Acini Di Pepe Spinach soup

While rearranging my pantry I came across a pack of acini di pepe pasta. It’s a tiny pasta that works well in soups and salads. The name apparently means “seeds of pepper”. This tiny pasta is also used for a cold salad called frog eye salad. I had initially bought it to make the salad but never ended up making it.

I used the recipe in the box itself for our lunch today. It’s been extremely windy and cold here for the past couple of days. A hot bowl of soup is perfect for this weather.

The recipe is very simple and the soup was ready in a matter of minutes. While searching the internet, I learned that this soup is called Italian wedding soup if you add meatballs to it. The name implies a marriage of flavors rather than being served at an actual wedding. But of course I didn’t tell my husband that part ;-) He had his lunch thinking he was having a part from a wedding meal!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Recipe source: Ronzoni

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of broth/water
  • 1/2 cup acini di Pepe pasta, uncooked
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 10 oz pack of frozen spinach
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Method:

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Sauté onion and garlic until it turns light pink.
  2. Add water or broth and bring it to a boil. Add pasta, nutmeg , salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spinach and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring in between. Pasta should be cooked by now. Take off the heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese if preferred.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

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2 Ingredients Hot Chocolate

BM# 95: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Winter warmers

When you say winter, the first thing that comes to mind is Christmas. And the second thing is hot chocolate. A cup of hot chocolate goes a long way into uplifting your mood on a cold day. I don’t like the readymade hot cocoa packets that you just have to mix with hot water and drink. I prefer the old fashioned from scratch method using cocoa powder.

It is a simple basic method of mixing one tablespoon of cocoa powder and sugar as needed to a cup of hot milk. I also like using a candy cane as a stirrer to infuse peppermint flavor into the drink. This morning I tried a peanut butter version where you add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the basic hot chocolate recipe. I am big fan of peanut butter, so for me it was delicious.

But for my son, I wasn’t sure whether he would like it. So I made this much simpler version of hot chocolate. It uses only chocolate chips and hot milk. I added a tiny pinch of instant coffee powder to boost that chocolate flavor a bit more. And of course some marshmallows for topping!

Read on for the recipe. This post goes to Kids Delight event, hosted this month by PJ under the theme Winter warmers.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#96

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate chips
  • 1/4 spoon instant coffee powder, optional
  • Mini Marshmallows for topping

Method:

  1. Heat milk. Turn off heat before it starts boiling.
  2. Add chocolate chips and instant coffee powder, if using, mix with a spoon until it’s melted. Pour into a mug and serve topped with mini marshmallows.

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Cauliflower soup

BM# 95: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Winter warmers

Wish you all a very happy and healthy 2019!

2018 ended on a high note for our family. The entire summer was action packed with me becoming the stereotypical soccer mom. In our case it was cricket mom since most of our summer was dedicated to our son’s cricket class and matches. He is no Javagal Srinath yet, but he is away from electronics, spending time with other kids and is physically active. So Its a complete win as far as I am concerned. The game took over our complete summer, but it really was worth it.

We moved to a new neighborhood in November and are still settling in. My son is in middle school now (boy!! They grow up so fast!!) and his work load is a lot more than the previous years. So all in all the days are over way too quickly and before I realized it, 2018 has already waved me goodbye.

The new year began on a great note too as my brother and his family was visiting us over the holidays. They left last weekend and now the house feels lonely and cold. The cold part is a little too literal. It’s winter here and it’s no fun. The cold can be tolerated if you are dressed in layers, but if it’s a windy day like today, it’s very difficult. So it’s apt that I have chosen a piping hot cauliflower soup to serve you all here today. Check out the link for the original recipe from The Pioneer woman.

Read on for the recipe and you can see from the above picture that my son is having a good time too :-)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Butter, divided
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Carrot, diced
  • 1 whole cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh or dry parsley
  • 8 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoons  all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a thick pan. Once it’s melted and hot, add the onions to it. Sauté until it turns to light pink.
  2. Add the chopped carrots and cauliflower. Saute for a couple of minutes and then cover and cook until the vegetables are softer, about 5 minutes. You can add some broth or water if the veggies starts to burn or start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now add 8 cups of broth or water, parsley, salt as needed and let it come to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are done.
  3. In a separate pan, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter. In a bowl, whisk the milk and flour together until you don’t see any dry lumps of flour. Add the milk mixture slowly to the butter whisking continuously. Cook till then mixture thickens. Take off heat.
  4. Carefully add the white sauce to the soup, mixing with a spatula. Let it come to a boil. Taste test and adjust the salt if needed and add pepper. Serve hot!

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Creamy tomato soup with basil pesto

tomato_soup3

BMN # 83: Week 1, Day 2
Theme : Soups and Stews

I used to make tomato soup only from fresh tomatoes. But recently that I came across this super easy version with canned tomatoes and I have been making this every now and then when my son asks for it. My son is a big fan of tomato soup with croutons.

When I was in India, I always used to feel a little jealous about all the ready made food items that you can pick off the shelf from a supermarket in US. Like for this recipe, its just mixing canned tomatoes, bottled pesto and cream/evaporated milk for a few minutes. Its only after moving to US that I understood how much more domestic work load is there for the families here. My day started with cooking and packing lunch. After my son and my husband left, I was sweeping and mopping the house, loading the dish washer, hand washing the pans that cannot go in it, washing the clothes and folding and ironing them later. Almost all of those chores was handled by my maid in India. By the the time I was done with all that, it was time to cook dinner and once the kid is home, your time is not yours anymore.

I am not working, so I have time to attend to all this. But  if I was working, the amount of workload would still be the same. There is no way the families can manage all this, without a little help from occasional packaged items. I would never recommend opening packages every single day. But every now and then, we need all the help we can get.

So here is a quick recipe made with some easy to put together ingredients. Read on…

tomato_soup2

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2  14 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons basil pesto
  • salt and pepper as needed

Method:

  1. Heat the butter in a big pan. Saute the onion until pink. Add the canned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Cook it in a slow simmer for about 10 minutes. Take off the heat. Once its cool enough, puree the soup in small batches and return to the pot.
  2. Add in the milk and cream and bring it to a slow simmer. Turn the heat off and at the time of serving stir in a teaspoon or two of basil pesto. Serve with toasted bread and salad on the side.

tomato_soup1

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#83