New Feature: Tuesday Top Ten

Welcome to a new feature! I love making lists 🙂 Check in on Tuesdays for top ten somethings! In the interest of full disclosure, it may not always be Tuesday, there may not be ten, and, heck, it might be more like “good things” instead of “the TOP.” But whatever. 🙂

So without any further adu, today’s list is….Top Ten Fall Soups. I love soup this time of year. My only problem is somehow it ends up being 80 degrees on the day my soup is boiling on the stove. But we still enjoy it.:)

Top Ten Fall Soups

  1. Caribbean Sweet Potato Chili – This soup has two strikes. Weird flavor combos (sweet potatoes ? caribbean? soup?) But also, it is by Sandra Lee, who definitely has a knack for matchy matchy kitchens, but I am not in love with all her recipes. But trust me here, folks…YUMMY.
  2. my mom’s Chicken and Dumplings (recipe coming)
  3. Black Bean Soup 
  4. Pasta Fagioli – Olive Garden anyone? Now if I could only have the breadsticks…
  5. Tortilla Soup – Okay this is more of a summer recipe. But heck, avocadoes are still on sale. This is a great recipe.
  6. Ham and Bean Soup – don’t hate. It’s awesome.
  7. French Onion Soup (love this recipe…uses Balsamic Vinegar instead of wine!)
  8. Roasted Vegetable Minestrone – I have not actually made this version of minestrone! Sorry…but it actually looks better than the one I made, so I will be trying it soon.
  9. White Bean and Chicken Chili – I get cravings for this once a month. Odd. Yet, not? 🙂
  10. Old Timey Beef Stew (it’s what a man wants.)

What’s your favorite soup?

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Rosemary White Bean Soup

This week I made this recipe from Ina Garten. My little guy loved it, and so did my landlords (also known as my parents). I served it with La Brea organic wheat bread and a delicious salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette(see below for recipe). Note: I used canned beans. I used four cans of them, and only 4 cups of chicken stock. Also, SOO much easier with an immersion blender. I am almost tempted to ask for one for my birthday.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried white cannellini beans
  • 4 cups sliced yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium bowl, cover the beans with water by at least 1-inch and leave them in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Drain.

 

In a large stockpot over low to medium heat, saute the onions with the olive oil until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook over low heat for 3 more minutes. Add the drained white beans, rosemary, chicken stock, and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the beans are very soft. Remove the rosemary branch and the bay leaf. Pass the soup through the coarsest blade of a food mill, or place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until coarsely pureed. Return the soup to the pot to reheat and add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot.

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mix equal parts good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup (the real, expensive kind :). Add salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

 

Homemade Cream of Mushroom – Allergy Friendly

Listen, I’m not saying I’m not a little disgusted by the plopped out cold Campbell’s cream of mushroom. Would I ever eat it alone? NEVER. however, it unfortunately pops in a few rather yummy-sounding (to casserole-loving me anyway) recipes. And then comes the dilemma. Because, of course, cream of mushroom has three strikes in our household. One, it has MSG. Gross. me. out. Two, it has enough sodium for two days. If I were going to eat that much salt,  HELLO, I’d have a big mac. And three, of course, it has milk. So I usually just find a new recipe. But the other day I was craving pork chops, and I was craving SMOTHERED pork chops. With cream of mushroom soup. So I invented a homemade, dairy-free one! Thought it might be useful for anyone else who either doesn’t like the commercial cream-of-mushroom or needs it allergy-friendly. It was great!

{See below for mushroom-topped pork chop recipe.}

Ingredients:

  • a carton of fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • one onion, sliced thinly (or diced, if you prefer)
  • rice milk 1-2 cups
  • 1 T flour or cornstarch, whichever you’d prefer
  • olive oil
  • dried thyme, oregano, and garlic
  • 2 T dairy-free butter
  • 1/2 c. organic chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  • thoroughly wash mushrooms
  • drizzle olive oil in pan and heat until shimmering
  • saute mushrooms and onions with salt and pepper. They should be cooked until very soft.
  • Add 1/2 t dried thyme, oregano, and garlic.
  • Add butter to middle of pan. When melted, mix in flour. Use wisk to mix it in.
  • Add chicken broth and rice milk. Cook for 8 minutes or so until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe suggestion: I browned my pork chops for five minutes on each side in olive oil, covered in foil, prepared my mushroom sauce and poured on top. We all enjoyed it!

 

Black Bean Soup

Is it weird that I LOVE black bean soup? I was really excited when I saw a recipe on my favorite cooking website, For the Love of Cooking. It is really, really good. Very flavorful. It had such a nice creaminess it was hard to believe there was no dairy. I don’t own an immersion blender, so I scooped out as much as I could into my regular blender. I actually enjoyed that there were a few hearty bites of vegetables remaining.

Black Bean Soup, courtesy For the Love of Cooking website

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 5 cups of chicken stock OR vegetable stock (I used chicken)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 14 oz cans of black beans, rinsed & drained, (divided)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp corn starch (combined with a bit of cold stock – mixed thoroughly) (optional)

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot add onion, bell pepper and carrots, saute until slightly tender. Add garlic and stir frequently for 45 seconds. Add stock, seasonings and half of the beans. Cook over medium low heat for 1-2 hours. Remove bay leaf, and blend using an immersion blender. Add the remainder of the beans and corn starch slurry if you desire a thicker soup (make sure the soup is boiling when adding the corn starch). Taste and re-season if necessary.

