Slow Roasted Tomato & Pesto Soup

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Ahhhh…summer. We are having a wonderful summer.

I hope you are too.

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We’re trying to squeeze in as much camping, hang gliding, trips to the lake, puttering around the garden, and picnics in the park as we can before the long winter arrives.

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My vegetable garden is doing really well this year and has left me with an abundance of tomatoes. We’ve been having them on omelettes, in salads, in pasta, and I’ve been roasting them and freezing them so we can sneak in some tastes of summer in the dead of winter.

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When we returned from camping last week the tomato vines were heavy with the weight of beautiful fruit! Rather than roast more tomatoes to freeze, I thought I’d start making home made tomato soup to put up for the winter instead.

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It looks like I’m going to have to do a few batches because I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite especially alongside a dairy free grilled sandwich or a grilled tuna sandwich. The flavors are so delicious and this time I added a pinch of crushed chipotle peppers that added a hint of heat and a warm, smoky flavor.

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The best part is that it’s a very easy recipe that will bring the taste of summer into a chilly winter afternoon and most of us have all the ingredients on hand –  along with gardens bursting with tomatoes.

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Slow Roasted Tomato & Pesto Soup 

7 Cups of Red Cherry Tomatoes & Yellow Pear Tomatoes stems removed, rinsed, and dried

1 tsp of Dried Oregano

1 Medium Vidalia Onion peeled and sliced

10 Cloves of Garlic peeled

Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

2 Generous Pinches of Kosher Salt

1 tsp of Dried Basil

1/8 tsp of Dried Crushed Chipotle Peppers

A Few Grinds of Fresh Pepper

4 Cups of Gluten Free Chicken Broth

1/2 tsp of Coconut Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Vegan Nut Free Pesto 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the oregano, basil, chipotle peppers, kosher salt, and ground pepper. 

Roast for 2 hours. 

Remove the roasted veggies, garlic, and herbs with a spatula into a medium saucepan  add the chicken broth, coconut sugar, and pesto.  Use an immersion blender (or put into a regular blender, then add to a saucepan) to puree the tomatoes, garlic, and onion. Simmer (slowly) for 30 minutes. 

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If you’d like to see more frequent posts from my day to day cooking and read articles and tidbits about healthy living, you can also follow me on Instagram and my Gluten Free Zen Facebook page.

 

Spicy Sausage and Bean Soup & Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

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I could live on soup.

In fact, as long as I had a nice variety, I literally would eat soup every day of my life for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have no idea why I feel this way about soup, but really, what’s not to like about it? Your options are endless. You can make a light soup or a hardy soup. You can make a puree or you can make one with all kinds of yummy texture and flavor. All I ask is that you don’t eat it out of a can.

Soup is easy to make yourself (not as easy as opening a can…but not much harder)  and the payoff is huge. Just the fact that you’ve created something delicious from scratch all on your own is a plus. The fact that you can control what’s in it…that’s the important part. No chemicals, creepy thickeners, hidden allergens, or crazy genetically modified who knows what for you. Just simple organic ingredients that are beneficial for the whole family.

Spicy Sausage & Bean Soup 

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Small Onion, chopped

1/2 Cup Celery, sliced thinly

2 Garlic Cloves, chopped

About 2 Cups of your favorite GF/DF sausage, sliced (I used Hot Italian Pork & Sweet Italian Chicken)

4 Large Tuscan Kale Leaves (rib removed) rolled, cut in half, and sliced thinly

1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1/2-1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)

1 15 oz. Can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

8 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Kosher Salt & Pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a dutch oven or large pot and heat. Saute the onion, celery, garlic, sliced sausage, kale, thyme, and red pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the onion and celery are becoming translucent. Add the beans, broth, and Old Bay Seasoning and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

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Lazy Man’s Garlic Bread

*Super easy and a perfect way to use up leftover hamburger buns.

