Category Archives: soup

Pasta e Fagioli ( Pasta and Bean Soup) Weekend Cooking

019I have been making this soup forever and it’s a most perfect soup to make during the weekend when you have a little time to cook and gather ingredients. I make a big pot and freeze some for later and keep some in the fridge for lunch the next day. This is really just a tomato base soup with beans and pasta. How bad can that be? unless you hate beans and pasta that is. I usually have ingredients in the pantry and it is a wonderful warm experience, with a nice salad this is a perfect meal. I used to only make this with dry beans but in the name of time and taste I used canned beans and have now always made this with canned.  I must admit this makes it a whole lot easier  and honestly no one knows the difference! It is a wonderful hearty soup halfway between a soup and a pasta no matter how you do the beans!

Enjoy this amazingly delicious comforting soup and did I mention super easy????

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes ( San Marzano)

10 – 12 fresh basil leaves

red pepper flakes

handful of italian parsley, chopped

2 cans rinsed and drained Cannellini Beans

5 cups water or chicken broth or vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian — water works just fine but you’ll have to check your salt and pepper if using broth especially boxed broth which contains salt. Your call– super easy recipe.

app. 1 cup pasta, elbows, tubetti, ditalini, or broken spaghetti

Kosher Salt — to taste

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large , heavy stockpot ( Le Creuset) saute onion in olive oil. When onion is golden and transparent, add garlic. Cook for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs. Add some kosher salt about 1/2 Tablespoon and some grinds of the pepper mill now and you’ll be tasting all along for salt and pepper

Add the beans and the 5 cups of water  and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes – until the beans begin to break down and the soup begins to thicken. Lower heat to a slow simmer, as low as you can.  Stir frequently to prevent it from sticking and burning bottom of the pot. Taste for salt and pepper again.  I always like it to simmer for a long time, an hour would probably do it, but if I have the time I let it sit for as long as I can.  Sometimes after it’s been simmering for a while ,  I turn off the heat and right before serving just bring to a boil and add pasta. Just be careful not to let it burn, stir frequently . If you need more liquid add water a little at a time, I showed a picture of my pot filler which is the greatest thing to have in a kitchen, makes it super easy to fill a pot.

Right before you’re ready to serve bring to a low boil and add the pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, about 5 – 10 minutes depending on type of pasta you’re using. I used ditalini.

Serve immediately in large soup bowls.

Guests can drizzle some good olive oil and grate some Parmesan Cheese over.  Should serve 8 – 10 depending on appetites. I froze remainder for another time.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!!  He loved the soup and it’s very filling. 

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version also on my blog.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.

Toppings:

*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream

Cilantro

Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce

Directions:

I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Stew in One Pot

This is one of  my go to meals when the weather turns a little cold and throughout the winter months and as it is still snowing out here in Colorado it’s most perfect.   When I need something to make that’s very easy, healthy and comforting. Food for the soul I like to say. I serve this with crusty bread,  and a green salad. It’s very filling and makes a beautiful presentation for 2 or 6. Hope you enjoy, it’s really very easy , just chop up a few vegetables (carrots, onions, and celery, a basic *mirepoix) open a few cans and buy the chicken, don’t be intimidated by ingredients! This recipe inspired from Giada de Laurentis’s chicken stew. I have made a few changes to suit my taste. Perfect weeknight meal.

*should serve 4-6 nicely with 4 nice size chicken breasts

*Basic Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. Usually comprised of 50% onions, 25% carrots, and 25% celery.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 stalks celery, small bite size pieces

1 carrot, peeled, cut into small bite size pieces

1 small white onion chopped

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chopped tomatoes ( I use San Marzano diced) large 28 oz. can with juice

16 oz. chicken broth (1/2 box) but you may need a bit more so hold on to rest of the box.

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

I use 4 chicken breasts with ribs ( I usually go to butcher order 2 chicken breasts with bone in, split in two) if you go to supermarket, either buy 2 large breasts, or 4 smaller ones. Skin on and Bones in! app. 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. total weight. You will be removing the skin, it will add to the flavor of the stew.

1 can red kidney beans drained ( if using organic, do not need to rinse) 15 oz.

