because what is life without good food?

Soups

Great Northern Pumpkin, Kale & Sausage Stew

Great Northern Pumpkin, Kale & Sausage Stew

I made a delicious stew the other day with pumpkin, kale, Great Northern beans, and chicken sausage.

It’s a bowl full of comfort and goodness.

Head over to my blog’s new home for the recipe.


Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.

It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
  • 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
  • About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
  • 2 cups fat free half & half
  • 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
  • To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
  4. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Scrumptious Sunday.


Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …

Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.

I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This recipe makes about a quart of soup.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda  cheese
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
  2. Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This is an #OnionLove Post … Powered by Linky Tools

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This recipe was also shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party Wednesday, Everyday Mom’s MealsFull Plate Thursday, Share it Saturday, and Scrumptious Sunday.


Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).

I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
  • Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Optional add-ins:
    • sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
    • add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
  2. Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
  3. To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe LinkyCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

I’ve been toying with the idea of making a thai-style curry soup with my aubergines … aubergine, isn’t that a fabulous word? It sounds so fancy and cultured to me. Usually I just use the word “eggplant”, but it doesn’t carry the same elegance that these beautiful purple vegetables really deserve.

Anyway, I came home from yoga class the other night STARVING and decided to begin the creation of the Thai curry soup. Somehow thought this would be a quick thing to do … I started up the grill because I’m really loving the smoky flavor from the grill and set a bunch of lovely vegetables on there for their “fire” roasting. Yes, I really did start up the grill just to roast vegetables. It didn’t take long to roast them … but then I got busy with other things and with the kids.

Hours later (just before bedtime), I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of my curried red pepper aubergine soup. It’s not that the soup really takes that long to make … it’s just that … well, I’m a mom … and I’m easily distracted (look! facebook!) … and my kitchen was already a mess so there was a bit of work to do there too … oh well, it got done eventually and I did get a bowl of soup and now I have a delicious soup I can quickly reheat for lunches this week.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup

Yields a little over a quart of soup.

  • 3 good-size Japanese Eggplant (the long skinny dark black purple kind of eggplant … or 1 large globe eggplant) … yielding about a cup of eggplant after roasting (a little more or less is fine)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 hot red pepper (or if you don’t want your soup to be spicy, use a bell pepper in place of the hot pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 of an onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice … to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Garnish: plain lowfat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and fresh parsley or better yet, cilantro!

Directions:

  1. Poke the eggplant all around with a fork. Light up the grill and when the coals are hot, set the eggplant and the peppers right over the hot coals to roast. (A gas grill would work fine too … you COULD even roast them in the oven if you prefer …) Here’s a shot of my eggplant and peppers on the grill. I used these 3 eggplant, the red bell pepper, and one of the hot peppers in this soup. The other two peppers I’m going to put in a salsa (I think …)
    Roasting Eggplant & Peppers on the Grill
  2. You don’t want to burn them, but the skins of the eggplant will turn dark and the pepper skins should turn black. Turn the peppers and eggplant over to make sure you roast all sides. The peppers will be done very quickly. Pull the peppers off the grill and let them cool while you finish cooking the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it is limp and soft.
  3. The peel on the peppers and the eggplant should come right off after roasting. Pull off the peel, chop off the top stems from the eggplant, and put the “good parts” of the peppers and the eggplant in a blender or handi chopper. Puree them until smooth.
  4. In a saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, soft and starting to brown. Stir in the eggplant/pepper paste and the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together till it’s well mixed, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the flavors have had time to “meld”.
  5. When the soup is done, puree it in a blender (or use an immersion blender). I’ve heard of people cracking the glass of a glass blender with hot soup, so you might want to let it cool a bit before blending it if you are using a glass blender.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. This soup reheats nicely in the microwave.

Fire Roasted Red Pepper Eggplant Thai Curry Soup

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Friday and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It is September … the weather is starting to cool down. I was really loving the cooler weather … until my allergies kicked in …

Ah but I am lucky! I “inherited” some wild rice from my sister. She said it was too salty and brought it along up to my parents’ place last weekend for us to “fix” for her. Well we didn’t get around to making anything with it, she left and my other sister left and there was still the wild rice in the fridge, so my mom asked if I would take it. Sure, I said. Then I can make soup!

So yes, I made soup. And what’s better than soup in the fall when there’s a little chill in the air and your allergies are in overdrive? Soup is just the thing to make you feel better … it’s so warm and comforting and wonderful.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This is a very thick and chunky soup. Feel free to adjust the amounts of vegies, rice and meats to your liking … if you want more of the delicious cheesy broth, put in fewer vegies and rice. Like many soups, it is really better the next day. If you want a vegetarian soup, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth

  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (reserve the leaves!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup shredded Edam cheese (I used some Dofino Edam cheese that Dofino sent to me as a “sample”)
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as parmesan or romano)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice (use the wild Minnesota wild rice if you can find it … it’s SO much better!)
  • 3/4 cup cooked leftover chicken (or more if you want a meatier soup)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen, thawed or pre-cooked fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • The leaves from a few sprigs of fresh oregano and parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: shredded cheese and oregano or parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
  2. Pour the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini and garlic into the pot. Over medium-high heat, sautee the vegies until the onions are soft and translucent and the zucchini is tender.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little vegetables and garlic bits in flour. Do this quickly before the flour starts to brown.
  4. Add the milk and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the shredded cheeses and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts, then stir in the broth, rice, chicken, corn, and lower the heat to a simmer (on medium low to low) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the reserved celery leaves, oregano, parsley and Red Robin Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more shredded edam cheese and a few fresh oregano or parsley leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This recipe was shared at Share it Saturday, Manic Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Talent Show Tuesday.


Magic “Feel Better” Soup

Feel Better Magic Soup

This soup is one of the best things to make when you’re feeling sick. I haven’t made it in years, but it was one of those things that has always made me feel better, not just because it’s full of loads of good vitamins and herbs, but also because it tastes soothing and comforting and warm.  It’s so tasty, you don’t really need to be sick to make it. But it will help you feel better if you are.

