Tag Archives: Soups

Easy 10 minute minestrone

 

This recipe is a super simple one!  If all you want is a hot, fresh bowl of soup that tastes great and is also quite healthy, you have come to the right place. You can easily make this in a slow cooker on low all day, or boil it on the stove to have dinner in 10 minutes, your choice.

20160926_193759

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound small pasta
  • 1 potato, chopped small
  • 1 carrot, chopped small

20160926_193803

Step 1: Place all ingredients in a large pot, bring to a boil. Boil for 8-10 minutes, and serve! It is essentially ready when the potato and carrots and pasta are soft enough to eat.

 

Parsnip, Potato, & Leek Spring Soup

 

I don’t know about the weather elsewhere, but the weather here in Connecticut seems to be very bi-polar.  One day it is in the 50s and sunny, and I am getting cabin fever and want to plant everything in the seed catalog immediately, the next day we get almost a foot of snow dumped on us overnight.  What’s going on here?

I am so thankful that CT has some amazing farmers who have hoop houses, green houses, store rooms, and other ways of extending our crazy growing season, so that we are already getting some of the first tender crops of the springtime.  Though not quite yet asparagus season, we have access to several root crops (beets, parsnips, onions, potatoes, leeks…), winter squash, eggs & meats, and tender fresh greens (grown inside of course).

Spring Farmers Market Foods

Usually I plan the week’s meals before going to the store, but I decided to get crazy this week, and let the market make my meal plan.  Whatever was fresh and available, I will form the week’s meals around that.  This is one small step on my lifelong journey to be a locavore (to eat whole seasonal foods grown as close to me as possible as often as possible).

A big bag of fresh microgreens, spinach, and head lettuce means tons of fresh salads.  Healthy brown eggs means breakfasts, frittatas, and quiches.  CT grown oyster mushrooms may be grilled, sauteed, added to soups, or stir fried.  The fingerling potatoes will complement just about anything, and the beets too have many many options.

Soup spices whole

The first dish I decided to make (after a giant fresh greens salad, because I couldn’t wait and helped myself almost as soon as I got home) was a slow cooker soup.  I had obtained leeks, parsnips, and fingerling potatoes.  Combined with onions I had over-wintered, fresh ground spices, and canned turkey broth (from Thanksgiving!) it would be the perfect thing on a chilly snow-covered day.

Parsnip Potato Leek Soup Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 large parsnip (or carrot)
  • 1 large leek
  • 3-5 small potatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2-3 cups bone broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • Optional spices: black pepper, fennel, cumin, sea salt, garlic

Spring soup in the crock pot

Step 1: If using fresh whole spices, grind them up in a coffee or spice grinder.  In a crock pot or small soup pot, add the broth.  Wash the outside of the produce, but leave the skin on.  Dice up the potatoes, parsnip, onion, and leek and add to the pot.  Add water to cover.

Step 2: Cook in crock pot on “high” for 4 hours or “low” for 6-8 hours, or bring to a boil on the stove, and simmer for 1-2 hours. Serve fresh with a drizzle of olive oil and maybe some thick bread or rolls.

 

 

Souppa like Zuppa Toscana

I still had some sausage left over from my sausage gravy & biscuits, plus half a bunch of kale that hadn’t been made into kale chips. (If you’ve never tried kale chips, I definitely recommend it! Kale is super good for you but can be bitter, and this is a super simple way to get your leafy greens). A quick internet search for “sausage and kale” quickly showed a trend towards this “Zuppa Toscana” that Olive Garden makes (don’t sue me please!) that lots of people claim to mimic.

Well as any loyal reader knows, I’m not a ‘by-the-book’ recipe follower, so I just took the general idea and ran with it. What happened was a simple, delicious soup that quite frankly surprised me with how tasty it was. With really only 4 ingredients and 30 minutes, a warm, filling and complex soup for dinner can be yours!

Ingredients:
1/2 pound sausage
1/2 bunch kale, shredded
2-3 large potatoes, diced
6 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3 tbsp cornstarch
Italian seasonings

Step 1: Brown the sausage in a frying pan. Drain most of the fat and set aside.

Step 2: Dice the potatoes into thin wedges. There’s no right or wrong way really. Most copy-cat recipes use redskins but I only have russet so those will do. Drop them into a pot with enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until soft when poked with a fork.

Step 3: While the potatoes boil, rip the kale into bite sized pieces, discarding the stems. When the potatoes are soft, drain and put back into the pot.

Step 4: Add water, bouillon, seasoning, kale and sausage. If you’re on a super budget the spices and bouillon aren’t required, just kicks up the flavor a notch. If you’re flush with cash, try adding half heavy cream and half chicken stock to make a creamier base soup. Of course, if you’re rolling in Benjamins you could also just go out to Olive Garden for dinner tonight…and we should be friends. Email me k?

Step 5: Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes. In a cup, combine some hot soup water and the cornstarch and mix. Once it’s all dissolved add it to the pot. This will help it to thicken. Also not completely required, but I like a little body. You could use flour for the same purpose.

The flavors combine beautifully into a rich soup that I thoroughly enjoyed. I would definitely make this again. If only I had some salad and bread sticks to go with it.

Butternut Squash Soup

I recently had a dinner party, and in the spirit of the season (fall) I decided to make butternut squash soup as one of my main dishes. Earlier I posted about butternut squash macaroni & cheese, if you have one and soup just isn’t your thing. No reason not to enjoy the bounties of fall, regardless of texture preferences.
So as per usual, I googled around and pulled from several recipes and what I had in the house to come up with this. It received universally positive reviews! I made a large amount since I was feeding 6, you can cut everything in half for a smaller number of people.
Ingredients:
2 squash, halved and seeded
2 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 small chunk peeled raw ginger (about 1 inch)
1 white onion
4 chicken bouillon cubes
5 cups water
1 package cream cheese
Cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander seasoning

Step 1: Place halved squash on a baking pan with a little water. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, until soft when poked with a fork.

Step 2: While the squash are baking, boil the carrots, celery, onion and ginger in chicken water until tender.

Step 3: Scoop the squash out of the skin and blend in a blender. There’s a surprisingly large amount of flesh in there, I had to do it in three batches. Add hot water from the pot to thin it out. Blend in the cream cheese, the vegetables and chicken stock as well, put it all back into a large stock pot.

Step 4: Add a healthy dose of cinnamon, nutmeg and/or coriander, adjusting to your tastes. Bring to just a simmer, and enjoy.

This is a great taste of fall, good on its own or I’m sure you could pair it with any number of dishes. You could probably mix and match too, if you wanted to try pumpkin or acorn squash instead. You could add milk or half and half to make it creamier, or omit the cream cheese & chicken bouillon to make it vegan.

Shrimp & Bell Pepper Linguini Alfredo. Bonus dessert: Peach Soup

This is a recipe I invented last year. I was in my apartment and starving. Red bell peppers had recently gone on sale, so I had about a dozen. Plus some pasta like most college kids, a jar of alfredo sauce, and half a bag of shrimp in the freezer. That’s how this came about, and it was so good, it remains one of my favorites.
It’s easy to customize too, you can use any kind of fresh veggies, and if you don’t want meat then you don’t need to add shrimp. Also you can flavor the shrimp with whatever you want. This recipe makes about 4-6 servings.
Ingredients:
1/2 lb linguini
1/2 lb shrimp, thawed
2/3 jar alfredo sauce
1/2 red, yellow and orange bell pepper
1 tbsp butter
pinch Thai spices
garlic powder

Step 1: Boil the noodles in salted water with a tbsp oil to keep the noodles from sticking.

Step 2: Add the butter to a frying pan, begin cooking the shrimp. Add whatever spices you like, and stir occasionally.

Step 3: Once boiled, drain the noodles and return to the pot. Add the alfredo sauce and mix. Set aside.

Step 4: Once the shrimp are pink, with a slight brown crust on both sides, add the diced peppers. Mix and put the lid on, cook for ~5 minutes or until tender.

Step 5: Once cooked, add to the noodles and mix everything well. Enjoy!

 

 

Bonus dessert: Peach Soup
From: Cooking for 2, summer 2008, pg. 25.
1 1/2 cups fresh peaches
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp almond extract

Blend all ingredients together until smooth, and refrigerate until serving. Add a dash of cinnamon on top. Makes 2 servings.

Peach soup: cold, sweet and refreshing!

