Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

This soup can also be made in a sauce pot on the stove.

Two adjustments (using vegetable broth instead of beef and omitting anchovy paste) make this a satisfying vegetarian soup, so whatever your lifestyle, this hits the mark.

2 tablespoon olive oil (for browning the onions)
½ cup diced yellow onion, browned
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Salt
black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced (none if making this for kids)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced, stewed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

First, brown onions in olive oil and then put in a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, set cooker to low and cook (3-4 hours). If you start this in early afternoon, it will be ready for supper. Before serving, blend lightly with a few pulses (don’t do this when soup is hot, it will blow out of the blender, trust me). In our house, we don’t want a fine puree, only medium, but do what your family likes. You can omit this step and simply serve the soup chunky.

Garnish with one or more of these: fresh croutons. Basil leaves, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese

Click on image to go to recipe

It’s not necessary to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate the health benefits and tastiness of the cuisines. Why not incorporate meatless meals into your menu from time to time? Here’s an idea: Designate Tuesdays and/or Thursdays as meatless meal nights (that’s what I do). It’s fun to come up with new dishes and it’s much more interesting than the same old routine. To kick things off, try Gail Roddy’s Vegan Mac and Cheese (pictured).

My husband usually joins me and loves it. But there are times when he prefers meat as usual and that’s when we each do our own thing in the kitchen. I don’t make a fuss about that. I’m setting a healthy example and over the last several years, he has adopted a number of good eating habits and is now a solid 50 pounds lighter. Yaay!