1 can black beans drained ( if using organic , do not need to rinse either) 15 oz.

nice crusty whole grain bread

*hot sauce like Cholula is great served on the table so people can adjust seasonings on their own

*last night I served over rice as I didn’t have any bread in the house

Directions:

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 5 1/2 quart. pot. ( Le Creuset again) heat over medium heat. When oil is hot add the onions, celery , and carrot (Mirepoix mixture). Saute the vegetables until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. You will taste again towards the end, so if you want to hold off on this step you can. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf and thyme. Then add the chicken breasts , press to submerge in the sauce.

Bring the liquid to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently uncovered until the chicken is almost cooked through, turning the chicken breasts over and stirring mixture occasionally, app. 30 minutes. Using tongs if you have them, if you don’t , buy them, remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool ( about 15 minutes) Discard the bay leaf, add the beans to the pot ( remember to drain) and bring to a simmer until the liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency, probably another 15 minutes or so.

Discard the chicken skin and bones from the chicken breasts. Shred or cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the stew. Bring the stew back to a slow simmer. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

I usually cook , then turn off heat, and bring it back to simmer right before serving.

This should serve 6 well. I serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread. Everything is in the pot, veggies, and protein. Enjoy! it’s delicious. Don’t be put off, it’s really easy to prepare, can be made ahead of time.  If it’s made a few days ahead you may want to add the chicken broth to thin out.

Easy Chicken Soup with Orzo and Lemon

photo 4 (24) photo 5 (27)I literally started this soup at 5 p.m. and app. one hour later I was eating it.  Now that’s always a good thing in my book. Usually I slow cook my broth etc. and it takes hours ( Homemade Chicken Soup ) but this time there was no time, I wasn’t feeling great and wanted that homemade flavor without all the work . You can certainly cook your own chicken if it works out for you time wise. This would also be perfect with leftover chicken. I bought a rotisserie chicken and this is what I did. For those of you who saw it on Instagram and Facebook–this one’s for you. One more little thing, the fresh dill is the secret ingredient and gives it that wonderful layer of flavor, don’t skip it. I also squeezed fresh lemon into each bowl of soup , this added yet another wonderful layer of flavor to this soup. This is also a fairly low-calorie soup because whole soup is made with only 1/2 cup of orzo and it was plenty. I used these vegetables this time but feel free to add parsnips, mushrooms, kale or any other veggies you like.

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken, skin removed and shredded .

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise about 1/2″ thick

2 stalks celery, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices (app.)

2 large carrots cut into 1/2″ rounds. I found beautiful organic baby carrots and used them, it’s about 2 large carrots but feel free to use a little more or less.

1/2 cup of orzo

6 – 8 cups chicken broth, if you have homemade broth/stock good for you and use it. If not the box ones are awesome. Low-Sodium is good here if you’re concerned about the salt.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

app. 1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill

*Lemon halves for serving

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the leek, celery and carrots. Cook veggies, stirring often, until vegetables are soft, 10-15 minutes. I threw a little salt and pepper in to vegetables during this period, you can taste for salt and pepper again.

Add 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes, just till carrots are soft.

After about 20 minutes, I added 1/2 cup of orzo and cooked for 8- 10 minutes. Taste for Salt and Pepper. I added another 2 cups of broth after the orzo cooked. If you need more broth prior to this you can easily add before the orzo as well.

I then added the shredded chicken and dill and I also added a bit more of the chicken stock at this point since broth cooked down a bit. You can always add a little water if you’ve run out of broth.  I heated soup a bit more and served with lemon halves, squeezing a bit of lemon into each bowl of chicken soup before serving.

this was last night’s soup and I obviously didn’t have fresh Dill in the house which I missed but wanted to make this soup and had all other ingredients — sometimes this happens and it was totally delicious and no one missed the Dill but me.

Italian Wedding Soup made with Chicken Meatballs

It is most definitely soup season again. the chill in the air makes it the most perfect time of year to start making soup for dinner again. even if you live in a warmer climate this is a most wonderful meal. Paired with a salad and some crusty bread you have a very heartwarming meal.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. It is a soup , which is also a full meal. It is hearty and pretty healthy.  It is one of my staples from September through April. It freezes well and you can just take it out of the freezer the night before, and you’ll have a wonderful meal the next evening. When you defrost it you will probably want to add broth/water to it. add a little at a time till you get the consisitency you like. Enjoy:)

Ingredients: chicken meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed

3 slices whole wheat bread for bread crumbs ( I put into food proccesor with steel blade for crumbs) I remove crusts it should be app. 1 cup of bread crumbs

2 teaspoons minced garlic ( 2 – 3 cloves)

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano ( fresh is best) but whatever you have will do

1/4 cup grated Parmesan ( again nothing beats fresh) but whatever you have will do here as well

3 tablespoons milk

1 extra large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

 

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small -medium yellow onion minced

1 cup diced carrots ( 3 )

1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)

10 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dry white wine( use whatever you have open)

1 cup small pasta tubetini, ditalini, stars, etc.

5 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed

*fresh dill ( I love the flavor) add at your own discretion about 1/4 cup minced fresh dill.

Directions:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees  put parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

for the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage,bread crumbs, garlic, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper  all in a bowl and mix well with a fork.  I use a teaspoon, and make 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and drop onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet. you should have about 30 to 40 small balls. bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. set them aside. (I made about 30 balls, they were a little larger this time out)

For the Soup:

 heat the olive oil over medium – low heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot ( Le Creuset type pot) Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 10 minutes, don’t brown. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil, at this point I let soup cook a while to soften the vegetables, app. 1 hour. ( a low simmer) if you’re in a hurry you can probably do the whole soup in 1/2 hour , veggies will be soft enough to eat. if some of the liquid evaporates you can always add a little more broth.

chicken balls out of the ovenItalian Wedding Soup cooking

 Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook another 6 – 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or so. taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or so, the spinach will just wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Pantry Soup aka Pumpkin Bean Soup (can be vegetarian)

Colorado Winter '12 004Colorado Winter '12 006Colorado Winter '12 008 I love pumpkin as you already know by now. Since you can only really buy it from November through the Christmas Season I like to stock up for muffins, soups, etc.  I pulled out some cans of Black Beans, a can of Pinto Beans, and a can of Diced Tomatoes. This is the soup I made and it was pretty tasty. The spices I used are key, and you’ll have to check for Salt and Pepper towards the end . It wasn’t that difficult to make , I did use a lot of different ingredients but it was a good feeling to clean out the pantry at the same time! This is a warm wonderful soup, perfect for a cold winter day or evening. I did use a tablespoon of butter but you can easily substitute with all olive oil. I also love the way the Sherry Vinegar adds kick but if you don’t have it use Apple Cider Vinegar it’ll be just fine. There is no real right or wrong with this recipe, make it your way, use what you like and enjoy it!

Ingredients:

2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz. can Pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, or chef’s cut tomatoes

1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies ( this is optional, I had it and threw it in) if you can find this product by Rotel buy it because it’s really great in tacos, chili, stews and soups.

1 15 oz. can of Corn ( I used low sodium)

*1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter ( optional)

1 medium onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt ( divided)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

4 cups Beef Broth ( feel free to substitute Vegetable Broth)

1  15 oz. can Pumpkin Puree

2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar ( or Apple Cider Vinegar)

Directions:

Pour 2 cans of the drained black beans into a food processor or blender, along with the can of tomatoes. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

Melt butter and olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and some of the pepper. Cook and stir until the onions are softened and translucent. Stir in the bean puree, remaining can of beans, beef broth, pumpkin puree, and corn, tomatoes with green chilies, spices, and sherry vinegar. Mix until well blended,  I simmered for about an hour on a very low flame. Soup will thicken up nicely , if it is too thick you can add beef broth or water to thin out a bit.  Taste for Salt and Pepper, I added additional teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious ! If you’ve been following me since the early days you’ve probably made this recipe by now. It’s perfection in a bowl . I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I just made my first batch of the season, and the squash is sweet and delicious. I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg. I hope your family and friends enjoy this as much as my family does! It’s always on my table for Thanksgiving. A delightful way to start a dinner, or a delicious main dish served alongside  a beautiful salad and bread. This can easily be made vegetarian by substituting chicken broth for vegetable broth, which is how I make it on Thanksgiving for Kerri, who is vegetarian.

*This can be made without cream so easily–but if you want a touch of richness you can add a little heavy cream into soup and mix in before serving. Totally not necessary but just saying.

And clearly this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group– I usually use 2 packages of squash for 6 servings.

*feel free to put croutons on top or sprinkle some pepitas on top . It’s delicious just the way it is!! and wonderful for lunch the next day and will freeze beautifully.

Follow me on Instagram @cookingwithcandi

Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes). If you’re using the butter, add it now too. I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup. If you need more broth, add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer

Pumpkin Lentil Soup (can be vegetarian)

It’s Fall and that means it’s soup season and time to cook up some heart-warming soups! Pumpkin Lentil Soup is a delicious, hearty soup that you and your family will love.

This soup can wind up on my Thanksgiving Table if I don’t make my Butternut Squash Soup.   It’s hard to get canned pumpkin any other time of year, so I take advantage of it now and pick up a few extra cans and try to make it throughout the winter. Warm, hearty and pretty healthy. And what’s a little butter between friends? You can freeze this ahead of time and take it out for Thanksgiving. For the holiday, it’s always between this and Butternut Squash Soup, and I like that they can both be vegetarian.

*this can be doubled but no need to double the butter (just add a little bit more) or see note below on butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)– or you can use 1/4 cup unsalted butter and 1/4 cup Olive Oil

2 large onions (spanish) chopped

1/2 cup lentils (if you can find red lentils, buy them because they look beautiful for Thanksgiving and give the soup a lovely orangey color)

5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling)

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon marjoram

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in large stockpot (Le Creuset). Saute the onions until translucent and golden, then stir in the lentils and the stock. Add pumpkin and herbs and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower it and let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

I use an immersion stick blender to puree it.  It becomes rich and creamy. Of course you can leave soup as is without pureeing it at all.  And another  is to not puree it all the way.  If soup is too thick use the broth as needed adding a little bit at a time to reach a good consistency.  If you’ve run out of broth you can always add water just always check seasonings after adding liquid.

*soup freezes just fine but you’ll need to add broth/water after you defrost and heat up

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This soup has always been a favorite of mine and I usually try to order it when it’s offered on a menu. I am a big fan of Mexican Food and have always wanted to try to make my own Chicken Tortilla Soup .This is a super easy version using a store-bought rotisserie chicken and a packet of Taco Seasoning.  Now that the weather has turned super cold it’s a perfect time for heart warming meals. I started cooking soup in the afternoon, prep was pretty quick and I let it simmer for an hour and then turned off stove while we went out. When we got home I turned on the stove and continued cooking soup. I cut up avocado, chopped up some cilantro, put sour cream and cheese into some little bowls and in less than 1/2 hour we were sitting eating this delicious and tasty soup! Joel even ate the avocado!!!! This is big!!! He loved the soup. It’s very filling.

I use crispy tortillas if that’s what I have in the house. It is delicious with soft corn tortillas sliced up and added into the soup at the end also. I love when the crunchy chips go soft in the soup with the melted cheese– I could go on and on about this soup. Tonite I used soft tortillas.

If you have the time I suggest making this soup, it is so easy with a prepared chicken or you can make your own chicken .  The prep is about 15 minutes using store-bought chicken and cooking is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for soup.  I just think soup tastes better the longer it sits. I prefer making it in the early part of the day and letting it sit on the stove for a while.

This is a big soup and will probably serve 6-8 nicely. I have a container in my freezer and 4 of us ate this soup.

Look for my slow cooker version also on my blog.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie Chicken from your favorite supermarket

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Packet of Taco Seasoning — this is really easy , use whatever brand you like

1 cup diced onion

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 diced green pepper

1 diced yellow, red or orange pepper

1 10 oz. can  Rotel brand Tomatoes and Green Chiles–just a suggestion

1 can enchilada sauce– green or red ( in Mexican Food section of your supermarket) its a small sized can

1 15 oz. can of whole-kernel corn  – drained

32 ounces Chicken Broth

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

4 cups hot water

2 cans Black Beans , drained and rinsed unless they’re organic and then you don’t have to rinse but I always do anyway

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal –mixed with water ( see instructions)

5 Soft Corn Tortillas (I use the small ones) cut into uniform strips or crunchy tortilla chips–use as many or as little as you like–or skip all together for a lighter version.

