Roasted Red Pepper Soup

February is a strange month, equally full of obnoxiously pink items and overpriced flowers as it is dreary days and bluebird skiing. Long-time readers will know I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day but as it is my anniversary with M it becomes more special. Each year I bake a cake to celebrate and this year will be no different – check back in two weeks for this year’s (hopefully successful) endeavor. Valentine’s desserts are typically quite indulgent, which makes today’s recipe a great option if you’re planning to eat in this “holiday”.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

As part of last month’s Mindful Eating challenge I was looking for recipes that were delicious and wholesome and things that I felt good about eating, emotionally and physically. This soup definitely fits the bill. It’s fairly light which makes it pair great with bread or even grilled cheese, and requires simple ingredients and relatively chill preparation.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I used a whole package of the large bell peppers from Costco, but if yours are smaller you may want closer to 8. Once flattened they should completely fill the cookie sheet to make sure you have plenty of red pepper flavor. The addition of crushed red pepper flakes adds a little kick, and a dollop of sour cream is a great garnish. This recipe is easily made vegetarian or vegan by using vegetable broth (and nixing the sour cream), which makes it versatile for a whole slew of different diets.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I served mine with some quick drop biscuits, but you could invite added flair with some fancy grilled cheese (think sourdough bread and Gruyère, or focaccia and brie) or a whole grain loaf. Add a side salad or some roasted veggies and you have a complete meal – with plenty of room for dessert and leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Adapted from House of Yumm
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

6 large red bell peppers

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat your broiler to high and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the bell peppers into flat strips, removing seeds and membranes.
  3. Place the peppers skin side up onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening them as much as possible.
  4. Broil until skins are at least half blackened, about 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and place immediately into a sealed container to steam.
  5. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is translucent.
  6. Retrieve the bell peppers, peeling off the charred parts of the skin, and add to the pot. Add broth and spices and bring to a simmer.
  7. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender1 to puree the soup completely. Taste and adjust spices as necessary.
  8. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream (optional) and some extra crushed red pepper flakes or oregano for garnish. Goes great with a hearty bread.

Notes

If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender to puree the peppers, onion, and garlic before adding the broth and spices (thinning with some of the unheated broth if necessary to get a fine puree), then return to pot and follow directions as normal.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

Happy almost New Year and hope everyone had a merry winter holiday, for those of you that celebrate it. I spent Christmas with M’s family in Oregon, which was a little weird given the lack of snow, but nice to spend the time with his family. We did not celebrate with the cinnamon rolls I posted two weeks ago, but I did make pie for Christmas Eve dinner with the grandparents. Maybe I’ll get the blueberry recipe up sometime next year.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

This week I’m posting a nice cozy soup, great for the week between Christmas and New Year’s where all you want to do is hang out inside and relish those last few days off work or school. This is a simple recipe, and pretty quick to make, but it’s hearty and creamy and with all that broccoli in there it masquerades as vaguely healthy.

I like to use sharp cheddar in soups, but some pepperjack or gouda or any combination that strikes your fancy is sure to be delightful. A creamy base with generous amounts of cheese is intertwined with a hefty amount of broccoli, sure to please your cozy palate without feeling too much guilt about it.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I added a little celery as filler, but it’s just fine without it if you don’t have it on hand. Likewise you could throw a little zucchini in there. Since it’s puréed anyway, it’s a great soup for sneaking a couple extra neutral veggies into a meal.

When I was making it, M frowned at the idea of a meatless soup, so I added some diced turkey at the end to satiate him. It certainly is not necessary and the soup is great in its original vegetarian state, but if, like me, you have some carnivores to appease, some chicken or turkey is a great addition.

Broccoli Cheese Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

It goes great with a side of whole grain bread for either lunch or dinner, and reheats nicely if you have leftovers. If you’re looking for a simple and classic meal that’s maybe a little less extravagant than typical holiday fair, make a batch of this soup.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 2 quarts (a little more if you add meat)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 small stalks celery, finely diced (optional)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half

4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp garlic powder
freshly ground pepper, to taste

1.5 pounds broccoli, chopped small (about 8 cups)
1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)

1-2 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey breast (optional)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add onion and celery and sauté until softened and onions are translucent.
  3. Stir in flour until no lumps remain, then stir in half and half until smooth.
  4. Add broth, garlic powder, and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer over medium-low about 10 minutes, until mixture thickens slightly.
  6. Add broccoli and carrot, and simmer until softened, about 20 minutes.
  7. Use an immersion blender (or any blender) to puree the soup to your preferred texture. I like it mostly smooth with a few chunks of broccoli, but you can blend as little or as much as you like.
  8. If using poultry, add it now and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until meat is warmed through.
  9. Remove soup from the heat and stir in the cheese until completely incorporated.
  10. Serve hot with an extra pinch of cheese, a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper, and a side of savory bread.

