i heart cooking clubs ~ tomato rice soup & bread...

Since apparently I now live in the frozen tundra, I have spent many hours in the past week in the kitchen experimenting as well as catching up with my cooking blogs. I realized that I missed last weeks I Heart Cooking Clubs. The theme was Budgets and Bargains. I came across a very simple and budget friendly recipe from Nigella on the Food Network website. It's called Rice and Tomato Soup and it is super easy. Talk about budget friendly...WoW! It was under $3 to feed four people a filling lunch. AMAZING!!

I paired the soup with my grilled cheese sandwich made with some of the yummiest bread known to mankind. I tried a new bread recipe from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook called Irish Porridge Bread. It is filled with heart healthy ingredients. Tasted it is a little slice of heaven. Put it with cheese and we have achieved nirvana here on earth. Oh...my...good gravy it is delish!

So while I dig out yet again from another storm, get in the kitchen and make some magic baby! You will not disappoint with these recipes. I promise!

Celebrate the Feast!

Rice and Tomato Soup
adapted from Nigella Lawson

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
2 cans of water or milk
1/2 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning mix
a handful of rice (brown or white, your choice)

Place the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer until rice is tender.

Irish Porridge Bread
recipe from the King Arthur Whole Grain Cookbook

1 3/4 cups water
2/3 cup Irish Oats (Steel cut oats)
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast

The night before you make the bread, stir together the water and Irish oats, cover, and refrigerate.
Next day, transfer the oats and water to a small saucepan, and simmer until the oats are tender, but not "toothsome," all the water is absorbed and the mixture is thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the brown sugar, butter, and salt stirring until the butter melts. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl or the bucket of your bread machine and allow to rest at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour.

Combine the remaining ingredients with the oat mixture and mix and knead them-by hand, mixer, or bread machine-until you have a soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow the dough to rise until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.

Lightly grease and 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Gently deflate the dough and shape it into and 8-in log. Place it in the prepared pan and cover with a lightly greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until it's crowned about 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan-45 minutes to 1 hour. Near the end of this time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover and bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15 minutes. The bread is done when it's golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190 degrees. Remove it from the oven, an after a minute or so turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired, this will keep the crust soft. Cool the bread for 30 minutes before slicing.