Wedding Soup

 

As I was browsing some old cooking magazines one slow day at work, I came across a recipe for wedding soup that sounded absolutely wonderful. Seeing as I had most of the ingredients (though the list is super short anyways) I decided to try it out. Here is my version of it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 head of escarole
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 8 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 can cooked chicken
  • 1/2 bag frozen Italian style meatballs (ok, so I took a bit of a shortcut here)
  • black pepper to taste
Here’s the ingredients laid out on a cutting board.
.
Step 1: Put a half pot of water on to boil and open up the bouillon cubes and drop them in.
Step 2: Cut the end off the head of escarole and chop into thin strips, maybe 1/2 inch. No real science to it. I diced up the carrots into small pieces, put that in, and added the spinach and the escarole to the pot. I opened the chicken and added in about 1 tbsp black pepper.
.
Step 3: Put that on medium-high and let it come to a boil. Then put it on to simmer while I made the noodles. (Yes, I made up for frozen meatballs by making my own noodles!)
 .
To make the noodles, I mixed about 1 cup flour and 2 eggs in a bowl until dough-like. I then pinched off tablespoon-sized balls of dough one at a time and rolled them with my hands into logs. Then I sliced those into tiny dumplings and boiled them for about 5 minutes.
.
Seriously, making your own noodles tastes a million times better than the store! Although it is quite a bit of work. I got maybe a pound out of 2 hours’ work.
The final step is to add the meatballs, put it all together in a bowl and enjoy! It is super healthy (besides the probably astronomical sodium…) and pretty cheap overall to make quite a bit. You should definitely sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top! Next time though, I will add 2 or 3 times as much chicken, because 1 can into a gallon or so of soup gets lost easily.

Cheap and easy comfort food for a crazy week

Between fighting a persistent cough all week, taking the GRE, two jobs, a birthday party and a baby shower, this week and weekend were bound to be hectic. I knew I wanted to make chicken soup to boost my immune system and as comfort food. But for the times when I was not home, I also needed something which traveled and reheated well with minimum expense and fuss.

With the holidays just around the corner, the belt-tightening has intensified in anticipation of gift buying (as well as graduate school application fees!). Therefore, the most logical choice seemed to be pasta. As cheap, tasty and comforting as it gets. So midweek I prepared one large batch of each.

Chicken soup for one: to ward off a cold in a week or less.
2 medium potatoes
2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks celery
1 medium onion
6-10 cups chicken stock or water plus bouillon cubes
1-3 pieces chicken (I used 1 leg quarter)
If you have them or desire them, add sliced fresh mushrooms as well
Optional seasonings: salt, pepper, italian seasons, bay leaf

Dice up the potato and carrot, leave the celery and onion whole. Throw all the ingredients into a crock pot on high for at least 5 hours (to ensure chicken is thoroughly cooked). Spoon solids into a colander. Remove the onion, celery, and any bay leaves if added and throw away.

Separate the chicken from the skin, fat and bones and add meat back to the pot. Add carrots and potatoes back to pot. Boil pasta noodles of your choice to serve with the soup. Enjoy the warm, homey taste and smell.

 

The next day I made a large batch of pasta so that I can pack it in tupperware to take to work. This will last quite a while for me, and may allow a frozen meal or two.
Wheat linguini noodles
1 bag frozen Italian style veggies
1 large can sauce (I used mushroom, which I bought on sale a few weeks ago for 50 cents a can!)

Boil a huge pot of water with a bit of oil and salt added. Toss in the pasta once it is at a rolling boil. Cook the pasta for 8-12 minutes (because wheat needs cooked longer than non-wheat) or until al dente. Add the veggies during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the pasta and veggies and return to the pot. Open the sauce and pour over, mix well. Enjoy!

These both were made with things I had lying about in my cupboards and the freezer. Total, it cost me approximately $2.50 for the pasta, and maybe $2.50 for the soup. So for around $5, I have a full crock pot of healthy homemade chicken soup and a fridge full of about 10 pasta lunches. Not too bad.

Hungarian Chicken Paprikush

 

This is in my top 5 favorite meals of all time!

A Hungarian (or maybe Slovak?) recipe handed down from my grandmother and mother. It is simple to make, just a few ingredients. It does take a bit of time and some labor-intensive steps, however the end product is so worth it!

Finished Chicken Paprikush

The noodles can of course be bought, but making your own noodles is well worth the effort. They taste so much better than any store bought noodles ever could.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Water
  • Sour cream
  • Flour
  • Paprika
  • Salt & pepper
For this I used 4 chicken leg quarters, because dark meat gives the soup a richer flavor. You can use white, dark, or a mixture of both. Put the chicken in a pot and cover it with water plus a little bit extra. Maybe a gallon and a half of water.
.
Boil for at least 2 hours or until chicken is no longer pink at all. Take the chicken out and pull all the meat off the bone. Throw the bones, skin, fat, and any other non-edible parts away and return the meat to the pot. I did this step the night before and refrigerated it until the next day but you can also just continue right into the next step.
.
The second step is creating what I think is called a “zapraska”.
This is how you mix in the sour cream without it curdling. The sour cream should be left out at room temperature. Mix about 1 cup sour cream with 2 tbsp. flour (omit the flour if you want watery soup) in a separate bowl. Then slowly add soup to it while mixing continuously.
.
The soup will slowly warm up the sour cream. Continue adding and mixing well until it is warm. Then you add the zapraska to the main soup bowl and mix it all together. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
And now for the fun part! You get to make your own noodles. Trust me, it is super duper easy. Honestly, cleaning up afterwards probably takes longer than making them.
Noodles:
  • Eggs
  • Flour
The ratio will depend on how many noodles you need to make. I only needed a small amount, so I used 6 eggs and approximately 1 cup of flour.  You will also need a noodle maker, we call it a “shusher’. I don’t know what it actually is called. If you don’t have one of those, you can always drop the dough with a spoon into the water; this will create larger dumpling like noodles.
Scramble the eggs in a large bowl. Mix the eggs and flour together a little bit at a time. Keep adding flour until it has a doughy consistency. A spoon left in it should basically be able to stand upright.
Get a big pot of water to a rolling boil. Then pour the dough into the top basket of the shusher. Push it back and forth so the dough drips through into the boiling water.
Make sure to stir a few times throughout so that the noodles don’t all stick together. Keep going until all the batter is used up. Drain the noodles completely.
These will be the sweetest, saltiest, most eggy and delicious noodles you may ever have had! Put some into a bowl, and pour the soup and chicken on top. You can add some extra paprika or salt to taste.

 

Save

Baked Potato Soup

As stated previously, cold weather is made for soups and stews. But you can only throw meat, vegetables and some kind of stock together so many different ways. Sometimes I need a soup of a different texture.

Given that the days of grilling and baked potatoes are slowly fading, I decided to make the soup adaptation of baked potatoes. It is creamy, cheesy, thick and filling. Not to mention it is relatively cheap to make (unless you skip the bacon, but I wouldn’t recommend it).

The way I made it, you will need:

For soup base:
6 medium baking potatoes
3 cups of chicken broth or 3 bouillon cubes (for vegetarian use veggie broth)
Approximately 12 oz cheese (I used marbled cheddar and colby jack)
1/2 block cream cheese

Soup addition:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooked bacon
Handful of chives
3 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
1/2 block cream cheese

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to 3 cups chicken broth. Either boil for 1 hour, or put on hot in a slow cooker for 4 hours. Then liquefy the cooked potatoes in a blender and put into a soup pot on the stove. Add the cheese and cream cheese and put on low.

While the soup simmers, in a blender combine the milk, chives, bacon, garlic, onion and the rest of the cream cheese. Liquefy all of the ingredients, and then add to the soup pot.

Once the soup simmers and begins to thicken, taste the soup and adjust to your liking. Then if you want to be all fancy, you can serve it with a sprinkle of cheese and bacon, a dollop of sour cream and a piece or two of chives.

Lentil soup

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage
This soup was inspired by the place I waitress at for the soup base (which I forget the fancy name of) and a version which adds sausage. Omit it if you want something vegetarian. It is healthy and hearty, perfect for a nippy fall evening. It makes quite a bit, so be prepared to share, store or eat it for every meal for a few days!
Ingredients:
1 medium potato, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 mild sausages, sliced (omit for vegetarian)
2 cups lentils
3 cups water or stock of your choice
3 celery ribs
1/2 medium onion
4 sprigs parsley
4 cloves garlic
a handful fresh basil
a few tbsp olive oil
black pepper to taste
 
1. In a large pot, get the water or stock boiling.
2. While heating the water, in a blender, combine the celery, herbs, onion, garlic and a few tbsp olive oil and liquefy into a paste. This is the base of the soup, and adds an indescribably fresh and delicious flavor!
3. Add the base to the pot, along with all the veggies and 2 cups of lentils.
4. Brown the sausage (loose or sliced, I cut mine into slices) in a pan. Add those to the pot.
5. Let the whole thing simmer at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can put all the same ingredients into a Crock Pot on high for 4-6 hours.
6. Enjoy! It tastes even better after sitting in the fridge overnight or a few days!
 

This recipe submitted to the May 2014 “Cooking with Herbs” challenge!

Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage