Tag Archives: Recipe

Hearty Tomato Soup

With an accompanying facebook status of “Yay for accidental success” this recipe began as something else.

It was an attempt at making a hearty, chunky pasta sauce inspired by an advertisement for Philly Cream Cheese that went awry, and in a good way.

The advertisement showed the couple stirring cream cheese into what appeared to be a simple tomato sauce and then enjoying it over spaghetti. The cream sauces I’d enjoyed previously tended to have a thick flavor that was not necessary enjoyable to me.

So I tried my own hand at it, and it ended up a bit too hearty for sauce, and just right for a really good soup. In my opinion.

1 medium onion(diced)
4 cloves garlic (crushed well into a near-paste)
2T olive oil

1 green bell pepper (chopped finely)
1 yellow bell pepper (chopped finely)
1 red bell pepper (chopped finely)

small handful cilantro (diced)

2 10oz cans Tomato sauce

4oz cream cheese (softened)

2 cups fresh tomato (chopped into 1/2 inch cubes)
1lb ground beef

Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil over very low heat until the onoins are translucent.

Increase heat to medium-low until onion begins to brown lightly.

Add bell peppers and saute just until bell peppers are soft. If you over cook the bell peppers or they’ll not add texture to the soup.

Add cilantro to pepper and onion mixture for last minute of sauteing.

Brown ground beef and drain.

In soup pot warm tomato sauce over medium low, add softened cream cheese and stir until there are no lumps of cream cheese.

Mix in fresh tomato chunks, browned ground beef, and pepper and onion mixture.

Heat, stirring sparingly, until bubbling.

Serve immediately.

There aren’t pictures because we ate it all before I thought to take a picture.

If the sauce were thinner it would probably work OK as a pasta sauce. But as is it is a thick and hearty tomato soup. It even works for dipping grilled cheese sandwiches, though the extra chunks do require their own spoon for finishing the bowl.

StoryOfStuff – Part 6

Continued from part 5

10 Little and Big Things You Can Do:

1: Hypocrisy: Publicly-“Green” people tend to fly more, take more expensive and expansive vacations and use loop-hole systems such as Carbon Offsets to make the claim they are caring about the environment (ie: Al Gore).
Demonizing Corporations: Requires corporations.Solar panels require extremely high amounts of wealth and take extreme amounts of time to recoup the dollar and energy costs.

2: Average people are better at this, the cost of items drives conservation. Growing up we always used paper garbage bags for our trash bags in the kitchen. I upgrade computers for several years, replacing internal parts piecemeal as my needs change.

Potential Hypocrisy: “Visibly engage in re-use”: It’s what we do when people aren’t watching that shows who we are. We should simply engage in re-use, not visibly or invisibly, but as part of who we are.

3: Good, but know where the rational, reasonable, and practical parts are, and avoid the conspiracies, fallacies, and manipulations which use the Green movement to further enrich callous liars such as Al Gore.

4: Al Gore, wrong poster boy. John Doe, right poster boy. Climate change, arguable issue, plenty of science on either side. Cyclical, “hockey stick” graph magnifies an infinitesimal temperature change, ignore the fact that the pollution spike follows after the temperature spike. Sun spot cycles are more closely correlated in a casual relationship.

5: Good, but Chemical and Toxic do not necessarily equal. Is not government’s responsibility. Internet and modern communcation allows ‘small’ people to have large voices and affect real and substantive pressure for change on private industry.

EU example: “Tin slivers” are dangerous, lead better, more reliable, safer for the reliability it has. Forces private industry to make inferior products.

6: Agree. This is the Church.

7: Public transportation does not ease congestion, is prone to government-induced cronyism and corruption in the lucrative contracts. Dirty, inefficient, cannot profit. Is not federal government’s responsibility. Privatize public transportation. Airlines and bus lines and Ocean lines are profitable and successful. Why not trains? Government run failures.

Master-planned communities tend to be less diverse economically and inhibit the upward- and cross-mobilism that is encouraged by an open and spread community system. Is government going to require people live within 5 miles of their job? Who can do this? Do you want to be forced to live next door to the supermarketor the office building? This inhibits personal freedom and the meeting of needs by artificially conforming all members of a community to lead similar lives in a pre-defined economony. This is a tried and proven recipe for economic stagnation, poverty, and dissatisfaction (ie: communism/socialism). Causes harm.

8: Hypocrisy: CFLs (“energy efficient light bulbs”) contain mercury, which is released when they are disposed of or broken. Talking about toxins: Mercury is known bad. Also, some people are more sensitive to the 60-Hz “flicker” of fluorescent bulbs, causing headaches and other physical problems. It’s a good idea at its root, but more wealth allows for more development which allows for better solutions. CFLs are not the solution to the lighting problem. Corporations need the freedom to innovate further to address the needs which we present to them through the force of the market.

Answer is to innovate and develop and start own corporation which will produce the solution.

9: Recycled bottles take more energy to make than “original” bottle of similar dimension. Needs innovation and development to make effective. Only because we have corporations allowing people to make money and get rich can we afford to support economically wasteful systems which are cleaner and more “Green”.

