Best Tomato Soup Ever

This soup was great! But, I actually prefer this soup, or this one. But this one was still good. I knew my kids would complain about the chunky tomatoes, so I used my immersion blender and made it a little creamy. Of course I served this with grilled cheeses.

rating: 9

Best Tomato Soup Ever

serves 6-8
time needed: 40 min.


1 medium white or yellow onion
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
One 46-ounce bottle or can tomato juice
3 to 6 tablespoons sugar – I used 4 tbsp
1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes – I used vegetarian “chicken” bouillon cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sherry, optional – I omitted
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil- I omitted
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley – I omitted


To begin, dice the onion. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Throw in the onion and cook until translucent.
Now dump in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the tomato juice.
Next – and this is important – in order to combat the acidity of the tomatoes add 3 to 6 tablespoons of sugar. Now, you’ll want to start on the low side, then taste and add more as needed. Some tomatoes and juice have more of an acidic bite than others. (For what it’s worth, and I realize it’s not worth much, I use 6 tablespoons of sugar.)
Next, add 1 or 2 tablespoons chicken base to the pot. I added 3, and it wound up being a little too much.
Now you can add lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, then heat almost to a boil. Then turn off the heat.
Add in the sherry if desired. Stir in the cream. Add the basil and parsley and stir.
Serve the soup warm!


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“Chicken” Parmesan Pasta Skillet

Man, I had such high hopes for this dish. SIGH. If the pasta had cooked all the way, it would have been awesome! I cooked it for a few minutes longer than the recipe calls for, and there were still crunchy pieces. Next time I will add more water.

rating: 7

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Skillet

time needed: 30 min.


2 tablespoons Italian dressing (not the creamy kind)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes (I used Quorn Naked Cutlets)
16 ounces small/medium sized rigatoni pasta
1 24-ounce jar of your favorite Marinara pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)


Heat chicken and Italian dressing in a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat (If you don’t own a large skillet, you can use a stock pot). Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook chicken until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.
Add the box of pasta and the entire jar of marinara. Fill the empty marinara jar with water and add to the skillet. If using a stockpot, use 2 cups water. Lightly stir the mixture to combine.
Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender to your liking. ***
Cover with grated Parmesan and then shredded mozzarella. No need to stir. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is fully melted. You can also broil the entire skillet for about 4 minutes to make the cheese extra melty!
Top with chopped basil (optional) and serve! Enjoy!
***The pasta in the middle of the skillet and underneath will be more tender than the outside pasta. It’s okay if those pieces are a bit toastier and less soft. The inside will be plenty soft.


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Susie’s Overnight Oats

My friend Susie says this is one of her favorite breakfasts! I have to say that I didn’t LOVE mine, but I will keep making it. I am so used to super sweet (processed) oatmeal, so this was a big change. I used frozen blueberries, almond milk, and chopped pecans. I told my friend that I was used to the sweet stuff and this was a big switch, and her advice was: “Chop up a ripe banana and freeze it. Put it in the oatmeal after it’s been cooked and it will melt into the oatmeal and sweeten it up.” This is so easy to make, you just have to remember to make it the night before!

rating: 8

Susie’s Overnight Oats


oatmeal (not instant)
ground flax
milk (I used almond)
choice of toppings (frozen fruit, mixed nuts, etc.)


Add cinnamon (to taste) to oats. Cover oats with skim milk or almond milk. Let sit overnight in fridge. Microwave for two minutes and top with frozen fruit – my favs are strawberries, bananas or blueberries- and maybe a little bit of granola or chopped nuts like almonds or pecans.


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Our Very Favorite Black Bean Soup

Note: that’s the name the blogger gave that recipe, not me.🙂 This soup was good, but it’s not my favorite. This one is my favorite. My 10 year old said this soup was good except for the tomatoes.

rating: 8.5

Our Very Favorite Black Bean Soup

serves 8-10
time needed: 45 min.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I omitted)
4 (15-ounce) cans cooked black beans, undrained
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (can also use whole tomatoes)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 juicy lime)

Fresh cilantro
Fresh-sliced jalapeno
Chopped scallions
Chopped avocado
Diced tomatoes
Cheddar cheese or vegan cheese
Sour cream or vegan sour cream
Your favorite hot sauce


Set a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Add the onion and oregano and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, for another minute. Add the cumin, pepper, beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. If using whole tomatoes, break them up with a spoon.
Increase heat to high to bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until thickened, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool until safe to handle. Transfer 6 cups to a blender and puree. Return to soup and stir to combine. (You can also remove 6 cups from the soup and use an immersion blender to puree that half of the soup, if you prefer).
Return to medium heat until reheated throughout. Add lime juice. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Serve with optional toppings.



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Simple Spinach Tofu with Turmeric Rice

This dish is so simple, but it’s so good! And that rice, wow! Husband and son didn’t care for the spinach in their bowl, but I thought it was really good. Next time I will play with seasonings for the tofu (I found it a little bland). I ate some of this the next day for lunch and it was even better!

rating: 9

Simple Spinach Tofu with Turmeric Rice

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.



Brown Rice – 1 cup
Vegetable Broth – 2 cups
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Tofu & Spinach:

Tofu – 14 oz package, Firm, cut into squares
Olive Oil – 3 tbsp
Spinach – 6 cups
Ginger – freshly grated, to taste
Salt & Pepper – to taste
Dry Seasoning of Choice – to taste
Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed, to taste
Sesame Seeds – to taste (I had black ones on hand)


Add all ingredients to a medium sized pot and bring to a boil.
Stir once, lower heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Fluff before serving.

Tofu & Spinach:
Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in a deep pan then add tofu in one single layer. May need to cook in batches.
Top with grated ginger as well as spices to taste.
Cook until lightly browned, flipping once. About 15 minutes.
Remove tofu and place on paper towel.
Add spinach to same pan, one cup at a time until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestion:
In a serving bowl, add rice then top with spinach on one side and tofu on the other.
Add some sesame seeds and generously squeeze lemon juice on top of the spinach and serve!


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Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche

This was great! If you are vegetarian, be sure to read the ingredient list on the pie crust before you buy. Most have lard in them! We all liked this (even my 6 year old). My 10 year old had seconds!

rating: 9.5

Swiss Chard and Cheddar Quiche

serves 6
time needed: 1 hour


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces Cheddar, grated (1⁄2 cup)
1 prebaked 9-inch piecrust


Heat oven to 350° F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and onion and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the half-and-half; season with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the Cheddar and chard mixture and mix to combine. Pour into the prebaked 9-inch piecrust and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes.


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Sweet Potato Medallions with Almond Sauce and Chickpea Salad

No one in my family likes sweet potato except me, but I made this anyway. I didn’t love it. I just feel like the flavors didn’t go together at all.

rating: 5

Sweet Potato Medallions with Almond Sauce and Chickpea Salad
(Cooking Light, Nov. 2016)

serves 4


4 small (4-oz.) sweet potatoes
1/4 cup creamy natural almond butter
3 1/2 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (15-oz.) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 ounces baby arugula
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


Prick potatoes all over with a fork; place on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave at HIGH just until tender, about 5 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.
Whisk together almond butter, water, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a bowl. Set aside.
Brush potato slices on 1 side with 1 tablespoon oil. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, cook potato slices, oil side down, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.
Combine chickpeas, arugula, salt, pepper, remaining 2 tablespoons juice, and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Divide chickpea mixture among 4 plates; top with sweet potato slices. Drizzle with almond butter sauce.


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