I have struggled with sinus problems for a good part of my adult life … there was a period in my life when I was getting a sinus infection every month. As soon as I would get done with one, I was getting another one. I was on a constant stream of antibiotics and always felt miserable. I’ve learned ways of coping with it now so I haven’t had one now in over a year, but this morning I woke up and I could feel one coming on … this is NOT a good time to be sick! My sister is coming to visit this weekend … I started thinking of all the things I used to do to make them go away and I remembered this soup I used to make.

The last time I made this soup was long before I had all the fresh herbs I have now and I don’t exactly recall what herbs I used to put in it back then. I remember the basic formula for it, though. And this is how it goes …

Magic Feel Better Soup

Magic “Feel Better” Soup

  • 1 large potato, cut into hunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups of fresh swiss chard or spinach, washed and chopped
  • A handful of fresh herbs: I used basil, thyme, rosemary, & parsley
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or fat free half and half
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (to open up the sinuses)
  • Freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the potato, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, onion and broth into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer (medium low) and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the potato is fall-apart tender and the other vegies are soft.
  2. Fish out the bay leaf and stir in the chard. Cover the pot and cook for just a couple minutes or until the chard is cooked. Add the herbs.
  3. Pour the soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender), add the yogurt or half and half and blend until smooth. Add more broth if you want a thinner soup. I like my soup pretty thick. Serve hot, topped with Sriracha and shredded cheese and garnish with fresh parsley. That red swirl you see there … that’s the Sriracha.

Feel Better Magic Soup

This recipe was shared at Foodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Fridays, Scrumptious Sundays, Family Fresh Meals and Manic Monday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.

Your Child’s Food made a Thai-inspired version of this soup that is dairy free. I really love her twist on it! Her recipe is here.


Bean with Bacon Soup

Bean with Bacon Soup

What was your favorite soup growing up? I remember I really, really loved Campbell’s Bean with Bacon soup. I’ve discovered lately, though, that the canned soups just don’t have as much flavor as I remember … so when Melissa from ChinDeep posted a recipe for Bean with Bacon Soup, well, I just had to try it. I love making soups, and it was raining this morning and this seemed like just the perfect thing to make … I ate two bowls of it for lunch. And now I’m tempted to go have another bowl of soup for supper.

Bean with Bacon Soup

Bean with Bacon Soup

Adapted from ChinDeep

  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped including the leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups cooked Great Northern Beans
  • 1 large red potato, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes with juices
  • Several baby carrots, sliced (or 1 long carrot)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • freshly ground pepper
  • chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In a large pot, cook the bacon until just lightly browned. It should still be floppy. Remove the bacon, set on a clean dry towel to soak up the fat, and pour out the excess fat from the pan. Loosely chop the bacon and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, and celery to the pot and sautee over medium high heat until the onion is translucent and soft. Add everything but the reserved bacon and parsley leaves and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so or until the potatoes are tender.

Add the bacon, and heat just until the bacon is hot. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley leaves.

Bean with Bacon Soup

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night.


Winter Venison Malbec Stew

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

It has been wet and gray and chilly here the past couple days. We actually had a thunderstorm last night! In February! But still it feels like winter out there, the dark, wet chilly kind of winter day that just chills you to the bone. Weather like this just calls for a good, hearty stew. This time for my stew I decided to do a wine reduction, add a hint of cinnamon, and fresh rosemary.

I have a lot of venison at my house because everyone in my family hunts (besides me) and they fill my freezer with meat. (They are so good to me. I’m very blessed!) If you don’t happen to have venison, you can use beef. If you use a different red wine or if you add more or less of some of the vegies, the stew won’t care.

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

  • About 1 1/2 pounds of venison meat (or lean beef), cut into 1-inch cubes (I had about 3 cups of meat before cooking)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped in large pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 5 – 7 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup of Malbec (or other dry red wine)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped bell pepper
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small cubes (about 2 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup peeled, chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped (save the leaves!)
  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of crushed canned tomatoes with juices (if you have whole tomatoes, just crush them with your hand as you add them to the stew … it’s a great messy bit of fun)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, chopped fine (about 1/2 Tablespoon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  • For garnish: Celery leaves and/or fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in your soup pot till it’s hot. Sear the venison cubes in the hot oil until browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, but leave the juices in there.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sautee over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the onion is soft and starting to brown.
  3. Add the wine to the pot and continue to cook and stir until the wine is absorbed.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables, broth, and seasonings and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low (or low) and simmer gently for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat and potatoes are both tender. The potatoes should begin to break down and thicken the broth.
  6. Season with pepper and salt (if needed … I didn’t think it needed any) and garnish with the fresh celery leaves and/or fresh parsley. Serve with a hunk of hot, fresh bread or some cheesy garlic toast.

Winter Venison Malbec Stew

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysIt’s a Keeper ThursdaysFull Plate ThursdaysFit & Fabulous Fridays, Sunday Night Soup Night,and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


French Onion Soup MTM

Mary Tyler Moore's Recipe for French Onion Soup

Back before there was internet, facebook, Google or Pinterest, when personal computers ran completely on floppy drives and the screens were about 5 inches square, all black and white, all text. Back then, you had to go to the library to look something up. Back then, my cooking inspiration came from cookbooks and Cooking Light magazines.

This is Mary Tyler Moore‘s recipe for French Onion Soup. It’s from one of my very favorite cookbooks: Love a Fare, given to me by my Aunt and Uncle for Christmas in 1982. The cookbook is all soups and appetizers. I have spent many hours with this book over the years, reading through it, picking out recipes I want to try, cooking my favorites. Can you tell it’s a well-loved book?

