roasted tomato bisque – fancy!

despite the fact that it feels like the best of spring right now in georgia, i wanted a meal that was comfy and cozy for this december night.  i was fully prepared to just make breakfast for dinner (because late twentysomethings are allowed to do that still), but i reasoned with myself that something a little more substantial would probably satisfy my appetite a bit better.  i looked far and wide through my cookbook and online and finally came across this roasted tomato bisque recipe by chef jeff mauro of the food network.  his focus is typically sandwiches, but a good sandwich can always be accompanied by a good soup.  the more the merrier!

this recipe is very straightforward, and after following the instructions, i can testify that they are accurate and true.  the roasted vegetables in the oven will bring wonderful smells to your kitchen as will the soup as it simmers on the stove top.

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i paired my steaming bowl of bisque with a rich and savory white cheddar grilled cheese.  but wait.  what would this lovely dinner be without the perfect glass of wine?  incomplete, that’s what!  i couldn’t go wrong with a bottle of green fin white table wine direct from the local trader joe’s just down the road.


the soup has the slightest kick to it because of the crushed red pepper, but it is divine.  by some miracle, i managed to not oversalt it, which is always the key with a good soup.  as i took bite after bite, i was prepared to eat the entire pot until i remembered i’d probably have a stomach ache afterwards.  there is such thing as too much of a good thing!  this recipe is an absolute must if you are a soup lover, so go get that immersion blender and sherry and get to work!  Živjeli, moji prijatelji!


soup heaven

panera soup

okay, so maybe i’ve been on a soup kick all week, is that so awful?  i agree that it isn’t, which is why i kept on with it today when we ordered in panera bread for my client training session.  like always i went with the you pick two, selecting the thai chicken salad as one of my options.  it was when i was trying to make my other selection that there, on the order screen, was a picture of the vegetarian autumn squash soup, and my heart was aflutter.  it looked rich and savory and i just had to have it!

i brought my brown bag back to my desk and opened the lid with much anticipation.  first, the smell alone was so warming.  wisps of cinnamon and curry floated up to me, and i dove right in with my spoon.  it was thick with all that pureed squash and pumpkin, and the honey and apple juice helped sweeten it up just a skosh.  the chewy pumpkin seeds were a nice surprise with each bite, and i was glad i had ordered the bowl size instead of a cup – it was that delicious!

if you are a soup-lover like me, i highly encourage you to give this one a try the next time you find yourself hooked up to the wifi and catching up on your personal e-mails and netflix series at a panera bread.  it’s perfect for those cool fall days and will bring calming thoughts of slippers and gloves and scarves to your sweet little mind.

mm, noodle soup

i hadn’t really cooked for myself in a solid couple of weeks, so tonight i decided to take on homemade chicken noodle soup.  ah, yes, because soup is so difficult!  especially when i don’t make my own noodles and buy frozen ones…but, hey, who’s judging?  if you are, well, then, i got nothing…except this excellent recipe!  the inspiration came from the pioneer woman, but since i couldn’t find those ever so convenient egg noodles, i went with dumplings instead and married that recipe with ree’s.  the results?  my very “own” noodle soup recipe!  ah, just like that!  sometimes life is easy to us.

if you’re in the need of some ridiculously simple humor this evening, i urge you to take a read of all the photo captions.  i had a lot of time to think them up, considering this meal is a labor of love and took about two hours…and it helps that i think i am hilarious!

below are the steps i took after combining directions from the other two recipes.  enjoy!


a whole chicken, cut-up (mine had the bones in and skin on and came in a cool griller pack from kroger)

2 whole carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

24 ounces mary b’s dumplings (use half the package or a little more or all of it if you love carbs like everyone in my household!)

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour


cover chicken in 4-5 quarts of water.  bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.  simmer 30-40 minutes.

p.s.  the smell of boiled chicken is just lovely!  (please sense the sarcastic tone)

remove the chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon.  using two forks, remove and shred as much of the meat as you can.

bring the broth back to a boil and add the frozen dumpling strips (cut to your desired size) and drop into broth one at a time, stirring frequently.

return the bones to the broth, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 45 more minutes.

remove the bones with the slotted spoon.

add the carrots, celery, and chicken to the pot, along with all the spices, and simmer for 10 minutes more.

*a quick note here:  i found my soup was underseasoned, which is either due to the excessive amounts of water or not enough spices or both.  fyi.

mix the flour with a little water, stirring until smooth.  pour it into the soup, simmering for another 5 minutes or until the broth thickens a bit.