If you read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that we make a lot of soup, especially tomato soup! Is there anything better than a hot mug of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold winter day? One of my favorite recipes is this creamy tomato basil soup for the Instant Pot. My family loves this soup, and I love it because it’s easy and inexpensive to make.
I got my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker more than a year ago, and it’s become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. The thing I use it for the most is making soup. It has a pre-programmed soup setting, so cooking the soup is automatic.
This creamy tomato basil soup is packed with flavor, and with healthy veggies. Just a touch of heavy cream gives the soup richness without too many calories.
We’re having a January cold spell, and right now the temperature outside is a whopping 6 degrees. Which means my family wants nothing but soup for dinner. One of our all-time favorites is this winter minestrone with sausage, kale, and basil pistou. It’s packed with bold flavor and healthy veggies.
This red, green and white soup is a Christmas Eve tradition in our family, so sometimes I call it “Christmas minestrone.” We usually don’t have a heavy dinner Christmas Eve, because we’ve already stuffed ourselves at an annual family party during the day. After celebrating with a million and one relatives, we go home, make some minestrone, and play board games until it’s time to hang our stockings.
Deviled eggs are classic appetizers, welcome at any party table. This week I was asked to bring an appetizer to a big family Christmas party, and I thought if I dressed them up in Christmas colors, deviled eggs would be perfect. I had to smile when I named this recipe “Christmas Deviled Eggs,” because normally Christmas and the devil don’t go together. When I looked into the history of deviled eggs, I learned that sometimes people in the Midwest and South call deviled eggs “angel eggs” when bringing them to church functions. So you can definitely call these Christmas Deviled Eggs “Angel Eggs” if you prefer.
There’s something so satisfying about a plate of pasta with a hearty, flavorful marinara sauce. It’s a meal that can be put together in a hurry, when you’re low on groceries or have no idea what to make, and it’s inexpensive but still delicious.
When my husband and I were dating, he pretty much lived on pasta. At the time, we were both waiting tables at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and they gave us a free plate of pasta every shift. I’m pretty sure he would have eaten spaghetti and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. His Italian mama made him spaghetti at home, too, always with her homemade sauce.
Over the years, I’ve developed my own marinara sauce recipe, and I usually make it using the pressure cooker or Crock-Pot. My recipe uses carrots and celery in addition to tomatoes, onions and garlic, with a touch of extra virgin of olive oil. I love having this sauce on hand, to top pasta, grilled chicken or zucchini noodles, or to use as a dip for breadsticks. You can also use it for baked pasta dishes like Allie’s Baked Caprese Tortellini.
I’ve been using a pressure cooker for years – the old-fashioned kind with a rattly weight that sits on the top and a 1950s-looking pressure gauge. I love it for its ability to make food taste like it’s been cooking for hours, even when it’s only been cooking for 30 minutes or so. This past Christmas, I got a fancy electric pressure cooker, and it’s my favorite new toy. So far, I’ve mostly used the electric pressure cooker to make soup, including this easy red posole.
Posole (or pozole) is a classic Mexican soup or stew of meat, vegetables, chiles and hominy. If you’re not familiar with hominy, it’s big kernels of corn that have the outer husk removed. Hominy doesn’t taste like sweet corn, but more like the maize used to make tortillas or tortilla chips.
There are red versions of posole, usually made with pork, and green versions, usually made with chicken. Diners add fresh toppings – often sliced radishes, cabbage, diced onion, avocado, fresh cilantro or lime wedges – to their bowls of hot soup.
Traditional posole recipes involve soaking dried hominy and dried chiles, and stewing bony cuts of pork. This quick and easy version uses canned hominy and boneless pork loin, and it gets much of its flavor from a can of enchilada sauce. Pressure cooking makes this soup taste like it’s been simmering for hours. If you prefer, you can get the same effect from a slow cooker.