Love a Fare Cookbook

It’s filled with adorable cartoons like this. This one makes me laugh every time I see it. Yes, I am easily amused …

Artie chokes if he eats too fast

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this particular recipe. French Onion Soup is one of my very, very favorite soups and I was SO excited to find a good recipe for it. I guess since it’s Mary Tyler Moore’s recipe, it’s really American, not French. But it’s still delicious.

Mary Tyler Moore's Recipe for French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup MTM

From Love a Fare: the Cookbook with a Flair

Serves 4

  • 2 large onions
  • 4 thin slices of french bread (I used this bread recipe, made without the cheese/herbs)
  • 4 teaspoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups beef stock (or water/boullion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups grated swiss cheese

Directions:

  • Slice onion vertically and very, very thin. Melt the butter in a saucepan or heavy skillet and cook, covered, over low heat until the onions are soft and tender.
  • Uncover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the onions brown lightly or your arms fall off. (It takes several minutes, and my arms always get tired on this step, but it is SO worth it.)
  • Add wine and cook until wine is almost absorbed. (This happens quite quickly.)
  • Add the beef stock and pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt (or beef boullion) to taste.
  • Meanwhile, slice the bread thinly and toast or bake in 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the steaming hot soup into 4 oven-proof bowls, top each with a slice of bread, then sprinkle with a generous amount of swiss cheese.
  • Bake the soup bowls at 350 degrees for 15 – 30 minutes or until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.

This soup makes a great make-ahead meal. I like to make the soup ahead of time and keep it in a quart jar in my fridge … then heat up a bowl at lunch time. One bowl of this hearty cheesy soup is enough for me for lunch, but you can always add a salad or half a sandwich if you like. Or it’s a wonderful hot evening meal with a glass of white wine, like right here, right now, tonight.

Mary Tyler Moore's Recipe for French Onion Soup

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

A long time I found this cookbook on a clearance table and looking through it, I just couldn’t believe my luck. There are so many recipe treasures hidden in this book … I snatched it up and took it home and it’s one of those cookbooks that I pick up and browse through every once in a while and find even more recipes I want to try. I don’t even read cookbooks like I used to, now that I have thousands of creative foodie friends and so many recipes marked online that I want to try … but still, I cherish my cookbook collection. And this one is one of the best on the shelf.

What’s the cookbook, you ask? It’s Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook.

Okay, I know that’s kind of an odd combination … Betty Crocker  … and International food? Really? … I mean we are talking food from ALL over the WORLD here … Africa, Sweden, Greece, Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey, France … you could travel completely around the world in just a couple pages of this book.

There are a bunch of bookmarks in this cookbook, recipes I marked years ago to make someday in the future … some of them I have never made. But this one I’ve made several times. Because it’s really, really good, not to mention it’s warm and hearty, colorful and nourishing and healthy. There’s no meat, but it’s got so much flavor that you wouldn’t even remember to care.

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Heart African Vegetable Stew

Adapted only slightly from Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings, maybe more, if you’re a small eater like me … this will be enough to feed me all week!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils (brown or yellow lentils will do, too … I just love the color of the red ones)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes with juices (or 1 15-oz. can)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen green peas
  • 1 9-oz. package frozen green beans
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint (or 2 teaspoons dried mint)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Plain yogurt for topping

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, dutch oven or very large saucepan, melt the butter, then cook and stir the onion, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, and ginger until the onion is tender.
  2. Stir in the water, carrots, and lentils. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Ad the rice, tomatoes, and salt. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the green beans, peas, mint and cayenne. Cover and cook until the peas and beans are tender, about 5 minutes. (You may need to add more water at this stage if the stew gets too thick. I think I added 2 cups more of water.)
  4. Serve each bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Hearty African Lentil & Vegetable Stew

This recipe was shared with Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, These Chicks CookedNewlyweds Recipe Linky, and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

I had the urge to make beer cheese soup the other day … and there was just a bit of bacon sitting there needing to be used, and then while retrieving the garlic, I ran across some mushrooms … so they hopped in the soup too. And then I stumbled across some pumpkin puree in the freezer, and because it was so good in the macaroni and cheese, I threw in some pumpkin puree too. And that’s how this soup happened.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

Makes 2-4 bowls of soup, depending on how big your bowls are.

  • 2 slices of uncooked bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 -3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups of 1 % milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 loose cup of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (gently place the cheese in the cup so it fluffs up–don’t pack it in)
  • 1/2 loose cup of shredded gouda cheese (again, very loosely placed in the cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons of Red Robin Seasoning (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe … or use your favorite seasoned salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup brown ale (or your favorite brew–I used the Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale)
  • For garnish: crumbled bits of bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan (I mean the pan you’re going to cook the soup in), fry the bacon until it’s crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and crumble it up into little bits. Set it aside for now.
  2. Pour some of the excess fat from the pan, then add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Over medium-high heat, sautee them in the bacon fat until the onions are soft and translucent and the mushrooms are limp.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little shrooms and onions and garlic bits in flour.
  4. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, shredded cheeses, most of the bacon bits (reserving a few for garnish), and the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the beer. The soup will froth up for a moment, but then it will calm down again, just in time to serve it.
  7. Pour into bowls and top with shredded cheese, the reserved bacon bits, and fresh parsley leaves. Some people like to put popcorn on their beer cheese soup. That’s fun too.

Bacon Mushroom Beer Cheese Soup

This would go great with hot, crusty, fresh baked bread, or even better, in a bread bowl. I didn’t have any of that, though …

This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night and Full Plate Thursday.


