Category Archives: soup

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?

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. 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

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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

*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

Pasta e Fagioli ( Pasta and Bean Soup)

019I have been making this soup forever,  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.

 

Sausage and White Bean Soup

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It’s Soup Season time again and I find myself craving a nice hearty soup either for lunch or dinner. This soup will satisfy that craving for sure.

This was an absolutely delicious dinner soup I made the other night. I like my soups to simmer for a while on the stove top, I made this soup about 2 hours before we were going to eat it. This soup can be made rather quickly or you can allow it to simmer for a few hours. It’s even better the next day. If serving the next day you will most likely need to add liquid, I added a little bit of water or you can add stock. Just add a little at a time.

There is a little effort involved here but mostly chopping and prepping.

I used my mini-processor for chopping carrots because I wanted them finely chopped.

The fresh herbs tasted wonderful and I wouldn’t omit.

You can use turkey or chicken sausage or any kind of sausage you would prefer.

I served alongside a crusty bread,  manchego cheese and a beautiful red wine.

*this soup can easily be frozen

*will serve 6-8 easily

Enjoy this !

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound spicy turkey sausage, Italian sausage (casings removed) chicken sausage, whatever you prefer, chopped.

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 carrots, finely chopped– to obtain this chop I used my mini processor

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons finely chopped sage

1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt –which was enough

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes–clearly this is optional but it adds a little kick

4 cups Chicken / Vegetable Stock –low sodium or regular it’s you’re call

1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes

3 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

app. 1/2 lb. baby spinach–or any greens you’d like. You can eyeball it to see how much you’d like to use. You could use heartier greens, like kale or collard greens–just be certain to cook them in the soup for at least 5 minutes prior to serving. You want them to wilt and break down a bit.

Directions:

In a large stockpot heat the olive oil over medium-heat.

Cook Sausage, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces as it cooks. Cook until browned, app. 10 minutes or so. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to another plate.

Add onions, carrots, and garlic to pot and cook in the oil from sausage. Stir frequently, until onions are tender. App. another 10 minutes.

Add sage, rosemary, salt , pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir in chicken stock, tomatoes and their juices, and reserved sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until flavors have melded together, at least 15 minutes. I let it sit and simmer for about 2 hours on a very low simmer, stirring occasionally.

Before you’re ready to serve you will do this next step: this will add 15 minutes more of cooking time, you can always simmer longer.

Coarsely mash beans from 1 can of rinsed , drained beans. You can use a fork for this or a potato masher. Then add this mash to soup. Stir in the almond milk and remaining 2 cans of rinsed, drained beans. Let simmer for another 15 minutes at least. Taste for salt and pepper at this point. I didn’t need to add any.

I added the spinach a few minutes before serving, just eyeball out about 1/2 cup of baby spinach or whatever greens you are using. The heartier greens like kale will take a little longer to break down.

You can top soup with freshly grated parmesan if you’d like.

 

 

 

Easy Chicken Soup with Orzo and Lemon

photo 4 (24) photo 5 (27)photo 2 (33)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 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.

Italian Wedding Soup with Chicken Balls

It is 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 balls

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 . 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.

Homemade Chicken Soup with Not-So-Homemade Matzo Balls

IMG_4514I always make my own chicken soup. It is delicious broth. I usually make a few batches and freeze them because it’s a great thing to have frozen in quart containers as stock and will last for up to six months frozen. When the holidays come—whether Rosh Hashanah or Passover—I always make my chicken soup with matzo balls. I make the soup a day ahead and skim whatever fat is on there before adding my matzo balls. Keep reading for my “secret matzo ball recipe”.

INGREDIENTS: CHICKEN STOCK:

1 5lb. organic roasting chicken (I throw away the insides)

1 package of chicken wings (this was suggested to me a long time ago by my BFF Karyn and she was oh so right. It adds some fat, which translates into a lot of flavor and you will skim off the fat the next day. Thanks, Karyn…yes, I remembered!)

1 large, yellow Spanish onion; unpeeled and quartered

A big bunch of dill

4 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds

4 carrots, unpeeled and halved

Bunch of flat-leaf parsley (Use this only if you want. This time, I didn’t have it so I used only the dill.)

A bunch of thyme (if you wish)

1 head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise (skin and all)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS FOR SOUP:

I place the chicken, chicken wings, onion, carrots, celery, whatever herbs I’m using, garlic, salt and pepper in as large a  pot as I can find (usually about a 16-20 qt. stockpot.) Add cold water to cover chicken by at least 2 inches above the chicken but not to the top of the pot because it will boil over (very messy). Bring to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for about 3 hours. I skim the soup skum (sounds lovely) off for the first half hour or so—after that, you shouldn’t have much more. I remove the chicken from the broth after an hour or so, because it is cooked and it will taste like a rubber chicken if you plan on eating it. Sometimes, I like to shred it and return it to the soup. If you are not using the chicken (what a waste of good chicken), just leave it in. It will fall apart in there. I leave the wings and discard them at the end of the 3 hours. Next, I strain all of the soup, discard all remnants, fill my containers and put in the fridge. The next day (or the day of the holiday), I usually skim off the fat that has risen to the top and make my matzo balls (recipe below).

MATZO BALLS:

This has always been my secret, but now it’s out. Okay, I own it. After years of making matzo balls from scratch, my mother (yes, my mother, the cook) turned me on to Manischewitz boxed matzo ball mix! It just wasn’t worth it. My balls weren’t as consistent as I would have liked, whereas these are always perfection! Light and fluffy and everyone always loves them. No sinkers here!

I follow the directions on the box carefully. They sell just the mix box. You will need vegetable oil and 2 eggs per box. I do add a little piece of dill inside each ball, but that’s it! Now my secret is out. Sometimes this is really the only way to go. It saves time and ingredients and is really good. No MSG or trans-fats either! So make the soup, cheat with the balls, and enjoy. There is no substitute for homemade chicken soup, though.

*You can also add thin soup noodles to this recipe, if you like. (obviously not on Passover)

Lentil Soup with Sausage and Ditalini

I suppose it’s that time of the year again when we crave warm cozy meals. this is perfect for sunday dinner (or any night ) will feed about 8 people nicely. freezes perfectly. and served with a beautiful salad and some bread it’s an awesome meal. i make so many soups, and will be following up throughout the winter with all of my wonderful soup recipes, but this one is really special. the lentils add a wonderful flavor and texture, the sausage adds a savory spice. i mix hot and sweet sausage but feel free to go all sweet, i also like the sausage to have some fennel in it, i use italian pork sausage. you can obviously substitute with turkey or chicken sausage. so cozy on up to this one, it’s a true keeper. I believe this recipe came from a cookbook by julia della croce, who has the most awesome italian recipes. i’ve made a few changes for myself, but maybe you will too. this is filling enough as a meal which is how we eat it.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. (1 1/2 cups) lentils

10 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 lb. sausage, I used 1/2 sweet and 1/2 spicy italian pork sausage , feel free to use turkey sausage /chicken sausage. I like fennel in my sausage, so the italian ones usually have it. i have made it with turkey and it’s delicious.

3 tablespoons olive oil , You may need a little more after you cook the sausage. (see directions)

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion chopped (yellow)

1 large celery stalk chopped ( leaves included)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 16 oz. can plum tomatoes, i use the chopped, peeled and seeded ones, along with the juice.

1/2 cup ditalini or any little pasta

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

some flat leaf parsley chopped up (optional)

grated fresh parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

pick over the lentils, remove any stones, imperfect ones, etc. wash the lentils in cold water ( I use a colander to pick through) Transfer to a large pot ( my trusty Le Creuset) large dutch oven. Cover the lentils with broth and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer immediately. Simmer for about 15 minutes. while the soup is cooking , remove sausage from it’s casing ( butcher can do this for you as well) In a large ample frying pan, put the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when the olive oil is heated up , put in sausage, and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon. Leave whatever oil is still in the pan, should be about 1 tablespoon.  I usually add a little more olive oil here about 1 more tablespoon should do it. then  add the garlic, onion, celery, and thyme and saute till vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. When veggies are softened, return sausage to the pan. in a bowl or measuring cup i take a few ladles of broth out of pot and mix the 3 tablespoons of tomato paste into it. then add to sausage mixture .  add all ingredients into lentil/broth plus can of chopped tomatoes in their juice.  let all ingredients blend together and bring back to a low boil, then simmer for about an hour. before i serve it i return to a boil and add pasta, it only takes about 8 minutes for pasta to cook through. discard the bay leaf, ladle into soup bowls, add freshly grated parmesan cheese and you’re good to go with a super authentic italian soup. we eat it as a meal alongside salad and some very good bread

*should serve 8 as a meal, with a little left over to freeze

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.  When I need something to make that’s 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.

*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

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.

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?

It’s definitely fall and my first soup of the season  is almost always butternut squash soup. 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

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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

*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