Sunday, February 12, 2017

Creamy Tomato Bisque & Tortellini Soup

Wow, really 2017 is here? I am way behind on lots of things to post, so keep your eyes peeled - I'm coming in fast and lots to blog about...

As our story unfolds with recent changes this year, let's settle around the table with friends and family in the dreary winter months and stir something up tasty and tomato-ey. I was recently sick and when I ventured out one morning when feeling better, my friend Laura asked if I wanted to get take out after our manicures at a local Italian place next store. Of course! So we placed our orders and I got the soup of the day, Tomatoe Bisque Tortellini soup (with some crackers on the side). I brought home it and had it while watching some TV, it was delicious!
2 weeks later, I decided on a rainy Sunday to try to recreate this recipe and stopped at the grocery store for the vital ingredients. Took about 20 minutes tops and had this creamy, luxurious soup that tasted almost like the restaurants.  Picked up some fresh, warm garlic bread to dunk in the soup and served as a great Sunday meal to get ready for the work week ahead of us...Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Bisque & Tortellini Soup

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ( I used minced garlic in a jar - what its way faster!).
  • 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans Campbells’s condensed tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( 1% or skim)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (can substitute chicken broth if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Zesty Italian dressing package (Good Seasons)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 (9 ounce) package cheese-filled tortellini
  • grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Fresh Italian loaf or french bread

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato soup, milk, half and half, vegetable broth, and all the seasonings and bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, drop in the tortellini and cook according to package instructions (probably about 7 - 10 minutes). Place lid and let stay warm for softer tortellinis.
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan on top and warm sliced baguette.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili topped with Avocado

White Chicken Chili in the Crock Pot is one of my favorite "all year round crock pot recipes." This chili uses white beans and its up to you what kind you choose, but I highly recommend Bush's Cannellini beans. We also serve ours with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro and another squeeze of lime.  It brings a "freshness" to the finished chili and melts in your mouth. If you really want to go to the extreme, you can crumble tortilla chips and make it a White Chicken Chili Meets Tortilla Soup. This also makes a great leftover to take to work for lunch! Enjoy!

White Chicken Chili topped with Avocado

  • 4 3/4 cup chicken stock ( I use low sodium)
  • 1 medium minced onion (yellow or white)
  • 2 cans white cannelleni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (15 oz) with the juice
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • If you're looking for extra spice, you can always throw in 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño
  • Avocado (diced)
  • Cilantro (chopped)
  • sour cream
  • Mexican cheese (shredded)
  • red onion, (diced)

    1. In your Crock Pot, spray some Pam inside the pot, and add the onion, beans, garlic  cumin, chili powder, salt & pepper, diced tomatoes, lime juice, and chicken stock. Basically, everything except for the chicken and stir to combine.  
    2. Place the chicken breasts on the very top and turn on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  
    3. When done, remove chicken, shred with fork and knife and return back to the pot.  Stir to combine everything and taste to see if you need additional seasoning.
    4. Serve with sour cream, avocado, cheese, diced red onion, cilantro or your favorite chili toppings.


          Sunday, March 20, 2016

          Grilled Chili-Rubbed Flank Steak Tacos

          Spring is in the air and The Basil Bee got a new look!

          The Basil Bee is back and long overdue on recent posts- not that I've been on vacation or anything, more like just busy with life, work, and everything else in between, but no excuse. In the interim, I've been cooking up a storm and trying new things, just forgot to post and take pictures. I have so much to catch up on with you all, but I'm back and ready to blog!

          It's officially the first day of Spring, however, we are waiting for somewhat of a snowstorm coming our way - crazy right? However, after redecorating my house with some 'spring like decor' i felt that I needed to have something festive and colorful last night for dinner. We don't often stay home on Saturday nights and cook dinner, but my hubby was home and I wanted to cook up something new and tasty!

          Curtis Stone was on @RachaelRayShow the other day and featured Curtis Stone's recipe for Stone Grilled Chili-rubbed flank steaks tacos and I decided to use that as my base with a few modifications. I picked up some sweet jersey corn in the produce section, made some rice, and I whipped up a quick avocado creme sauce for the tacos too! If you're in and around South Jersey, I picked up all my items at Rastelli Food Market for this recipe-such a great store! It was a bit chilly out last night too, so I decided to use my grill pan on the stove to cook the steaks. Happy taco'ing!

