Category Archives: Soup

Southwestern Mixed Vegetable Soup


This soup is a great base soup that you can tinker with.  Very healthy.

I personally felt it needed more spice or complex flavor, so I would recommend adding jalapeno if you like heat, or a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

Southwest Vegetable Soup Recipe

As with many soups, this one is quite tasty the next day and can be altered into something totally new.

With our leftovers, I made it into a fish stew.  I heated it up, add about 1/4 cup red wine (or use white), and added 2 fresh cod fillets, and more fresh pepper.  Very tasty.


Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman


2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 dried chipotle chile (optional)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
3 tomatillos, husked and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into rings (optional)

Put the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and some salt and peper and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables along with some more salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are shiny, just a minute or so.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the vegetables are very tender (the potato will take the longest), 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.


Thai Style Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Alyssa and I visited the Saigon Market at Findlay Market this past weekend.

At a traditional grocery store, you might be able to find a few stalks of lemongrass. Or maybe not.

But at this market, there's a whole cardboard box of lemongrass stalks.  And crazy fresh ginger.

Lemongrass Lime Chili

This soup was amazing. Lots of flavor.  But if someone in the family doesn't like some of those exotic flavors, cut them back a bit. Use 1/2 the amount of lemongrass and lime. 


Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman


6-7 cups vegetable stock, water, or combination of the two
3 stalks lemongrass
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
grated zest of 1 lime
1 small hot fresh Thai chile, seeded, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup button or oyster mushrooms, chopped fine or sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed, or shelled peas (frozen ok)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
Juice of 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro leave for garnish
12 oz box extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (we used Mori Nu)
8 oz rice noodles (we used Erawan Brand medium size oriental style noodles) 

Heat a pan of water on medium-high heat for the rice noodles. Meanwhile, put the stock in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mince the core of one of the lemongrass stalks and add it; trim and bruise the other 2 lemongrass stalks, cut them into 2- or 3-inch lengths, and add them to the pot along with the soy sauce, lime zest, chile, black pepper, and sugar. Stir, then add the vegetables and tofu.

When the water for the noodles is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook to just a minute or two short of being cooked, according to package directions.  

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy, lime, chile or pepper as you like.

Add the noodles to the soup, simmer another minute.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Vegan: “Creamy” Zucchini and Basil Soup

Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge

Vegan Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup


When it's vegan, is it Kreamy or "Creamy" or just plain Creamy, with an explanation to follow?


Creamy Zucchini Basil Soup
This is a question that has been plaguing our family for … centuries, decades, 5 minutes now.

What amazes me about this soup is that everyone in our family really liked it.  Even the non-vegan, even the picky, even the manly man, even the nut-hater.  Even after Alyssa explained it had nutritional YEAST in it.  No one was deterred.


Thank you to the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen's website of massive recipes to help us with our 6-Week Vegan Challenge.


If it's summer………..SERVE WITH WATERMELON!!  (It will break up the greenness)


Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen  

2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable broth (we used Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Stock)
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tablespoons raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt & pepper, to taste

Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest. (We skipped this part.)

Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.

Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.

Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.

Nutrition Facts (according to FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Nutrition (per serving): 128 calories, 56 calories from fat, 6.7g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 437.6mg sodium, 542.3mg potassium, 14.2g carbohydrates, 2.7g fiber, 4.5g sugar, 6.3g protein, 2.6 points.

Homemade Chicken and Stars Soup


Homemade Chicken and Stars Soup w Text
I've read so many different ways to make chicken broth.  

So many different opinions.  I normally prefer Martha Stewart recipes but …

I found one that makes more sense to me.  And it's pretty quick.  

No simmering for hours or multiple steps.  Or using odd parts of a chicken I don't have.

It's more work than throwing some boxed chicken broth in a pan.

But sometimes you just want to have the good stuff.

The idea of this recipe is that cutting the chicken in 2" pieces and sauteeing it first before putting in the water, helps speed the process of getting all the flavor from the chicken.

For this job, a cleaver would be great.  I got this one at Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply in-store.  
Great deal.

Chicken Pieces Sauteeing

Saute chicken pieces (reserving breast) and onions about 25 minutes.

Add water, whole chicken breast, salt and bay leaves, simmer another 20 minutes.

Chicken Breast in Chicken Stock

Remove chicken breast, set aside.  When cool, remove skin and shred or dice meat into bite size pieces.

Chicken Broth
Strain broth into a large bowl.