Cajun Andouille Sausage & Vegetable Stew

A nearly wordless Wednesday post …

Cajun Andouille Sausage and Vegetable Stew

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”

~  Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Cajun Andouille Sausage and Vegetable Stew

Cajun Andouille Sausage & Vegetable Stew

A hearty, healthy, and spicy soup to warm your bones

  • 1 – 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 2/3 cup chopped), with leaves removed and set aside
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes in juices, with the tomatoes chopped into small bits
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 cup sweet corn (frozen, thawed)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or other beans)
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno (optional–add more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup)
  • 1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup chopped Andouille sausage
  • 1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice (or basmati or whatever kind you prefer)
  • 1 cup water (or more to get the desired “soupiness”)
  • About 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop the vegies, removing the leaves from the celery and setting them aside for later.
  2. Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic, onion, and celery and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add tomato, bay leaf, bell pepper, corn, chickpeas, jalapeno, cajun seasoning, broth, sausage, rice and water.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer the soup for about 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. Right before serving, chop the basil and celery leaves and add the herbs and celery leaves to the soup. Garnish with fresh basil and/or oregano leaves as desired.

Cajun Andouille Sausage and Vegetable Stew

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic ThursdaysIt’s a Keeper Thursdays, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Herbalicious Chicken Noodle Soup

Herbed Chicken Noodle Soup

Tina over at Mom’s Crazy Cooking has challenged us this month to make chicken noodle soup. For the challenge, you have to choose another blog’s recipe for chicken noodle soup and make it and blog about it. It’s a lot of fun, but I wasn’t going to do it this month … especially because today is my birthday, but Tina asked so sweetly … so I asked my kids if I should and they said yes, as long as I use some of those big fat yummy noodles. And then, as if the planets were aligning to make this happen, then my daughter wasn’t feeling well on Thursday. And she wanted chicken noodle soup.

So I made this soup on Thursday night after we got home from her dance practice. It was 8 pm. I was tired. But I was now determined to make my little sweetie girl some good soup. So I searched for something my daughter would like. She loves herbs. This one was full of herbs. My girl didn’t want celery or corn or onion in her soup, so I had to leave those out (much to my dismay because I reallly think they would be fantastic in this soup). I also cooked the chicken a little differently (just because I have to mess with things). I was a little amazed at how good this chicken soup turned out–I do believe it’s the best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever made. Thank you, Sweet Pea’s Kitchen!

Chicken Noodle Soup with Fresh Herbs

Herbalicious  Chicken Noodle Soup

Adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken thighs, uncooked, trimmed of fat and chopped into small bits
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Cooked celery & carrot (Sautee them briefly in a bit of oil or butter before adding to the soup. I used carrot only, for my daughter, but I think celery would be amazing in this soup.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • About 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil, chopped
  • About 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, chopped
  • About 1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
  • Sweet corn (I skipped this too … but I really think you ought to add it.)

Directions:

  1. Once you have trimmed and chopped the chicken, place it in a small bowl with the wine, tomato juice, rosemary, garlic and onion powder and let it marinade briefly while you start the soup.
  2. In a large saucepan, pour in chicken broth and stir in uncooked carrots, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. (If you are using dried herbs, you can add them at this point. If you have fresh, wait till the end to add the fresh herb leaves.)
  3. Bring to a boil and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chicken mixture.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the noodles and corn. Simmer until noodles are cooked.
  6. Stir in the fresh basil, oregano, and parsley leaves.
  7. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Fresh Herbs

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This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsFat TuesdaysGooseberry Patch Inexpensive RecipesThursday’s Treasures, Fit and Fabulous Fridays, and Sunday Night Soup Night.


Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

a.k.a. “Gypsy Stew” (thanks to my friend Melissa at ChinDeep for this name!)

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

To me, the treasure when making a ham is the ham bone. Because that means we get to make soup. There is something about a ham bone that gives a soup such good flavor. The ham is nice, too, but I the part I really covet is that bone. You just can’t get that same kind of flavor any other way.

I confess I stole the ham bone from our Christmas ham. I didn’t ask if I could take it, I just took it. I know what my mom would have said. I always ask her what she wants me to take, and she always tells me to take whatever I like … I’m not sure my dad wouldn’t have fought me for it, though. A ham bone is seriously something to fight over in my family.

I call this stew “Moroccan” not because it’s an authentic Moroccan recipe, but because the seasonings are sort of like what you would find in a Moroccan Harira … except a Moroccan Harira would be made with lamb. I am sure the Moroccans would be horrified if I called this Harira or that I even used ham in this stew, but it was the spices in the Harira recipe in my Mediterranean cookbook that helped me season my pretty orange-red soup. Someday I ought to actually go to Morocco and taste the Harira.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Ham, Lentil and Chickpea Stew

  • 1 cup chopped celery stalk (save the leaves, too!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ham bone, trimmed roughly
  • 1/4 cup juices from cooking the ham (skim off the fat and scoop up some of the jellied stuff that collects at the bottom of the ham pan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2/3 cup lentils (I used red lentils, but you could use green or brown ones too)
  • 2/3 cup dried chickpeas
  • 7 cups of water
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
  • For garnish: fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot saute the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the garnish and the leaves from the celery), bring to a boil and cook until the lentils and chickpeas are soft and the flavors have melded. This might take an hour or two or longer … I’m not sure exactly how long I cooked mine as I just got it started and let it cook while I was doing other things.
  3. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and more ham if you like. Personally, I like more vegies and beans than meat, but go ahead and add meat if that is your heart’s desire.
  4. If you want to reduce the fat in your soup, chill it overnight, then skim off the fat that collects on the top.
  5. About 15 minutes before serving, chop the celery leaves and add to the pot.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Moroccan Ham Lentil and Chickpea Stew

This recipe was shared on Tastetastic ThursdaysFull Plate Thursdays, Cast Party WednesdaysRecipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes, Sunday Night Soup Night, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop.

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Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Sometimes you make a wish and send it out into the world and just trust that the world will take care of it.

I try to be very careful with my wishes, because I have seen wishes gone awry. I have wished for things in my past that have come true, but not in the way I expected them to. I guess in the end, it all turned out right, so the wishes were good even if the (temporary) implications seemed bad.

