Garden Vegetable Soup

Just when the garden goes bizerk, you now have a go-to recipe to use up the ingredients that start piling up in your fridge.  Don’t I know it.

I have made this soup a few times now.  My brother in law’s wife was out of town and he recently  came for dinner for a few evenings in a row.  I made this soup and heated it, then reheated it, then added more veggies and heated it again.  Grinning between spoonfuls (and seconds or thirds) night after night, he gave me the advice that it just keeps getting better and better.  My advice to you is use what is in your garden, in your fridge, the stuff you get for good deals at farmstands and that which your co-workers bestow on you, usually in form of zuchinni.  Use it all and use it here.  You won’t be disappointed AND, it’s great for Fall.  Freeze it for those late, cool evenings when you really don’t have the energy to make anything for dinner.   Serve it with bread that makes you happy and a great wine or hard cider.

Ingredients

There is a ton of stuff I pulled from my personal garden;  potatoes, broccoli, green and purple beans, tomatoes, rutabagas, onions, garlic, carrots, red peppers, peas, yellow crookneck squash and need-I-say-abundant zuchinni.  I also added sliced crimini mushrooms and corn cut from the cob that I received from my neighbor.  To complete your soup, you will also need:

Olive oil

5 C. water

3 T. beef consumme or beef broth

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 8 oz. can tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 t. dried oregano

2 t. dried basil

1 T. salt

1 T. black pepper

*Optional – you can also add a pound of cooked ground beef to make Garden Vegetable Beef Soup which is amazing too.

Directions

Slice up all your veggies first.  Chop the onion small.  Mince the garlic, dice the red pepper.  Slice your carrots on the bias, quarter your potatoes, rutabagas, beans, zuchinni and squash into bite size pieces, etc.

Get out a huge pot and place it on your stove.  Turn the heat to medium high.  Add a few swirls of olive oil, then add the onion and saute for about three minutes.  Add the carrots, red pepper, mushrooms and broccoli and saute for two more minutes.  Add the minced garlic and stir gently while cooking.  At this point, put your salt and pepper in and continue to cook vegetables until soft.  Add the water and beef consumme, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir gently.  Add the remaining vegetables (potatoes, rutabagas, beans, zuchinni, squash etc.) except peas which go in last, and bring soup to a boil.  *If you are adding beef, add it here.  Once your soup is boiling, turn heat to low to simmer.  Add bay leaf, oregano and basil.  Test soup for salt content and add more if necessary.  Remember, the longer your soup sits, the saltier it will become because your vegetables absord the liquid, so go sparingly.  Simmer soup for about 20 minutes until potatoes are done cooking.  Turn off the heat. Now you can add the peas!  You can either serve it now or wait until the next day when it’s really great!

I have served this in soup bowls along side a salad or in ramekins along side a larger meal.  I have taken it to work and put it in the freezer.  It’s a very good soup to add veggies to night after night.  If you do this, remember to add more water, consumme, salt and pepper to taste.  Please let me know how much you enjoy it.  I just love it!

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Meat Lovers Chili

This recipe is by request.   My friend said, “I want a bean-less chili.”  I omitted the beans and added bacon instead.   If you are a meat-lover, this is the chili recipe for you.   This chili is great for lunch or dinner on cold winter days.  For breakfast, you can wrap it in a tortilla with scrambled eggs on the weekends.  Serve this with sides of cheddar cheese, green onion tips, radish slices, avocado slices and tortilla chips.

Ingredients

4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped

1 lb ground beef

½ C. chopped white onion

½ C. chopped red pepper

3 T. chili powder

1 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 t. hot sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, with juice

1 14 oz. can tomato sauce, with juice

1 4 oz. can chopped green chilies, with juice

Directions

In a deep skillet, brown the bacon.  Remove the bacon from the pan onto paper towels to cool.  Add the beef to the pan and brown.  When the beef is nearly done, add the chopped white onion and red pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat and transfer contents to a crock pot and cook on low for four hours.

Enjoy!

Chicken, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

If you want something delicious and healthy for you during the icy winter months, try this soup.  It’s not only full of vitamins and fiber, it’s also good for your budget.  I look forward to coming home to this soup on weeknights.  Prepare it on Sunday afternoon and it will be waiting to welcome you home after your long day.

Ingredients

1 T. Olive oil
3 large shallots, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch segments
1 lb. ground chicken
1 T. herbes de Provence
5 C. chicken broth
1 14 oz. diced canned tomatoes, with juice
1 14 oz. canned white beans, like Great Northern
1 1/2 C. cooked brown rice

1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 c. chopped flatleaf parsley
grated parmesean cheese to top

Directions
Heat the oil in your soup pot and add shallots, carrots, and bell peppers and saute’ over medium heat until softened, and just start to brown, 10 minutes.  Add Chicken and cook stirring occassionally until cooked through. Add herbs, broth, tomatoes, beans and rice.  Bring soup to a boil.  Stir in chopped kale and reduce heat to a simmer.  Place the lid on the soup and cook for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and top with parsley and grated parmesean

Another way you can serve this is with a baked cheesy toast on top.  Slice french bread, turn on the broiler.  Butter top side of bread and sprinkle parmesan over it.  Place soup in bowl on a cookie sheet and top with cheese bread.  Put into the oven, under the broiler for 4 minutes or until toasted and bubbly.

Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup

Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup
Welcome to March.
Today I was outside in the orchard planting my first Honeycrisp apple tree.  Although the temp was round 45 degrees today,  the wind was cool and there is enough moisture in the air to give you a chill.  I stood back shivering, and thinking of the apples this tree is going to yeild if I take good care of him.  One day, it is going to be warm, but for now, it was time to go inside.  Brr.  There was just enough of this soup left to warm me up!
I made this oven roasted potato soup last weekend when there was still snow on the ground.  I had been thinking of recipes for the month of March.  The family I married into is Irish and each year I host an Irish dinner on St. Patrick’s day.  I have been doing this for the past seven years.  To commemorate this day, one can only eat so much corned beef and cabbage.  This year, I needed to come up with something consistent with the Irish culture and spectacular enough to spur some excitement from the guests.  If a soup can be spectacular, this is it.  It’s earthy, flavorful, and roasting the vegetables adds flavor that simmered vegetables cannot.  I will also mention that it stores well, so it can be made ahead of time and reheated.  It makes for great weeknight meals when you are running your kids all over town and it is vegetarian if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Oven Roasted Red Potato Soup

Ingredients
5 large red potatoes, diced medium
1 large red onion, diced medium
12 oz sliced mushrooms, I used cremini
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
3 T. olive oil, divided
5 C. vegetable or chicken broth
4 stalks of celery, sliced thin on the bias
3/4 C. cream
1 T. chives
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
On a large cookie sheet, preferably a jelly roll pan, combine potatoes, onion, mushrooms, garlic cloves, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Using your hands arrange the vegetables on the cookie sheet turning to coat evenly with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning every15 minutes until golden brown and fragrant.  Meanwhile, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven and saute celery until just cooked through and slightly soft, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
When vegetables are golden brown, remove pan from oven.  In a food processor, add half the vegetables and 1 C. of chicken broth.  Blend until smooth.  Add the vegetables and the vegetable puree to the large pot with the celery.  Add remaining broth and bring to a simmer, stirring occassionally.  Turn off heat and add cream and chives.  Serve with wheat rolls and a green salad. 
Enjoy.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup
Comfort food.  This is what it’s all about.  This is a wonderful soup to serve on chilly evenings and it’s cost effective too.  The crunchy french bread, creamy melted swiss cheese on top of a steaming bowl of soup really can’t be beat.  Formal enough for Christmas eve dinner which was served at my house as a kid, it is flexible to whip up quickly and serve for lunch.  I have also served this as a first course for dinner with friends.  When this simple soup comes out of the oven, it looks amazing and smells delicious.  Everyone seems to get very excited about this soup and they are delighted when they are served their very own.  It’s a simple way to dress up any meal.
When your soup is prepared and you are starting to assemble the bread and cheese take a moment to decide how you want your soup to be presented.  For instance, the traditional way is to leave the bread slices whole and lay the swiss cheese on top.  Alternately, you can slice up the bread into large croutons and pile on top of the soup and then add the cheese.  Your choice.  Sometimes I also use parmesan cheese along with the swiss.  Let’s get started.
Ingredients
I T. butter
2 swirls of olive oil
2 or 3 large yellow onions sliced thin
salt & pepper
5 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. dry white wine
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1 t. dried thyme
4 thick slices of french bread
2 T. butter for spreading on bread
4 slices of swiss cheese
Directions
In a stock pot or dutch oven over medium high, add butter and olive oil and heat through.  Add sliced onions, salt and pepper.  Give them a good stir to coat and let them cook for ten minutes stirring occassionally.  The goal is to soften, not carmelize.  Add stock, wine, worchestershire sauce and thyme and stir together.  Cover the soup and bring it to a boil.  Immediately turn the temperature down to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
Turn your oven on broil.  In oven safe soup bowls, ladle out enough soup to measure 1/2 inch from the top of the bowl.  Butter one hearty slice of thick french bread and place it in the center of the bowl covering soup.  Lay one slice of swiss cheese on top of the bread.  Put the bowls on a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet into the oven.  Watch carefully to make sure it browns, but does not burn.  The cheese should be bubbly and golden brown.  Carefully remove hot soup from oven and serve.  Serves four.  Enjoy!