2 Udi’s Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Earth Balance Soy Free Butter Spread

Garlic Powder

Dried Oregano

Open the buns and spread with butter. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and dried oregano. Place under the broiler until golden.

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Dizzy Dinner Rolls

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After making it through a few ugly days of the flu last week, I woke up a couple of days ago with an even uglier illness…vertigo.

If you haven’t had it, I envy you and you should probably add “not getting vertigo” to your prayer list because it’s something you never want. If you have had it, well, my heart aches for you and you know exactly where I’m coming from.

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However, I have to tell you that I’ve had it two other times in the past, and because I caught it early this time, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be. With the help of anti-dizzy drugs I managed to walk the dogs today , make home-made soup to settle my stomach, and to make these extremely easy dinner rolls. I’m not a pill popper and I don’t like to take anything that makes me feel weird in any way, but I must say, thank God for vertigo medication. Without it, I wouldn’t even be able to stand to look at my computer screen, or get out of bed for that matter, and here I am making chicken soup and rolls for myself. Meclizine gets two thumbs up.

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Don’t burn your towel while raising the rolls like I did. We’ll chalk that one up to the drugs.

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I was quite happy this afternoon when I finally felt like things were taking a turn for the better. The ground stopped moving and my brain stopped feeling like it was on fire. And I was hungry! I had been trying to gag down toast, tea, and apple slices just to get something into my stomach, which has to be one of the most unsatisfying meals on earth.

No matter what sickness I may have, absolutely nothing tastes better to me than home-made chicken soup. They’ve actually done studies on how healing it is, even just smelling it.

You can find my organic chicken soup recipe here.

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And of course, who doesn’t love a good dinner roll? Those of you who live the gluten-free life know exactly how hard it is to find a dinner roll recipe that doesn’t turn out like a hockey puck or resemble that salt dough we used to make Christmas ornaments out of in kindergarten.

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Search no more because this is by far the best one I have ever tried. I could eat them every day. They smell like a yeasty dinner roll, look like a dinner roll, and amazingly enough…taste like a dinner roll.

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Guess where I found the recipe? Pinterest. And it uses my absolute favorite gluten-free flour blend, Mama’s Almond Blend All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend.

I’ve been told by anti-Pinterest snobby snobs that, “Pinterest is a complete waste of time.”

I think not snobby snobs.

 I. Think. Not.

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You can find the recipe for these awesome rolls right here at Mygluten-freekitchen.com.

I use bread machine yeast and allow mine to rise for 1 hour and bake them about 5 minutes longer than the time listed.

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Beans, Greens, & Bacon

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“Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger,

eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.”

– Auguste Escoffier

Beans, Greens, & Bacon Soup

1 Package Uncured Organic Hickory Smoked Bacon, chopped

4-6 (depending on size) Organic Carrots, sliced on the diagonal

1 Medium Organic Onion, chopped

2 Tablespoon Organic Thyme, chopped

2 Tablespoons Organic Rosemary, minced

5 Cloves of Organic Garlic, chopped

1 1/2 Cups Organic Purple Kale (packed), chopped

1 Cup Organic Green Kale (packed), chopped

2 Cans of White Beans, rinsed and drained

3 – 32 oz. Boxes of Organic, Free Range, Chicken Broth

Olive Oil

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Heat a dutch oven on medium low and fry the bacon slowly until crisp. Remove the bacon bits to a paper towel to drain. Reserve about 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat in the pan.

Saute the onions until they are translucent and begin to caramelize. Add the carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the thyme, rosemary, bacon, and both types of kale. Saute until the kale begins to wilt.

Add the beans and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until carrots are tender.

Season with sea salt & pepper to taste.

“Grandma’s” Potato Soup

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I had to call this Grandma’s Potato Soup because she made the absolute best potato soup there is, hands down. Hers of course involved a lot of whole milk or cream and butter…so I had to tweak my recipe a bit. But all in all, the inspiration comes from her. I can hear what you’re saying…”Potato soup, it’s 90 degrees outside.” Yes it is, but it’s only 72 in here. Perfect weather for a bowl of homemade potato soup.

