Fennel Leek Soup

Fennel Leek Soup

My good friend, Kelli, told me about this soup that her dad, Paul, made for her family and how much they all loved it!  Yesterday was a perfect, soup-kind-of-day so I pulled up the e-mail she sent to me and set to work vegan’izing it.  See the original recipe uses chicken & chicken broth but I wanted to keep it plant based so I took a couple liberties with substitutions, adding barley and wild rice to it (whereas the barley is optional in the original).

I was blown away with how good it turned out.  It’s easy to pull together, cooks up fast, and unlike my first attempt at a plant-based soup (that smelled like something died in it) this smelled amazing and it was so easy to go back for a second helping.  I’d never had leeks before and am still a fennel noob, so I was a little apprehensive, once again turning to You-tube to figure out how to cut the leeks (easy peasy) – so that’s my tip for this recipe.  Trust me, try it, you won’t regret it!

I had some leftover cornbread from a batch of vegan chili we had the other night so I broke it into chunks and tossed that on top for lunch today – perfection!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 5-6 leeks cleaned and sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 fennel plants, (each plant has 2 bulbs) bulbs cleaned and sliced
  • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoons ground thyme
  • 68 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 cup wild barley
  • 2 handfuls of fresh cleaned spinach, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. In a large stock pot add the olive oil, carrots, leeks, garlic, sliced fennel bulbs & mushrooms.  Sauté for 5 – 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper & thyme.
  2. Add vegetable stock, thyme, rice and barley to the mixture then bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Near the end of the simmer, add the fresh spinach leaves.

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Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

This is another recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride that is as good the next day for lunch as it was for dinner the night before.    Warm, soft noodles and crisp vegetables make this a perfect dish for a spring evening, pull-together meal. 

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders, cut to bite size chunks
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 large red pepper, stemmed and seeded, and cut into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water/4 chicken bullion cubes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 oz. thin Asian noodles
  • 6 oz. snow peas, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (dark green parts only)

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot oven over medium-high heat, and add the oil.  Toss the chicken in and add a dash of salt and pepper.  Sear about 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the carrots, red pepper, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, broth, and water to the pot.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pot.
  4. Simmer (don’t boil) the soup over medium or medium-low for 40 minutes.
  5. Add the noodles to the pot and cook for 3-5 (check the package for  how long they take).
  6. Add the snow peas and green onions and cook 2-4 minutes, until the snow peas have turned bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

Tomato-Basil Parmesean Soup

Sometimes I just don’t want to have stuff in the crock pot all day, sometimes I’m extra lazy, and sometimes I like to procrastinate.  I found this recipe at 365 Days of Slow Cooking and intended, for several days, to prepare it as it was written.  Then I didn’t.  My kids aren’t picky eaters but, to me, the less questions about dinner’s ingredients the better.  So I pureed all the veggies first, then after everything was in the pot, I also used my immersion blender and whipped it up till it was almost entirely smooth.

I served this with a nutty fruit bread and it was really, very good and a great go-to recipe for busy weeknight!  The next day we had the leftovers and I just pulled out a few croissants and since those are French, I felt extra fancy so we called it a good Thursday night dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 handfuls baby carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Puree all vegetables.
  2. Add all ingredients except cheese to stock pot. 
  3. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to avoid burning the cream.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often for 30 minutes.
  4. Top with cheese before serving.

Split Pea & Ham Soup

Split Pea & Ham Soup

So it’s winter here and I’m going to post another soup recipe because I can.  Even though it doesn’t feel like winter.  Or look like winter.  And even though we’re still going outdoors to enjoy the sunshine without so much as a jacket, my brain tells me it’s winter so I’m making soup.  I figure I have about two more good soup-months before it’s too warm to even consider the hot dinner until next November.

To date, except for The Exorcist, I have had zero experience with split pea soup.  So I was excited when I saw that Our Best Bites offered a recipe that would allow me to not only use up our last bit of Christmas ham (it’s been waiting in our freezer), but would also give me a taste of the soup that was featured in one of the most disturbing movies of all time.  What’s not to love?!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. bone-in ham, diced into small pieces and trimmed of excessive fat (or that last bit of leftover ham, cut into bits)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon malt vinegar

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. You can also cook it on high until it starts to boil and then turn the setting on low until you’re ready to serve the soup. Top with croutons.

