Category Archives: Soups/Stews

Old-Fashioned Lima Bean Soup

Do you say, “Eww lima beans!” or “Mmm lima beans!”?  Well, I happen to love lima beans.  In fact, one of my favorite childhood meals was when my mom would cook up a big pot of lima beans with pork hocks or a ham bone thrown in.  The she would take the bits of ham off the bone and stir them back in the lima beans.  Sometimes she would make rice to spoon it over too.  Oh my, was it ever good.  So my love for those big, creamy beans goes back a long way.

This soup goes beyond just limas and pork hocks, but it’s composed of all simple, inexpensive ingredients.  The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, the Betty Crocker Old-Fashioned Cookbook.  It’s so tattered all the pages are falling out, but I’d never ever get rid of it.

Instead of the pork hocks called for, I used some chopped ham leftover from Christmas.  I have searched and searched and never been able to find smoked pork hocks around these parts.  If you live in Canada and know where to find them, please tell me!  If I ever do find them I’ll probably clean out their shelves so that I’m stocked up for a long time to come.

If you love lima beans, then I think you’re going to love this recipe!  And really, if there’s another bean you would prefer instead, such as navy beans, by all means use that instead.  It won’t hurt a thing.

Until next time, happy cooking!

Lima Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lima beans, soaked overnight
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 lbs smoked pork hocks or shanks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tb beef buillon
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups mashed cooked potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • 2 Tb yellow mustard

Directions:

Add lima beans, water, tomato sauce, pork hocks, onion, beef bouillon, pepper, and garlic to a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours or until beans are tender. 

Remove pork hocks from the soup.  Once they are cool enough to handle, remove pork from the bones and chop into pieces.  Stir the pork and remaining ingredients back into the soup.  Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

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Quick and Easy Cream of Tomato Soup

It’s been a long day at work.  You’re tired, grumpy, and the last thing you want to do is have to stand on your feet any longer to slave away over the stove.  You reach into the cupboard for a can of soup-but WAIT!  Put the can down, and back away!  I’ve got the perfect soup for you.  It’s one of the easiest things you’ll ever make and it only takes a few minutes more than heating up that can of soup would take. Plus, it’s homemade, which will always win out over the canned stuff, in my opinion. 

I used orzo pasta here, but you can substitute another small pasta if you want, or even barley or rice would be nice.  A grilled cheese or even just some garlic bread or cheese toast would be perfect alongside.  A hot bowl of this soup is sure to make you feel better, I guarantee it! 🙂

Until next time, happy cooking!

Quick and Easy Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1  medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tb butter
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup half & half

Directions:

Cook the onion in butter in a saucepan until softened.  Stir in the tomatoes, broth, hot sauce, basil, sugar, and red wine vinegar.  Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture (if you don’t have one of these already, you need to get one asap, they are awesome!).  Stir in the orzo.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the orzo is cooked.  Stir in the half & half and it’s ready to serve.

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Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I’ve been making quite a few soups and stews lately.  On the night that I made this soup last week it was -22 degrees F outside.  Brrr that’s cold!  So hot soups and stews are what my tummy just keeps gravitating towards, I guess.   Eventually I’ll get tired of it all and start making chicken salad and gazpacho and refuse to look out the window because I’m pretending it’s actually spring!

I also love soups and stews because they’re the ultimate one-pot meal, and they’re great for using up odds and ends of produce and/or meats.  I don’t know about you, but I love being able to throw everything into a pot and just let it cook away!

This soup is one that I jotted down from my mom’s recipe box quite some time ago and never got around to trying.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long because it’s delicious!  I don’t like to buy too much in the way of boxed and pre-packaged foods, but I’ll definitely buy Uncle Ben’s to make this again.

I didn’t have any mushrooms, and I don’t much care for them anyway, so I rooted around in my deep freeze to see what else I could come up with instead.  I found a small bag of asparagus that I had blanched and frozen a while back before it could go bad.  It was perfect in this soup, and as a bonus I was able to use up something from my deep freeze!  I think broccoli would be nice as well, and that’s something I’m more likely to have on hand than asparagus.

