TOMATO BASIL SOUP {CAFE ZUPAS COPYCAT RECIPE!}

If you haven’t ordered the Tomato Basil Soup from Cafe Zupas, you’re seriously missing out! It’s so much more than just tomato soup. It’s got a light texture and the flavor has so much depth. It’s so good I’ll even eat it in the middle of summer. When it’s 100+ degrees outside. And I’m pregnant. That should tell you just how amazing it is! 
I scoured the internet trying to find a recipe that sounded similar and failed. Then I came across another Zupas copycat recipe, but it needed a lot of work- I read it and had so many questions! (That and it made about 32 gallons of soup!) So I got to work and came up with this recipe, which is a much easier and smaller version. I hope you’ll try it- serve it with grilled cheese on a cool Fall day. Yum.
Tomato Basil Soup {Cafe Zupas Copycat Version}
Adapted from It’s The Life’s Recipe here
  • 1 1/4 cup Pesto sauce {see recipe below if you want to make your own. Costco’s is delish!}
  • 5 1/2 cups diced/ stewed tomatoes – three 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp sugar (cuts down on acidity)
  • 1 1/3 cup cream or 1 12-oz can evaporated milk
My garden is exploding with tomatoes, so I used fresh. This is not a fast way to make this soup, however! If you do want to use fresh, you’ll need to peel and slice them properly. I show you how to do this step-by-step here, when I give my marinara sauce recipe. 
Pesto Sauce Recipe~ blend together until smooth:
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
Directions: 
Set crockpot on high so that it can begin warming up while you assemble the soup. If you don’t want to use a crockpot, feel free to use a saucepan instead. 
Wash and slice vegetables. 
In a frying pan (or just use the saucepan if you’re not using a crockpot) melt butter over medium-high heat. 
Add in onion and celery. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-8 minutes. 
Transfer to the crockpot and add in all remaining ingredients, except the cream. At this point the soup doesn’t look very pretty. Don’t worry- it will cook down and all the veggies will meld together. Soon your house will smell amazing! 
Crockpot: Cook on high 6-7 hours total
Saucepan on stove: Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 2 hours total. 
After soup has cooked for most of the time, I then use an immersion blender to get rid of the remaining chunks of vegetables. Cafe Zupas’ soup is served with some pieces of veggies, but I prefer to blend mine smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the soup a few cups at a time to your regular blender. I’ve done this before- it’s not as daunting as it sounds! 
After it’s smooth, return to pot and cook for the remaining time~ I generally blend it about an hour before serving. Just before serving add the cream or milk. 
Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and ENJOY!

Soup doesn’t look very pretty at this point, huh?! Don’t worry…

Blend it until smooth and it turns a lovely reddish orange color. 

Skinny Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

 Onward with the pumpkin recipes!

Yes, we’re in the thick of pumpkin madness around here. I’ve got my pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin candies, and all sorts of pumpkin amazingness to indulge in this month.

This pumpkin pie oatmeal was the perfect treat on this slightly chill Texas morning. Can you believe that it got down into the 50’s here last night?!  My air conditioner hasn’t kicked on in nearly 12 hours and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Originally I used another pumpkin oatmeal recipe for my inspiration, but you know… I’m always looking to lighten up things where I can.

I subbed half of the sugar out for Stevia in the Raw, used half egg and half egg whites, and added in some fat free greek yogurt for some extra protein and richness.

The result? Less than 160 calories of pure pumpkin bliss! 

While this baked oatmeal could stand perfectly well on it’s own, I absolutely suggest adding in the ‘optional toppings’ that I listed below. Just be aware that I didn’t include them in the nutritional breakdown.

By the way… did I mention that you could make this ahead the night before? Just prepare it as directed, but instead of baking it, cover with an airtight lid and store in the fridge. Remove it in the morning and pop it into a preheated oven and you’re good to go!

