Stir Crazy soup and grilled cheese recipes


Recipes from the March 5 broadcast of Stir Crazy, a new food chat show hosted by Patty Gay. Stir Crazy airs Thursdays from noon to 1 on

On a cold, snowy day, nothing beats a bowl of homemade soup and a grilled cheese sandwich! So here are some hearty and warm recipes to enjoy after yet another day of shoveling snow.

Lasagna Soup
by “The Twins” Judy and Joy

2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground Italian sausage or beef
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs fresh tomatoes (we used Campari)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 lb lasagna noodles, broken into pieces

Heat oil in large soup pot. Add sausage or beef and cook til browned. Add onions and garlic, cook for 3-4 mins more. Add tomatoes, broth, paste, wine & parm. Let simmer for an hour — taste & re season. Add a few cracked sheets of the lasagna noodles to the pot (not too many, they soak up too much broth). Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the rest of the noodles separate. ANY PASTA CAN BE USED! Dollop with a big scoop of ricotta into the center and enjoy!
Whichever way you make your lasagna put those ingredients into this wonderful soup…stay warm!

Katie’s Tortellini Soup
Adapted from

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 – oz each) cans broth (vegetable or chicken, reduced sodium)
1 cup water
1 can (14-oz) diced tomatoes, drained
1 package tortellini of your choice (refrigerated/fresh is best)
1 package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Dried basil (about 3/4 tsp, adjust to taste)
Black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
red pepper flakes
Shredded Parmesan cheese

1. In a large pot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until they sweat and get soft.
2. Add the garlic and cook another minute to bring out the fragrance.
3. Add chicken broth, water and tomatoes, bring to a boil.
4. Add tortellini, keep at a boil stirring occasionally until tortellini is tender. Reduce heat and add spinach and seasoning to taste. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.
5. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top. Yields about 6 servings. Can be kept frozen or refrigerated.

This recipe is a baseline recipe. You can add other ingredients as tasty variations. I’ve added crumbled sausage, shredded chicken, carrots and other vegetables (mostly whatever was in the refrigerator that needed to be used). I always encourage taste testing as well to make sure your broth is flavorful but not overpowering. Add other herbs or spices if desired, it’s a forgiving soup and perfect for a little experimentation!

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
by Melissa Clark NY Times 2008

Laurie Campbell, our “experimental home cook” loves this easy, soul satisfying soup.
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
2, Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and chili powder or cayenne, and saute for 2 minutes longer.
3. Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.
4. Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, puree half the soup then add it back to pot. Soup should be somewhat chunky.
5. Reheat soup if necessary, then stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup drizzled with good olive oil and dusted lightly with chili powder if desired.

Three Cheese Crisp
Finaliist in Best Grilled Cheese in New York City contest, created by Patty Gay

2 slices sourdough bread, ½ inch thick
2 ounces Fontina cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
1-2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 Parmesan Crisps (See recipe below)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped

1. In a small bowl combine softened butter and rosemary.
2. Spread half the rosemary butter on outside of one slice of bread, place in skillet/frying pan over medium heat, and top with grated Fontina cheese.
3. Repeat with second slice of bread and gruyere cheese.
4. Cook until cheese starts melting.
5. Place two Parmesan Crisps on top of one slice. Top with the other slice to make a sandwich. Press sandwich down with a weight or spatula and cook each side, flipping, until toasted and golden brown.
5. Remove sandwich from pan, cut in half.

Parmesan Crisps
You gotta like a recipe with ONE ingredient! These can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to use. This recipe will make more crisps than needed for a sandwich. Great on their own as a cracker alternative.

8 tablespoons fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater.
(Use an imported Italian cheese, it’s expensive yes, but inferior domestic cheeses do not work. And NEVER use pre-grated cheese, especially the stuff in the “green can,” it especially won’t work.

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.
3.  Place a 2-inch biscuit/cookie-cutter at least one inch from the top and side of the pan, and sprinkle one tablespoon of cheese evenly into the mold. Remove mold and repeat with remaining cheese, spacing cheese mounds at least one-inch apart from each other and the sides of the pan.
4.  Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes or until the cheese crisps start to turn golden brown.
5. Remove from oven and let set a minute, then remove crisps by placing fingers underneath them on the parchment paper. They will pop right off. No spatula needed. Place on cooling rack until cool. Yield 8 crisps.

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