Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Roasted Tomato Soup


Fresh tomatoes are roasted then blended with a few other vegetables, broth, and seasoning to create a creamy – and healthy! – tomato soup that is miles above the canned condensed version.


We had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  I ate way too much and am ready to slip into a turkey coma any minute now.  After huge meals like that, I crave something a little lighter.  This soup is exactly one of those kinds of meals.

I actually had this recipe published in an e-cookbook put together by the health team at work last year.  Employees across the US vote for favorites and my soup came in 3rd place in the lunch category.  I was just happy to see one of my recipes in print but just knowing lots of people liked it helped!


I get to work today (Black Friday) which works for me.  I am not a Black Friday shopper and the office will be d*e*a*d so I should hopefully get a lot done.  It’ll be nice to have a quiet day at work for a change.  I may even check out a few online Black Friday deals. 🙂

Roasted Tomato Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
  • 3 lbs tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ c olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder, divided
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 celery ribs, diced small
  • 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth (~2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet cut side up. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and season with 1 Tbsp garlic powder, the salt, and ½ tsp black pepper.
  3. Roasted for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add in the carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth, basil, remaining 1 Tbsp garlic powder and ½ tsp black pepper. Bring to a simmer. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve the pan
  5. Place half of the roasted tomatoes and half of the broth mixture into a blender or food processor. Do not put the cover on or remove the venting cover of the lid. Cover it with a towel to allow steam to escape and puree on high until smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the blender contents into the reserved pan from cooking the vegetables.
  6. Repeat the process with the other half of the tomatoes and broth mixture and return to the pan.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 1-2 minutes before serving.


Rustic Mushroom Tart


Pie crust + mushrooms + seasoning + cheese = a super simple dish that can be baked and served at room temperature.  A perfect holiday side dish!


Several years ago, I went through a phase where I was completely enthralled with Medieval cooking.  Medieval cooks were quite creative and spent a lot more time cooking than we do, so it makes sense that they’d want the food to be worth it.  When Mr. C and I first moved in together, we had my parents, sister and his best friend at the time over for a Medieval meal.  I served a pork pie, noodles with butter and cheese, buttered peas and a mushroom tart.  It was a lot of fun and everything tasted really good!

I was telling Mr. O about it a little while ago and I had the idea for doing a rustic version based just off the memory of it.  He thought it sounded really good, too, so on the menu it went for the following week.


Admittedly, when I made the mushroom tart way back when, I cheated and did use a store bought pie crust.  I know, I know.  Not exactly authentic for a Medieval meal but it worked well enough.  For my new modern pie, though, I used my all butter crust so it took a little preplanning but was well worth the 10 minutes of prep that it took earlier in the day.

I cooked up the mushrooms with the seasoning then let them drain in a sieve while they cooled.  After rolling out the dough, I layered the earthy shroomies with cheese, rolled up the sides and popped it in the oven.  It only took about 25 minutes to bake and then I let it rest at room temp while I cooked the rest of dinner.


This turned out to be such a satisfying side.  I could eat this just by itself as a meal and be perfectly happy.  Ooooh!  This would be really good with bacon, don’t you think?  I may need to try that next!

I am really looking forward to the Misfits Thanksgiving that our dear friends Mr. and Mrs. D host.  They are wonderful people and always host fabulous parties.  I am very thankful to get to spend the day with them, their family and a vast array of friends!

I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving Day tomorrow!