Or just use mushrooms if you really like them.  Either way, I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Uncle Ben’s long-grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 cup EACH chopped onions, celery, carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (or frozen asparagus or broccoli)
  • 2 cups water
  • 30 ounces chicken broth
  • 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Directions:

Cook rice mix according to package directions.  Set aside.

In a large pot, saute onion, celery, carrots, and garlic until softened.  Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Stir in all remaining ingredients, except for the cooked rice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in the rice and cook for another 10 minutes, or until heated through.

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Traditional Chili

 

For some people, chili-making seems to be more like a science project (or art form?) than just a simple recipe for good food.  Have you ever looked at some of those competition/cook-off chili recipes?  My goodness, they look so complicated and involved I’d be scared to even try them for fear I’d make a mistake!

I, on the other hand, don’t really have a special chili recipe that’s my absolute favorite.  I’ve tried many recipes over the years, some that I’ve liked, and some that, well, let’s just say I’d prefer not to make again.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I like my chili best when it’s simple and uncomplicated, and I dont have to go out and buy a whole bunch of special spices and ingredients for it.

This recipe that I’m sharing with y’all today has been my main go-to recipe for a while now.  It makes a large pot of chili using ingredients you probably already have on hand, or at least won’t have trouble finding. 

It’s also a great meat stretcher.  Though the full recipe calls for 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef, you could lower that to 1 lb and the chili will still be great.  As part of my Pantry Challenge, I dug out some ground buffalo that was given to us by Jay’s grandma several years ago and is still languishing in the deep freeze (though I have used up most of it by now).  I’m very picky about my meat, so if I have something more unusual like buffalo I like to mix it with a familiar flavor like ground beef.  So I used 1 lb of ground beef and 1/2 lb buffalo. 

To change things up a bit, we also ate our chili over baked potatoes with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top.  With the leftovers, I actually diced up the remaining cold baked potatoes and stirred them right into the chili, and I think I liked that even better!  I froze half the chili for later, and in a few weeks I’ll bring it out to make some Cincinnatti-style chili with.

I hope you enjoy this chili! 🙂

Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans  (I used pinto & kidney)
  • 2 Tb chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Brown ground beef in a Dutch oven along with the onions, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.  Drain off fat.  Stir in all remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40-50 minutes or until flavors are blended.

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Irish Beef Stew…and my Pantry Challenge!

I don’t do a lot of cooking with alcohol in my kitchen.  I’m far from being sophisticated enough to have numerous bottles of wine around for adding to various dishes.  I wouldn’t have a clue about what to buy!  But Guinness, now that’s another story.  I know exactly what to do with Guinness (well, besides drinking it!). Guinness was made to go in beef stew.  The two are, quite simply, a match made in stew heaven.   And if you didn’t tell, no one would ever know you had added it, it would just be that secret ingredient that they can’t quite put their finger on.  The rich depth of flavor that it adds can’t be beat.

A word of warning here-do NOT use Guinness extra stout (trust me, I speak from experience).  If that’s all you have, and I can’t be the only nutty person who loves that wonderful, super bitter black Irish goodness, then use just half the bottle and use water for the remaining liquid.

This week also begins my Pantry Challenge.  I’ve seen several of my favorite blogs implementing this in their kitchens recently, and it got me thinking about my own large stockpile of food in the deep freeze and pantry.  So I’ve decided to spend the next several weeks (at least-we’ll see how long I can go!) working my way through it and keeping my grocery bill to a minimum.  I’m usually pretty good about not going crazy at the grocery store anyway, but like all of us, I often stray from my grocery list and buy things that aren’t really necessary.

But I’m going to buckle down now and focus instead on what I’ve already got available at home!  I’ve started making a list of recipe ideas that utilize only ingredients I already have, and it’s becoming quite a long list.  It’s amazing how many meals you can come up with when you sit down and really start thinking about what you already have on hand!  And I’m going to be keeping an eye out on all of your blogs for more ideas! 🙂

Irish Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bottle Guinness stout
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Season stew meat with salt and pepper.  Brown in skillet on all sides.  Add to crockpot along with all remaining ingredients, except parsley, and cook on low for 8 hours.  Stir in parsley just before serving.