Apple Pumpkin Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Perhaps after the overwhelming feasting of Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day you are ready for something a bit more on the healthy side. Or maybe you wisely skipped all that but are always on the lookout for new recipes. Look no further! Today I have a wonderful healthy and vegetarian (optionally vegan) recipe to share with you all.

Apple Pumpkin Roasted Butternut Squash Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I’d been eyeing soups like these for a while but only a few weeks ago bit the bullet and bought an immersion blender. Turns out they are awesome and you should absolutely get one. If it’s not in the budget or cupboard space doesn’t allow, you can make do with a food processor or high-end blender, but for real an immersion blender is the way to go. I ordered mine from Amazon (no I’m not getting paid for this, I just love it) and it is fantastic. I’m sure I’ll be using it often, which is good because I haven’t quite found a cupboard to store it in.

Regardless, soup. Butternut squash is always rampant in the winter but until this year I’d never actually cooked with it. Turns out that like spaghetti squash, it’s an incredibly easy option. After roasting, it’s delicious simply mashed with a little butter and salt and pepper, and even more amazing in more complex recipes like this soup.

Apple Pumpkin Roasted Butternut Squash Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Squash and pumpkin bolstered slightly with the sweetness of apples are mixed with vegetable stock and spices for a wonderful savory entrée. An optional addition of heavy cream makes it an extra amazing experience but it’s also delicious without. Either way, the slightly sweet vegetables with a little spiciness is an excellent combination. With everything puréed together, the flavors are perfectly blended into a simple course that easy to pair with many sides.

Apple Pumpkin Roasted Butternut Squash Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

This recipe is vegetarian as is, and can be made vegan by omitting the cream or substituting your favorite non-dairy option. If you’re neither of those things, serve with some crumbled bacon for extra flair, or just to appease the carnivores in the family.

Since the oven will already be hot from roasting the squash, a batch of roasted Brussels sprouts makes a perfect side dish to round out a very colorful meal. Even better, this soup reheats nicely either on the stove or in the microwave, which is great for the abundant leftovers I hope you have.

Apple Pumpkin Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted from Smile Sandwich
Makes about 2 quarts

Ingredients

1 medium to large butternut squash

1 medium onion
2 apples
3 cloves garlic
olive oil

32 oz vegetable (or chicken) stock
1  cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheets with foil or a silicon mat.
  2. Cut squash in half (the long way) and remove the seeds. Coat lightly with olive oil and place on baking sheet.
  3. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until squash is easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, dice onion, apples, and garlic. (I also like to pre-measure my spices into a small cup and then clean up the kitchen at this time, but that’s totally up to you.)
  5. When the squash has about 15 minutes left, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add onion, apple, and garlic and saute until they are softened, about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in spices, pumpkin puree, and vegetable stock and continue cooking while you finish the squash. (If you pre-cooked your squash, you can just skip straight to step 9.)
  8. When the squash is cooked, remove from oven and carefully scoop out the flesh from the skin. (You may want to wait about ten minutes for them to cool down a little, and/or use a heat-proof glove).
  9. Add squash to the pot, bring soup to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and add the cream, if desired. Use an immersion blender to completely puree the soup. Taste and up the spices a little, if desired.
  11. Serve hot with freshly ground pepper on top. Refrigerate leftovers.

Veggie Soup

Now that I’ve been back about a week, I’m finally starting to feel back to normal. Three weeks of travel and socializing was pretty rough on this introvert and some peace and quiet over the weekend did a world of good. I got back to baking with pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, and then figured I should make something for dinner also. With snow in the forecast this week (!) a batch of soup was definitely in order.