Fish Chowder

Today it rained and rained and rained.  Where has our summer gone?  The wind is coming up and the leaves are starting to turn. There was one small moment that the rain stopped its noisy downpour this afternoon, but everyone was sleeping so we missed our chance to get out and get some fresh air.  Maybe tomorrow.  All this weather has made me crave a hearty soup with potatoes and celery and a creamy broth. I spent some time crafting this recipe while the snoozers were still snoozing.  When everyone woke up, the whole house was filled with the smell of simmering chowder and hot french bread.
Most of the recipes I researched to make Fish Chowder started off with dicing up about five pieces of bacon, rendering the fat and using it to start your saute of vegetables.  I love bacon, but good lord that would make for an intensley unhealthy soup and isn’t soup supposed to make you feel good?  Lets put some good stuff in it.  For the potatoes, you can use Yukon, yellow, red, white, sweet potatoes, whichever.  Be sure to do your chopping ahead of time which will make your assembly smoother and expect to eat as soon as the soup is complete. Reheating this soup with the previously cooked fish is possible, but it tastes better when eaten immediately.  If you want to make it ahead of time, prepare it right up until you add the fish and refridgerate it.  Reheat the soup to a simmer and start adding the fish from there the day you expect to serve it. The salt content may appear high, but remember you are seasoning 4 cups of potatoes, 10 cups of broth, and this soup feeds eight people.
Fish Chowder
2 swirls of olive oil
2 t. butter
2 yellow onions, chopped 1/2 inch dice
1 1/2 C. celery, chopped on bias
2 t. white pepper
2 t. salt
1 t. thyme
1 bay leaf
4 C. potatoes, diced 3/4 inch
10 C. fish stock, shellfish stock, or chicken broth
1 T. chicken boullion cubes or consumme’
1 thick cod fillet cut in healthy pieces
3/4 C. milk
1/2 C. whipping cream
2 T. chopped parsley
1 T. bacon bits
In large dutch oven, add olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Once melted, add onions, celery, pepper, salt, thyme and bay leaf and saute about 6 minutes until soft, but not browned.  Add potatoes, stock and boullion and bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes are done cooking.
While your soup is simmering, add the fish pieces and cover for about 8 minutes.  By this time the fish should be cooked through and perfectly flaky.  Pour in milk and cream and gently stir to combine.  Spoon into soup bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and bacon bits.
Enjoy it with a loaf of warmed french bread.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Sherry

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Sherry
This soup is top shelf.  You will love it. Your spouse will love it.  Your sisters and brothers will love it.  Your great Aunt Adrienne will love it.  Your kids probably won’t love it, but all your friends will.  Take it.  Make it. And when you sit down and take a moment to savor that first spoonful of creamy tomato basil soup on a blustery, rainy day, your heart will be light with sillyness and you won’t believe that you made something this good.  You will be eternally grateful you found this web site and your family will be too.  The pictures even look good which means that it’s amazing in real life!  Now, let’s hop to it! 

By the way, I have made this soup over and over again and tested it with vegetable stock too.  It adds a depth of flavor which I found wonderful. The cream and sherry at the end really is what sets it apart from other tomato soups…..you know, those other drab ones.  And do use lots of pepper.  C’mon, no holding back.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Sherry

Get out your dutch oven and place it over a burner on your stovetop set on medium heat.

A couple swirls olive oil
1 T. butter
1 small yellow onion diced
1 large clove garlic
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
1 t. sugar
1 t. Italian spice blend (trio of oregano, basil and parsley)
3 C. water
2 t. beef bouillon paste or 2 beef bouillon cubes
3/4 C. sherry
3/4 C. whipping cream
1 healthy bunch basil, chiffonade
salt and lots of pepper

In a dutch oven, add the olive oil and butter and melt over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook three minutes.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper.  Cook for one minute more.  Add can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, beef boullion paste and sugar and italian spices.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes.  Turn off heat, add sherry, whipping cream, basil, salt and pepper.  Blend and serve in warmed bowls.   

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Inspiration
in(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən
a. A divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.
b. The action or power of moving the intellect or emotions.

Inspiration presents itself differently to each of us and comes to us when we are actively seeking it, by accident or sneaks up on us by surprise.  For some, it is harder to find and is rarely found.  For others, it can be a relentless carousel that bullies the mind with no escape.  How we become inspired largely depends on who we invite into our lives and how we view the world.  Inspiration is unique, can be difficult to recognize, yet it is so impactful.  Inspiration drives imagination.  What inspires you?