You can also cook this on the stove top, if you prefer.  But y’all know how I love my crockpots!

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Minestrone Soup

Baby, it’s cold outside!  After a relatively mild couple of days (mild for this time of year here being anything approaching the freezing mark or above), the snow started Friday afternoon and, as of tonight, it’s still snowing. Along with the snow the temperature tanked.  The high for tomorrow is 3 degrees F and it’s forecasted to drop further as the week goes on.  Here are some pictures I snapped this morning.

Jay and I have such different reactions when it comes to the snow, too, especially in regards to driving in it.  If he turns a corner and the Jeep slides in the snow, he goes, “Weee!” (I’m not kidding, he actually says that) while I squeeze my eyes shut and makes various terrified noises.  When it snows outside I just want to hunker down and hibernate until it goes away!

If it’s cold outside where you are too, then here’s a soup for you that’ll help stave off that winter chill.  I found this recipe in a cookbook I bought recently called Once-A-Month-Cooking Family Favorites.  I don’t plan to do any OAMC myself, but the book does have lots of tips on storing foods properly in the freezer, and since I do often freeze a few things here and there, I’ve found it to be pretty helpful in that way. 

This Minestrone recipe caught my eye because I’ve never come across one before that called for adding pepperoni.  I love pepperoni (don’t we all?), so I thought, let’s give it a try!  It turned out really yummy, and I loved the flavor of the pepperoni in it. 

One thing to mention is that it came out quite thick, which was fine for the first bowl of soup.  But with the leftovers, I needed to add a little water before reheating to thin it back down a little.  Still delicious, though, and a super healthy soup to boot!

Minestrone

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 Tb Italian seasoning
  • 1 10-ounce box frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 8 ounces sliced pepperoni, quartered
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup small shell pasta
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large pot, combine the first 5 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.  Add the spinach, zucchini, kidney beans, and pepperoni.  Heat until warmed through, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 

Allow to cool, then pour into a large freezer container, and freeze until ready to eat.

To serve, thaw the soup and heat to boiling.  Reduce the heat to low, add the cabbage and pasta, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese.

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Spinach Garlic Soup

Today I present, for your cooking and eating pleasure…green soup!

Okay, so that may not be the most appetizing picture in the world.  But trust me, especially if you are a garlic lover, you may just be tempted to pour this lovely concoction straight into a mug and drink it.  It is so yummy!  I often turn to this recipe when I have fresh spinach that I failed to use up quickly enough and is starting to get questionable. 

I imagine this as the kind of soup that might be served at those soup and sandwich places that are becoming so popular.  It would be perfect go along with a fancy panini or wrap or even just a grilled cheese. 

I’ve had this recipe for several years and have done some streamlining so that it can be cooked in one pot.  I love when I can reduce the number of pots and pans I have to dirty up for a recipe! This recipe is also super quick to throw together, another bonus!

Start by cooking up all that delicious garlic in butter just until you can start smelling it pretty good.  A great tip here is to use a mini cheese grater or microplane to quickly grate up those garlic cloves.

Add in the veggies, cooking just until the spinach starts to wilt, then stir in the broth.

All that needs to do is bubble away for about 10 minutes, then it’s time to add the flour, milk, and cream.  Sometimes I stop there, and sometimes I like to use my handy dandy immersion blender to blend it up.  It’s great either way.

And that’s it!  How easy was that? 🙂  I want to mention here that I made just half the recipe, so you’ll of course have more than I have here if you make the full recipe.

Spinach Garlic Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (finely chop this if you’re not going to blend the soup)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add onion, carrots, and spinach, cooking just until the spinach wilts.  Stir in the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until veggies are tender.

Whisk together the flour, cream, and milk.  Stir into the soup.  Simmer until soup is heated through, making sure not to let it come to a boil.  Puree soup, if desired.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

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