Rustic Mushroom Tart
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 8 pieces
  • ½ c ice cold water
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold
  • ¾ c all-purpose flour
  • ½ c white wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 16 oz sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz freshly shredded Cheddar (~2 cups)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Kosher salt
  1. Put the cold water in the freezer.
  2. Using the large holes of a grater, grate the cold butter into a metal bowl (if you have one). Place the grated butter in the freezer.
  3. Measure the flour and salt into a small bowl. Take the butter out of the fridge and stir in the flour with a fork until the butter is well coated.
  4. Take the water out of the freezer (it should be cold but certainly not frozen). Add about 2 Tbsp of the water into the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork. Keep adding the water 1 Tbsp at a time until all the flour is wet. Use your hands to mix in any flour that is still in the bottom of the bowl. It should stick when pinched but not be sticky. If it is sticky, just all a light dusting of flour.
  5. Press the dough into a disc and place in a sandwich bag. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to cook, preaheat the oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat int he oil. As son as they start to look wet, about 2-3 minutes, add the garlic powder, basil, marjoram, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Spoon the mushrooms into a sieve and let drain while rolling out the crust.
  8. Lightly dust a clean flat surface with flour and remove the dough from the plastic. Roll it about ⅛" thin into a large oval.
  9. Place the dough on the parchment-covered baking sheet.
  10. Spread half of the mushrooms onto the rolled out crust, leaving at least a 1" border. Top with ⅓ of the cheese, the other half of the mushrooms and another ⅓ of the cheese. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ of the cheese around the edge of the mushrooms.
  11. Fold the bare crust up and over the mushroom-cheese filling, leaving the center open.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white with the 1 Tbsp of water. Brush the egg wash over the folded crust and sprinkle the crust with a pinch of salt.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  14. Either serve immediately or let come to room temperature before serving.


Spicy Meat Sauce (Arrabiata sauce w/ beef) + a giveaway


A simple meaty tomato sauce is brought up several levels with the addition of crushed red pepper.  Like it spicier?  Just add more!


A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Red Gold to see if I wanted to receive a free gift pack of their Tuttorosso tomatoes along with an apron, some recipes and what turned out to be an awesome wooden spoon.  Of course I said yes because tomatoes and tomato-based sauces are a huge deal at our house.  Even though I got these maters for free, every opinion in this post is 100% mine.

As soon as I got my package, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: an arrabiata sauce.  It’s simple but packs a big punch with the addition of crushed red pepper.  After I opened the cans of tomatoes, I gave them a quick taste test and was pleasantly surprised.  These did not have the tinny taste that I honestly expect from many of the canned brands.  I could even taste the basil in the crushed tomatoes which was another happy surprise!


It was a beautiful and satisfying sauce that I served over angel hair.  The texture of the super fine pasta really worked well with the heartiness of the meat sauce.  And this was probably one of the cheapest meals I’ve made in a very long time!  I had gotten the pasta on clearance for $0.25 and the ground beef was part of my big Zaycon purchase this past summer.  I had all the herbs and spices on hand  and always have a block of Parmesan in the fridge.  So, with the free tomato samples, I spent maybe $5 total for 6 servings.

That really makes my cheap side happy. 🙂


Tuttorosso wants to help you guys be cheap frugal, too!  They are giving one my readers a similar tomato pack like the one I received so you can make something yummy like I did.  All you have to do is enter below.  I will contact the winner via email to get their mailing address and they will ship the pack directly to you.

I haven’t seen this brand in my local Kroger yet but I would certainly get it if they did, regardless of price.  I’m pretty sure you will feel the same so sign up to find out for sure!


Spicy Meat Sauce (Arrabiata sauce w/ beef) + a giveaway
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 6 servings
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp jarred, minced garlic
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • 28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 16 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring until crumbled and browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the oregano, basil, salt, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Stir until well blended.
  3. Stir in the crushed red pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. As soon as the sauce starts simmering, about 5 minutes, add the pasta to the boiling water. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
  5. Drain and add the pasta to the simmering sauce. Use tongs or a large spoon to mix the pasta in well. Let heat for 1-2 minutes before serving.


 Click here for the giveaway!



10 Easy Appetizers & Snacks

I sometimes joke that my favorite holiday meal is Thanksgiving through New Year.  With the various parties and meals with friends, it’s definitely a season worth adding a couple of extra pounds.  I do not worry as much about eating properly during the holidays.  I just try to take care to not overindulge at every single party or gathering.  The emphasis is on TRY.