This is actually my preferred method since the oats soak up all the pumpkin and spice goodness. The mixture will be much thicker in the morning because of this, but don’t worry, it’ll bake up just the same – if not better! 

 Skinny Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
 
TheSkinnyFork.com

The Skinny:
 
Servings: 9 • Size: 1 Square • Calories: 158.7 • Fat: 2.5 g • Carb: 30.1 g • Fiber: 4.5 g • Protein: 7.9 g • Sugar: 13.2 g • Sodium: 209.2 mg

Ingredients:
 
15 Oz. 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
1/4 C. Stevia in the Raw
1/4 C. Light Brown Sugar
1 Large Whole Egg
2 Large Egg Whites
1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 C. Fat Free Milk
1/2 C. Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt
2 1/2 C. Old Fashioned Oatmeal

Optional Toppings:
Fat Free Milk
Whipped Cream
Cinnamon/Sugar
Maple Syrup

Directions:
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray the inside of an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sweetener, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, salt and vanilla until well combined. 

Whisk in the milk and greek yogurt. 

Stir the oats into the pumpkin mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. 

Bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove the foil and continue to make for another 15 minutes or until set in the middle. 

Once done, remove the oatmeal from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. 

Divide into 9 equal pieces. 

Serve warm and top with your choice of deliciousness!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

Honey Glazed Grill Carrots

 A tasty grilled veggie to compliment almost any grilled meal. A little char with honey sweetness.

Start with larger whole carrots. Scrub well, peal if you want, brush with oil then grill over medium heat and finally brush with a honey coating and finish grilling. Very yummy.

Rating

A medium 4 for me and a little higher for wifo.

Notes: A carrot, like a potato, is done at 210 degrees. Cooking too fast will get you a burnt not done carrot. The carrot needs to be split to cook completely. I use medium heat (about 400 degrees surface temp) here. If you are cooking something else at a higher temperature, lower the heat under the carrots and turn the thicker part towards the higher heat. I did try just honey and it had very little sweet taste, the brown sugar really helped.

 Preheat grill to medium (surface temp of about 400 degrees). Pick straight not too crocked carrots.
Prep the carrots. Scrub well or peal. Cut off the root and skinny tip. Cut in half lengthwise. Mix 1 T honey, 2 t brown sugar and 1 t olive oil. Heat in microwave for 15 seconds to get hot and stir to combine.

 Give the carrots a good brush of olive oil and don’t forget the cut ends.

 Grill for 5 minutes, flip grill 5 minutes.

Brush with the honey solution, flip and brush again.

Grill until internal temp of 210 in the thickest part, about 7-10 minutes more until internal temp of 210 degrees.

Honey Glazed Grill Carrots
by DrDan at 101 Cooking for Two June-20-2013

A tasty grilled veggie to compliment almost any grilled meal. A little char with honey sweetness.

Start with larger whole carrots. Scrub well, peal if you want, brush with oil then grill over medium heat and finally brush with a honey coating and finish grilling. Very yummy.

Ingredients
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 t brown sugar
  • 1 t olive oil
Instructions
1) Preheat grill to medium (surface temp of about 400 degrees). Pick straight not too crocked carrots. 2) Prep the carrots. Scrub well or peal. Cut off the root and skinny tip. Cut in half lengthwise. Mix 1 T honey, 2 t brown sugar and 1 t olive oil. Heat in microwave for 15 seconds to get hot and stir to combine.3) Mix 1 T honey, 2 t brown sugar and 1 t olive oil. Heat in microwave for 15 seconds to get hot and stir to combine.4) Give the carrots a good brush of olive oil and don’t forget the cut ends.5) Grill for 5 minutes, flip grill 5 minutes. Then brush with the honey solution, flip and brush again. 6) Grill until internal temp of 210 in the thickest part, about 5-7 minutes more until internal temp of 210 degrees.
Details

Prep time: 5 mins Cook time: 15 mins Total time: 22 mins Yield: 2

Updated

June 20 2013

Dan Mikesell

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