Best Roasted Tomato Soup


8 ripe(only) roma tomatoes cut in half
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic heads
8 basil leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

garnish with any or all of these;
fresh basil
parmesan or mozzarella cheese
croutons or baguette
bacon pieces

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Puree garlic, basil, olive oil and 1 tablespoon chicken broth. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cover cookie pan with foil and spread with olive oil. Place tomatoes with the middle part down on pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and pour the mix on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove tomatoes from oven and puree with juices, tomato paste, sugar and rest of chicken broth. Pour into a soup pot, and cook for 15 minutes over medium. Add balsamic and remove from heat. Serve with cheese, bacon or croutons on top and baguette on the side. Yummy!

*This recipe is my favorite during winter times because is warm, lite, has lots of antioxidants, and soo delicious!

FYI- Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. In terms of phytonutrients, tomatoes are basically off the chart.

Black Bean Soup


1 15oz black beans without the juice
1/3 cup onions dice into tiny pieces
4- diced garlic cloves
1/2 cup smoked ham
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper

To garnish;
sherry
sour cream
cut apples pieces

In a soup pot pour the olive oil and cook the onions, ham, garlic for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 10 more minutes. Discard the ham puree the mix and bring back to the pot for 20 more minutes. Garnish with any of these ingredients, sherry, sour cream or apples.

* I sometimes use croutons, bacon or red onions for garnishing. Be creative!

*I created this recipe to satisfy my cuban husbands cravings!

FYI- Black beans are a concentrated source of both dietary fiber and folic acid. This has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Black beans also contain magnesium, which can improve the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients through the body.
Research has shown that there are at least eight different flavonoids in black bean’s color coats, which bestow this little bean with potent antioxidant power.
Black beans are a great source of protein. One cup has at least 15 grams which can provide us with a significant amount of our daily requirement of protein.
Black beans contain sleep-promoting tryptophan.
These beans can provide sustainable energy while promoting stabilized blood sugar levels. Black beans contain vitamin B1, which is instrumental in converting sugar into usable energy, as well as phosphorus, which is a component of ATP (the fuel that powers our cells).
It’s not a secret that beans can cause gas. This is because we cannot digest oligosaccharides, which are sugars found in beans. These sugars are consumed by bacteria in the gut and cause gas. To help eliminate the gas-factor, soak the beans overnight, drain the water, and soak beans in new fresh water before cooking. Always rinse beans (even canned) before cooking.

Chicken Marsala Puerto Rican Style


2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 package mushrooms trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup tomato sauce or 1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Bring broth to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, then boil, uncovered, until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Or just use chicken stock and cut the water in half.
Cook shallot in 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat, until shallot begins to turn brown. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon garlic, salt, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, around 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Put flour in a wide shallow plate. Gently pound chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, 1 piece at a time, shaking off excess. Transfer to wax paper.
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat, then sauté chicken, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer cooked chicken to a large platter. Add 1/2 cup wine to skillet and boil over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, about 1 minute. Add broth, tomato sauce, and mushrooms, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add chicken, lemon juice, rest of garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons wine, cook for 2 more minutes stirring carefully. Turn heat off and serve warm. Serves 6

*This is my Puerto Rican version. The tomato sauce and garlic gives this dish a caribbean but delicious twist!

WARNING!
*Do not make this recipe if you are trying to imitate restaurant food (mine is better, jaja)

FYI- The most sought after health benefit of mushrooms is weight loss. As a lean protein, your body already burns plenty of fat just breaking down the protein (and fiber), but when you consume foods low in fat and carbs that fat burned increases for additional fat burning.

The vitamins C, B6 and B12 found in mushrooms are responsible for boosting your immune system. This helps flush toxins out of your body that could compromise your immune system. A healthy body means you can focus more on fat burning rather than healing.

Rustic Chicken Breast Rolls

IMG_6696IMG_6700IMG_6702

6 pieces pounded chicken breast
6 pieces of your favorite ham for me is jamon serrano or Prosciutto
1 bunch chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dried cranberries
28oz Italian crushed tomatoes
1 cup freshly ground basil
1 tablespoon italian herbs
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon red pepper
2/3 cup red wine
top with freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Season breast with salt and pepper. Prepare the chicken by layering ham, then parsley, cranberries. Roll and secure with toothpicks. In a round pan heat olive oil over medium high, add garlic and red pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Stir oil, sear chicken 2 minutes per side. Add wine, crushed tomatoes, basil, italian herbs and stir. Cover and place in oven for 30 minutes. Check for salt and pepper. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.

Winter Pork Chops

IMAG1857-2
4 thick pork chops
1 tablespoon of garlic salt and black pepper for seasoning
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped yellow onion
2 apples cut into pieces
1 quart beef broth
2 tablespoon BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a oven safe medium pan heat oil and sear chops for 3 minutes each side, remove from pan. Add onions and apples scrapping the bottom of pan, cook for 4 minutes. Add broth and stir the rest of ingredients. Cover and cook in oven for 2 1/2 hours. Taste for salt and pepper and add accordingly. Serve with white rice or sweet potatoes

Family Style – Salmon Wellington with Spinach

photo 1-31
photo 2-26
2 pounds skinless salmon fillet
1 lime
salt and pepper
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed but very cold
1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water
olive oil

for the spinach filling;
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh basil
2 cups frozen thawed chopped spinach, squeezed dry
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil paper.
Season salmon with salt pepper and the juice of one lime

For spinach mixture, in a food processor mix all ingredients until well blended.
Halve salmon through the middle into 2 pieces of equal thickness.
Cut rolled dough into 2 pieces across the center, place 1 half sheet of dough on the baking sheet, sprinkle with some olive oil and center salmon on dough. Spread half of the mixture on top of the salmon filet and top with other half of the salmon. Top with remaining mixture. Set pastry top in place and seal edges. Lightly score with cross hatch pattern on angle, being careful not to cut through dough. Bake 25 minutes, brush with egg wash and bake 20 minutes longer to cook salmon through and until the dough is puffed and brown.
photo 1-33
photo 3-22

Sonia's Arroz con Maiz or Corn Rice

2 cups white rice
3 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion cut into small pieces
3 minced garlic cloves
1 8oz can of corn drained
1 can french onion soup
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

In a tall pan melt butter and saute onion, garlic with some salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Add corn, soup and water, boil, and lower temperature to medium. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir and continue to simmer until done. Serves 6