Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2-23-2011 Sweet Tomatoes and Soup Recipes

Tonight for dinner we went to Sweet Tomatoes at the request of my son. He has an affinity for everything about this place, especially their macaroni and cheese. He used to call it "The Macaroni and Cheese Store", which then called it "Sweep Tomatoes" and now he properly calls it Sweet Tomatoes. He asks to eat there on a daily basis, so tonight I gave in!

I actually really like eating there, although it is a huge production with the kids. You begin by going through a salad bar line to create your own salad. My favorite salad always has lettuce, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing on it, among other items that change everytime. After the salad line, you can get your drinks, breads and muffins, pizza, macaroni and cheese, soups, fruit, the list just goes on and on. If you have never been there before you are probably envisioning a place similar to Souper Salads, but Sweet Tomatoes is a cut way above. Their food always seems minimally processed, healthy, and very fresh. I love how they always have a good selection of soups. Its always hard to choose which soup to eat. Since, it's all-you-can-eat, I get 3 small bowls of all different ones, I love variety.
Talking about soup, here are 2 of  my favorite soup recipes:

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
The combination of ginger and butternut squash is delicious and addictive. This recipe yields a creamy soup without the use of any cream. I love to whip this soup up with my immersion blender right in the pot. This soup also freezes well. You can serve it with a dollop of sour cream if you desire, although I serve it without a garnish. If you want to make this a completely dairy free soup, use dairy free margarine (Fleishman's unsalted, or Earth Balance.) You could even garnish it with Tofutti soy sour cream. Oh yeah, and you MUST use fresh ginger.

2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled seeded, and cubed
1 large oranges, juiced or 1/2 cup orange juice
4 -6 cups water

1. Melt butter or margarine in stock pot, and add onions. Sautee over medium heat until translucent.
2. Add ginger, garlic, and cubed butternut squash. Sautee a few more minutes until fragrant.
3. Add orange juice, and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
4. With an immersion blender, puree until it is completely smooth and creamy.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If it is too thick you may add more water.


Tortilla Soup

I first had this at a friend's house, and loved it so much. I promptly begged her for the recipe. She said she got the recipe from the newspaper and embellished it. She serves it with Fritos instead of tortilla chips, so good! The Great Value Brand at Walmart makes kosher fritos. This soup is easy, you can throw it together quickly. If you want to make it into a meal, you can add cooked diced chicken to the finished soup.
1 Onion, chopped finely
1 t. chopped Garlic
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1/2 small jar salsa, such as pace picante sauce, I used the Sam's Choice from walmart
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
7 C. chicken or vegetable broth, I prefer Imagine or 7 C. water with 1/8 C. chicken soup powder (such as Telma)
salt and pepper, to taste
Boiled pulled chicken breast (optional)
Corn Chips
diced avocado
1. Sautee onion in 2 T. veg oil, until translucent
2. Add garlic and sautee a few more minutes
3. Add the rest of the ingredient, bring to a boil
4. Ladle in the bowl and garnish with chicken, chips, and avocado
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