Veggie Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

While traveling I ate a ton of delicious but not exactly healthy things, so now that I’m back I’m trying to do a little better in the eating department. While skimming Pinterest (like ya do) I whizzed passed a vegetable soup recipe that looked great. I didn’t really follow it so much as use it as a guideline, but I always appreciate the inspiration. Vegetable stock and spaghetti sauce make a yummy broth filled with whatever veggies suit your fancy. I threw in potatoes, celery (since we had some around), carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, green beans, corn, and peas, but you can easily tailor it to your preferences or to your supplies on hand. Pretty hard to go wrong here so just chop some fresh or throw in some canned/frozen options and you’re good to go.

Veggie Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

I didn’t spice mine a ton, but I did throw in a few. I put some guideline measurements for the beginners but if you’re a practiced soup chef feel free to change them up. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredients list, it’s a super easy recipe.

This is a great vegetarian option for a cool fall day, and maybe the rest of the week since it makes a ton. If you’re wanting to make it more carnivore-friendly, brown up a pound (more or less) of your favorite ground or diced meat and throw it in when you add the broth. Enjoy!

Veggie Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Veggie Soup

Inspired by Cooking Classy

Makes a lot (4-5 quarts)

Ingredients

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced

5 medium potatoes, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
24 oz spaghetti sauce
32 oz vegetable stock (low sodium)

2 tsp thyme
2 tsp Italian seasonings
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup/can green beans
2 cups frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
1-2 handfuls fresh spinach

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add oil, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes (no need to drain), and spaghetti sauce. Gently pour in vegetable stock, add spices, and stir to combine.
  3. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
  4. Add green beans (drained, if using canned), peas, corn, and spinach, then simmer for another 5 minutes or until ready to eat.
  5. Serve hot, goes great with corn bread!

Tortellini Tomato Soup

Guys. Guys. It’s not summer anymore! I need gloves and a hat for my bike ride to work! It’s a miracle! And very convenient because I happened across this soup recipe and it sounded so delightful I made it the next day. I would have made it that same day but I had a Halloween party to attend. I went as two-eyed Leela from Futurama this year.

Leela

Aaaand it’s winter. I wrote this last week and then left for my 6th and final half marathon of the year in Nevada. I got back last night and this morning I woke up to snow. A far cry from the 84 degrees at the finish line. But I got first in my age group! First time ever placing, so that’s fun.

In any case, soup. This one has a chunky tomato base with a hearty dose of tortellini and spinach to switch it up a bit from your average tomato soup recipe. Don’t get me wrong, Pacific Food Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato soup with a side of grilled cheese is one of my go to meals any time of year, but it’s nice to have a homemade option to add to the mix. Even better, this soup has great flavor, is very filling, and is easy to make vegetarian so long as you pick a package of tortellini without meat.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Spaghetti sauce is a key ingredient and flavor in this soup so make sure you pick one you like (or make your own if you’re into that sort of thing.) Adding diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic step it up a notch while the vegetable broth takes it into soup territory. I added a diced red bell pepper as well but that is totally optional. Add several big handfuls of baby spinach and a package of tortellini and you’ve got a quick healthy meal to add to your repertoire.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in need of a nice warm meal, this one is perfect. Serve with a side of bread (like whole wheat beer bread) or grilled cheese sandwiches for an extra hearty meal. It would also be great topped with a little shredded cheese.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Tortellini Tomato Soup

Adapted from DietHood
Makes about 3.5 quarts

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 small-medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 (14.5oz) cans Italian Diced Tomatoes
4 cups spaghetti sauce

4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

1 package frozen tortellini1
10 oz fresh baby spinach2

Directions

  1. Over medium heat, heat oil and butter in a large pot until butter is melted.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes, or until onions are soft.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes and sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth and return to a boil.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  6. Add tortellini and spinach and continue cooking until tortellini is done (check your package instructions), about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot and refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.3

Notes

The original recipe called for 10 oz of tortellini, but I like a lot of pasta and the package I on hand was 20 oz so that’s what I used. Anything in that range would be great.

I buy spinach at Costco in the giant containers so I just added several large handfuls. Add more or less to suit your tastes.

It reheats great but it’s definitely thicker the next day (especially if you put in lots of pasta like I did because that is what soaks up the liquid.) If it doesn’t seem soupy enough, add a little water when you microwave it.