Recipe: Vegetarian French Onion Soup

french onion soup @ mommablogsalot

This French Onion Soup recipe is so easy to make and absolutely delicious. It’s a little different from most French onion soup recipes because it uses soy sauce instead of beef broth – though we aren’t still doing a Vegetarian diet, I actually prefer this version to the traditional recipes. It’s also one of the most inexpensive meals in my repertoire as most of the ingredients are things we always have on hand.

My original source for this recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly doesn’t seem to be online anymore – so I’m sharing it again here for soup lovers everywhere!

French Onion Soup

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 394

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 oz. of sliced French bread
  • 4 oz. your favorite cheese

Directions

  1. Heat the oil or water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and stir until the onions are well coated.
  4. Add the water and soy sauce and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, until the onions are tender, about 45 minutes. Add more water if the soup becomes too thick.
  6. Serve in individual bowls topped with the French bread and cheddar cheese. Microwave to melt the cheese if you’d like – or put them in the oven on broil if you have oven safe bowls.

Use leftover French bread later in the week to make French toast or serve on the side of a pasta dish.

Over-Used Recipes Week: The Meals We Could Make Blind-folded

Over-used Recipes SwapTiffany at Simple Modern Mom had this stellar idea to share our most loved / over-used recipes we make so often we could practically prepare them blindfolded. The idea is pretty basic – link up your tried and trues at her blog and check out the recipes other participants have been making for their families. The goal is to broaden our dinnertime options with already tried and truly loved meals. Sound like fun? Link up your own recipes and then check out what’s cooking at Simply Modern Mom.

Here in our lovely little Wisconsin abode we’ve been enjoying a lot of seafood and vegetarian dishes since switching to a pescetarian diet a few months ago. I’ve got a nice assortment of recipes but I’m always looking for more – especially meals that are less expensive with more staple ingredients. Anyway, here are six of the recipes that have been rocking our world:

Parmesan Baked Salmon

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
  • Makes: 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp KRAFT Real Mayo Mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 salmon fillets (1/2 lb.), skin removed
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 5 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

  1. HEAT oven to 400°F.
  2. MIX mayo, cheese and pepper until well blended; set aside.
  3. PLACE fish in shallow foil-lined pan; drizzle with lemon juice. Top with mayo mixture; spread to evenly cover fish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
  4. BAKE 12 to 15 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork.
  5. We typically serve the fish with couscous or jasmine rice and if I’m lucky my husband cooks up some lightly glazed carrots, too.

Another fabulous seafood recipe that we love is The Pioneer Woman’s Penne a la Betsy

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 25 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 6 oz pounds Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 pound Shrimp
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1.5 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Onion (small)
  • 1 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cups White Wine (or To Taste)
  • 1/2 can Tomato Sauce (4 Oz)
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Parsley, to taste
  • Fresh Basil – To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Pepper To Taste

Directions

  1. Cook the penne pasta until tender-firm, also known as al dente.
  2. Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp.
  3. Heat about 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  4. Now, put the cooked shrimp on the cutting board and pull off the tails. Chop the shrimp into bite –sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
  6. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally.
  7. After the garlic and onions have cooked a bit add your white wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. If you would rather not use wine, you can use low-sodium chicken broth instead (about ½ cup).
  8. Now add an 8-ounce can of plain tomato sauce. Stir well until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.
  9. Now chop your herbs, about a tablespoon of chopped parsley and about the same amount of chopped basil, or if you’re feeling very proper, chiffonaded.
  10. Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw in your herbs and stir until combined. Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

One of my new favorite foods is eggplant and it’s all thanks to this recipe. I appologize, I don’t remember where we found it…

Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 282

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2-1 cup marinara sauce
  • Basil (optional)

Directions

  1. IMPORTANT: Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices, then liberally coat with salt and set in a colander for 1 hour to drain. Rinse the excess salt from the eggplant and pat dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the soy milk and egg replacer and mix well.
  4. In another medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the salt and pepper.
  5. Set up a breading station with one bowl for each: flour, egg replacer mixture, and bread crumb mixture. Dredge the eggplant in flour and shake off the excess. Submerge the eggplant in the egg replacer mixture, shake off the excess, and then coat evenly with bread crumbs.
  6. Place the eggplant in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is crisp on the outside and tender inside.
  7. Serve topped with marinara and chopped basil, if desired.

We just recently found this great Quesadilla recipe at the Tasty Kitchen and it’s quickly become a favorite of mine. We just had this for dinner last night…

Tomato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time 10 Minutes
  • Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
  • ½ can Black Beans, Rinsed
  • ½ cup Frozen Whole Kernel Corn, Thawed
  • ¼ cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Fresh Cilantro
  • ⅛ teaspoons Garlic Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1-½ teaspoon Lime Juice
  • ¾ cup Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • 3 whole Flour Tortillas

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients except cheese and tortillas. This can be eaten immediately, or let it sit for a few hours or overnight to really bring out the flavors. Feel free to use dried cilantro if you don’t have fresh, and add more cayenne if you would like it with more heat.
  2. To make the quesadillas, heat up a lightly sprayed nonstick pan and place a tortilla in it. Sprinkle cheese over half the tortilla, then cover that half with the tomato black bean mixture. Add another layer of cheese and then fold the other half of the tortilla on top. Cook for a few minutes, and then flip and cook the other side. This should be long enough to get it crispy golden outside, while melting the cheese and warming up the salsa on the inside.
  3. Save any leftovers to eat as salsa, a topping for a Mexican salad, in a burrito, or to make more quesadillas!

This French Onion Soup recipe is so easy to make and absolutely delicious – it’s also a pretty inexpensive meal, most of the ingredients are things we always have on hand. Use leftover french bread later in the week to make french toast or serve on the side of a pasta dish.

Recipe Info

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 394

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8 oz. of sliced French bread
  • 4 oz. your favorite cheese

Directions

  1. Heat the oil or water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and stir until the onions are well coated.
  4. Add the water and soy sauce or tamari and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, until the onions are tender, about 45 minutes. Add more water if the soup becomes too thick.
  6. Serve in individual bowls topped with the French bread and cheddar cheese.

Alright and lastly, this recipe from Real Simple for Samosas is easy, tasty and reheats well.

Recipe Info

  • Serves: 12
  • Hands-On Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 cups (about 16 ounces) mashed potatoes
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 jar mango chutney (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the potatoes and peas.
  3. Unroll the piecrusts and cut each into 6 triangles. Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the center of each piece. Gather the corners of the dough and pinch to form a point. Pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. Bake the samosas until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve with the mango chutney, if desired.

Aloha Friday: What’s Cooking?

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My husband has gotten REALLY into cooking lately. At this point I’ve pretty much given into the obvious and accepted that he is a much better cook than me – and he LIKES it. These days he does all the cooking for dinner, yes even on week nights. Don’t hate me because I hit the marriage jack pot. 🙂 Anyway, he loves to cook and does a great job but he still asks me to plan the menu for the week / month – as in, give him an idea and let him run with it. It’s the laborious task of deciding WHAT to cook that he doesn’t like, at least not on a daily basis and he loves my monthly menu plans. So I’ve continued making the menus and he cooks the ideas I come up with, occasionally changing things up entirely when he gets inspired.

But… I’m running low on ideas and I’d really love to give him some new recipes to try. So my questions for you are…

  • What is your favorite dinner recipe? (Feel free to include a link if it’s online)
  • Do you like to cook? How about your spouse / significant other?
  • Who does what in your household (I’m guessing my grandmother and I aren’t the only ones with aspiring chefs for husbands)?
  • What’s for dinner tonight in your household?

Daybook: July 13, 2009

Today…

Outside my window: Yet another gorgeous day – weather man says it’s 68 degrees out which sounds lovely. High of 80. Hopefully it’s not too muggy when we go out later today (we’re finally getting our Wisconsin drivers licenses today).

I am hearing: Martha Speaks on tv (a favorite in our household – MM is currently captivated), the hum of the A/C and the dishwasher running.

I am thinking: that the key lime pie in my refrigerator is way too delicious for my own good – and mentally going over the running “baby to do list” in my mind, i.e. “Try and check out this store sometime during the week, start gathering all the baby supplies and putting them where I want them to be, pick up a spray bottle for the cloth wipes we bought online (Dan finally agreed to try cloth diapering with me!) and also a plastic trash can / bin thing to put the wet bag in so I don’t have to find out the hard way whether or not it will leak.

I am hoping: That MM is nice to us when we go to the registry today. All I can think is bored preschooler plus long lines and paperwork does not sound fun – that is why Dan and I are going together on his lunch break – hopefully we can tag team the situation and not go berserk.

I am reading: The Funny Thing Is by Ellen Degeneres – I am loving it, of course, as I adore Ellen and her sense of humor but I swear I’ve read or heard some of the jokes before – perhaps some were written versions of her stand up? Still funny either way – last night I was laughing so hard I cried, unfortunately for Dan who was busy trying to read a book of his own…

I am creating: clean dishes and clothes? Maybe not the most artistic of endeavors but it’s about all the energy I’ve got for today – but you know, cut me some slack – we did make Oobleck the other day!

I am wearing: my most comfortable teal pajama capris and a random summer tank top that is totally not my planned outfit for the day in any way – I’m hoping that some laundry dries before we leave so that I can find something better to wear for my license picture – either way I will at least put on real pants before I leave.

In the kitchen:

  • Monday: Chicken Nuggets with sweet corn and mashed potatoes
  • Tuesday: Pasta w/ grilled chicken and creamy pesto sauce (jarred) & garlic bread, maybe
  • Wednesday: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Mac’n’Cheese
  • Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chili
  • Friday: Salmon Burgers

Around the house: We finally got our old dinosaur of an iMac hooked up in the kitchen which means that we can look up recipes on the net and not have to print them out – which will save us paper and ink and coincidentally money. Unfortunately it might be too slow to try doing anything except looking up recipes but I probably shouldn’t be playing Facebook games and twittering while I cook anyway – not that I won’t try.

Plans for the week: We’re getting our licenses today, I need to pick up a book for Dan at the library, I have my LAST doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, and if we have time we are going to check out this store sometime to hopefully pick up a diaper cover or two as the ones we ordered on Amazon seem like they might take a long time to ship. This Friday my grandma will be flying in to visit for two weeks (yay!!) so I’ll need to pick her up from the airport before dinner (which is blessedly simple thank goodness). This WEEKEND is the company picnic which should be a lot of fun and there will be lobster and steak – two things that both my grandmother and Dan adore.

One of my favorite things: Apparently there is no state inspection required for cars in Wisconsin. We went yesterday to get Dan’s car inspected as his sticker had expired this month and the guy at the auto shop literally did not know what we were talking about. It doesn’t exist here – which is weird, I’d always assumed it was just one of those facts of life things but not so. We can’t say we aren’t thrilled. Sometimes I feel like we moved to a foreign country – stores and restaurants we’ve never seen before, different government regulations (and lack of others), health insurance companies that actually seem to give a crap and help you out – doctors offices with blessedly short waiting times… Cheese curds. It’s just bizarre and I think I maybe love it…

A picture thought:

This is what Dan made for dinner last night – sure it’s just french toast and sausage (breakfast for dinner followed by pie – heaven?) but check out his little plating flair? Please ladies, get your husbands addicted to Iron Chef America – and if you are lucky like me and they apparently are way better cooks than you, don’t complain – just show up in time for dinner (with a camera).

Daybook: July 6th

Today…

Outside my window: It’s another beautiful day – bright blue sky, puffy white clouds. I had to turn on the AC, which to me says everything. Weather man says a high of 81 – we’ll see how hot that 81 feels when I go to my doctor’s appointment this afternoon. This week looks to be much warmer than last week, unfortunately for pregnant me.

I am hearing: The hum of the AC and Shrek The Third playing on tv – MM has been enjoying himself a little Shrek marathon for the past two days – lucky thing we own all three of them.

I am thinking: I’ll have to divide the laundry between today and tomorrow this week – which isn’t really a big deal when the machines are right in the bedroom – not like it’s costing me extra money apart from energy usage, etc. I don’t miss those prepaid laundry cards AT ALL.

I am hoping: That the dinner tonight goes well – it’s a new recipe I found on My Wooden Spoon and it sounds delicious, but after the Rachel Ray fiasco (see: last time I cried) of last week I’m a bit apprehensive about new dishes right now…

I am reading: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – I am loving it – I’ve wanted to read this book for awhile so I was incredibly excited when I won it in a giveaway at Serendipity‘s blog. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it right now…

I am creating: Nothing unless cleaning counts. We did so much cooking this weekend that I’m still getting caught up on the dishes, plus the laundry. I should probably also run the vacuum soon.

I am wearing: My new dress – so you know I’m in a good mood about that. It’s helping to stay cool in this hot summer weather and I don’t have to constantly pull my shirt down or my pants up over this gigantic pregnant belly, which according to the mirrors in the Walmart changing rooms is again bigger than I realized – it’s like it keeps growing or something. 😛

In the kitchen:

  • Monday: Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Skillet
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Mac’n’Cheese
  • Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chicken & Dumpling Soup
  • Friday: Chicken Parmesan

Around the house: My little plant is not quite as lustrous as the first week we had it home. It’s hanging in there but I’m worried my good luck is starting to run out. Dan thinks it looks fine though so we’ll see. Pretty soon we’ll be putting up baby furniture but I’m actually thinking of waiting until after I have the baby – I figure Dan can probably do what little needs to be done while I’m in the hospital so it isn’t taking up room in the meantime. The crib we don’t even need to assemble until BB outgrows the co-sleeper so it’s really just assembling the co-sleeper, the pack and play and the baby swing and making sure all the little odds and ends are out, but if nursing goes well we won’t need much – although we do need to get diapers soon, but again Dan can always pick some up at the store that week. I keep checking for sales on diapers but I haven’t seen anything yet.