While I was chopping everything up for this soup lots of really great memories came flooding back. Don’t you love that when it happens? I am so thankful that I have so many great childhood memories of my Grandparents to choose from. I can hear the fans humming in my Grandma’s house on those hot summer days, smell her garden, remember at least 35 amazing Thanksgiving dinners, sit right on the front porch with my Grandpa on those lazy, hot summer days while he sipped a glass of beer with a sprinkle of salt. A glass for him and a tiny dish of beer for their dog, Punkin. The smell of the hand cleaner my Grandpa used after he’d been working in the garage all day. The feel of my Grandma’s 100% heavy cotton sheets when we would jump back into bed in the mornings after she would wake up at the crack of dawn to make my Grandpa breakfast before he was off to work for the day. The smell of their attic that I thought had amazing treasures. I can taste the strips of pie dough with cinnamon, sugar, and butter that my Grandma always had leftover from making holiday pies.  The smell of the tiny little Christmas tree she bought for me to have in my bedroom one year when we were staying with them. The beautiful crystal formations that would form on their old windows upstairs and my Grandma’s stories of “Jack Frost”.  Sigh…I could go on and on. All I have to do is close my eyes and think about it and I’m right there. What a blessing that is!

On top of all of those wonderful memories they provided me with, she always had yummy, soothing things to eat. How is that possible? No matter when I stopped by, even unannounced, she would fix me a plate or bowl of something delicious. It must be a little Grandma miracle or something because it was the same thing when we went to one of my friend’s Italian grandmother’s house unannounced. Manicotti and lasagna always available? A miracle, I’m telling you!

My heart aches when I hear people say they weren’t close to their Grandparents. I cannot even imagine my life without mine. I hope someday I have the opportunity to be even half the blessing my Grandparents were to me, to my own grandchildren. If you’re able…have you hugged your Grandparents today?

“Grandma’s” Potato Soup

8 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed

5 Medium Stalks of Celery, cut down the middle and sliced

1 Medium to Large Walla Walla Sweet Onion, diced

1 Whole Package of All Natural Bacon, diced (easier done when partially frozen)

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

A Pinch of Dried Parsley

2 32oz Containers of GF Chicken Broth

2 Cups Almond Milk (or your choice, I like almond milk because it’s thick like whole milk)

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Slice the celery and dice the onion, garlic, and bacon. Cube the potatoes.

In a medium-large Dutch oven, saute the bacon until it is golden and somewhat crisp. Be patient, it’s a lot of bacon and it will take a while. You want it to ever so lightly caramelize the bottom of the pan for a lot of flavor later. If you cook it to quickly, it will burn.

Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and set aside.

Remove all of the little bits from the pan leaving about a tablespoon and a half of bacon grease.

Next, saute the onions and celery until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes.

Add the butter and drained bacon and stir.

Add the potatoes and stir.

Cover the potatoes with both boxes of chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low boil until potatoes are tender.

Once the potatoes are tender enough to eat, add the two cups of almond milk and the pinch of dried parsley. Bring to a boil again and season with sea salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

Gluten Free Store Bought Soup

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So tonight I’m trying yet another brand of gluten-free, dairy-free, store-bought soup. I’m up to about probably the 4th brand and so far, I haven’t liked any of them. They taste weird, nothing like “real” soup, or even soup that I make at home from scratch. I mean honestly, how hard can it be for crying out loud?

This is what I saw when I opened tonight’s soup. I believe my immediate audible reaction was “ugh”. Then a wrinkled nose when I got up enough courage to smell it.

This is what it looks like in the pan. Pretty much the same.

