all of the aforementioned categories, with an exceptionally high rating in taste. I know, because I'm the judge. (In fact I'm all three judges and I give it three tens.) As for calories, it's good and low since you are swapping out the heavy cream that usually makes soup so luxurious. Instead, you've got three options below: evaporated skim milk, low fat cream cheese, or fat free half and half. As for pennies, this soup is particulary easy on the pocket book, since you're using canned tomatoes (stock up during sales!), humble vegetables, and pantry staples for seasonings. And as for minutes, head directly to the kitchen because you could be having soup in about 25 of them. As an added bonus, I've included my recipe for rosemary focaccia. With this rustic flatbread baking in the oven and tomato soup simmering on the stove, the whole house will smell like an Italian villa. And even five year old little charges will be won over by such savory charms and be forced to admit that dinner, yes-this soup dinner, is down right delicious. (By the way, he had three bowls.) But who's counting?
Money and Time Saving Tips:
Keep the pantry stocked with canned tomatoes for fast dinners. I buy cases of tomatoes when they go for 50 cents a can. Use stock, broth or even bouillion cubes, depending on what you've got. You can also make the soup creamy with regular milk, but it may not be as luxurious. For the focaccia, use dried rosemary or swap it out for dried basil. But wedges of parmesan when on sale; they keep well. Baking your own bread, especially specialty bread, will save you oodles over bakery prices. If you're pressed for time, you can use purchased pizza dough or a roll of Pillsbury french bread.
Good for you Creamy Tomato Soup
Estimated Cost: $5.50 for four servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (14 ounce) cans Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chicken broth or stock
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk, or 4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese
chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving
In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add oniion and carrots and saute for five minutes. Stir in garlic and saute an additional minute. Add tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. For a creamy soup, transfer to blender and blend, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. (Immersion blenders are a must have for soup lovers!) Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead of time to this point. Just before serving, add evaporated skim milk (or cream cheese of half and half) to pot. Warm through, but do not boil. Serve immediately with basil or parsley, and hopefully some warm focaccia. Rosemary Focaccia
Estimated Cost: $3.50 for 12 wedges
Notes: My favorite yeast is SAF, which many professional bakeries use. It may not be available at your store, so ask your supermarket baker which yeast they use behind the counter and buy that one. If you get a truly reliable yeast, and you make sure your water isn't too hot, you almost can't fail.
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (think baby bottle warm)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped, or 1 tablespoon fresh
3 cups flour (I use half whole wheat)
For Top:
2-6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup to 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
additional chopped dried or fresh rosemary
black pepper
In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary and half of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. (Alternately, if you have a free standing mixer, put in all of the flour and let the machine do the work.) Work in the remaining flour, using your hands and kneading when necessary. Knead dough for five minutes. Cover and let rise for one hour. (The dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with saran wrap and store in fridge.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough into a 12 inch circle. Don't worry about being perfect; you're going for rustic Italian here. Press the dough all over with your fingertips to make indentations. Cover dough with olive oil, cheese, rosemary and black pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve. Any leftovers make a killer sandwich for the next day.
Up Next: My New Favorite Dinner
20 minute Toasted Walnut and Garlic Pasta
plus a burning question....

54 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Mmm, so scrumptious!!

Can't wait for the "burning question" in your next post!! :-)

Lisa said...

We have been eating so much soup. Love it in this weather. I had to get my husband over the "soup is not a meal" too. Just was at the Can Can sale yesterday so I have plenty of tomatoes to mkae this.

Aggie said...

I am really liking this soup, tomato soup is my favorite!! and that focaccia!

Cristine said...

What a delicious looking dinner!!!

Janel said...

Oooh, these sound so good! I love creamy tomato soup. Thanks for the recipe!

Chrissy said...

Looks so yummy, especially in this cold weather. I will try this one! I am going to make your cupcakes you posted a few weeks ago this weekend!!!

Mary Ellen said...

Mmm, this looks delicious!!

Natashya said...

It has definitely been a soup winter!
Great combo with the focaccia!

Maria said...

I am loving soup! The soup and focaccia looks perfect together!

1freshstart said...

Yummy! I might just have to make that focaccia.
~Cat

HoneyB said...

Hmmm. I'm told the same thing about dinner....except the culprit here is blue eyed and blonde haired....and probably much older!

Peter M said...

In the winter, it's soup almost everyday...I should add this one to my roster.

Cathy said...

Everything about this looks FABULOUS, Prudy! I got an immersion blender for Christmas, and I will be using it for this soup pronto! And I finally ordered a large package of SAF yeast from Amazon. It probably came to $14 (the yeast wasn't much, but the shipping was!) but it is a pound of yeast, so it should last for a good long while! Thanks for these great recipes!

Marie said...

Your tomato soup looks delish Erin. I always use tinned tomatoes in mine, unless it is tomato season. The rest of the year fresh tomatoes just have no flavour. That focaccia looks fabulous and I, too, can't wait for the burning question!

Allie said...

You beat me to making focaccia! It's been on my list to make since summer time and I keep putting it off. Now I have to have it after seeing yours!

Patsyk said...

My oldest loves tomato soup... I'm going to make this one for him soon... He'll declare me best mom ever when I do (of course, he does that daily anyway... but, I'm all about increasing the odds he'll keep it up until he's a teenager! ;-) ).

Catherine said...

Oh this looks delicious! I can't wait to give both of these recipes a try. I lost my immersion blender in my move, isn't that terrible? I have yet to replace it, and I've been missing out on some delcious soups this season, as a result! Maybe I'll have to go get one today!

