Winter is coming…well actually winter is here, but you get the point, and there’s nothing I like more in the winter then staying in on a cold day and getting in some much needed video game time. Unfortunately I also have to eat so that I can continue to play video games and there’s nothing I like more in the winter then a nice hot soup with some fresh bread. Not only can you make this easy meal inbetween gaming sessions but you can also enjoy it while you continue to spend your days gaming.
Let’s get started making the bread first. This part is totally optional and it’s not required for the soup, but it’s a nice bonus to have plus its fresh bread. Here’s what you’re going to need:
• 2 packages active dry yeast
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 cups of water
• 1 tablespoon of salt
• 5 ½ cups of flour
First you want to heat up your water until it reaches between 105 – 115 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by boiling the water on the stove or in the microwave for no more then 30 seconds. It’s important that the temperature of the water is exactly between this range because if not your bread won’t rise correctly. Once you have your water heated add your packets of yeast into the water along with the sugar. DO NOT STIR THE MIXTURE. Let everything in the bowl set for 5-10 minutes in order to activate the yeast. During this time you’ll see your yeast start to bubble up and it will start to smell letting you know that it’s good.
Once this is done add in the salt and ½ cup of the flour. Mix everything together using either a spoon or your food processor. I do everything the old fashioned way and skip using the food processor, but that’s totally up to you. You then want to slowly continue to add in the flour until everything is mixed together. If you’re not using a food processor, you’ll have to go in by hand and start mixing it that way after a while. It gets a little messy but the end result is worth it.
Add a little bit of oil to a separate bowl and spread the oil around the bowl. Add your dough ball into the bowl and coat the dough with the oil that you put in the bowl. After you do this cover the dough and place it in a cool dry area to rest. At this point you can let the dough rest as long as you want. I usually let it rest anywhere from 3-4 hours, usually because I forgot that I was making bread and got caught up in a game, letting the dough double in size. Once it’s doubled in size you want to give it a good slap to bring it back down before letting it sit for another 1-2 hours to rise again.
Once you’re ready to bake your bread you can either cut the dough in half or bake it as one. I like to bake it as one, but the choice is yours. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and put your dough on a baking sheet. Make sure that you cut at least three slashes on the top of your bread before baking. I like to spray the baking sheet with some Pam with flour just so it doesn’t stick and bake your bread for 30-45 minutes. Make sure you check your bread regularly so that it doesn’t burn. Take our the bread when it’s a nice golden brown color and firm.
Potato Bean Soup
If you’re making the bread along with this recipe I like to start making the soup when the bread is on it’s second stage of rising since this will need 1-2 hours to cook. If not, you just need to make the soup 1-2 hours before you want to actually eat. For the soup you’re going to need the following:
• 1 5lb bag of baking potatos
• 5 cans of string beans
• 1 28oz can of tomato sauce of your choice. I like Tuttorosso but you may not.
• Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Morton’s Nature Seasoning.
Wash your potatoes and cut them into chunks. I don’t peel the potatoes because I like having the potato skin in the soup, it makes it a little bit more hearty but you may not so if you want you can peel the potatoes since it really is just a preference thing. Now when cutting your potatoes into chunks, make sure they are nice sized chunks. If they’re too small your potatoes will break apart in your soup and you might as well be having mashed potato bean soup. Once you’re done cutting up your potatoes go ahead and add them into the pot you’re going to be cooking in.
Add your can of tomato sauce into a pot and fill the can back up with water. Add the water to the tomato sauce already in your pot and start to season. Add in your basil, parsley, oregano, and nature seasoning. When it comes to seasoning I always do everything to taste so for now just add some of these seasonings in in order to start flavoring your soup, I would say at least 1-2 tablespoons of each for now. Now you need to start cooking on high until your soup starts to come to a boil. Once the soup is boiling go ahead and turn down the heat to medium and let it sit for at least an hour. During this time make sure you check on your soup every so often and give it a good stir.
Now that your soup has been cooking you want to go ahead and open up your 5 cans of strings beans and drain them. I also like to give them a good rinse, but you don’t have to. Once you do this go ahead and add them into your soup. Now is your second chance to season everything again. Give your soup a little taste and see how it tastes to you. Does it need something more? Go ahead and add it in. I usually like to add in at least another table spoon of each seasoning but that’s just me. Now that you have your beans added to the soup keep the heat on medium and let this cook for another 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure that you check your soup every so often and stir it.
Now you’re done! Take your soup off the stove and go ahead and dish yourself out because after that you deserve it. If you made the bread, cut yourself a nice hearty slice of bread and sit down to enjoy your meal.
This is a really simple meal that you can make almost all the time, you can also store the leftovers and have it for at least a week. Not only do I like this meal because it’s good, but also because I can spend just about the whole day gaming and still sit down to a great meal.
Now for next month. Next month I’m going to make something that is an essential meal for just about any gamer. I mean who doesn’t love gaming and love eating pizza right? So, the recipe for next month is going to be my Fresh Vegetable Deep Dish Pizza. It’s everything you love about pizza with a couple of twists minus the delivery charge.