Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dinner Dilemmas: Italian Not-Alphebet Soup and Cheesy Bread Dippers/Safeway's O Organic Vegetable Chicken Dinner

I decided to give Rachael Ray another shot. This week's Dinner Dilemmas is her recipe for

Italian Alphabet Soup & Cheesy Soup Dippers. Unfortunately, it was actually Italian Not-Alphabet Soup. Safeway apparently does not sell alphabet pasta, so I substituted orzo. I think this took away from the fun-for-kids-factor, and also made the soup very pasta heavy, thus I can't hold Rachael 100% accountable for the results.

The recipe:

1 Wedge Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with the rind on

2 Cloves garlic

2 T olive oil

1 Small onion chopped

1 Cup marinara sauce

5 Cups chicken stock

1 Cup alphabet pasta (I used orzo)

2 English muffins

2 T butter

Garlic powder

Dried Italian seasoning blend

1 Cup frozen mixed vegetables

Salt and pepper to taste

Shred 1-1.5 cups parmigiano reggiano, this is for topping your bread dippers and your soup. Trim off the rind and save it, you will put it in the soup. Rachael calls this the "secret ingredient"

Put pot over medium heat, add olive oil, and whole garlic cloves and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and stir. Pour in chicken stock. Put lid on pot, turn heat to high and bring to boil. Once soup comes to a boil add pasta and cheese rind. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 minutes.

While the soup cooks, make the cheesy dippers. Spread melted butter on English muffin halves, then top with cheese a sprinkle of garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Toast English muffins until cheese melts, then cut them into 2 inch strips.

When the pasta is tender add the vegetables to the soup, season with salt & pepper. Serve in bowls with cheese sprinkled on top.

What did the judges think? As usual mixed results.

Zachary went back and forth, but ultimately gave the meal 4 stars. He indicated that he liked the soup, but he didn't care for the bread as much. He ate a good portion of dinner, so I was happy.

Evan took one look at the soup and started to cry. At first he wouldn't take a bite of the soup, however the threat of no dessert convinced him otherwise. After a few tastes he decided that the meal was worthy of two stars. He liked the bread, but did not care for the soup. Figures.

I thought the whole thing was pretty darn tasty.

Now, so as not to leave out my youngest son, he rated his own dinner. Safeways O Organics Vegetable Chicken Dinner. Judging by the empty baby food jar, I believe he would give this dish 5 stars. I am pretty sure that he felt that the food was rather one dimensional in it's flavor profile, and that the presentation was lacking, however that happens to suit a baby just fine. It looks pretty good on him too doesn't it?


  1. Soup recipe sounds good! I'll have to try it. You get five stars from me for your perseverance!