Marjie said...

I promise you that there are larger gents in my house who say soup is not dinner either. Then I serve grinders to go with, and meat makes the soup a meal, suddenly. As for me, I love tomato soup!

pinkstripes said...

The soup and foccacia look amazing. Soup is definitely dinner food!

Bridgett said...

I seriously could have soup each night!

Taletha, etc. said...

Congratulations on being featured on Studio 5 today. Love your blog!

Cynthia's Blog said...

I can't think of a more satisfying meal! Thanks for this recipe.

Michal said...

i'm going to make that focaccia for our dinner tonight. i should be making the soup instead of pasta carbonara, but i'm not.

i had to convince jared that soup was dinner. i just always try to serve it with some fresh bread or an optional sandwich. and we've decided to compromise on "soup is not sunday dinner!"

Brandy(Mrs. H) said...

delish...i think u def deserve to win Food Blog Awards Best Theme...i already voted :)

RecipeGirl said...

These both look very yummy and comforting. Congrats on your food award nomination! You have my vote! Yay!

jenjen said...

Prudy --

That soup looks so wonderful! And the focaccia. I have never made homemade focaccia. It looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe and glad you had fun on your trip!

Jen

The Blonde Duck said...

This looks like dinner to me! Yum!

gigi said...

This soup looks so good and would really hit the spot today. Thank you for explaning about the SAF yeast. I still haven't found any but Fleischmann's is working great and I was able to buy it in bulk from Sam's.

Rebecca said...

You have won the "Your blog is Fabulous" Award! Check it out at The Copper Brick Road

mikky said...

ah... simply lovely... :)

heddomarie said...

Found your blog after watching Studio 5. I am making your crockpot chicken tacos for dinner tonight. I can't wait to try your recipes! You can bet I'll be a new follower. :)

Sara said...

This looks absolutely delicious. If I had carrots I would make this tonight. It will definitely be on the menu for next week. Can't wait to try the foccacia bread too.

Astra Libris said...

I adore tomato soup, and yours sounds absolutely heavenly! Especially with your gorgeous focaccia alongside... Mmmm...

Congratulations on the very well-deserved blog awards nomination! Hooray! I just voted for you! :-)

Prudent Homemaker said...

I get my yeast in bulk at Sam's Club.

And anytime your store has a good sale on canned tomatoes, you can ask the store manager (towards the beginning of the sale so they can plan for their deliveries before the sale ends) for the cases that you want at the sale price.

The bulk Knorr Bullion in the giant container from Walmart is a great price, too!

Parmesean also stores well in the freezer.

Mary Ann said...

Prudy- your soup looks perfect and I really wish I could whip it up right this minute. The Focaccia I am going to have to try as well. Keep the yummy stuff coming!

Prudent Homemaker said...

I just wanted to let you know that I voted for you at The Well Fed Netwoek!

Noor said...

Oh this looks so good, I want some. My husband does not think soup is a dinner as well, grr I do and I love soup. I am going to try both recipes together asap.

kenzeeloo said...

Erin - I was so excited to see you today. And I love this blog! I'm going to try some of these, they look so yummy!

Dawn said...

my hands have been so cold all day and I would love to wrap them around a hot mug of this soup! our temperature is 8 degrees!!!

Alexis said...

Yum Yum Yum

I made both the soup and bread tonight and we will definitely be having them again soon.

It was my first time making any kind of bread and it was a great success.

I had a small explosion pureeing the soup, which made for some extra clean up - lol

I think next time I will make a double batch of the soup and freeze half after pureeing. Then when I thaw and heat I can add the evap. milk.

Thanks for the recipes and the confidence boost in dealing with bread :)

gigi said...

We loved this soup! Both Harry and I had a second helping :) Thanks again for sharing so many wonderful recipes.

Prudy said...

Thanks so much Alexis and Gigi! I can't tell you how happy it makes me when my readers try my recipes and like them! It gives me an added surge of enthusiasm!

Hot Mess Housewife said...

OMG. I just stumbled upon this blog, and this entry has officially made me fall in love - and I'm only one entry down into the page! I will totally be trying this entry, and bookmarking this blog!

Di said...

That looks great! Tomato soup is about the only soup that Brianna will eat. I've never tried adding evaporated milk or cream cheese though--great tips.

Marilene said...

Yummy!!! we made it tonight and LOVED it! plus my mom just started weight watchers and it's really low on points! thank you as always. yummy bread! i cheated and bought some premade dough.

Nancy said...

I tried your Focaccia bread last night and it was delicious! And so easy! I was a little nervous to try it but it turned out great. Next time I'll have to try the soup too. Thanks for the fun recipe.

Library Betty said...

I made the Focaccia this weekend and it was the bomb. Very yummy and easy. I followed your suggestion and refrigerated the dough overnight. It rose beautifully. I added the recipe to my home file and look forward to trying the soup!

Thanks for your site.

Lindsey said...

We made the tomato soup and foccacia for supper tonight - both were delicious!

(despite the fact that I accidentally added in TWO cups of water to the foccacia dough instead of one, so I added more flour....and then I forgot the parmesan for the top, but it was still yummy!)

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Julie said...

I made the focaccia last night -- it was a hit. Thanks so much!

Lindsay said...

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE, love, love this soup. I made it last night. THANKS!!!

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Kristinammqa said...

delish...i think u def deserve to win Food Blog Awards Best Theme...i already voted :)