Monday, November 30, 2009

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup


I thought I remembered Robin posting this on the blog, but I couldn't find it. Instead I found her recipe on her recipe archive. It just sounded like a nice, healthy, hearty little soup.

So, I thought it was called "Minnesota Wild Rice Soup" because it would help keep you warm in Minnesota. Turns out, Minnesota is where they grow the wild rice...who would have thought? Also, it is pretty hard to find wild rice at the grocery store. I had to buy 2 boxes of real Minnesota Wild Rice at $3.99 each...yikes!

This was a pretty good soup. For some reason, I was thinking it would have cheese and chicken in it...I guess I have had one too many chicken and wild rice casseroles! I served it with homemade white bread. Not sure if I will make it again, but we did enjoy it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Root Vegetable Soup

I've got one more that I tried this month ... a nice smooth Root Vegetable Soup. I love pureed soups so this was a great find. Also, if you are curious about using other winter veggies like rutabagas and parsnips but don't know what to do with them it is a good experimental recipe.

3 carrots, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 T. sunflower oil
2 T. butter
1.5 quarts water
1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. creme fraiche or sour cream
fresh dill

Put carrots through onion in a large saucepan with the oil and butter and fry lightly. Cover and sweat over low heat for 15 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Pour in water, bring to a boil and season well. Cover and simmer 20 min. until the veggies are soft. Using a food processor puree soup until smooth. Return to pan and add milk and stir to reheat. Remove from heat and stir in creme fraiche ... top with dill.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Looking for a Quick, Delicious Meal?

Then this French Onion Soup recipe is NOT for you. OMG! Talk about the longest cooking session ever. This probably would have been okay, but I didn't really plan for the commitment. I am not great at Prior Proper Planning...

First you cook the onions in the oven for over 2 hours.

Then you saute the onions for another... hour.

Then you actually add some ingredients and it has to simmer for like hour!! Then you have to toast up some bread and broil with the cheese!!

Whew!! The recipe I found was nice because it had so many pictures. I knew I didn't cook mine enough when it didn't match the pictures:) My parents and I just had some and they like it...I guess it was worth it!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slow cooker Beef and Barley Soup

Since I had barley leftover from last week, I found this recipe that I could do in my crockpot.


It took some prep to do before you put it in the crockpot. I am usually against that. The soup turned out ok. I swear the carrots still weren't quite done after being in the crockpot all day. The meat had a nice texture...not buttery like the stew I posted, but fine. The barely turned out really good though.

To be honest, the entire time I was making this I keep thinking how good a mushroom and barley soup sounded. Doesn't that sound good?

I served it with some homemade wheat bread from my breadmachine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pasta Fagioli

This was a simple version of Pasta Fagioli soup that I found in that same Encyclopedia of Soups. It was good ... and filling.
4 T. olive oil
1 onion, minced (I subbed leek)
2 carrots, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
14 oz. can chickpeas, drained
7 oz. can canellini beans, drained
2/3 c. passata (pureed tomatoes)
1/2 c. water
1.5 qt. vegetable or chicken stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
scant 2 c. dried pasta shells
parmesan cheese (to top)
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped veggies and cook over low heat for 5-7 min. Add both beans, mix, and cook for 5 more 5 min. Stir in the passata and water and cook 2-3 min. Add 2 c. stop, rosemary sprig and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a low boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Pour in the remaining stock, add the pasta and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook pasta for 7-8 min. or according to manufacturer's suggestion. Remove the rosemary and serve soup with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

Found this recipe on Cooking I didn't use all the sour cream it called for, but I did use whole milk. I also didn't have any green onions on hand so I used some dried chives that were in my spice cupboard and some minced onion. I think it definitely need some kind of onion flavor.

My husband and I both thought this was pretty good!!! We topped it with extra cheese and bacon...Guess which bowl was my husbands?

Double Potato Soup

Made this recipe for the third time last week. Slightly different than the standard tomato based vegetable soups that I make so often. You could make it vegetarian, but I think it is better with the smoky notes from the bacon. Ham would suffice, but you get more bang for your buck from bacon.

Like so many soups, it's better the 2nd day. I usually try to make soup in the morning, so it has the day to sit before dinner. Plus, dinner prep only involves reheating.

