Tag Archives: one dish meal

Cream of Tomato Soup.

It’s been bitter cold in Chicago (and most of the rest of the country) the past few days.  So cold that one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of an icicle on her eyelash – for real.  And of course on the coldest day of the winter thus far, I spent all day running errands with the kids in tow.  We were all frozen by the time we got home so I knew only my most favorite comfort food would do the trick to warm our bellies and thaw us out.

I’m a big fan of the gelatinous goo that comes out of the can.  In my world, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of Campbell’s served with Kraft American cheese on white bread.  But some days, it’s nice to be a grown up and eat food that is a bit more real.

This soup definitely hit the spot.  It had a rich, smoky undertone due to the bacon (BACON!).  The Fruitaholic happily slurped down 2 bowls, even after telling me that he doesn’t like tomato soup.  I didn’t change much about the recipe.  I added an extra slice of bacon so that I’d have some to garnish the soup with, and I added a couple of carrots to up the veggie factor.  I substituted popcorn for the croutons because I had some on hand and thought they added a nice crunch.  I didn’t use the creme fraiche but didn’t feel as though I was missing anything by not including it, but feel free to garnish as you see fit.

Cream of Tomato Soup.


  • 5 Slices Thick Cut Bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Carrots, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 28 oz. Can Whole, Peeled Tomatoes in Juice, crushed by hand (I used San Marzano)
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Snipped Chives, for garnish
  • Popped Popcorn, for garnish (I used Trader Joe's Popcorn with Herbs and Spices)


Add chopped bacon to a large saucepan and heat over medium until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove a spoonful or two of the bacon and set aside to use for garnish.

Increase the temperature to medium-high and add the butter. When melted, add the garlic, onion and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the flour, stir until combined, and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, thyme, bay lea and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce temperature to medium-low. Cook until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth then stir in the cream.

Garnish individual bowls with reserved bacon bits, popcorn and chives.

Source -

Slightly adapted from Saveur


Couscous Stuffed Peppers.

As much as I love to cook, there are many days where I just don’t feel like making a meal that takes a lot of work.  On those days, we usually order takeout.  Other days, I’ll make the effort to cook a meal that takes a good amount of preparation only to not want to dirty a ton of dishes, because we all know that washing dishes is the worst part about cooking.  But there is a solution to this problem:  Enter the one dish meal.  Only one dish gets dirtied (minus the prep bowl), only one dish needs to be cleaned!

I have to admit that I was a bit leery about the recipe given to me for this week’s swap since the peppers essentially are cooked by steaming and the stuffing called for raw meat.  I’ve never steam-cooked raw meat before, so I cooked the peppers for an additional 20 minutes, just to be safe.

The peppers were cooked just perfectly, and we all really enjoyed this meal.  Even the Fruitaholic, who’s been on a hunger strike lately, took a few bites.  I decided to swap out the rice with couscous since I had some left over from another meal, and added toasted pine nuts for a little bit of crunch.  The flavor was amazing, and I loved only having to wash a saucepan and a bowl.

Couscous Stuffed Peppers – slightly adapted from DeLish

  • 6 Bell Peppers, any color of your choosing
  • 1 Lb. Ground Beef
  • 14 oz. Tomato Sauce (I used a roasted vegetable marinara)
  • 2 Cups Couscous, cooked
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • small handful each of Fresh Parsley, Basil and Oregano, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts

Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and set aside.  Carefully clean out the insides of the peppers, removing the ribs and seeds.

Mix together ground beef, tomato sauce, couscous, parmesan, parsley, basil, oregano and garlic.  Scoop mixture into peppers, then replace the pepper tops.

Place the peppers standing upright in a saucepan.  Pour about one cup of water into the bottom of the pan so that the peppers are slightly immersed.

Simmer, covered, on low to medium low heat for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was matched up with Heather’s blog, Join Us, Pull Up A Chair.  Heather started her blog as a way to keep track of her ever growing stacks of recipes and is delighted that’s it’s become so much more to her.  Oftentimes, her daughter helps cook alongside her, bringing back memories of cooking in the kitchen with her own mother.

Browsing through all of her recipes, there were a few that caught my attention, but ultimately, it was this casserole recipe that won out.  There’s something that’s just so satisfying about a casserole.  This one caught my eye because of the quinoa.  Ususally, you’ll see a casserole like this made with rice, and by substituting protein-packed quinoa, you’re giving yourself a little bit extra of a nutritional punch.  And since casseroles are generally uber-cheesy, any additional nutrition you can get is a good thing in my book.  I also added chicken in order to take the dish from a side to an entree.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Casserole – adapted from Join Us, Pull Up A Chair

  • 3/4 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 10 oz. Can Cream of Broccoli Soup (I use a homemade substitute)
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1 1/2 Cup Reduced Fat Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded, plus 1/2 Cup for topping
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 2 Cups Broccoli, cooked
  • 3 Chicken Thighs (or 2 Breasts), cooked and diced
  • Parmesan Cheese, for topping

Combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, yogurt, milk, cheese, sugar, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in the quinoa, broccoli and chicken.

Spoon mixture into the prepared dish.  Top with reserved 1/2 Cup shredded cheese and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Slow Cooker Rootbeer Pulled Pork.

For as much as I love my slow cooker, I don’t use it nearly enough.  It’s so easy, but there are so many bad crockpot recipes out there that I hate taking the chance and ending up with a dud.  But I took mine out of hiding the other day to make this super ridiculously easy meal and I’m so glad that I did.  It was so nice to not have to worry about cooking dinner after a busy day.  I just put the ingredients (there’s only two!) into the crock first thing in the morning and had a hot meal waiting for me 10 hours later.  Swoon.

When dinnertime came around, I defrosted some Brioche Burger Buns and added 2 shredded apples and a handful of golden raisins to a store bought cole slaw mix and served the sandwiches with some chips.  Easy peasy.  Dinner on the table in all of 10 minutes worth of effort?  I’ve gotta use this baby more often.

Slow Cooker Rootbeer Pulled Pork – as seen on Dinner with Kirsten

  • 1 2-4 lb. Pork Shoulder, Butt, or Loin
  • 1 16 oz. Bottle Root Beer

Place the pork shoulder in the crock of a slow cooker and cover with the root beer.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove pork from the crock and drain the liquid.  Shred the pork with a fork (or your fingers, if cool enough).  Mix in about half a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce for BBQ pork, or a jar of salsa to use in tacos.