          Grilled Chili-Rubbed Flank Steak Tacos Ingredients:
          (serves 4)

          For the Steaks:
          • 1 tablespoon chili powder 
          • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
          • 2 teaspoons garlic powder 
          • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
          • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
          • Two 16-ounce flank steaks 
          • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
          Taco Accompaniments
          • 1 pack of Confetti Slaw (found in your grocer- made my Eat Smart which includes green cabbage, broccoli, carrots, red cabbage.) If you can't find, just use what Curtis Stone's recipe calls for -1/2 head Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and shredded crosswise (about 3 cups) 
          • 1/2 red onion, chopped 
          • 1 large carrot, grated 
          • 8 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal 
          • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro sprigs 
          • Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas (I used El Paso tortillas) 
          • Salsa (store bought or homemade- I used Tostitos Cantina Roasted Garlic). 
          • Sweet Jersey corn 
          • rice (cook to package directions) 

          Creme Sauce:
          • half of an avocado, diced 
          • 1/2 cup sour cream 
          • Salt n Pepper 


          1. Heat a large pot with salted water and once comes to a boil, throw in the corn and cook until done. Season with Salt n Pepper.
          2. To prepare the steaks: In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to blend. Generously sprinkle 4 teaspoons of the spice mixture all over each steak and coat with some EVOO; reserve any remaining spice mixture for another use.
          3. Cover the steaks and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
          4. Prepare your outside grill or grill pan for medium-high heat and grill until they are brown on both sides and cooked to the desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
          5. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes covered with foil.
          6. Meanwhile, prepare the tacos: In a large bowl, toss the confetti slaw, carrots, red onion, scallions, and cilantro together, set aside.
          7. Place diced avocado, sour cream, S & P in a food mixer and mix until smooth and creamy. I actually threw mine in my Nutribullet and came out great and super quick!
          8. Heat the tortillas wrapped in foil in the oven at 350 for 7 minutes or you can throw on the grill, turning occasionally, for about 1 minute, or until hot.
          9. Transfer to a serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
          10. Time to eat! Cut the steak across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer the steak slices and any carving juices to a platter. Serve the steak with tortillas, cabbage mixture, avocados, limes, and avocado creme sauce.
          11. Bring to table, build your tacos, indulge, and enjoy! Pour some wine or favorite cocktail and that's one colorful, tasty Saturday night dinner!

          Wednesday, September 25, 2013

          Prosciutto Arugula Pizza with Fontina and Truffle Oil

          Three of my favorite things on a Friday night are a pizza stone, cheese, and truffle oil…and a nice glass of red wine (OK so 4 things)! So when I stumbled across this beauty, it just topped my Friday night. I also love that this recipe has just a few quality ingredients. The prosciutto was salty, the Fontina was buttery and nutty, and the wilted peppery arugula melts in your mouth. If you don’t have a pizza stone, go out and buy one pronto. It’s the best gift I received from my wedding registry a few years ago and we use it on a weekly basis. It’s also great for reheating leftovers, gets it nice and crispy, and it’s so easy to clean.

          Also, instead of using diced prosciutto and sautéing prior with onions, you could simply add slices of prosciutto on top of the pizza after the cheese melts, there’s variations to this pizza online, so be creative, whatever makes your mouth happy… Happy Friday!

          Prosciutto Arugula Pizza with Fontina and Truffle Oil on Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

          • 1 ball pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
          • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
          • 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
          • Package of diced prosciutto
          • ½ cup of diced yellow onion
          • A couple handfuls arugula
          • Truffle Oil
          1. Set the oven to 425 degrees
          2. Roll out the pizza dough and prepare it on a pizza stone. 
          3. Brush the dough with EVOO and some garlic and Italian seasoning (use any other seasons you like too!)
          4. Pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes-this will get it nice and crispy and strong enough to hold all the deliciousness that’s about to take over the dough
          5. In a sauté pan on stove, caramelize onions and diced prosciutto in ½ TB of EVOO. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside
          6. Remove pizza from oven and top with Fontina cheese, onion, and prosciutto and brush some more garlic/olive oil mixture on the crust. Return to the oven until melted (about 5-7 minutes) and the crust is golden
          7. Once out of the oven, and pizza is cooling, toss some arugula on top and drizzle with truffle oil. Cover warm pizza with arugula and let wilt for a few minutes and then enjoy this yummy pizza!

          Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers with Tomato Avocado Salsa and Brown Rice

          As you know, I love Basil, especially in a pesto. This is a two part recipe and easy enough to make on a weeknight either on your grill or a grill pan on your stove top! First make the salsa, it's a little bit of chopping, so get that out of the way first so  you're ready to go...

          Tomato Avocado Salsa
          • 3 Vine Ripened Tomatoes, diced
          • ½ small red onion, diced
          • ½ avocado, diced
          • Basil, chopped
          • Italian Seasoning
          • Garlic Seasoning
          • Salt and Pepper
          • ½ TB EVOO

          1. Dice the tomatoes, onion and avocado and place in a medium bowl.
          2. Add basil, garlic seasoning, salt and pepper, EVOO. Stir together and set aside in the fride.

          Grilled Pesto Shrimp 
          • 6-8 oz. Basil Pesto (packaged or homemade) *I used Wegman’s pesto from the Olive Bar
          • 1 lb fresh medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
          • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste
          • garlic seasoning
          • 6 wooden skewers

          1. Combine raw shrimp with pesto and seasoning in a bowl, and marinate a few hours in the fridge. Soak wooden skewers in water at least 20 minutes. Once marinated and ready to grill, thread the shrimp onto 6 skewers (about 5 shrimp per skewer) 
          2. Heat an indoor grill pan (or outside grill, I don’t have one yet at my casa so indoor for me!) over medium-low heat until hot. Be sure the grates are clean and spray lightly with PAM. 
          3. Place the shrimp on the hot grill and cook until shrimp turns pink on the bottom, about 3-4 minutes; turn and continue cooking until shrimp is opaque and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
          4. Serve with tomato avocado salsa and rice on the side, enjoy!

          Servings: 7  Serving Size: 1 skewer • WW Points+: 5 pts
          Calories: 180 • Fat: 8.4 g • Protein: 25.3 g • Carb: 0.4 g • Fiber: 0.2 g • Sugar: 0 g
          Sodium: 292 mg (without salt)

          Source: original recipe adapted from 

          Thursday, July 18, 2013

          Tomates A La Provencale

          I decided to borrow my sister’s Julia Child’s cookbook and take a look at a few of her side dishes. Some may think her recipes are tough, but they aren't too difficult, it just seems that way because it’s a lot of steps to follow. Be patient, it’s wonderful at the finish line!

          Since I’m doing Weight Watchers, I decided to try one of her side dishes that has a vegetable in it. Summers in New Jersey, mean Jersey tomatoes, and they are the best! So when I scanned through her recipes and came across this, my decision was made. I actually used shallots and green onions and added some panko to the bread crumbs for more of a crunch. Her recipe asks you to roast them on third level oven rack at 400 for 15 minutes, but I let them roast in the oven for about 45 minutes at 350* in the middle then moved to the top rack for ten minutes and they were so juicy and browned on top. This is the perfect (and healthy) vegetable dish to accompany your summer dinners! Bon Appetite!

          Tomates A La Provencale

          • (8) firm, ripe, red tomatoes (about 3 inches in diameter)
          • Salt and Pepper
          • 1-2 cloves mashed garlic
          • 3 TB minced shallots or green onions (I used both)
          • 1/8 TSP Thyme
          • 1/4 TSP salt
          • Big pinch of pepper
          • 1/4 cup olive oil
          • 1/2 bread crumbs (I used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and panko for a bigger crunch)
          • A shallow, oiled roasting pan just large enough to hold the tomatoes easily in one layer


          1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
          2. Remove the stems, and cut the tomatoes in half cross wise (the equator of the tomato). Gently press out the juice and seeds. Sprinkle the halves lightly with salt and pepper.
          3. Blend all the ingredients except bread crumbs and oil together. Correct seasoning if needed. Fill each tomato half with a spoonful or two of the mixture. Sprinkle with a few drops of the olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes in the roasting pan; do not crowd them.*may be prepared ahead to this point*
          4. Shortly before you are ready to serve, place them in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked through and the mixture has golden browned on the top. **I cooked these at 350* for about 45 minutes on the middle rack, and placed on upper rack for last 10 minutes and they were great!