This time my wish was simply this: to find someone that would love me for who I am. I never was the person my ex wanted me to be, and I apparently wasn’t the woman that the guys I’ve dated since wanted me to be. But I know I am a good person, I have a big heart, a lot of love, and I think I just need to find the right person who will love me for who I am. I know I am not at all your typical woman … I am very independent, strong, and intelligent, and a lot of men are scared away by that. And I will not ever even consider dating someone if I don’t feel a strong connection between us. There seem to be a lot of those very superficial guys … and very few connections.

Anyway, about a month ago, I sent out my wish, with a lot of love and acceptance for who I am and a sense of trust that it would be okay whether or not I find someone. I am okay just being me.

A few days later, a friend of mine contacted me … things have changed in his life and it made me step back and look at each time we have met in a different light. It’s very strange … this is not what I expected and yet, it seems right. I’m waiting to find out what happens. When one of my wishes is granted, there always seems to be a twist to the wish, something I didn’t expect. But I am just letting go and trusting that things will work out for the best …

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile Pork Stew

  • 3/4 lb. pork cutlet, chopped into small hunks (You can also use ground beef, ground venison, or even chicken or leftover turkey.  The pork is really lovely in it, though.)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth (add enough to make it as soupy as you want it)
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Hatch Green chile, roasted, peeled, and chopped, with juices (I used a 13-oz. frozen container of real Hatch Chile from NM. It’s not an easy thing to obtain where I live … if you don’t have any authentic Hatch Green Chile, you can use canned, and add jalapeno or other hot pepper to give it some heat as desired.)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Throw everything into a crockpot, set it on low and let it cook all day. Top with grated sharp cheddar cheese at serving, if desired.

This stew is the perfect thing to eat when you are cold or when you have a cold. It will warm you up, clean out your sinuses and make your body feel good all over. There is nothing like some good hot chile to chase the germs away.

Oh, and it is the absolute perfect thing to use over breakfast burritos. Ideally you should make the burritos in a park nearby the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque at 5 a.m. just before the fiesta begins, with coffee and bailey’s and champagne. Then put away all the cooking and drinks and walk over and amongst the beautiful colors of the balloons. Sometime in your life you should do this.

The breakfast burritos will be another post … soon!

Cinnamon Kissed Green Chile and Pork Stew

This recipe was shared at Wonka Wednesdays, Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup and Katherine Martinelli’s Mexican Blog Hop.


Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Thick & Hearty Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

I got in a fight with my teenage son this afternoon … it was, as usual, a very emotionally charged exchange. We were both livid by the time we left the house. I was driving him to his dad’s place and yes, I was angry, but after a moment, I forced myself to calm down and breathe so I could drive safely. Still, I was fighting back the tears of rage.

I was just crossing through an intersection where the light was green on a country road that crosses the edge of the city when a lady in a silver car turned right in front of me, just as I was nearing the edge of the intersection. Perhaps she didn’t see my little gray car coming; perhaps she wasn’t paying attention. I slammed on the brakes and managed to stop without hitting her. There wasn’t anywhere else for me to go, no other lane to swerve into. But in that moment I saw both of our lives flash before my eyes. I thought to myself how miniscule our argument really was, in the scheme of things. Apparently my son had the same thought because he looked at me and said, “that really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?”

Now don’t get me wrong, we needed to fight today. There were things I needed to say to him, and he needed to get out some of the rage he was holding inside. But we also needed to remember how precious and fragile our connections to each other are.  They could be broken … gone … in an instant. So often in an argument, we say hurtful things and we forget.

This stranger, in a moment of carelessness, sent us a powerful reminder.

Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup with Feta

Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Roughly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 3-5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. smoked paprika
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1/4 c. chardonnay or other dry white wine — although I think a dry red might work even better
  • 2 c. black beans
  • 1/2 quart canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. beef or vegetable broth
  • Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t. cayenne seasoning (or more to taste)
  • Feta cheese crumbles and/or roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and a few whole black beans for garnish
Directions:
  1. Whirl the onion and garlic in a handi chopper or food processor till they are in tiny chunks (or chop into small bits with your knife).
  2. Over medium high heat, sautee the chopped onion and garlic with the cumin, curry, and smoked paprika in the olive oil until the onion and garlic is soft. It should be sort of a paste of onion and spices.
  3. Add the wine and cook for a few minutes until most of the wine has evaporated.
  4. Whir the beans and tomatoes briefly in the handi chopper or food processor (do them separately if your device won’t hold them all at once!) or mash with a potato masher to break down the beans and tomatoes to a sort of rough puree.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and broth to the pan. Season to taste with Red Robin Seasoning, freshly ground pepper, and cayenne.
  6. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the flavors have all mixed well.
  7. Serve hot with feta cheese crumbles and a few whole black beans and/or pumpkin seeds for garnish.
Thick & Hearty Curried Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

The color of this soup turned out a little funny since I used yellow tomatoes … I think with red tomatoes it would be a much prettier orangey color. But the flavor is very delicate and earthy all in one. I loved how the cream made swirls in the soup when I added it–that didn’t quite come through in the pictures either. So just trust me that it was lovely, okay?

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Adapted from this recipe on Food.com

Ingredients:

  • About 1/2 of a medium eggplant (1 c. after roasted peeled & chopped)
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a large red (or white or yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 c.) — or 1 c. canned tomatoes with juices
  • 1/2 T. fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
  • A few “leaves” of fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. fat free half and half
  • Goat cheese crumbles

Directions:

  1. To roast the vegies: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and chop into hunks.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the tomatoes by dipping them briefly in boiling water, then pulling the peel off. (It should pull off very easily.)
  3. Add the tomatoes (with juices!), roasted vegetables, thyme, and rosemary to a saucepan.
  4. Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 30 – 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
  5. Puree the soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
  6.  Stir in fat free half and half. Bring to simmer.
  7. Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls.
  8. Sprinkle with goat cheese; serve.
Creamy Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods in your blog post.

