Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

I’m really hoping you’re not tired of soup yet. And even if you are, I’m confident that one spoonful of this stuff would change your mind. Roasting the vegetables is what makes the flavor really special, so don’t you dare throw raw tomatoes in a pot of boiling water and expect delicious results. Forty minutes of roasting is totally worth your time…promise!

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

7 large tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic
Olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
4 – 5 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup unsweetened Silk creamer (or regular cream)
1 – 2 T freshly chopped basil

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop tomatoes and onions into 1-inch slices and arrange evenly on a lined baking sheet (the first time, I made the mistake of not lining my pan and spent 20 minutes scrubbing crusted tomato juice. Parchment paper is your friend and makes for easy clean up!). Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on top.

2. Cut the bottom off an entire head of garlic. This is sometimes tricky, and unfortunately I have no tips on how to make this easier! Thankfully, you just wrap the whole head in foil and stick in any cloves that may have fallen off. Drizzle olive oil on the raw, exposed ends of the garlic.

Wrap foil over the top of the garlic (it should be completely wrapped up, meaning there should be only foil and no visible garlic).

3. Roast tomatoes, onions, and garlic for about 30 – 40 minutes, until cooked thoroughly the edges become slightly crispy. Keep an eye on everything because they will sometimes cook at different rates. The garlic will generally take the longest – it should be completely soft and the color very dull and ugly.

4. Bring stock to a boil in large pot and then turn down to simmer. In a separate pot, gently boil the potatoes until soft.

5. After it’s cooled, squeeze the now soft garlic cloves into the blender with the tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. The blender should be a bit less than three-quarters full of veggies. Ladle out some of your simmering stock into the blender to cover the veggies and blend until smooth. Pour the smooth mixture back in with the rest of the stock. Repeat the blending process again until all the tomatoes, onion, and potatoes are smooth.

6. Bring soup back to a simmer and add cream, basil, and salt, if necessary. Bring to low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Enjoy!

I served this with Olive Oil Focaccia cut into breadsticks. Absolutely scrumptious!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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Avocado Paninis with Basil Mayo on Whole Wheat Focaccia

We eat a lot of sandwiches ’round here.

They’re quick and easy, perfect for those nights when we’re too ravenous to take the time to cook. They’re also super healthy if you use lots of veggies and a great whole grain bread. Yesterday, I got the hankering for a hearty, whole wheat bread and found a wonderful recipe that I hope you’ll try. Homemade bread makes the absolute best sandwiches! A panini maker doesn’t hurt, either. My gem of a sister-in-law got me a mini George Foreman for Christmas and I’ve been making great use of it.

If you’re not into baking your own bread (it’s quite a process!), I’ve put the sandwich recipe first so you can try it out with your favorite store-bought bread. It’s a delicious combination of flavors!

Avocado Panini with Basil Mayo

Basil Mayo:
Combine 2 T mayo or substitute (I love Vegenaise, a great vegan option, or olive oil mayo) with 1 T fresh basil, chopped tiny, a sprinkle of garlic powder, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

Sandwich:
Bread (duh)
Avocado, sliced or mashed
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Fresh baby spinach
Monterrey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

Spread the mayo on bread, pile on the sandwich fixings, grill, and enjoy! Simple and delicious.

The next half of this post is dedicated to those of you who, like me, are willing to wait 14 hours for a fresh loaf of bread.

Yes, I said 14 hours.

Fear not, brave soul! There isn’t a whole lot of actual work involved in making this bread, just a whole lot of waiting. You know how yeast works, right? You’ve gotta be patient with it. In this case, extremely patient, because we’re making a poolish, which is a pre-fermented dough that needs to sit for 12 hours. But you don’t have to do anything – touch it, move it, stir it, nothing. Just let it sit there. You can sit, too, if you want. Take a nap, even. It’s easiest to whip up the poolish before you go to bed and it will be ready in the morning. You can even extend the time the poolish sits to almost 20 hours if necessary.

Let’s go!

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Focaccia
Recipe (barely adapted) by Food Network

Poolish:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
3/4 cup water
Pinch active dry yeast

Whisk all your poolish ingredients together in a medium bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 12 hours, or longer if refrigerating. When it’s ready, prepare the rest of your dough.

Dough:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
2 1/4 t active dry yeast
2 t fine salt
1 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk the dry ingredients (flours, flax meal, yeast, and salt) in a large bowl. Stir in the poolish, water, and olive oil to form a loose, sticky dough. Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes (I know, more waiting). The original recipe actually calls for two additional 30-minute rising periods, but I was too impatient and skipped them. The bread turned out wonderful, but feel free to stick to the original recipe and let it rise longer if you like.

Preheat the oven to 425 and spray your pans with olive oil. Divide your dough into the two pans – I used a springform pan and a square nonstick casserole dish! You can use whatever baking pans you have; it doesn’t have to look beautiful. The loaves should look like discs (unless using a square pan, obviously 🙂 ), about 2 -3 inches deep.

Topping:
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Dried herbs, optional (I used thyme)

Combine the olive oil, garlic, and herbs and spread evenly over the two loaves. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown, remove from pans and let cool. Perfect for avocado paninis!

My favorite thing about this bread is the glorious olive-oil and garlic-flavored crust. Extra virgin olive oil is where it’s at, people. It tastes divine. I put it on nearly everything I eat. Not dessert…but yeah, everything else. 

This sandwich would be good cold, but if you crispify it (trust me, that’s a word) you end up with an olive oil crunch layer that almost makes you forget about the taste explosion that is basil mayo.

On a side note, Elesha and I have decided to post every Saturday and Wednesday, respectively, so y’all will have a better idea of when to be on the lookout for new recipes. Also, be sure to check out our updated Recipe page and the Skinnyfat Recipe Makeover page. We’re so thankful for all of you and we look forward to sharing more food adventures with you this year, so keep reading!

But first, make a sandwich.

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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