Sauteed Onions with Thyme

Return soup kettle to medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Saute 5 minutes.

Add thyme, broth and shredded chicken.  Simmer until flavors meld, about 15 minutes.

Add noodles or other pasta and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Adjust seasonings, adding salt if necessary and pepper.  Stir in parsley and serve.  

Flavored croutons are a nice addition.


Chicken Noodle Soup

Compliments of JennaDish

from The Perfect Recipe by Pam Anderson 


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions,cut into medium dice
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), breast removed and split; remaining chicken cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups (3 ounces) hearty egg noodles (or 1/4-1/3 cup dry stars pasta)
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup mined fresh parsley leaves

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large soup kettle.  Add half of chopped onions and all chicken pieces (reserve breast).  Saute until chicken is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until chicken releases its uices, about 20 minutes.  Increase heat to high; add 2 quarts water (already boiling if you are in a hurry) along with the whole chicken breast, 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaves.  Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat to low and barely simmer until chicken breast is cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, 20 minutes longer.

2. Remove chicken breast from kettle; set aside.  When cool enough to handle, remove skin from breast, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones.  Strain broth into a large bowl and discard any remaining chicken pieces and bones.  Skim fat from broth and reserve 2 tablespoons.  (Broth and meat can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

3. Return soup kettle to medium-high heat.  Add reserved chicken fat.  Add remaining onion, along with carrot and celery.  Saute until sofened, about 5 minutes.  Add thyme, broth and shredded chicken. Simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors meld, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add noodles and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Adjust seasonings, adding salt, if necessary, and pepper, stir in parsley and serve.

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This soup tastes great, and is one of the dishes that has helped me eat and feel full, while losing weight.

Also makes a great sauce for dry foods such as a baked potato or rice.


Butternut Squash Apple Soup



Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Whole Living Magazine Jan/Feb 2012

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves and cook until tender, 6-8 minutes.  Add 1-inch grated fresh ginger (2 Tbsp), 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cardamom, and dash ground cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add 2 peeled and chopped carrots, 1 peeled, quartered, and chopped tart apple, 4 cups chopped butternut squash, and 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil; cover partially and reduce to a simmer.  Season with coarse salt and pepper. 

Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly

Working in batches, puree until smooth in a blender.  Adjust seasoning, if necessary. 

Freezes well.

Speedy Seafood Supper

Seafood Supper
Gosh, this once-frozen seafood looks scraggly.  Looks like I defrosted it in the clothes dryer.

Speedy Seafood Soup

UPDATE:  Made it a second time when I had more daylight. No more scraggly fish.

1. This dish is meant to be quick – you know – you forgot to lay anything out.  Everything's frozen or in cans. Check.

2. Has a very nice flavored broth, but I added about 6 shakes of Frank's Hot Sauce which gave it a slight zip as a personal preference.  Check.

3.  It's supposed to serve 2-4 people.  Uh, no check here.  She must be talking about 2-4 super models.  Allen ate pretty much the whole thing.  I ate exactly 1/2 cup because I wanted him to have as much as he needed since he was going out to his men's group.  Yes, I said men's group.

4.  This photo looks absolutely nothing like the one in the Nigella Kitchen cookbook.  Hate that.  Not the first time this has happened. I suspect they do some PhotoShoping. UPDATE: I made again with fire roasted tomatoes and took a better photo. Added 3 jalapeno slices to throw in Allen's bowl.  Also added a little leftover smoked ham but won't do again because it overpowered the fish.

Next time I would double everything.  Possibly double everything except the fish – could do 1.5 times the fish and add some very small pasta, like ditalini.  Also would use something other than diced tomatoes.  UPDATE: Fire-roasted tomatoes helped.

Mop up the juices with crusty bread.

Speedy Seafood Supper
Compliments of JennaDish


adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

pinch saffron threads
1 cup freshly boiled water
4 teaspoons garlic flavored oil (I used olive oil and sauteed a smashed clove of garlic)
6 scallions (didn't have it – sprinkled about 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes and sauteed lightly w garlic)
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (or dill or dried basil)
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
14-ounce diced tomatoes (fire-roasted adds more depth of flavor)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
1 pound frozen mixed seafood (I used 5-6 oz. each bay scallops, medium shrimp, cod fillet)
pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, to serve (optional)
Frank's Hot sauce (optional)

Put the saffron threads in a bowl and add 1 cup freshly boiled water.

Warm the garlic flavored oil in a wide, shallow, heavy-based pan over a medium heat, and fry the scallions and dried tarragon for a minute or so. (I used my old, not-so-heavy, stainless steel dutch oven – worked just fine).

Add the vermouth (or wine) and let bubble for a minute, then add the saffron in its yellow water, followed by the tomatoes, and let it all come to a boil.  Add half the amount of salt specified above.

Turn up the heat to high (or medium high like I did) add the frozen seafood, and bring the pan back to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium and cook at a robust simmer till the seafood is hot and cooked through, which should be 3 or 4 minutes.

Season with pepper to taste, and add the rest of the salt if required, sprinkle with any available herbs, if you feel like it, and serve, for pleasurable mopping, with some crusty bread. (I sprinkled fresh parsley and did not like it – not necessary.)


Cuban Cure Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean Soup w Text

I was attracted to this Cuban Cure Black Bean Soup recipe in Nigella Christmas because of Nigella's remarks about why you'd make this during the holidays.  Here's her narrative:

This is the perfect antidote to an evening soured by too much office-party wine.
A clanging head finds solace in fire and fat, and this bean stew of a soup provides both,
with ease and speed.

I, of course, altered it because I didn't have all the exact ingredients, but close.  So mine is what I would call the healthier version. Plus I wanted to double it to make enough for leftovers. My favorite part is the fresh squeeze of a lime right on top of the soup just before taking a bite.  It's a very different taste for me – the coupling of a fresh fruit zest with a hearty bean and meat dish. 

So I'm publishing the original recipe first, then my version. Mine turned out very, very good, but I also want to make the original version to get that "fire and fat" effect from the sausage. The directions are the original, but with my notes in italics. 

Goes great with some bakery fresh bread.

NOTE:  I used an immersion blender in the pan to cream some of the beans and tomatoes.  The outcome was ugly bean bits, no effect on the diced tomatoes, and a greyish colored broth.  Plus after serving a test bowl to Allen, he preferred more beans, so a 3rd can went in, which may or may not have been necessary had I not blended the beans. 

ANOTHER NOTE:  I was worried there wasn't going to be enough taste, with cumin as the only spice.  However, chorizo style meat will absolutely make up the rest of the flavor – whether sausage or chicken.

Cuban Cure Black Bean Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

From Nigella Lawson's recipe from Nigella Christmas


1/4 lb chorizo sausage (not the salami sort)
2 scallions
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
15 oz can black beans, drained
Fresh tomato
2 cups good quality cartoned or canned chicken broth/stock
juice of 1 lime, or to taste (or packaged lime juice)
2-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Cuban Black Bean Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe from Nigella Christmas


2-3 links chicken chorizo sausages (about 6-10 ounces)
3 teaspoons bacon fat or shortening
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can crushed (or diced) tomatoes
4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth
1-2 limes cut in fat wedges
2-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 teaspoons dried cilantro for sprinkling)

Cut the chorizo sausage into slices roughly 1/8 inch thick.  Then cut each coin in half or quarters as you wish. 

Cook the chorizo pieces in a dry saucepan for about 5 minutes, or until they give up their orange oil and crisp up a little.  Remove them with a slotted spatula to a bowl or plate.

Cut off the green parts of the scallions and reserve for slicing later, then finely slice the white part and add this to the pan slicked with orange oil (this is where I added the bacon fat since my chicken chorizo left no fat in the pan), along with the ground cumin, stirring everything together for a couple of minutes over a gentle heat.

Empty the drained black beans into the pan and roughly chop the tomato, adding the pieces – peel, seeds and all (I added the canned tomatoes) – along with the chicken broth.  Stir the pan and let it simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Ladle the soup into 2 bowls; add the reserved chorizo pieces, then give each bowl a good squirt of lime juice (I served with lime wedges to squirt bite by bite) and sprinkle with the finely sliced green part of the scalions and some chopped cilantro.

White Bean Chicken Andouille Chili

Chicken White Bean Chili

Aw dwee yuh.  Way too French.  I prefer New Orleans' Americanized pronunciation:

Ann Dewey.  Andouille.  Ann Dewey.  Andouille.


White Bean Chicken Andouille Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

1 Tblsp olive oil
1-2 yellow onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 links chicken adouille sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can (7 oz) roasted green chiles or 1/3 cup Fontova Tomatillo Salsa
4 cups chicken stock, low sodium preferred
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese, diced onion, sour cream, fresh cilantro for serving

Hea tthe oil in a Dutch oven or similar pan over medium heat.  Add onion, cook 3 minutes, add garlic cook another 2 minutes.  Add chicken sausage and cook until almost done, about 5 minutes.  Add the stock, beans and chiles or salsa.  Simmer uncovered on low heat 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with your favorite combination of accompaniments such as sour cream and cheese.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot

My first Japanest Hot Pot.  East meets West.  This should be interesting.

I chose a recipe that I thought the fam would tolerate – Chicken Curry.  I did well.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot
And here it goes…

Cook chicken and onion…

add curry …

add a brew of chicken broth, sake, soy sauce, and a smidge of sugar…

add potatoes, celery, carrots, negi (or Spring onions or leeks), cabbage, garlic and fresh ginger…

Cook until tender (and add some ramen in case you're concerned your teenager will snub her nose at all the veggies – at least I know she'll eat the noodles)…

Chicken Curry Hot Pot Japanese Bowl
dish it up in an authentic bowl from Japan brought to you as a gift by your teenage Japanese guest from last May (that's a very specific instruction, isn't it?)…

here it is without the broth to show off the chicken and such.

The verdict?  Everyone really liked it.  The picky sisters didn't pick anything out.  Will definitely make again. 

And the actual pot.  Love it.  Doesn't stick, keeps things hot, and cleans up very easily. 

Chicken Curry Hot Pot or Kare Nabe
Compliments of JennaDish

from Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( 1 to 1.5 pounds), cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 medium Spanish onion (about 3/4 pound), cut crosswide into 1/2" thick slices
1/4 cup curry powder
1/4 small head green cabbage (about 1/2 pound), cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery (about 1/2 pound), sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4 " thick
1 medium carrot (about 1/4 pound), peeled and sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4" thick
1 medium Idaho potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 negi (Japanese onion) (or 2 spring onions)

Prepare the broth by combining the chicken stock, sake, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Add the oil to a hot pot and place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken, stirring and cooking until the chicken turns golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder, stirring and cooking for 1 minute more to caramelize.  Add the reserved broth. 

Pile the remaining ingredients in the pot.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Decrease heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Simmer until the veggies are cooked to your liking.

Transfer the hot pot to the dining table.  Serve in bowls.  Suggested side dish: Individual bowls of steamed rice.


Old Fashioned 15-Bean Soup with Kale

 15 Bean Soup with Kale and Ham
It's really hard to make bean soup pretty.  So I didn't fuss over the picture too much.  This is another basic soup that can be tweaked to your liking.  It's such a hearty and healthy winter soup.

And evidently it's idiot-proof because I assembled this early in the morning before work and forgot the 1/4 cup of parsley I had diligently chopped the night before and placed in the freezer in water to preserve.  Then when I got home I forgot to add the wine and vinegar.  It still tasted good.  I added diced ham steak at the last minute because we had some left over.

Note to self:  Allen prefers less kale next time. 

It's another crockpot recipe from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.  I did some prep work the night before, threw stuff in the crockpot before work and had dinner waiting for me when I got home. 

The recipe calls for making a bouquet garni …

Bouquet Garni
like this.  Fresh parsley, fresh thyme, peeled garlic clove, 10 peppercorns, a bay leaf and fresh tarragon which I didn't have.  Place on a square of cheesecloth, tie with twine, drop in broth for flavor.

Bouquet Garni 2
Old Fashioned 15-Bean Soup with Kale (and Ham)
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker by Beth Hensperger

12 – 16 ounces commercial 15-bean soup or similar dried bean soup mix, rinsed (I used 12 oz)
8 cups water or chicken or vegetable broth (I used homemade 5 cups veg broth and 3 cups water)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bouquet garni: 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh tarragon, 10   black peppercorns, 1 clove peeled garlic, all tied in cheesecloth with kitchen twine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped fine
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (I put 4 shakes in and still couldn't taste it)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the bean mix, water or broth, parsley, and bouqet garni bag in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until just softened, about 5 minutes.  (I did this the night before).  Add to the cooker, cover, turn the cooker to LOW and cook the soup for 4-5 hours. 

Add the kale and stir to incorporate (if you need to let the soup cook all day while you are gone, just add the kale at the beginning or substitute spinach and add at serving time).  Coer and continue to cook on LOW until the beans are tender, another 4 -5 hours.

Discard the bougquet garni.  Stir in the wine, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce.  Season with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper. If the soup is too thick, add boiling water to thin.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.