1 teaspoon olive oil
2-4 slices bacon, chopped (could omit to make vegan)
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cubed peeled sweet potato
2 cups diced unpeeled red potato
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, mostly drained
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups chopped kale
1 (15.5-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon; sauté 3 minutes.
2. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add potatoes through thyme, stirring to combine; cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.
3. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat.
4. Add kale and simmer 25 minutes.
5. Add beans; simmer 5 minutes

Chicken Minestrone

I hate posting without a picture but sometimes it happens that way. We had this great soup with company over the weekend and with the craziness I forgot to take a snapshot. It turned out really well and I love that it doesn't make a ton of soup. If you haven't already you have to try the Penzey's soup bases ... so worth the $8.00 splurge and no MSG. This recipe I found in one of those Barnes & Noble generic sale cookbooks, The Cooks Encyclopedia of Soup. Serves 4

1 T. evoo
2 chicken thighs
3 bacon slices, chopped
1 onion, minced (I subbed leek)
a few basil leaves, minced
a few rosemary leaves, minced
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 large carro, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 small zuchini, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 or 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 qt. chicken stock (I added a little more)
1.5 c. frozen peas
scant 1 c. small soup pasta

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and fry for about 5 min. on each side, remove with a slotted spoon, set aside. Add bacon, onion and herbs to the pan and cook slowly stirring constantly, for about 5 min. Add potatoes, carrot, zucchini, celery and cook for 5-7 min. Return chicken to pan. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 35-40 min. Remove chicken and place on board and chop. Stir the peas and pasta into soup and return to a boil. Simmer for 7-8 min. Return meat to soup and adjust seasoning. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lentil-Sausage Soup

My husband actually found this recipe for Lentil-Sausage Soup on He was looking for something that was similar to the soup at Carrabba's. This one is pretty healthy and we both really liked it. My older daughter enjoyed it son didn't fight the 5 bites I made him eat :) Here is a before and after picture...Before I put it in the food processor that is.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Best Beef Stew EVER.


Last year I tried a Hungarian Beef Stew that I found in a Cook Illustrated issue. I enjoyed the stew, but let's face it, that is a lot of paprika! However, I was really impressed with how the stew was made and how it turned out. I started on a quest to find a cooks illustrated version of a regular beef stew. Now, I don't know if you have ever tried to find CI's recipes on the internet, but it is tough, but after much googling, I found one. When I made it, perfection. We ended up having this stew about once a month...whenever the chuck roast was on sale. I like it because the prep can be done earlier in the day (ie during naptime) and since it cooks in the oven, you don't even have to think about it until it is done. I doubled up on my soups and stews this month because a)my dad was coming for dinner and he demands MEAT and b)we were in the middle of a hurricane and it seemed like good stew weather. If you like beef stew, you must try this.


Serves 6 TO 8
Make this stew in an ovenproof Dutch oven, preferably with a capacity of 8 quarts but nothing less than 6 quarts. Choose one with a wide bottom; this will allow you to brown the meat in just two batches.
• 3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
• 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup full-bodied red wine
• 2 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 4 medium red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1 -inch cubes
• 4 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 1 cup frozen peas (about 6 ounces), thawed
• 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Dry the beef thoroughly on paper towels, then season it generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add half of the meat to the pot so that the individual pieces are close together but not touching. Cook, not moving the pieces until the sides touching the pot are well-browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until most sides are well-browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl, add another 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Brown the remaining beef; transfer the meat to the bowl and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining tablespoon oil to the empty Dutch oven, and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently and vigorously, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until the onions have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up the remaining browned bits from the bottom and edges of the pot and stirring until the liquid is thick. Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly and scraping the pan edges to dissolve the flour. Add the bay leaves and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and return to a simmer. Cover and place the pot in the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

3. Remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and return the pot to the oven. Cook just until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven. (Stew can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.)

4. Add the peas, cover, and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, discard the bay leaves, adjust the seasonings, and serve immediately.

Black Bean and Barley Chili

We decided chili counted right?


Maybe that isn't the best picture. Anyways, I made this black bean and barley chili from Michelle's food blog last year. I really enjoyed it and even Mark admitted he could understand that non-vegetarians would like this one. I think the barley gives it a similar texture to ground beef. I made it earlier this week for this challenge, part of my new monday night soup night with homemade bread item. It does take an almost an hour to cook, but it is quick to put together from various pantry items.

I served it with Best Drop Biscuits that I posted on this blog before. You absolutely must NEVER make these. They are so good you end up not caring how much butter is in them. Here is Andy eating them. My kids don't really do carbs, so we are just thrilled he is trying it.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tomato Basil Soup

A regular at our house. I add orzo or shell pasta to the kid's bowls, to make it easier for them to eat. Good served with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Tomato Basil Soup (modified a Cooking Light recipe)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Slow cooker chicken chili


Sorry, soups, stews, and CHILIs, right?

This is an oldie, but goodie in our house. I have made it for a couple people and they always ask for the recipe. I never toast the spices, but I do use good quality spices from penzey's. Also, I never use dried beans, just 2 cans of already prepared beans. I just don't trust the crock pot to cook them enough! Usually, I use chicken breast, but this time I did use the thighs instead because they were on sale...I think I prefer the white meat!

Like most chilis, it is not just the chili, but how you top it. This time I topped it with cheese, sour cream, red onion, and cilantro.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Sweet!! In honor of Fall and colder weather(...right Robin?), let's make some delicious soups and stews. I don't make enough stews...who does? I am very excited! I hope to get some good recipes, so SHARE SHARE SHARE!!!