Toppings:

*optional and use whatever you like — these are just some suggestions

Sour Cream

Cilantro

Grated Cheese –Monterey Jack is a good choice here or Mexican Blend Grated Cheese

Cut-Up Avocado

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Diced Red Onion

Diced Fresh Jalapeno

Hot Sauce like Cholula is my favorite go to sauce

Directions:

I took skin off chicken and shredded most of the chicken meat.

Heat 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large Pot –dutch oven is great here (Le Creuset) add onions, peppers, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the packet of Taco Seasonings if it’s very dry and hard to stir you can add a little more olive oil. Add in the shredded chicken and stir it all up.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, enchilada sauce, water , black beans and corn. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for app. 45 minutes to an hour, uncovered.

In a little bowl mix 3 cornmeal with a small amount of water , just enough to mix it into a paste like consistency. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes at least, I cooked for another hour. I always believe the soup is best when it sits for a long time.

Check seasonings, adding more salt if you need it , I added kosher salt because I felt it needed it. Taste has to be your guide but be sure not to undersalt, you don’t want this to be bland. Turn off heat and allow to sit for about 20 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, gently stir in the tortilla strips if you’re using them.

Ladle into bowls, then top with your favorite toppings and there you go! I think the chips/tortillas make this soup along with the cilantro and avocado. Let your taste be your guide here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (no cream)

This is by far one of my most favorite recipes ever! Super Easy and Super Delicious and did I mention Super Easy? I realize in these trying times we all can’t get to the supermarket or corner fruit stand but if you can manage to get some cut up butternut squash I highly recommend making this recipe. I use an immersion stick blender but a regular blender will do done in batches and please wait for soup to cool off before blending.

I’ve simplified the recipe along the way so that now it is just the way Joel and I like it. it’s pretty easy as long as you buy the squash pre – cut (available in every supermarket, and corner produce store). I always add a little butter to it, but you can totally leave it out. It tastes so creamy you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but really, there is none.  I love a little freshly grated nutmeg in it too, but you can certainly just sprinkle in a very little bit of already grated nutmeg.

*our daughter Kerri is a vegetarian and when making it for her family I swap out chicken broth for vegetable broth

*This can be made without cream so easily–but if you want a touch of richness you can add a little heavy cream into soup and mix in before serving. Totally not necessary but just saying.

And clearly this recipe can be cut in 1/2 for a smaller group but I always make more and freeze it. Upon defrosting you may want to add a little more broth and if you don’t have broth a little water won’t hurt it.

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Ingredients:

4 pkgs. (approx. 4 lbs.) butternut squash (it’s doesn’t have to be exact)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large spanish onion, chopped

8 – 10 cups chicken or vegetable broth–you may need more –I add sometimes before I blend

*1 -2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for this serving size, I use 2 but it’s totally optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*use whole nutmeg – you just grate a little in for flavor. I always tend to use whole, but grated will do. It’s just a touch of it–if I had to guess, I’d say 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon depending on your taste

*if you really want to top it off with a touch of cream you can . Just add a little heavy cream to the soup and blend it right in at the end. Honestly it’s not necessary but it def adds a a layer of richness!

Directions:

In a heavy Le Creuset (or any other ample size large pot), I heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and butter . When oil is heated, put in onion and about 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Sweat out the onions until they are translucent (approx. 5 – 8 minutes).  I then add all of the butternut squash and mix the onions, oil and butter as best I can all over the squash. Next, add enough broth to cover the squash (I used approx. 10 cups of chicken broth to cover). I keep the remaining half a box of broth in case I need it later. Return to a low boil, then bring to a simmer. I let it cook a very long time–at least an hour until soft–and then I turn off the heat and let it sit for a while. I like to make it early and let it sit for as long as possible, because the squash gets very soft. Then right before I am about to serve, I use an immersion blender and blend it into a beautiful smooth soup .  If you need more broth add it as you blend. This is also your salt, pepper and nutmeg moment. Season to taste and blend just until smooth. I leave it in the pot until I need it and then gently warm it up. This soup will keep in the fridge for a few days. It can be frozen as well. Upon defrosting you may need to add more broth. Sometimes I serve this soup with beautiful croutons if I can find them in specialty stores, but it is delicious and beautiful on its own, and very good for you! My family loves it , and I hope yours does too.

*should serve 10 – 12 as appetizer