Plant Based, Soups/Stews, Vegan, Vegetarian

Fennel Leek Soup

DSC_9872 copy

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!


  • 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


  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.


Asian, Soups/Stews

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

DSC_2967 copy

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. 

  • 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)


  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.

Pin It


Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

DSC_3248 copy

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 fewer 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 a 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.


  • 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


  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.
Ham, Soups/Stews

Split Pea & Ham Soup

DSC_1620 copyright

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?!


  • 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


  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, Soups/Stews, Turkey

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup


DSC_1592 copyright

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!


  • 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


  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.
Beef, Crockpot, Soups/Stews

Crock Pot Beef Stew

DSC_0268 copy

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.


  • 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
  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.



Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup - Five More Bites

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!


  • 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


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.

Soups/Stews, Vegetarian

Vegetable Soup with Cheese Tortellini


DSC_3174 copyRecipe found at For the Love of Cooking.  I didn’t change much of anything on this recipe.  Simple, filling, colorful and just plain good (even the kids commended this one!) this was very fast to whip up and have on the table in just about an hour.

  • 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I used reduced sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used the no salt added variety)
  • a handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped (1-2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 13 oz frozen cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups sliced fresh spinach (about 3 ounces)
  • Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the olive oil in a large pot oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery then cook 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the seasonings and garlic then stir constantly for 60 seconds before adding the tomatoes and broth. Cover and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the tortellini, zucchini, and squash. Cook for 10 minutes or until the tortellini is cooked through. Stir in spinach and simmer, uncovered until spinach is wilted and all vegetables are tender, about 1 minute longer. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Note: If not serving immediately, add the spinach just before serving to retain the bright color and prevent overcooking.


Tomato Basil Soup


DSC_2926 copyAdapted from All Recipes

This was really, very good and I liked that it was (semi) homemade.  Reduced or no-sodium tomatoes could be used, even organic if you want to be super healthy!  I used a generic canned brand because I’ve recently discovered that if you can’t find a lower sodium canned good, the generic will almost always have significantly less sodium than the name brand.  It’s probably, at least partially, why generic costs less!

Now, having said that reduced or zero sodium tomatoes can be used, I did add quite a bit of salt to my bowl once it was dished up.  Why?  Because the soup was very sweet from the tomatoes.  I didn’t want to leave out the sugar because it cuts down on the acidity!  So with that in mind, my preference is not to add the salt while cooking, and just add it each bowl if desired.

Also, next time I’ll be tossing the tomatoes around in the food processor before I cook them because the kids didn’t like the texture very much, but since I”m super mean, I made them eat it anyway!


  • 2 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can vegetable broth
  • 18 fresh basil leaves, minced (I tossed mine in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

Corn Chowder

DSC_3378 copyThis is one of my family’s favorite dishes; rich, creamy, comforting. It’s good to pair with bean or vegetarian dishes. It’s fairly easy to assemble and make, and good for those chillier days.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I prefer the purple onion both for flavor and color)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (I like to use one half orange pepper and one half yellow pepper- the two peppers offer a subtle blend of flavor and a nice crunch to the chowder)
  • 3 cups of corn kernels (frozen is fine, but fresh is better [you can also just use 2 cups of corn if you prefer])
  • 8 red or gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced (I like the red best)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano (you can interchange this with thyme if you prefer, either 2 TSP fresh or 1 TSP dried)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup cheese (I used 3/4 cup medium cheddar and 3/4 cup Gloucester) [cheese optional]


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot and sauté the onion until tender
  2. Add 1 of the minced garlic cloves and the pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until the pepper has softened slightly
  3. Add the remaining garlic, corn, potatoes, broth, milk, herb, salt, and pepper
  4. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, stirring from time to time
  5. Puree 2-3 cups soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender) and stir back into the pot
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning
  7. If you’re using cheese, add it and stir until it melts, and serve