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Eggplant Bloghop.


Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia … doesn’t that word just sound romantic? Carabaccia is very much like French Onion Soup; it has that same beefy onion broth flavor with the mmm melted cheese, but it’s also got a dark red burgundy color (and taste) to it, and a subtle bit of spice that just draws you into the bowl.

Did you know French Onion Soup was not originated in France?

I learn the most interesting things from my foodie friends.

Several days ago, Linda’s Italian Table posted a recipe on my wall in facebook. A little onion soup history lesson courtesy of Linda:

“French Onion Soup was not always French and was introduced to the French by none other than Catherine de Medici at the ripe old age of 14, when she married Henry II of France. Apparently she brought her well equipped Tuscan chefs with her to France and also taught the French the use of the fork. (Funny – I thought the French knew everything.) During medieval times, and also during Catherine’s era, the dish was much sweeter than the present day version and has changed over centuries.”

There are differing opinions on what the word “carabaccia” actually means. Some say it is a small boat.

I say it’s delicious.

Carabaccia: Italian Onion Soup

Carabaccia (Italian Onion Soup)

This is my twist on Linda’s Carabaccia. Serves 3 or 4, depending on the size of your bowls.

Tuscan Onion Soup

  • 2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 t. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3/8 c. red wine
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. honey
  • 3 1/2 c. beef broth
  • Shredded Parmigiano–Reggiano Cheese and/or other Italian cheeses. (Italian purists will hate me for this, but I ran out of Parmigiano and used some Swiss in place of part of it and OH the swiss with the parmigiano was even better …)

Directions:

  • Peel and slice the red onions.
  • Cook the sliced onions in the butter and oil at medium to med. high heat until onions are caramelized and begin to brown. This takes about 30 minutes. Stir them occasionally so they do not burn. (I don’t think I cooked mine quite that long … probably about 15 minutes.)
  • Add the wine, honey, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaf. Cook about 3 min. more, stirring.
  • Add the beef broth. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to simmer about 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning – add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (I didn’t think it needed any salt! But perhaps my broth was saltier than Linda’s?)
  • When finished, fish out the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cloves and discard.
  • Toast very thin slices of bread.
  • Pour the hot soup into oven-safe bowls.
  • Place a slice of toast into each bowl and top with cheese.
  • Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately. It goes very well with a glass of red wine.

Carabaccia: It's French Onion Soup ... but it's Italian!

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Fresh Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup

Fresh Tomato Blue Cheese Soup

A couple weeks ago my sister and I were talking on the phone and she was suggesting some ideas for my blog, which is really sweet of her, but she lives in a different world than I do. She was saying I should give people ideas on what to pack in their kids’ lunches. Which is a great idea … except I don’t have anybody to pack lunch for anymore. My daughter’s in middle school now and would rather die than take her own lunch because NOBODY does that. My son does home school and I work from home. In order to blog about something, I have to actually MAKE it and there’s not much point in me packing a lunch for an imaginary person, is there?

So the next thing she suggested is tomato soup, because it was tomato season and she had tons of fresh tomatoes from her garden … but I didn’t. In fact, I didn’t have any tomatoes in my house. My tomato plants only yielded 3 tomatoes this year … total. And anyway, I told her, I don’t like tomato soup.

That floored her. How can I NOT like tomato soup? Well, I said, I just don’t. I never have.

But she gets the last laugh on this one because the very next day I saw someone post a tomato blue cheese soup recipe and the thought of tomatoes and blue cheese in a soup really intrigued me … and then my friend gave me some tomatoes from her garden. Not a lot of tomatoes mind you … it’s towards the end of the season … but I had 4 tomatoes that were getting to the point that they NEED to be used right NOW. And the tomato blue cheese soup recipe popped into my head. Yes, I thought, today would be a good day to try that soup. So I made it … and guess what?

I love it. I mean,  like … I really really really LOVE this soup!

Ok, sis, you win! Tomato soup rocks the planet. Well, tomato blue cheese soup does anyway.

Fresh Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup

Fresh Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup that ROCKS!

Sort of roughly adapted from Amateur Gourmet. My version makes maybe 3 or 4 bowls of soup. If you’re making it for a crowd, you’re going to want to at least double the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 t. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and chopped. I used 2 red tomatoes and 2 yellow tomatoes.
  • 1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 c. fat-free half and half
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • About 1 T. fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 c. blue cheese crumbles
  • Optional: Crumbles of bacon and fresh oregano leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then swirl in the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onion and garlic and sautee, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices. I let them cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the broth and half and half.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the soup simmer (not boil!) for about 30 – 45 minutes.
  5. Put the soup and blue cheese in the blender and blend until relatively smooth. I didn’t worry too much about getting it perfectly smooth because I like little chunks in my soup. If you want a really smooth soup, I think I might blend it twice: first I would blend the vegies together before adding the broth and half and half. Then again at the end.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with a bit of bacon and oregano if you like.

Fresh Tomatoes & Blue Cheese in Soup

This is part of my series of 31 Days of Warmer Connections. Every day in October, I am blogging about connections through food.

This recipe was shared at Miz Helen’s Full Plate Thursdays and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Good Deal Meals tried this soup and blogged about it! Go see what she has to say about it.


Lovely Italian Bread Soup

Italian Bread Soup

This is day 5 of my challenge to blog every day in October about connections through food. Starting a food blog was simply a way to share my cooking creativity … and when I started I had no idea what wonderful places and fantastic friends this blog would open up to me. Now the friends I’ve made mean more than the food. I look forward to talking to them every morning, and often we say goodnight to each other before we go to bed. Some I talk to every day, some only once in a while, but I really really love them all.

They are an endless source of inspiration, support and love. Some of them, I don’t even know their real names. But it doesn’t matter. We party together in cyberspace and share stories, struggles, encouragement and food.

