Hi there everyone! This week at Costco, my husband freaked out when we got to the cheese aisle. They had our absolute favorite cheddar cheese from home that they have never had there before! They had Bandon Cheddar Cheese! This cheese is made in Oregon by the Tillamook Cheese Comapany. However, When I was growing up near Bandon, Oregon, the cheese factory was there, and I remember going and trying fresh cheese curds or “squeeky cheese” and having ice cream cones the size of my head. I don’t know what is so different between Bandon brand cheddar or any other cheddar, but it is incredible! While at the store, we usually grab a few different kinds of cheese, however this week, after I hugged it and drooled over it a little, my husband and I decided to buy two blocks of cheddar instead of any other kind of cheese. It is a harder cheddar than say Kirkland cheddar, and does not crumble as easily. It also has a bit more cheddar flavor than what I have been used to in Korea.
Since I had some incredible cheese, I had to take on the challange of planning an entire meal around this taste of home, that would not be too many weight watchers points.
So now I get to what this post is really about:
My post today is primarily about this amazing oven roasted veggie soup that I made tonight to go with some killer grilled cheese sandwiches. I did make some incredible bread as well for the sandwiches, however, I did not get any photos of the bread because I have made it before in my Whole Wheat Hoagies post. The big difference in my bread today, was that I actually baked it into two loafs (took about 45 minutes to turn golden brown in a loaf pan). I added garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and some basil to the recipe as well, and took out some of the sugar. Anyway, the hoagie recipe I used is found on food.com. I change the recipe by using all whole wheat flour and a tablespoon of yeast.
Anyway, back to my soup:
When I got home from work tonight, I chopped up some veggies. I chopped up two bell peppers into 8 strips, 2 small onions, and 2 small carrots. I spread them over two cooking sheets (one big one would work if your oven is big enough or an average sized cookie sheet). I sprayed just a tiny bit of olive oil on them, and one pan at a time I roasted them. The peppers I roasted until they were charred, broiling them for about 15 minutes, then turning the pan and letting it go for another 15 minutes, until they looked like this:
The yellow peppers were a bit more done than the red by the end of this.
then I threw in a pan of thinly sliced onions and carrots. In hind site, I perhaps should have cut the carrot into sticks instead of madallions so they did not loose so much moisture and flavor. I cooked them the same way under the broiler for about another half hour, turning the pan and stirring a little half way through.
Next I opened two cans of S&W ready-cut diced tomatoes and dumped them into my soup pot. While my roasted veggies were cooling a bit, I took the time to mix the bread together, and plan for it to raise while the soup was cooking. so I let the veggies cool a bit, and then peeled the peppers by hand. Charring them the way that I did releases the skins, and they practically slide right off.
After I added the tomatoes, I peeled the peppers, and
threw them into the pot with the onions, carrots, tomatoes, about a tablespoon and a half of garlic, and here is the kicker…a cup of silken tofu. This was an experiment for me, but I actually looked forward to giving it a try. I added two cups of water, then another half cup with about a tablespoon of beef bouillon mixed in with it. I threw in some dried thyme, and let it simmer on low while the bread was raising.
After it simmered for maybe an hour while the dough was raising, I scooped the hot soup carefully into a blender and pureed it until it was smooth. The tofu gave it the creamy look and feel of having dairy and the flavor was really intense . It was a little overwhelming however, and I added 1/2 a cup of sour cream just to cool down the flavors just a touch. I was pleased to see it did not add any extra weight watchers points to a serving, which is what I was trying to avoid.
I sliced enough bread for two sandwiches, and measured out two ounces each of Bandon cheese. I planned this entire meal around the cheese after all…Therefore, I was not about to skimp on it!
I grilled them up in a little butter, on the smallest flame I can get. My bread was cut kinda thick, so I wanted to give the cheese time to melt while the bread was grilling. The flame was on so low, that it probably took 5-8 minutes per side to get it golden brown on each side. I prefer to grill my sandwiches like this, because otherwise the bread is done long before the cheese is ooey gooey and melted.
When it was ready, I served my husbands plate, then went back to cut my sandwich, take some photos and serve up my own. When I came to sit down, my husband was already oohing and awwing over the incredible flavor. I knew the soup tasted good, but when I sat down, and dipped the sandwich into the soup, oh my gosh that was pure heaven! This meal was super filling with the hearty whole wheat bread, and the thick soup. And best of all, the soup serving four generous helping was only three points a bowl!
Oven Roasted Veggie Soup:
2 cans of tomatoes (because this soup is pureed, this can be any kind of canned tomatoes)
1 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup sour cream (optional with the tofu)
a few cloves of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 bell peppers, any color
olive oil spray
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon beef bouillon (use what you have, I have used chicken before as well. Veggie could also work)
First de-rib and slice into strips two bell peppers. thickly slice 2 onions and two carrots and spread all out on a cookie sheet with a light spraying of olive oil. Broil on the highest temperate and the closest to the top heating element for 15 minutes, and turn the pan around. Cook or another 15 minutes, or until the peppers are well charred and the onions are starting to caramelize or brown. Dump 2 cans of tomatoes into the soup pan. Peel the skin off of the roasted peppers, and add them and the onions to the soup. Add the garlic, thyme, and tofu. Let this simmer for at least a half hour. when it has cooked down just a little, and is sufficiently hot, carefully scoop or pour the contents of the soup pot into the blender, and blend until the entire soup has a smooth consistency You can add the sour cream now, or after you pour the soup back into the pot. Mix well, salt and pepper to taste.
One bowl of this soup is very thick and filling, and is only 3 weight watchers points!
Leave me a comment if you want more details on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.