Tag Archives: cooking with kids

Family Dinner: Quinby’s Tomato Soup and Bacon Pesto Sandwiches



Wednesday night is Family Dinner night at our house which means one of the girls, depending on the week, gets to choose what we are having and does the majority of the work cooking and getting the dish on the table. This week it was Little Miss Q’s turn and she chose tomato soup and bacon pesto sandwiches, her favorite meal.

I thought this was a great dinner choice since we have a tomato or two in our garden. Ha!!


And my friend/neighbor Anne had given me a nice bundle of basil from her garden the day before.


Delicious! The basil smelled so good in my house! I just love using fresh ingredients! Speaking of which, we also had some of this fresh baked from New Seasons that morning.


Add in some bacon and some gouda and here’s what you get.


I got so excited to eat it I almost forgot to snap a picture. Note the half-eaten nature of the sandwich and tell-tale ring of soup around the bowl.

Now, if you’ve got an abundance of tomatoes in your garden or a basil plant that is just begging to be eaten here’s what you do…

Quinby’s Tomato Soup and Bacon Pesto Sandwich

Serves 6

Soup Ingredients

A couple of pounds of tomatoes (we used 12 med/big ones and a handful of cherry tomatoes)

a handful of basil leaves

about 1 cup of organic low-sodium chicken stock

about 3 tbsp cream (we used soy creamer)

3 cloves garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper


Pesto Ingredients

a few handfuls of basil leaves

olive oil

a handful of pine nuts

a 2 inch chunk of parmesan cheese

Sandwich Ingredients

1 maybe 2 loaves of sour dough bread







Pick a bunch of tomatoes (we used about 12 mid/big ones and a few cherries)

Cut the tomatoes into quarters, removing the seeds, and put on baking pan allowing for some elbow room. Chop up three cloves of garlic and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil over the whole thing and put in a cold oven.

Put your bacon on a rack inside a pan in same cold oven. Turn oven on to 375F and cook both tomatoes and bacon for about 35-45 minutes. Check every 5 minutes after 20. Your tomato skins should be popping off and the tomatoes should be slightly caramelized.

Meanwhile dry toast your pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat until they start to get brown (maybe 10 minutes). Grate your parmesan cheese. Put a few handfuls of basil into your blender or food processor. Add the grated parmesan, the toasted pine nuts, and a couple tbsp of olive oil. Blend. Add more oil or a little water if you are having trouble getting it chopped up. Scrap the pesto into a bowl and set aside. You’ll probably need to clean out your blender if you’re going to use it for the soup too.

Next remove your tomatoes and bacon. Pull the skins off the tomatoes and either toss aside or eat. Let tomatoes cool about 5 minutes and then put in blender. Add a handful of basil and the chicken stock. Blend until smooth. Add cream, salt and pepper and blend for another few seconds. The soup should still be warm from the roasted tomatoes, but if you want it hotter just pour into a pot and put it on the stove on medium heat until ready.

Now slice your bread, put butter on one side of each slice and pesto on the other. Add bacon, gouda, and tomato slice. Put sandwich together with butter sides out. Cook in a covered frying pan for a few minutes. Once the cheese has started to melt flip over and finish cooking on other side.

Put your soup in a bowl. Sprinkle a dash of oregano on top. Plate your sandwich. And enjoy! Q and I would love to know how you liked our dish. What else do you like making with basil and tomatoes from the garden. We might need some more ideas!!

How To: Buttermilk and Brown Sugar

As you might remember from my week of cooking, I’m not a huge fan. Baking on the other hand, I love! So after another long day at home with a sick kid, just one this time, I was more than ready for a little baking. My healthy, extremely enthusiastic, and mostly helpful baker-in-training PZ and I decided to bake one of our favorites – pumpkin bread.

I’d already pulled out the can of organic pumpkin puree, had the butter and egg out on the counter and was reaching for my flour when I realized I was missing a few ingredients. Uh-oh! No buttermilk or brown sugar! Instead of freaking out, (which is what I would have done if I’d been cooking!) I decided I was being provided with a perfect opportunity to teach PZ (and any of you out there who may not know) how to make a good substitute for buttermilk and the best, fluffiest brown sugar around.

First the buttermilk substitute. Unless Hubs has been making cornbread, we don’t keep buttermilk on hand. This is a super easy and effective substitute. To make a cup of buttermilk simply measure out a cup of regular milk and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Just let that sit for 10 minutes or so.

You’ll know its done when you can see that it has curdled. PZ had seen me do this a bunch of times so she wasn’t that impressed, but she got super excited when we made the brown sugar. Once again it is super easy and quick. Just take a cup of white sugar, I use organic cane sugar, and add a tablespoon of molasses. I always keep a jar of molasses on hand just for such an occasion. You can either mix it together by hand with a fork or do it the easy way with an electric mixer. PZ and I chose the lazy, I mean easy way.

See, she was very excited. Did I mention she was an enthusiastic helper? Well, we put it all together, added some chocolate chips ’cause that’s how we roll, and ended up with a scrumptious, not too bad for us, pumpkin bread. Yay!

Here’s the pumpkin bread recipe in case you’re hungry…

1 1/2 cups flour (I usually use 1 cup all purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry)

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 tblsp butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the sugar, egg, butter, pumpkin, and buttermilk and stir until well blended. (This is where I add 1 cup chocolate chips) Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and pour the batter in. Bake for approx. 1 hour or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!



We used this recipe to make butterscotch gingerbread men cookies yesterday. I’d never had this cookie before. Yum! We added butterscotch chips, cookie icing, cinnamon dots, and heart sprinkles to decorate.

using PZ's vtech camera