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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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
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
- Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I ran across a beautiful vegan cobb salad the other day and it made me think: why don’t I ever do a salad in stripes? My salads are always so random and scattered … couldn’t we try a nice organized salad for a change? Something in nice straight lines.
As a child, I remember looking at a cobb salad on the menu and thinking: why would anyone bother to go to all that trouble of arranging all that stuff in straight lines … you’re just going to mix it all up together when you eat it, right? So what’s the point?
Well, I don’t suppose there really is a point. Maybe it’s just a different way of looking at salad. I mean, a stripey salad can be horizontal.
Or it can be vertical:
Putting it all in nice straight lines makes it look all grown-up and sophisticated. I think I finally get it … it’s a grown-up way to play with your food.
A Chef Salad in Stripes
- Fresh spinach leaves
- Tomato, chopped (or wedges)
- Smoked gouda cheese
- Lowfat ham
- Cucumber slices
- Red onion
- Carrot slices
- Toasted pinons
- Avocado slices
- Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing (recipe here)
I think my favorite way to look at this salad is to tilt it a bit and make it diagonal. And then mix it all up into a big mess, drizzle with Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing … and eat it.
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
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.
This recipe was shared at Sunday Night Soup Night.
Leftover Teriyaki chicken is fantabulous on pizza … especially when you add a medley of colorful vegetables and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
All these colorful veggies kinda reminds me of a rainbow … and something a good friend said to me not so long ago when I was feeling down:
“To find your rainbow, you have to have rain. After the rain there is Beauty and a promise of riches … in every aspect. You had a shower … and when that rainbow begins to grow … you will know.”
~ Debi from Recipes for my Boys
I have such wise, wonderful friends.
Rainbow Teriyaki Chicken Pizza
Of course you can adjust the vegies to whatever you prefer. This is just what I happened to have on hand …
- 1 pizza crust (I make my own with part whole wheat flour/part white, pre-bake them till light brown, then freeze for later …)
- Teriyaki chicken, heated, sliced and diced into small hunks (here’s my recipe for Teriyaki chicken)
- Teriyaki sauce
- Carrot, cut into thin slivers
- Broccoli, steamed till crisp-tender
- Red onion slices
- Cucumber, sliced
- Shredded mozzarella and a bit of cheddar cheese (for color!)
- Fresh cilantro leaves
Take your pizza crust and spread it with a light coat of teriyaki sauce, then cover it with hunks of teriyaki chicken. Arrange the carrot slivers randomly over the chicken.
Now arrange the pieces of cucumber, red onions, and broccoli about on the pizza, then cover with mozzarella, adding a few sprinkles of cheddar on top.
Bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and everything is nice and hot. Sprinkle the top of the pizza with cilantro leaves just before serving.
This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s Church Supper, Weekend Potluck, Cast Party Wednesday, Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange, These Chicks Cooked Recipe Swap, Foodie Friday, and Fit and Fabulous Fridays.
a.k.a. “Gypsy Stew” (thanks to my friend Melissa at ChinDeep for this name!)
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you want to reduce the fat in your soup, chill it overnight, then skim off the fat that collects on the top.
- About 15 minutes before serving, chop the celery leaves and add to the pot.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.
This recipe was shared on Tastetastic Thursdays, Full Plate Thursdays, Cast Party Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week: Healthy/Low Cal Recipes, Sunday Night Soup Night, and Katherine Martinelli’s Bean Blog Hop.
This is one of those recipes I invented just for my kids many many years ago, to try to get them to try something “out of the ordinary”. It’s quick and easy to make, and it’s even pretty healthy. We have made it countless times–I believe it is this dish that got my daughter to try Chinese food. She will eat several different varieties of fried rice, she loves egg rolls, has tried things like “sesame chicken”, and she loves egg drop soup.
We taught my sister how to make Kid Fried Rice, and she thought of the idea of adding chopped up hot dog, which I thought was absolutely disgusting, but the kids loved it. If you use the nitrate-and-preservative-free hot dogs, it’s really not TOO bad.
My son will actually eat this sometimes too, which is really saying something. He has got to be the pickiest eater on the planet. Perhaps even the pickiest eater in the multiverse.
When I used to have two adults in the house, I would stir fry some other vegies and meat on the side for the adults to add to the fried rice.
Kid Fried Rice (KFR)
You could also try adding some peas or chopped celery or maybe even some bell pepper or spinach with the carrots for a little more color and flavor.
- 2 eggs
- 1 – 2 teaspoons or so of canola or other vegetable oil
- About 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped (so you have about 1/3 cup of chopped carrot)
- 2 cups of hot cooked rice (my daughter prefers the Bismati rice)
- 1 hot dog, chopped (optional–I didn’t use any hot dog this time! — you can substitute other meat of course, whatever your kids like!)
- A bit of soy sauce
- Start the rice cooking. While it’s cooking, chop the garlic and carrot.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a teaspoon of water till fluffy, seasoning with a good sprinkling of Red Robin Seasoning (or other seasoned salt) and a bit of pepper.
- Heat a frying pan to medium-hot. Add the eggs and scramble briefly, but remove them from the pan while they are still very wet. Do NOT cook the eggs fully. When you add them to the hot rice later, they will finish cooking then.
- Clear the pan of any residual eggs, then heat again over medium hot heat. Add the oil and swirl around the pan, then sautee the carrots and garlic in the hot oil for just about 3 – 5 minutes, or until the carrot is crisp tender.
- Add the rice (and meat if you are using it) and sautee for just 2 or 3 minutes longer, stirring as you cook to mix up all the rice and vegies evenly.
- Remove the rice mixture from the heat and add the eggs, chopping with a spatula to break them into small pieces. Mix the eggs into the hot rice.
- Serve to your hungry kiddos! Make sure you tell them it’s KID fried rice — it’s not for grownups!
Oh I wish the sun didn’t go down so early now! It’s so hard to get a good picture in the evening …
This recipe was shared at Fit and Fabulous Fridays.
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.
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.
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
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.
This recipe was shared at It’s a Keeper Thursdays.
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.
And when you open these dark, dark purple potatoes, inside they are this lovely mottled lavender color. Look at that! Isn’t it pretty?
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 Beef Stew with Red Wine and Purple Potatoes
- 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.)
- 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.
- Enjoy. Refrigerate the leftovers and heat them up as desired. It’s even better the next day.
This recipe was shared at Gooseberry Patch’s Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup.