Archive for the ‘Soups and Stews’ Category

My dear friend Alicia sent me this recipe of a soup her father made for her when she was feeling sick to share with all of you.  He got the recipe from Giada De Laurentis.  I wish I had a image of the soup to add to the post but truth told I have been so busy of late and when  I made it  it was consumed to fast to get a picture.  I agree it is extremely delicious and a wonderful comfort food.

  • Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.

  • prep time 15 minutes

  • yields 4-6 servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped

  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 pound swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chipped

  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig

  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans low sodium beef broth

  • 1 ounce piece parmesan cheese rind

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

  • salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, blend 3/4cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off the stem.)

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Mushrooms, delicious, nutritional and a excellent meat substitute source.  Cream of Mushroom soup is a meal I make in quantity and freeze in individual containers for later consumption.  To reheat only involves a quick reheating in a pot on stove or in microwave.  It is also very easy to make and cost saving, in addition you can control the sodium and preservatives unlike canned soups from stores.

To make:

1 small package of mushrooms (button, shitake, portabella) sliced or diced.

5 cups milk  or 3 cups milk to 2 cups half and half.  (I just use milk)  (reserve 1/2 cup milk)

1/2 cup diced onion

2 tbsp corn starch or flour

Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients in pot on stove and on medium heat (just below boiling) let simmer until onions and mushrooms are cooked and lose their firmness.  At this point you can leave as is, or if you like smaller mushroom pieces (which my kids prefer), place in blender.  Return to stove top and bring back up to near boiling.  Add the corn starch/flour to the reserved 1/2 cup of milk and add to the soup stirring well to thicken. That’s all there is to it.

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This weekend I made a huge pot of French Onion Soup.  It is one of my favorite soups and freezes very well.  The rich broth mingling with the caramelized onions, poured over rich brown bread and topped with dripping melted cheeses. It just makes all right with the world.

French Onion Soup.

6 onions, peeled and sliced.

Olive oil

1/4 tsp sugar

Heat your olive oil in bottom of stew pot, add the onions and cook on medium-high heat for approximately 30 minutes to caramelize.  At the 10 minute cooking point, add the sugar to aid in the caramelizing process. Your onions are done when they have reached a rich deep brown coloration.  Be sure to stir occasionally to keep from burning.


2 cloves garlic minced

Saute for one minute.


8 cups beef stock (from your own stock, or store bought.)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp dried thyme.

Salt and black pepper to taste.

Turn heat down to simmer and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes to mingle flavors.  The longer it cooks the richer the taste.


1/4 cup water

1 tsp cornstarch

Mix cornstarch into lukewarm water and add to the soup to thicken slightly.

To Serve:

Place piece of toasted french bread or rye bread in bottom of soup bowl. Ladle soup over bread and top with cheddar, Swiss or Gouda cheese.  Place soup bowl under broiler or in toaster oven to melt cheese.  You can also microwave it to melt cheese.  Serve warm.

Makes 8-10 servings.




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It’s soup season, with all the cold’s and flu’s going around I seem to be making more soup meals then usual.  This is fine with me, I love soup.  It is easy to make and budget friendly.  Soup also is a very forgiving food, there is little you can do to it which can ruin it.

Having made up a beef roast this past weekend, I reserved the bones and a bit of the stock to make a nice beef vegetable soup. This is my method, but again, as with all food recipes, play with it, add or alter to your personal taste and see what delicious meals you can create for your family.

ABC Vegetable Soup

8 cups beef stock  (can use store bought, I prefer making my own by simmering beef bones in water.)

1 cup onions, thick diced

1 cup celery, thick sliced

1 cup corn (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 cup English peas (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 cup green beans (fresh, canned or frozen)

1 1/2 cups diced potatoes

1/2 – 1 cup ABC pasta (can be found in most pasta sections of stores, if not there, ask your store. Some put them under “exotic” foods such as Chinese or Mexican dish ingredients)

2 tbsp tomato powder (this is the “throw away” part of canned tomatoes dehydrated and blended in blender to powder form,  you can substitute 1/2 can of  tomato paste.)

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp parsley

2 tsp basil flakes

1 tsp sage

1 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Place broth in dutch oven or crock pot.  Bring to just under a boil stage and add onion & celery. Let simmer until celery is pliable and has lost it’s “crunch”, add rest of vegetables and herbs and let simmer until vegetables are cooked to just under tender.  Add your pasta and continue to cook for an additional 1/2 hour or longer.  Don’t be afraid to let it simmer, it actually improves its taste over time.


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With the leaves falling and the cooler (okay not so scalding hot and humid) days allowing me to open windows I had a craving for warm, thick and soothing bean soup.  To me bean soup this time of year is like a gentle hug from a loved one,  it seems right and feels right. As it is very easy to make and can be done in a crockpot overnight, it should in my view be a staple in every household.  Of course it’s also served best with hot apple cider and a big slice of fresh homemade bread slathered in butter.

Bean Soup

1 sm bag small navy beans

4 smoked ham hocks (or leftover ham)

1 cup carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, chopped

4 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp black pepper

salt to taste

(I like to add a pinch of thyme and sage to mine, but you don’t need to.)

Place beans in crock pot with ham hocks, cover with water.  Turn your crock pot on high and let heat, reduce to low and let simmer overnight.  In morning remove the hocks (they will probably fall apart) onto a pan, separate meat from skin and bones, return meat back into the soup and a little skin to continue to offer flavor, discard the bones.  Add your chopped vegetables and spices.  Return crock pot to high and let cook for an additional 2 or more hours until carrots are tender.  If you wish to speed up this process you can used pre-canned carrots.

Ladle into bowls and serve with hot homemade bread or rolls and a bowl of fresh applesauce.  Delicious!

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