This recipe is from one of my favorite foodie friends: A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll. She serves it with a remembering of her visit to Italy, which brings up memories for me of my trip to Italy over 20 years ago.

She says of this soup:  “As stunning and memorable as those places were, I’ll never forget the soup my father ordered at an outdoor cafe almost nineteen years ago:  Bread Soup.”

I had to make it.

Italian Bread Soup

This is her recipe, copied verbatim. When I made it, I altered it a little, made about half the amount, didn’t soak the beans overnight (actually I used my sister’s trick for cooking beans), used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, and couldn’t locate my red pepper flakes.  I had no leek , and I used frozen spinach and my mom’s canned tomatoes.

Italian Bread Soup

From A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll

1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans that have been soaked overnight

6 cups organic, low sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes
2 medium onions, diced (divided)
1/2 teaspoon thyme

1-2 diced carrots
1 leek, sliced and rinsed well
1-2 medium red potatoes, diced

3-4 cups (or more) roughly chopped fresh baby spinach
1 (28 oz.) unsalted, whole canned tomatoes (including juice, break the tomatoes with your hands)
handful of fresh basil, minced
salt and pepper to taste
day old italian bread

Drain soaked beans.  Add to a large stock pot along with 1 diced onion, thyme, and the 6 cups broth. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour or until the beans are tender.

Saute leek and onion in the olive oil until the onions become slightly translucent. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, carrots, potato, and can of tomatoes.  Add to the cooked beans.  (Add more water to cover the veggies, if needed.)

Continue simmering until the carrots and potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, chop the stale bread into cubes, coat in olive oil and toast in a skillet.

When the potatoes or tender, add the chopped spinach, bread cubes, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Allow the bread to soak in the soup until it breaks down.

Keep some in the fridge so you have a lovely, healthy tasty meal when you are in a rush.

Italian Bread Soup

This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays.


My Sister’s Simple Trick for Cooking Beans

A Simple Trick for Cooking Beans

Somehow I had convinced myself I couldn’t cook beans. I had tried and tried and every time I tried to cook up some dried beans, they just didn’t have the flavor I wanted. I could make a great chili and soups with beans IN them, but I couldn’t manage to cook up plain old beans that were as good in flavor as the ones you buy in a can.

So I resigned myself to buying canned beans. Yes, I’m fully aware of the BPA issues in canned foods. I tried not to think about that.

At holidays when we were all up at my parents’ place, my sister would bring a little container of black  beans she had cooked up  and we would toss them on chips with cheese a microwave them for a quick snack with salsa.

Her beans were so good, I asked her what her secret was. And she told me.

Here’s the secret:

A bay leaf. That’s it. She puts the dried beans in a pan with a bay leaf, some chopped garlic, some water and simmers them (partially covered) until they’re done. She says the secret is you do NOT salt them till they’re tender.

Okay, so I tried it, first with black beans and it turned out wonderfully! Just like hers. Then I did pinto beans. Perfect! YES! … and this batch you see here was some Cannellini beans for my Cannellini hummus. Sometimes I have to add some water because it cooks off, but I have finally mastered the art of cooking beans!

It takes an hour or two for the beans to get good and soft, but when they turn out this good, who needs to buy canned beans?

(My sister says the salting rule goes for salty meat too … if you want to add bacon or ham or other salty meat, wait until the beans are tender, then add the meat. Cook them for 20 minutes or so after you add the meat to let the flavor soak in.)

I LOVE YOU SIS!

(And by the way, you can freeze cooked beans. My parents insist that you can’t, but I do. I have even served some of the beans I cooked then froze and reheated and they couldn’t tell the difference. HA!)


Corn Chowder, New Mexico Style

corn-chowder-New Mexico Style

Have you ever been to New Mexico? If you haven’t, you must go. Really, schedule a trip to get there. Do it now. You must see this place before you die. It is one of the most enchanting places on earth. I used to live there.

When I first moved to New Mexico from the midwest, it was a complete culture shock. To me, it looked like I had gone from green to brown. I was young (fresh out of college!) and I was alone for the first time in my life. I was scared. I didn’t know anybody there. I had moved from my green, fertile homeland where I had so many family and friends to a barren land where I knew nobody.

All the houses in New Mexico are brown. The ground is brown. There are very few trees. Lots of sharp pokey cactus. Instead of lawns, they have rock “gardens” with yuccas. They have square houses with flat roofs. And there are roadrunners and black widow spiders and lots of tumbleweeds.  I had one growing in my back yard once and I didn’t know it was a tumbleweed till it broke off and started tumbling about my yard. It made me laugh.

After I moved there, I discovered there are shades of brown. And most of them are really shades of pink or orange. They change color throughout the day. The mountains would turn watermelon pink at sunset. The sky was the most brilliant blue you have ever seen … and there were layers of clouds. Wispy clouds high up in the sky, painting the sky with their beautiful patterns. Lower down clouds. Big angry thunderclouds that in late summer would gather in the late afternoon, storm down from the mountains, dump on the city and be gone within an hour, leaving us in a rush of raging water.

Corn Chowder, New Mexico Style with Green Chiles

I quickly learned the beauty of the colors of New Mexico. I fell in love with the southwestern art. I learned to drink wine at the wine festivals there. But more than that, I fell in love with the food. There is one signature ingredient that you will see in EVERY restaurant in New Mexico (seriously! it’s even at McDonald’s!)–Hatch Green Chile. I really recommend using authentic Hatch Green Chile in this recipe. You can buy it freshly roasted — or pre-roasted, chopped and frozen in New Mexico. Outside of New Mexico, about the best you will get is maybe canned green chile and if that is all you have, use it. It will not give the same flavor or spiciness to this soup that it really should have, but it will at least impart a bit of the flavor of a green chile.

