Fast and easy Focaccia Bread

a flat bread loaf with black olives on top
Fast and Easy Focaccia Bread

FAST AND EASY FOCACCIA
1 frozen loaf of bread, thawed
1 t. olive oil,
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ cup Greek olives, sliced
¼ cup roasted sweet red peppers (from a jar), julienned
2 T parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp rubbed sage

Thaw 1 frozen loaf of bread dough in the refrigerator (wrapped) overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a greased baking sheet, place dough and begin spreading, poking and patting until it is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Really though, you can make it as thick or as thin as you prefer. Leave it natural and lumpy-looking, drizzle with olive oil and add herbs and your toppings. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Other topping options: sun dried tomatoes, green peppers, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, the possibilities and combinations are endless. Ingredients used here are my preferences.

 

Bean Soup Tuscan-Style

blue bowl of bean soup
Bean Soup Tuscan-Style

BEAN SOUP TUSCAN-STYLE

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 quart of chicken broth
2 cups water
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans (Great Northern, navy, or cannellini)
2 dry bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cups finely chopped kale
½ tsp black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to garnish individual bowls when serving)

In a medium soup pot, simmer ham bone in the chicken broth and water for 30-minutes or until meat is falling off bone. Remove bone and pick off meat, adding that back to the liquid in pot.

While the ham bone is simmering, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomato and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly about 1 minute. Set aside until broth is ready.

Add the onion, carrot and celery mixture to the soup pot. Then add beans and their liquid, oregano, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer, add kale, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with a grating of Parmesan cheese, and serve with crusty bread.