Tag Archives: soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup

It’s amazing the dishes you can create from cleaning out your pantry. My Stepmom threw a bunch of ingredients in a pot one day, and the result was a Southwestern Chicken Soup that has quickly become one of our family favorites. The best part about this dish is that it’s largely made from pantry staples, which makes it super easy to make on the fly.

Southwestern Chicken Soup

Southwestern Chicken Soup

3 large chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tbsp dried cilantro (fresh is great if you have it)
1 can salsa verde
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 bag frozen corn
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

1. Boil the chicken for 30-45 minutes or until done. Allow to cool on a plate and then shred each piece of chicken with a fork.

2. In a large pot, combine all ingredients through frozen corn and cook on medium for 45 minutes to an hour (you can also cook on medium-low for 2 hours).

3. Laddle soup into bowls and top with cheese, sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips.

Hearty Beef Stew

I am always looking for ways to make recipes easier, faster, and more weeknight-doable. I won’t say that I never make complicated or time consuming recipes, but it’s just not realistic for me to do it on a regular basis and especially not in the 30 minutes I am allotted during the week to get dinner on the table.

So I decided to take this multi-step recipe for Hearty Beef Stew from Cooking Light and just toss everything in the Crock Pot, crank it up, and cross my fingers that I’d end up with something edible. Could the beef have been a bit more tender had I followed the actual recipe? Yeah, probably. But considering how quickly I was able to throw this together in the morning, not bad … not bad at all. The fact that all I had to do when I got home was toast some bread and ladle the stew into bowls certainly didn’t hurt either. So it’s up to you. Follow the recipe at the link above or follow my shortcut and just wing it. You pretty much can’t lose either way.

Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

16 oz boneless beef chuck
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
1 ½ cups baby carrots
6 oz sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
2 lbs new potatoes
3 thyme sprigs
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp minced garlic
1 ½ cup Guinness beer
4 cups unsalted beef stock
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

Place all ingredients in a large Crock Pot and stir well. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.

Butternut Squash, Chicken and Lentil Stew

My friend Jess shared this recipe from Hallmark Magazine with me several years ago, and it’s been a favorite in our house ever since. The hearty flavors make it perfect for a chilly night, and the combination of chicken and lentils creates a protein powerhouse.

The recipe makes enough for us (two adults and a 3 year old) to have dinner and lunch the next day, so be sure to halve it if you don’t need that much.

Butternut Squash Lentil Stew

Butternut Squash, Chicken and Lentil Stew

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped sweet onion
2 carrots, cut into pieces
1 large stalk celery, with leaves, chopped
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup lentils
4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
2 tbsp savory
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp sage
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper

1. Cut chicken into pieces and dredge into flour, salt and pepper until coated.
2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add chicken, cook until golden on all sides, about 5-8 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.
4. Add the rest of the olive oil to pan. Add carrots and onion, and cook about 3-5 minutes.
5. Add celery and cook about 1 minute or until softened.
6. Add the broth, lentils and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat.
7. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes.
8. Add the squash and cook covered about 30-35 minutes or until both squash and lentils are tender.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.


Sausage and Lentil Stew

Lentils are a one-pot superstar. They’re low in calories and fat while packing a punch when it comes to fiber, protein, and iron. They sometimes get a bad rep for being difficult to cook, often turning out crunchy or mushy. But if you get the process down, they can be filling and flavorful when cooked correctly. I actually found this recipe on the bag of Safeway brand lentils (go figure), and it’s now one of our cold weather favorites!

Sausage and Lentil Stew

Sausage and Lentil Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1½ cups chopped carrots
1 lb smoked sausage (I use Hillshire Farms Turkey Polska Kielbasa)
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed thoroughly and drained
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 lb fresh spinach or kale

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, garlic, and carrots until tender (about 10 minutes).

2. Add sausage, lentils, broth, sage, thyme, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until lentils are barely tender.

3. Stir in spinach or kale and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Ladle stew into bowls and serve.

Lentil and Sausage Stew

*Recipe originally from Safeway 

Deliciously Simple Crock Pot French Onion Soup

I love French Onion Soup, but I had never attempted to make it myself—for some reason, I had it in my head that this was one of those dishes that would never taste as good as it does when someone else makes it. I was so wrong! I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Crock Pot french onion soup, so I figured I would give it a shot, and I am so glad that I did. It was delicious!

The only thing I would note is that this recipe is a little more involved than your average Crock Pot recipe. If you’re looking to throw this together before you head out the door in the morning, I would highly recommend doing the first step the night before. I spent about 45 minutes chopping and cooking the onions before they ever made it to the Crock Pot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wake up an extra 45 minutes early to do that in the morning.

I also tweaked the original recipe just slightly by using gouda cheese instead of the Gruyere/Emmental/Parmesan blend the original recipe called for (gouda was way cheaper), and instead of melting the cheese over the soup under the broiler, I just topped the bread with the cheese, popped it under the broiler, and dropped a toasty, gooey slice into each bowl of soup. It gave the same cheesy crouton flavor without the chunks of stringy cheese that are impossible to eat anyway. Enjoy!

Crock Pot French Onion Soup
Adapted from Slow Cooker French Onion Soup 

6 tbsp butter
4 large yellow onions, sliced and separated into rings
1 tbsp white sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup cooking sherry (do not substitute or skimp on this ingredient- it’s what gives the soup its distinctive flavor!)
7 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
8 slices fresh French bread
1 cup shredded gouda cheese

  1. Heat butter in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir onions until they become translucent, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle onions with sugar; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are soft and browned, at least 30 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Stir sherry into onion mixture and scrape bottom of pot to dissolve small bits of browned food from the pot. Transfer onions into a slow cooker and pour in beef broth. Season to taste with sea salt; stir in thyme and bay leaf. Cover cooker, set on High, and cook 4 to 6 hours. If desired, set on Low and cook 8 to 10 hours.
  3. About 10 minutes before serving, set oven rack about 8 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven’s broiler. Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and top each with some cheese.
  4. Broil bread slices until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls and drop a slice of the bread into each bowl just before serving.


Pumpkin Soup

If you live on the East Coast, you are likely trapped in your house today, and your Halloween pumpkins are probably getting pummeled by Hurricane Sandy. . . so why not turn them into some cozy, delicious pumpkin soup (if you have power, that is)? If you’re lucky enough to not be in the path of the storm, well, make this soup anyway because it’s just that good.

I have experimented with several recipes for pumpkin soup in the past, but they all turned out too sweet or too bland or too creamy. With this recipe, however, I have hit the jackpot. It is the perfect balance of savory and sweet with a little fall spice and just a hint of cream. I served this soup with a cheddar and apple grilled cheese sandwich, which was the perfect complement!

Pumpkin Soup

2 whole pie pumpkins (I roasted 3 to make pumpkin bread at the same time, hence the picture)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tsp thyme
5 ½ cups chicken stock
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 325°.  Place your pumpkins, whole and uncut, on a cookie sheet and roast them for about 45 minutes or until they are soft. Allow the pumpkins to cool before cutting them, removing the seeds, and scooping out the flesh.

2. Using a food processor, pulse the pumpkin until it’s smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a regular blender, an immersion blender (after you’ve added the chicken stock in step 4), or a manual masher instead.

3. Heat a dutch oven or stock pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, butter, and onion and sauté until the onion is translucent and soft. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.

4. Whisk in chicken stock and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Slowly add in the pumpkin and stir to blend well.

5. Cook the soup for 15 minutes to allow it to thicken, and then add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and heavy cream.

6. Serve immediately or reduce heat to low to keep warm until you’re ready to eat.