  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Cotija cheese, shredded (optional … I substituted avocado.)

Garnish the soup with toppings. Enjoy.

Ina Garten’s Ribollita Soup

Back when we were rich and had the Food Network, Ina Garten was my unlikely favorite. She isn’t flashy or dynamic or commercial-looking (like Giada 🙂 but man oh man. She can cook. I learned a lot from her. When I made this I used canned beans (quicker), regular bacon (cheaper), and skipped the step with the food processor (less mess). I’m sure it wasn’t as good as Ina’s, but it was good. Obviously if you’re avoiding dairy skip the cheese topping. I bet some crisp bacon bits on top would be nice in its place.

A note about the bread: If you are not eating wheat, I imagine boiled white potatoes would add similar heartiness, although I never tried it. If you choose to include bread, Harris Teeter carries the “La Brea” line of bread products. The baguettes (among other items) are free of soy, egg, and dairy so that is what I would recommend using.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 pound large diced pancetta or smoked bacon
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (3 stalks)
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped or shredded savoy cabbage, optional
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 cups sourdough bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, cover the beans with cold water by 1-inch and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to soak overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beans are tender. Set the beans aside to cool in their liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stockpot. Add the pancetta and onions and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon of salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the cabbage, if using, the kale, and basil and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, reserving their cooking liquid. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree half of the beans with a little of their liquid. Add to the stockpot, along with the remaining whole beans. Pour the bean cooking liquid into a large measuring cup and add enough chicken stock to make 8 cups. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add the bread to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowls sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.

 

Ina Garten’s Lentil and Vegetable Soup

I am embarassed to say that like beer, coupons, and gardening, lentils are something I had avoided until a few years ago. I have been missing out. I was interested to learn that lentils have the most protein of any bean, next to soy. I fed them a lot to my son when he was a baby for that reason. I’ve heard great things about this soup from my friend, Brandi, who makes it often.

  • 1 pound French green lentils
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large onions)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white part only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on top
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium-diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium-diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

 In a large stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions, leeks, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through. Check the seasonings. Add the red wine and serve hot, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.

Katie’s Mexican Stew

My friend Kate made this for me a week after I had a baby. I devoured it. I am very impressed with the flavors and wholesome yumminess in every bite!
 
— 1 lb chicken – I boil it and pull it apart (shredded)
— Cooked rice (start with 3/4 c uncooked) and 1.25 c water – I use less than normal so it doesn’t get too mushy when you add it to the soup – I prefer brown rice, but I’m sure either would be good
— can of black beans – rinsed
— can of corn – rinsed
— can of diced tomatoes – rinsed
— a few cups of chicken broth – however much you like, I guess depending on your preferred consistency
— lime juice (usually do about 1 lime’s worth)
— about 1 T of chili powder (again can vary based on preference here)
— about 1/2 T of cumin
— salt and pepper
— a bay leaf or two – kinda weird, but I feel like it really does make a difference
— a little garlic or garlic powder
I just mix it all together and let it simmer for a bit.
Toppings:
— chopped cilantro
— chopped avocado
— slices of lime
— tortilla chips
— (shredded cheese)
— (sour cream)

Reagan’s Three Bean Chili

Three-Bean Chili

 

My entire family loves this recipe including my meat-loving husband and two kids 3 and under.  I freeze onion and green pepper in the following amounts to help me throw this together very quickly.  Don’t get upset because you can’t have the usual chili toppings, I add sliced avocado or guacamole. 

 

Yield:  4-6 servings

 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 c. broth of your preference

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal (omit if you would prefer)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water and next 9 ingredients (through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

Quick Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Quick Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

 (adapted from myrecipes.com)

Yield:  3 to 4 servings

 

1 medium zucchini

1 pound lean ground beef

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 – 4 cups beef broth

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 cup sliced carrots

1 (15.8-ounce) can cannellini or great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups loosely packed torn fresh spinach

 

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut each half cross-wise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

Brown ground beef and garlic in a large Dutch oven, stirring until beef crumbles; drain. Stir in pepper, salt, broth, Italian-style stewed tomatoes, and sliced carrots; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir zucchini slices and beans into mixture; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in torn spinach.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro and Lime

Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro and Lime

(adapted from recipes.com)

 

Yield:  Makes about 10 cups

 

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, diced (3 cups)

4 celery ribs, diced (1 cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 1 pound or 3 cups)

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 bay leaves

3 cups cooked shredded chicken (about 1 pound boneless chicken breasts)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

 

1. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until tender and almost caramelized. Add celery, and cook, stirring often, 10 more minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds, being careful not to brown garlic.

2. Add basil and next 3 ingredients, and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, broth, and bay leaves; bring soup to a low boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken, and cook 2 more minutes. Skim any foam from the top of the soup while cooking, and discard. Remove bay leaves, and discard. Divide soup evenly among individual bowls, and top with cilantro and lime wedges.