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Monday, July 27

Freezer Cooking 101 : July

This time of year, our garden is overflowing with plump and juicy tomatoes...too many for us to use before they go bad!  Last year, we made plenty of sun-dried, spiced tomatoes from our garden!  This year, we will still do that, but are making some soups and sauces as well.

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce Recipe

·        1/4 cup olive oil
·        2 large onions, diced
·        1 tbsp chopped garlic
·        Approx. 10 large tomatoes, peeled & diced
·        1 cup water
·        1 tbsp salt
·        1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tbsp dried basil
·        3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
·        1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1.   In large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2.   Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
3.   Add onions and the rest of the ingredients into slow cooker (no smaller than 5-quart) and cook on low for at least 4 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste.
4.   I store mine in mason jars and freeze them. Just make sure to leave room at the top for the sauce to expand when freezing!

Tomato Bisque Recipe

 4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
 2 celery rib, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons whole wheat flour
8 cups (2 quarts) organic low-sodium chicken stock or broth
Approx. 8 large tomatoes, peeled & diced
6 tablespoons tomato paste (look for BPA-free cans)
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2-3/4 cup half and half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup croutons, for garnish (optional)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1.   In a large stockpot, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves. Then, season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
2.   Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir for 1 minute, or until flour is fully incorporated. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar. Season lightly with more with salt and pepper, to taste.
3.   Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover partially. Stir occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
4.   Remove the bay leaves. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until fairly smooth. (Note: Please be careful during this step! Don't fill the blender full, and cover the lid with a towel and hold securely while blending so the lid doesn't pop off.) Carefully, return the puree to the saucepan.
5.   Add the half-and-half and cook over medium-low until the soup is just heated through. Taste and then season the soup with salt, pepper, and hot sauce to your preference. Swirl in the 4 tablespoons of butter. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with croutons, fresh shredded Parmesan cheese, and serve.

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