Monday, July 16, 2012

Creamy Tomato Soup & Breadsticks

When I used to think of tomato soup I used to think of the kind that came in cans by Campbell's that people would always serve with a grilled cheese sandwich.  Although that may be okay this is soooo much better! 

The soup is super gourmet.  It is creamy and flavorful with just the right amount of herbs.  If you want to impress people for dinner or just need a little comfort food then this soup is for you.

The breadsticks and garlic bread seasoning got the same reaction out of me as well.  They are beyond delicious.  I beg you to please never buy breadsticks from the store again because these are a lot better tasting and cheaper! 

All of these recipes are from Our Best Bites.  I know, I know! I should really widen my search of recipes to other sources but these gals sure know what they're doing! 

Here are the exact recipes for the soup and breadsticks if you want to go directly to their website.

Creamy Tomato Soup:
1 T. reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil
1 c. chopped white onion
3/4 c. grated carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced (I just use the minced garlic from a jar)
2/3 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth (I liked using the less sodium kind)
1 t. sugar
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. dried oregano
1 T. dried basil
1/2 t. red pepper flakes, optional (I didn't use this)
3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
Garnishes: freshly grated parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff please!) and fresh basil

Place oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.  If you're going to use red pepper flakes, add them now.

Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Transfer soup to blender (do this in 2 batches if necessary).  Add cream cheese.  Remove center piece of blender to allow steam to escape, but place a paper towel over opening to avoid splattering.  Process until smooth.  You could also just add the cream cheese directly to the pot and use an immersion blender to combine.

Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.

1 1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees F.)
1 T. sugar
1 T. active dry yeast
1/2 t. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour, divided

Garlic Bread Seasoning:
1 c. powdered parmesan cheese (I used one that had parmesan and romano cheese)
4 t. kosher salt
4 T. garlic powder
4 t. oregano
4 t. basil
4 t. parsley

Combine cheese and dried herbs together.  You won't use all of this for the breadsticks but just freeze the rest for up to 3 months and use on anything! 

(Their recipe also called for marjoram but at Wal-Mart it was about $7 a bottle! Yeah I don't think so.  And it tastes delicious without it.)

For the breadsticks combine water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer if you have one).  Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is extremely bubbly and frothy.

Add salt and stir.  Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well.  Gradually add more flour (usually between 1 1/2-2 1/2 c., depending on your elevation and humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll dough into a rectangle 18" long and 9" wide and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.

Roll out a piece of dough into a snake then drape it over your forefinger and twist the dough.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Divide bread among 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (they advised to just spray cookie sheets with cooking spray but I am addicted to parchment paper).  

Cover the pans with clean cloths and let dough raise for another 30 minutes.  When there's about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  When the dough is done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until just barely golden brown (I baked mine for 10 minutes).  

When breadsticks are still warm rub some butter over the tops (don't be too conservative! lather that butter on baby!) and sprinkle with garlic bread seasoning.