And…this is what it looks like after one bite. One bite, because I would have to be starving to death to eat this and call it chicken noodle soup. It tastes more like salty flour water with mushy noodles and if it weren’t for the chunks of chicken in it I would have never guessed it was chicken noodle soup. Oh and the smell once it has boiled? Cat pee.

Come on people. How hard can it be to make a great batch of home-made soup and can it? I make delicious soup at home from scratch all the time. Gluten-free and dairy-free with no funky ingredients that make it look cloudy and smell like something the neighbor’s cat left behind.

The can says, “So good you will never know it’s gluten-free”. In reality it should say, “We think people with food allergies are stupid and have no taste buds, it doesn’t really taste like chicken noodle soup, but what the heck. Spend $3.oo on our can of soup anyway.”  Looks like I’ll be eating left over Three Bean Salad for dinner…

Organic Chicken & Vegetable Soup

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Homemade chicken soup. Doesn’t just the thought of sitting down with a steaming bowl and a warm roll with butter instantly relax you? Go ahead, close your eyes and imagine it. I’ll wait.

It doesn’t surprise me that several different Universities have done studies on the effects of chicken soup on cold and flu viruses. I mean really, how many of us were raised with mothers or grandmothers who believed that soup was the best possible thing for us when we were sick or tired from an endless week of Mondays? Scientific studies done at the University of Nebraska show that chicken soup is full of excellent nutrition and even has natural anti-inflammatory properties. They believe that chicken soup may actually trigger a cold and flu-fighting reaction in the body, that the steam helps to soothe your sinuses, and when someone you love prepares it for you, you get a therapeutic psychological boost that promotes healing. Wow, all that in a bowl of homemade chicken soup? I’ll take that over a flu shot any day.

Homemade Organic Chicken & Vegetable Soup

1 Whole Organic Free Range Chicken, rinsed, keep innards

3  32 oz. Boxes of Organic Free Range Chicken Broth (gluten free)

6 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Organic Sweet Onion, roughly chopped

1 cup Organic Sweet Onion, diced

3 Organic Carrots, roughly chopped

1 Cup Organic Carrots, sliced bite size

4 Organic Stalks of Celery, roughly chopped

1 Cup Organic Celery, sliced bite size

6 Organic Medium Size Red Potatoes, cut bite size

4 Organic Cloves of Garlic, whacked, peeled and left whole

4 Organic Cloves of Garlic, peeled and diced

10 Sprigs of Organic Thyme, left whole

6 Sprigs of Organic Thyme, leaves removed and saved

1 Sprig of Organic Rosemary, left whole

3 Leaves of Organic Sage, torn in half

3 Leaves of Organic Sage, chopped

2 Whole Organic Bay Leaves

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

For The Stock

Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a large stock pot, warm on medium-high heat. Add the roughly chopped onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add the 10 sprigs of whole thyme, 1 sprig of whole rosemary, and 3 torn sage leaves. Saute just until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Next, add the whole chicken with parts (neck, liver, etc.), about 1 tsp. sea salt, 6 grinds of pepper, and 2 boxes of the chicken broth.

Bring to a boil, cover lightly with an opening, lower heat, and simmer slowly for 1 hour and a half. Simmering slowly stops the chicken from becoming overdone and tough.

Next, remove chicken carefully from broth and place in strainer over large bowl. Allow to cool about 15 minutes and remove chicken from bones, discard bones. Place chicken in bowl and set aside.

Pour broth from stock pot into strainer over large bowl, discard stock vegetables. Allow to cool slightly and skim some of the fat off of the top. Set aside.

For The Soup

Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add the 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cup sliced celery, and 4 diced garlic cloves. Saute until onions are translucent.

Add potatoes, thyme leaves, chopped sage, bay leaves, strained stock pot broth plus 1 more box of broth, and bring to a boil. Boil lightly until potatoes are fork tender.

Add chicken pieces, warm for 5 minutes and serve. The leftovers freeze very well. I like to freeze mine in individual sized containers.