With my fun little food intolerance, I just make sure that my contributions are Sashi-friendly and often bring one or two more than I need to.  Here are some of my favorite items to bring to parties.



Bacon-wrapped Brussels Sprouts



Omnomnom aka Crunchy Bacon Taco Mix



Roasted Red Pepper Dip



Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers



Mini Bacon Meatballs



Cheese-stuffed Breadsticks



Bacon Tomato Jalapeño Cheesy Bread



Garlic-Ginger Wings



Cream Cheese Chili Garlic Dip



Candied Bacon-wrapped Lil Smokies

Okay, okay… I *know* that this does not fit the whole unprocessed, real food way of life.  I know this.  BUT… they are so damn good that even I can’t resist one or 3.  I also know that the internet is full of recipes for these but my method is slightly different from most.  Slightly.


What are some of your favorite appetizers and snacks that you only eat once a year?




10 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

While many go on and on and obsess over the turkey for Thanksgiving Day, for me it’s all about the sides.  Don’t get me wrong, I love turkey and look forward to Turkey Day but my plate gets loaded up with all the starchy, fatty sides that make me happy to wear stretchy pants.

If you don’t have your menu planned yet, here are some ideas to help you put your relatives into a happy food coma at the end of the day.


Baked Macaroni & Cheese



Go a step further and stuff the mac & cheese in bacon cups!



Jalapeño Cheddar Mashed Potatoes



Broccoli Salad



Crispy Baked Mushrooms



Ginger-glazed Carrots



Pan-fried Okra



Roasted Diced Potatoes



Roasted Cauliflower Soup



Quick & Easy Garlic & Herb Rolls


Since we live 1200 miles from our families, we usually go to the home for some friends for Thanksgiving where there is a huge potluck.  I am bringing my baked macaroni and cheese for sure but I’m not sure what else yet.  I love spending the day with my family away from family. 🙂

What are your plans?  What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?



Lemon-Blueberry Cake Loaf


It may be Autumn outside but blueberries in a lemon cake will make your mouth think it’s Spring again!


Happy Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  I’m sure you are just as excited as I am. 🙂  If not, lie to me and say you are, okay?  I don’t mind being humored once in a while.  This month I got my first assignment from the other side of the world: New Zealand!  I was especially excited about this because I JUST finished watching the first season of the “The Almighty Johnsons.”  I hope Nicole at PicNic isn’t offended by that!  I am enjoying the show. 🙂

Nicole seems like a pretty amazing lady.  Not only does she make amazing cheesecakes and bake goods and strives toward using real, minimally processed foods like I do, but she is also working on getting her PhD in biochemistry and neuroscience!  That takes some amazing dedication and a big, strong brain!


I decided to do an adaptation/combination of her Lemon and Raspberry Loaf and Mini Lemon and Berry Cakes.  I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe because I did not have any self-rising flour.  Since I don’t bake that often, I didn’t want to waste my dollars on an ingredient I may not use again for a long while.

I also discovered that my lemon had gone bad by the time I was already started so I wasn’t able to add the zest.  Since I needed more liquid to counteract the higher protein in my all-purpose flour anyway, I just added a little more lemon juice to a wonderfully sweet and subtle result.  I also have a lot of blueberries in the freezer so switched those out for the other berries.

I was very pleased with how it turned out and will likely make this again very soon!


In fact, I liked it so much that I didn’t even wait to tear down my picture set up before eating the whole piece. 🙂


5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon-Blueberry Cake Loaf
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1 loaf
  • 1 stick unsalted butter + more for greasing
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ c skim milk
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 c blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the 1 stick of butter and sugar with either a hand or stand mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each.
  5. Add in half the flour mixture and beat well.
  6. Beat in the milk followed by the rest of the flour mixture.
  7. Add the lemon juice and beat for just a few more seconds.
  8. Stir in the blueberries and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  10. Use a knife to gently separate the edges of the cake from the pan and invert to release the cake.
  11. Sift the top with powdered sugar and serve.
  12. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from this and this recipe by Nicole at PicNic


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