I have a good friend and several years ago, she and I were standing in her kitchen, wine in hand and reviewing her recipe box.  I was taken with her collection since it was comprised of all sorts of recipes, but many of them tried and true from family members.  She impressed me because she would pull one out and without a name on it, she could tell me where it came from and the circumstance in which she recieved it.  Not just for one of them, but for all of them!  She’d say, “Oh, and this one came from my aunt Ruby on my mother’s side of the family.  Aunt Ruby brought this quiche to the family picnic at Washington Park the day before Memorial Day three years ago.  Oh, it was so good!”  What made the afternoon, and the recipes I ‘borrowed’ from her so great, was the commentary under which they were shared with me.  I felt as if I knew aunt Ruby, was at the picnic at Washington Park and I could just taste the quiche and enjoyed it as much as my friend did.   That day was long ago, but since then, I was not only inspired by the opportunities that awaited me in the kitchen (and all the one offs that have resulted from them since then), but inspired to remember where my recipes came from and I hope that I can make someone elses afternoon the way she made mine.
This soup was one of the recipes she shared.  It came from one of her family members and is one of my favorites.  It can stand on its own or can be served as a first course at a fine dinner.  It can even serve a crowd and recently did so at a formal function at our local yatch club.  I can tell you right now that this is the soup to have when you have a cold, chest congestion, headache and sniffles.  I make this for my friends when they are under the weather and I leave it on their doorstep in a grocery bag with a loaf of french bread.  Whatever your occasion, give it a try.  I’ll bet you have someone ask you for the recipe.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

3, 14.5 oz. cans of Chicken Broth
1 T. green or red Thai Curry Paste
1 sweet potato, diced medium
1 t. salt
5 or 6 boneless,skinless chicken tenders
5 oz. packaged Thai noodles
1 tomato diced or 8 grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can coconut milk
1 C. chopped cilantro leaves

Using a stock pot or dutch oven, start your soup by combining the chicken broth, curry paste and diced sweet potato.  Add salt.  Coiver and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes.  Add chicken and simmer for another 3 minutes.  Add noodles and tomato.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn heat on low and stir in coconut milk and chopped cilantro.  Serve hot.

Tip:  You can use Ramen noodles out of the package in place of Thai noodles which I have done here (see picture).  Also, you can substitute ready cooked chicken if you have leftovers or purchased the fresh cooked whole chicken at the store.  I have done it both ways and it tastes great.  Just remember to reduce your chicken cooking time if using precooked chicken.

Enjoy!

Red Potato & Sausage Soup


Fall is here and it has brought with it, the rain and wind. The light in the evening sky gets dimmer with each passing day and what seems to be on everyone’s mind is should they or shouldn’t they get a flu shot, when does daylight savings time begin and what’s for dinner?

Remember when you were a child and you were gone all day, how it felt when you finally came home in the late afternoon and the house was warm with the savory smell of dinner cooking? That creature comfort repeats itself in my mind every time the Fall clock strikes five o’clock and I am making my way home from the office. Usually it is dinner waiting at home for me to make, but if you put forth a little effort on the weekend, you can have leftovers that welcome you and your family home during the week.

I first made this soup last Fall. I used to wait at my front door for my biweekly delivery of organic fruits and vegetables brought to me by one of my favorite organic distributers, Dandelion Organic (visit them at http://www.dandelionorganic.com/). Dandelion Organic delivers organically grown fruits and vegetables produced by growers that live in Whatcom County and the surrounding area to people in the community who sign up for their service. One day, they had left for me in my blue bin, organic kale amongst other seasonal fruits and vegetables. Kale used to be that ‘green stuff’ that I ignored at the market because I had no idea what it was or how to use it. There are two reasons that I like Dandelion Organic. One, they gave me something that I had to research in order to use which is the attraction for me with cooking. Two, their service. Remember when we had all that cold, snowy weather last Winter and the supermarkets were bare because the trucking companies failed to make deliveries? Through a winter wonderland, I made my way home, and similarly to the smell of dinner cooking in the oven when you come home after a long day, there, on my front porch was an entire bin of organically grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables delivered especially to me when all the produce markets were bare. Now that is service! So, go right now and get your kale. Your dinner awaits you!

Red Potato & Sausage Soup

1 lb Ground Sausage
1 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Diced Red Onion
3 T Uncooked Bacon, Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
10 C. Chicken Broth OR 10 C. Water mixed with Chicken Bouillon mix
8 -10 Baby Red Potatoes, sliced in 1/4 inch slices
3/4 C. Milk or Cream
1/4 Bunch Kale, Chiffonade
Salt & Pepper

In a dutch oven, add sausage and red pepper flakes and cook on medium, stirring often, until sausage is cooked through. Remove from dutch oven onto plate covered with a paper towel. Using dutch oven, saute together the red onion, bacon and minced garlic. I usually add the minced garlic toward the end of the saute because if you overcook it, your soup will taste bitter. Add chicken broth and potatoes and cook until potatoes are cooked through. Add milk and sausage mixture to soup and stir slowly. Add kale to soup and stir until moist. Serve with a loaf of Tuscan or other crusty bread. Serves 6 to 8 people.