Makes 8 1 1/2-cup servings.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hectic trying to get a real meal on the table for me.  We have so many goodies and snacks that it’s easy to forget to eat well.  Then you add all the baking that’s done for friends and neighbors and at the end of the day I just don’t want to cook.  Mel’s Kitchen Café offers up this soup as the perfect solution – it pulls together so fast and if you’re like me and have a lot of leftover turkey lying around in the freezer this would be the perfect place to use it up. 

If you like things a little spicier, adjust the red pepper flakes to suit your tastes.  The 1/4 teaspoon was perfect for us since the kids still haven’t adopted my love of spicy foods.  It added plenty of flavor without much heat.

I tweaked this recipe slightly by pureeing the onions, peppers and tomatoes before adding them to the pot.  My kids aren’t very picky eaters but these three things are triggers with them for some reason.  Pureeing the vegetables first, led to zero questions about the ingredients in their dishes!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 can (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7-8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or use about 3-4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/- inch pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a food processor or blender, puree the onions, pepper and tomatoes until smooth.
  2. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat and add the pureed vegetables. Add celery, and garlic. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the diced vegetables are tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (don’t add the cooked chicken, if using, you’ll add it near the end), stir well, and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  4. If using cooked chicken, stir it in at this point and let it heat through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Beef Stew 

Taken from All Recipes this is an instant go-to Sunday night dinner.  Served up in big bowls and rolls from the can, (because I’m classy like that) this couldn’t be simpler to pull together.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 potatoes, diced small
  • 4 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
Directions
  1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

Beef Stew

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Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup

This was phenomenal!  Creamy, flavorful, and hearty!  This almost stew-thick soup, found at My Kitchen Café, was filling and is definitely a new favorite at my house!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (I like to include the inner stalks and leaves for added flavor)
  • 1/2 cup diced or shredded carrots
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 medium red potatoes, chopped bite size
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 10 chicken tenders, cooked and diced

Directions

1.  In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn.

3.  Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft. (I put the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwaved it for one minute at 30% power.)

4.  Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces, stirring after each addition to avoid lumps. 

5.  Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

You guys? I’m. so. sick!  I have a huge Tupperware of leftover spaghetti in the fridge and all I wanted to do was dump a little of that on everyone’s plate tonight and call it dinner.  But I have a nighttime race on Saturday, and afterwards I get to have a super yummy post race dinner at the restaurant of my choice and the kids “get” to eat leftovers at home.  So you see, if I use up the spaghetti tonight, there’ll be nothing in the fridge for Saturday night.  Yes it’s an issue, OK?  So instead of taking the easy way out now and then having to cook dinner for everyone but me on Saturday, I figured I’d pull this soup together, because seriously?  There are three steps to follow and I figured if I can manage those three tiny steps, not only will the family be fat and happy on spaghetti at home Saturday night, I’ll also have enough of this soup, courtesy of All Recipes, leftover for lunch Saturday afternoon!

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • handful fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can white hominy
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less depending on preference)
  • 12 chicken tenders cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • sliced avocado
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • crushed tortilla chips
Directions
  1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender.  Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in corn, hominy, chilies, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

How could I not try another pumpkin soup recipe?  It’s October and All Recipes gave me a perfect excuse to try something new, again!  I really wanted to try making this with fresh pumpkin but I didn’t feel like hunting down a farmer’s market that sold the right kind of pumpkins.  I know, shame on me!  As it was, it was full of flavor, creamy and rich!  The toast, too, was perfect for dipping!  I doubled the recipe to what it shows below.  It made enough for at least 8 good sized bowls.

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 64 oz vegetable broth
  • 29 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine 6 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread butter mixture evenly over one side of each bread slice. Place bread, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bread is crisp and topping is bubbly. Cut each slice of bread into 8 small triangles or squares.
  2. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot until tender. Add half the vegetable broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Process until smooth.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining broth, pumpkin, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally..
  5. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil. Ladle into individual soup bowls.  Serve with cinnamon croutons.