10: Good… but. Wal-mart. Average family in Wal-mart neighborhood has $2000 extra at the end of the year because of the price deflation a Wal-mart forces on the area. Thats $2000 they can spend on glasses for their kids, medicine, etc, without going to the government. Wal-mart hires people not as ‘acceptable’ at other places: mentally handicapped, older, etc. Without Wal-mart keeping their costs down they would be forced only to hire healthy, good-looking people like everybody else. What is better: An Old person with self-respect due to a productive job who has to pay for their own health insurance or an old person decrepit and decaying in the lounger at the nursing home paid for at exculpatory rates by money taken from you and me by government-run bloated social welfare programs which I can no longer use to give to my Church so they can’t keep up the outreach to the nursing home or to pay for medicine for my children?

Yes, there is a problem and the root of the solution is not all that complex.

Continue reading in part 7

Apple Crobbler

I was asked to bring a dessert to a Sunday School function on Sunday, and didn’t want to buy something pre-made from the store. I’m missing beautiful Apple Hill
in California this fall and have been craving delicious apple treats such as fresh apple juice and pies. So I decided to to and throw together some apple dish, and being, as usual, sans cookbook and experience, I went the easy route.

I can’t say the results are absolutely perfect, and they’re definitely NOT Apple Hill quality, they did fit the bill and take the edge off my craving. And it was easy.

Why “Apple Crobbler”? Because it’s not quite a Crisp, and not quite a Cobbler, of course.


Granny Smith Apples (enough to fill the pan mounded over the pot)
1/2 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Chopped Nuts (I used Pecans, but walnuts or other soft nuts should work well)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (this can be adjusted, if using sweeter apples use less or no sugar)
1/4 cup Honey (this can also be adjusted, it is more for flavor)
1 Tbsp Salt
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Cinnamon (to taste)
Nutmeg (to taste)
Croissant Dough (I used Pillsbury from the can, 1 can worked well for a 9×12 baking dish)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the apples, peel if desired and slice thinly, approximately 1/4 inch wide slices. Place in large mixing bowl. (I didn’t peel the apples. Thinner slices make the apple bake thoroughly in the proper time, the Croissant dough will usually cook in 20 minutes or less. If the dough takes longer to bake, cut the apples thicker. You want the apples to still hold their shape but just barely when done. I used a container with a sealing lid, so mixing the ingredients involved shaking the container.)

Add Raisins, Nuts, Brown Sugar, Honey, Salt, Oil, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Add small amount of Water to allow enough moisture to coat the apples with the rest of the mixture.

Mix thoroughly.

Pour mixture into the baking dish, place several pats of Butter on top.

Roll Croissant Dough out thinly and place over dish. Spread softened Butter on top of dough and sprinkle with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. (The butter will keep the crust from burning while giving it a nice brown color and helping to carmelize the Brown Sugar).

Place in oven. Check after 15 minutes and remove when crust is golden brown.

Chicken Marinade and Pasta Sauce

So I’m a bit of an aspiring cook. The dishes never turn out LOOKING the way I imagine them, but it’s been a while since they didn’t TASTE ok.

Last night I was hosting some friends on the final night of their long trip circumscribing most of the western states, I decided to do pasta and chicken for dinner. Being a bachelor I don’t really spend much time cooking anymore, there are other things to do, and I can live on yogurt, pizza, and sandwiches as well as the next, but I do enjoy cooking. My mother taught me along with all my brothers and sisters in turn, how to cook and clean (wise woman, she hasn’t had to cook meals with any great regularity for 20 years now).

But, like my dad, I don’t just do the recipe book thing, I enjoy throwing things together and seeing what pops out, hence this recipe. I made it with three well-trimmed chicken breasts, extra-virgin olive oil (stronger flavor is better), tri-color pasta spirals, and the Tomato Basil bread from Panera. But I’m sure you can use the pasta and bread of your choice.

Do this the night before:

1/2 8oz can Tomato Sauce
splash of Italian Salad Dressing
1 tbsp Garlic Salt
1 tbsp Seasoned Salt
2 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Chicken Breasts, cleaned

Combine all ingredients in bowl with lid. Shake to mix thoroughly. Place in refrigerator over night.

Do this the day you want to eat:

1/2 Yellow, Orange, or Red Bell Pepper, cleaned and cut into strips
2 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Garlic Salt

Sautee/Fry bell pepper just until browned on one side. Push to side of pan.

Add Chicken and entire contents of marinade. Cook until done.

If more liquid is needed, add the rest of the Tomato Sauce.
The more liquid the better because the liquid makes an excellent pasta sauce as well, tying the flavors of the whole plate together.

Shortly before serving, boil water and add pasta, cooking al dente (which means literally “to the teeth” and in application just until tender, no “crunch” left if using store-bought pasta, you want it to be able to hold it’s form and texture on the plate).

Warm bread in an oven or toast in the broiler, french, sour dough, or any bread with a strong flavor that is not sweet works well. Use Olive Oil for dipping.

I hope you enjoy this first entry from the I, Pandora Kitchen. Leave comments if you like it, feed it to the cats if you don’t.