Friday, June 21, 2013

Homemade Tomato Soup with Cheese Dumplings (Bags of Gold)

As a child I spent many years in Girl Scouts one of the first things I remember cooking at camp was "Bags of Gold".  Campbell's Tomato Soup and Bisquick dumplings stuffed with cheese floating on top.  We ate very well at camp.  We usually came home with recipes and new techniques to try.  I have found scouting for each person completely depends on how active their troop is, growing up in a military family we moved often resulting in finding a new troop each move.  My mom was active in adult scouting which I'm sure influenced our finding an active troop.  It was the 70's when her last position was Service Unit Leader, we lived in Hawaii at the time and yep she was in charge of a lot.  I learned many life lessons during my years in Girl Scouts.

This past Winter on a girls weekend we visited Juliette Gordon Lowe's birthplace in Savannah, GA.  A magnificent home with her amazing story well preserved.

Picture of some post cards, you can't
take photos inside the house.
Logo in gate.

Denise, Betty, me & Debbie
(girlfriends weekend, Savannah, GA)
 The soup recipe is adapted from The Brasserie in Lancaster, PA while they have many great things on their menu they are known for this soup.  It is rich, hearty and oh so good.  The recipe is on their web site but if you get the chance to go you need to try it there.  Cooked like a French Onion Soup they melt cheese over the top of the bowl and the soup underneath is so good.  The recipe isn't that complicated to make if you like to make homemade soups the biggest time commitment is all the chopping.  If you are making the dumplings for "Bags of Gold" make sure you thin your soup more as the dumplings absorb a lot of liquid.  If you are doing the croutons/bread with melted cheese over the top you won't need to thin it out.

My version:

Tomato Soup


olive oil
1 12 oz can diced tomato
3 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
1 large onion chopped finely
3 celery stalks, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves grated on micro plane
1 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes (regular will do I just prefer these)
1 oz can of tomato paste
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 c 1/2 & 1/2
3-4 c chicken stock


In large pot saute in olive oil diced tomato, onion, celery, carrot till just beginning to brown.  Add garlic, then whole tomatoes, paste and brown sugar simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  With immersion blender blend ingredients.  Then add seasoning and 1/2 & 1/2.  Add chicken broth to desired consistency and heat through.  If you want a really chunky consistency you can blend just half of the soup then add it back together.  If you have fresh spices you'll have a fresher flavor.

Saute in large pot.

Add whole tomatoes

I like the flavor of San Marzano's, often they are
on the bottom shelf.  You may have to look a around a bit.

When cooked well mash whole tomatoes.

Stir in 1/2 & 1/2.

With immersion blender blend to desired consistency.

Straight from the Bisquick site Betty Crocker Bisquick Recipe (click for their web site).

These are super easy.


2 c Bisquick
2/3 c milk


Stir together, drop by spoonfuls onto boiling soup then reduce heat.  For this recipe wrap around piece of cheese.  Cook uncovered 10 minutes then cover and cook 10 minutes more.
To serve lift off a dumpling or two into your soup bowl then scoop out soup adding to bowl. 

Spoonful of dough with cheese cut into cube, any will do
I used cheddar.

Drop onto top of soup.

They will sink and as they cook rise to top.

They do absorb liquid so allow for that when adding stock,
if it starts to absorb to much you can carefully add some stock.
I say carefully because it will cool down your soup and you need the
heat to cook the dumplings.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Squash Saute

Zucchini season!
This recipe comes from June Bon Appetit Magazine and I have already made it twice.  Always looking for new ideas for Zucchini this one is easy, quick and delicious!  I just cut the Zucchini into matchstick size pieces, it is so easy to cut it isn't worth cleaning a mandoline to me.

Summer Squash Saute


2lbs zucchini cut into matchstick size pieces or julienned

1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c sliced almonds
2 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced (I grate it on a micro plane)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust if you like more or less spice)
1/4 c finely grated fresh Parmesan
black pepper to taste


Place squash in colander, sprinkle with salt and allow to sit about 10 min to remove liquid.  Squeeze out squash with paper towel till dry.

Meanwhile toast almonds in dry frying pan tossing a few times just till browned.  Transfer to plate and set aside.

Heat oil in same skillet over medium heat add garlic & red pepper cook till fragrant about 2 min.  toss in zucchini and saute till crisp don't overcook you want them to have a bit of texture...about 5 min. (I increased the heat to get a quick sear like a stir fry dish)  Fold in Parmesan, salt & pepper to taste, add almonds and serve.

Zucchini in colander with salt to remove liquid, then
squeeze dry in paper towel.

toasted sliced almonds adds a nice crunch