In New Mexico in the fall, the smell of roasting green chiles is everywhere as they roast the chiles right outside the grocery store. You go and buy a “bag”  of chiles (if I recall right, a bag was 38 lbs.) and they roast them for you on the spot while you stand there and smell the intoxicating scent of roasting chiles. Then you take them home, peel off the outside skin, and freeze them for your winter’s supply. I did that many years. Now, when I go to New Mexico, I take along an extra cooler, just for chiles. I buy as many frozen chiles as will fit in the cooler and bring them home. I am very reluctant to share them because I do not want to be without my precious chiles.

If you take my advice and go to New Mexico, bring an extra cooler and pack in as many frozen green chiles as you can to bring home with you. You will be happy that you did. Then you can make delicious dishes like this.

Corn Chowder New Mexico Style, with Hatch Green Chile

Corn Chowder, New Mexico Style

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cobs of corn,
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 c. frozen Hatch green chile + 1/4 c. juices from the chile (or 2 – 4-oz. cans)
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 medium potatoes, cooked and roughly mashed with a fork
  • 1 1/2 c. FAT FREE half and half
  • 1 t. adobo seasoning
  • 1/2 t. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 c. light sour cream

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the bacon over medium-high heat till it’s crispy.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the corn and sautee briefly, about 1 minute.
  4. Now if you are using frozen green chile, when you thaw it, some of the juices will collect on the top. This is the best juice for soup. Toss a bunch into the soup along with the chile. (If you MUST use canned green chile, don’t drain it! Toss in everything from the can, juices and all.)
  5. Add the chicken broth and potatoes and let cook till everything is hot and bubbly. If you want the soup a little thicker, add more mashed potatoes and let it cook a little longer.
  6. When you are almost ready to serve the soup, add the half and half and the seasonings, then stir in the sour cream until melted and smooth (that is, no lumps from the sour cream are left).
  7. Enjoy the hot, creamy corn and bacon green chile goodness.

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week-Secret Ingredient: Corn


Mahogany “Beef” Stew with Red Wine & Purple Potatoes

Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Purple Potatoes

Is it starting to feel more like fall for you yet? I notice it in the air here … chillier evenings, brisk mornings, a few leaves are falling already. And in the fall, I think of stews and soups and hearty warm dishes … so I know it’s still August, but the weather is telling me it’s time to make stew.

I say “beef” here because I didn’t actually use beef in this recipe … I used venison. I have a freezer full of venison and I don’t even eat meat that much! But everyone in my family hunts (besides me!) so there is always lots of venison. It’s a very lean and healthy meat, leaner than most any beef you can find. Some people think it tastes gamey, but really if it’s cooked and seasoned properly, you can’t tell the difference.

Now let’s talk about the potatoes. Have you ever heard of a purple potato? I think they are actually called blue potatoes … why on earth would they call them blue potatoes? They are most definitely purple! Nobody argues whether an eggplant is purple or tries to name it blue or red … it’s just PURPLE!

Anyway, about the potatoes. My dad grows them in his garden. You might have noticed I’m partial to purple if you’ve read any of my eggplant posts, but I’m also HIGHLY partial to potatoes. I could seriously eat potatoes all day long and never tire of them. So when you take a potato and make it purple? Yeah, these may just be the absolute perfect vegetable. My dad tells me they have as many antioxidants as blueberries. I don’t know if you’ve read about the super-powers of blueberries, but hey, trust me when I tell you that this is a super-good thing.

My dad’s purple potatoes have an intensely dark purple skin. Almost black.

Purple potato

And when you open these dark, dark purple potatoes, inside they are this lovely mottled lavender color. Look at that! Isn’t it pretty?

The lovely lavender inside of the purple potato

Maybe you have no purple potatoes … I know they are not easy to find! Don’t worry, red potatoes will stand in just fine for purple. (The lovely purple disappears into the stew!) Or yukon golds … or whatever potato you happen to have on hand, really. And if you don’t have venison, it’s okay, you can use beef. Choose a lean cut, though–and don’t worry if it’s tough. You’re going to slow cook it so it will be fall-apart tender and so tasty and warm it’ll toast your insides.

The secret ingredient in this stew is the hoison sauce. It will give your stew a complexity of flavor that nobody will quite be able to put their finger on. Shhhh! Don’t tell them! They don’t need to know all your mysterious cooking secrets … and they certainly don’t need to know how ridiculously easy this stew is to put together.

Mahogany Stew with Red Wine and Purple Potatoes

Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Purple Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. venison or beef “stew meat”, chopped in rough hunks. You can use a roast or really whatever cut of meat you like.
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 good-sized carrots, peeled and cut in thick hearty slices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 c. of beef broth
  • 1 c. of red wine (I used Malbec, but any red wine that you like to drink will do)
  • 3-4 good sized potatoes, peeled and chopped. I used 6 of the purple ones, but the ones I have are small. Just toss in potatoes until you think there’s enough potato in there!
  • About 10 whole peppercorns
  • 3 T. hoison sauce (if you don’t have any on hand, it’s easy to whip up your own hoison sauce.)
  • Chopped fresh herbs: I used a sprig of rosemary (finely chopped), thyme, pineapple sage, parsley, and basil. (It’s ok to use dried herbs here too if you don’t have fresh.)

Directions:

  1. I see a lot of crock pot stew recipes where you brown the meat and there are like 7 to 10 different steps. This is a crock pot recipe! It’s supposed to be EASY! I suppose you could do that … but frankly I am too busy … I just toss everything except the fresh herbs into a crockpot and let it cook all day on low heat. Towards the end (like in the last hour or so), add the herbs. (If you are using dried herbs, go ahead and toss them in at the beginning too!) You can add the rosemary earlier … rosemary can handle being cooked forever.
  2. Enjoy. Refrigerate the leftovers and heat them up as desired. It’s even better the next day.
Mahogany Stew with Red Wine and Purple Potatoes

This recipe was shared at Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.

 


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