Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stuffed Pepper Bento

I was motivated today. Totally. I was at work by 6:30, done by 9:30, and had no idea what to do with the rest of my day. I know what I should have been doing... but that's beside the point. So I did dishes. And I found a tomato soup recipe. Which turned out the first homemade tomato basil soup I've actually enjoyed! I ate the entire batch. I figure since it was just veggies and homemade chicken stock, it was healthy enough that I don't have to have guilt. I'm making a bigger batch on Friday. I still have a whole bunch of tomatoes to use up.

As the soup was cooking, I went through my fridge to start breaking down all the produce in there. I sliced a cantaloupe and now have a container of precut cute shapes. I broke down a pommello. I de-stemmed a bag of grapes. Cut up a bunch of celery. Did some more apples... The fridge looks much more user friendly now. I've still got some fruit to work my way through... more apples, oranges, grapefruit, lemon... but I feel well on my way now. And it made packing my bento this evening SO MUCH EASIER! I just pulled out a stack of containers and picked some things out of each of them. And... ta da! Lunch! Not only a lunch, but it looks like I tried!

The larger container holds a halved stuffed red pepper. I received a couple of gorgeous peppers last weekend, courtesy of Bountiful Baskets. I thought about cutting them up into lunch friendly bits and pieces, but I have lots of mini sweet peppers. Why would I need a big one? So I stuffed them with leftover rice and a crumbled tomato basil chicken sausage. And topped them with sharp cheddar.

... You know... I might lose more weight if I'd stop smothering all my fresh veggies with cheese... The stars I topped the halves with are cut out of provolone.

The smaller container has a fish hard boiled egg which does not look all that fishy, turkey rosettes, cucumber, pommello, cantaloupe stars with scraps underneath, strawberries, grapes, and some cute apple shapes. Oh. And a baby carrot gap stuffer.

Somebody pat me on the back! I did good! Not only is it cute, but it only took about 15 minutes to put it together!

Anywho. I feel the need to share this soup recipe that I told you about. Because I'm picky about my tomato soup, and I found this one to be delectable. I tweaked it from the recipe found here

Roasted Tomato Soup

6-8 tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 more tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped ... really finely chopped.
1 carrot, diced
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crumbled
3 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss tomato halves with olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 350 for about 15 minutes or until slightly caramelized. Peel them. Or not. Whatever.

2. Heat olive oil in a large-ish pot on the stove. Toss in onion, celery, and carrot. Saute until onion is transparent. Dump in tomatoes and basil. Add a bit of water if needed. Let simmer for 15 minutes or so.

3. Either use an immersion blender or blend in batches. Carefully. Hot things in blenders are scary.

4. Dump back into pot and add stock. Simmer until it reaches a consistency that makes you happy.

5. Eat it. I added a bit of skim milk to mine. I bet sour cream would be yummy. Or cheddar. Or whatever it is people usually put into tomato soup.

Note. The celery strings do not blend away. So unless you like the texture of the strings, really finely chop. I put most of my first batch through a sieve so I didn't have a huge amount of texture. I'm not doing that next time. But you can if you want, I suppose...

And now... I'm off to eat a baked potato for dinner... smothered with cheese...

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