Plans for the week: Maintaining status quo? I still need to get the car inspected and get the oil changed, we’ll probably do that this week. I might get a library card this week too – I’ve been putting that off because I really don’t enjoy taking MM to the library when I need to actually do something there, but it needs to be done…

One of my favorite things: Baby Blueberry’s adorable travel system – Dan put it together last night and it’s just so pretty, I love it. That’s tied right now with the watermelon lemonade in the fridge that I’m using all my willpower not to devour right now…

A picture thought: This was an “outtake” from the weekend but it cracks me up.

Monthly Menu Plan: July

I’m back with another month of menu planning!

This month’s menu is all sorts of, “Maybe”-filled. Especially those last two weeks where I’m having the baby and recovering in the hospital and then coming home to recover some more. A lot of that is guess work – but that’s okay – just having a sort of plan makes me feel a bit more in control.

For those who’ve never planned a month long menu or haven’t read my little posts on them before, here’s the deal: Rather than planning my family dinners night by night, or week by week, I’ve taken the habit of planning out one menu for an entire month. This makes my grocery shopping much easier since I’ve already decided what dinners I’ll be making, I only have to pick up the ingredients missing for that week and the very regular cast of breakfast and lunch foods.

And the looming nightly dinners are now much less intimidating. No longer having to stand in front of the refrigerator scratching my head, trying desperately to figure out something nutritious and delicious to make for dinner? Love that. And by doing this monthly rather than weekly, it leaves more time for life in the days in between. It isn’t rocket science, and thanks goes to Simple Mom who inspired me with this idea.

So here’s my menu for the month of July:

Week One (Beef 2 lb, Chicken 1 lb)

Saturday: 4th of July : Grilled Bratwurst, Beef Teriyaki, Pasta Salad & Deviled Eggs
Sunday: Homemade Pizza
Monday: Tex Mex Chicken Pasta Skillet CHICKEN (1/2)
Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs with garlic bread (make enough for leftovers) BEEF (2 lb)
Wednesday: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Mac’n’Cheese
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chicken & Dumpling Soup
Friday: Chicken Parmesan CHICKEN (1/2)

Week Two (Chicken 1 lb)

Saturday: Breakfast For Dinner: French Toast with Sausage and Fresh Fruit
Sunday: Pesto Pizza
Monday: Chicken Nuggets with sweet corn and mashed potatoes CHICKEN (1/2)
Tuesday: Pasta w/ grilled chicken and leftover pesto & garlic bread CHICKEN (1/2)
Wednesday: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Mac’n’Cheese
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chili
Friday: Picking up Grandma @ Airport Salmon Burgers w/ build your own sides

Week Three (pick up chicken and beef for grandma – 3 lb beef, 2 lb chicken)

Saturday: Company Picnic until 4:30 – BBQ Chicken w/ baked potatoes and mixed frozen vegetables CHICKEN (1 lb)
Sunday: Homemade Spinach Alfredo Pizza
Monday: Spaghetti w/ zesty bolognese (make enough for leftovers) BEEF (2 lb)
Tuesday: The Big Day – No Dinner Plans
Wednesday: Hospital Stay – No Dinner Plans
Thursday: Hospital Stay – No Dinner Plans
Friday: Hospital Stay – No Dinner Plans

Week Four

Saturday: Ordering Out
Sunday: Homemade Calzones
Monday: LEFTOVER Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Tuesday: LEFTOVER Spaghetti & Meatballs with garlic bread
Wednesday: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs & Mac’n’Cheese
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chicken Noodle Soup
Friday: Grandma Goes Home – Breakfast For Dinner

(You can see that I’ve started keeping track of how much meat I’ll need to buy for each week. I’ve also tried to include links to recipes where relevant.)

That’s it for July! Remember, the most important part of this process is flexibility – make a plan, but  don’t get eaten up about it if you decide to switch things up – maybe your dinners for Wednesday and Thursday need to be switched for a week or you make plans at the last minute – that’s fine – this isn’t homework, so it shouldn’t feel like it – the whole goal is to make YOUR life easier! So have fun with it!

If you’re making a menu plan for the month of July be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments section below.