Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Soup

Slowcooker Beef and Vegetable Soup

I used to eat alphabet soup with beef and veggies all the time as a kid. This recipe brings me back to those days. Even though this soup knocks anything canned out of the park, the flavors remind me just a bit of the soup I used to have back in the day. This recipe is easy to throw together, and then the slow cooker does the rest of the work for you. Something about the slow cooker really brings together the flavors of the beef, the vegetables and the herbs. I used high quality ground beef for the meat and fresh oregano and thyme for seasoning. While this soup is great for winter time, it also works perfectly year round as an easy weeknight meal.
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Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Who doesn’t love a warm bowl of soup on chillier evenings? Since it’s starting to get darker and the winter months are on their way I thought chicken and dumpling soup would be an appropriate post for the season. The dumplings are so easy to make since the shape of the dough balls don’t matter at all. You simply drop spoonfuls of dough into the hot broth and it does all the work for you. The more lumpy and asymmetrical the better! The dumplings are seasoned with fresh herbs and parmesan which really adds to their flavor. I went with homemade chicken stock since it tastes better than store bought and makes the soup more nutrient rich. I chose chicken breasts for the protein but thighs or even a whole roasted chicken would make great substitutes as well. I look forward to the winter months so I can whip up a batch of this again!
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Moroccan Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemons

Moroccan Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemons

This recipe combines the heartiness of classic chicken vegetable soup with the flavors of roasted Moroccan chicken and curry flavors. For the freshest and most nutritious soup I use homemade chicken stock. Preserved lemons might be hard to find at your average grocery store which is why I just make them ahead of time. I had also found that roasting a chicken in the oven with spices and olive oil allows for the most tender, shredded meat for the soup. If you don’t have any chicken stock on hand, you can use the bones from the chicken and make your own. If you already have some ready, that’s great, because you can then freeze the bones and have it ready to go for next time! The recipe uses a whole butternut squash, carrots, red potatoes and chickpeas for heartiness and flavor. A few tablespoons of spicy Moroccan Harissa paste and a curry spice blend is all that it needs to take this soup to the next level! I was very happy with the results and will be incorporating it into my weekly meals! The recipe yields a lot of soup so it makes a perfect weekday dinner.
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Chicken Vegetable Soup with Acorn Squash and White Beans

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Acorn Squash and White Beans

Spring is around the corner but in many places winter is still raging. This soup is loaded with healthy veggies but is still hearty enough to combat the winter chills. For the stock I used my go to recipe for Homemade Stock. You can either use what you have pre-made or make it for the soup–either way works fine and instructions will follow. I packed this recipe with tons of veggies such as acorn squash, spinach, corn, peas, carrots and cabbage. The recipe is surprisingly hearty and flavorful. It has been one of my favorite go-to winter soup recipes over the past few weeks!
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Leftover Hambone and White Bean Soup

hambone soup

If you have a leftover ham bone from a spiral cut ham sitting in your freezer you can make this delicious soup! This recipe is loaded with healthy vegetables and beans. I was surprised at how fast the stock came together. It only took about an hour of simmering for it be fragrant and full of good flavor. I decided to use a trick for it that’s often used when cooking stock for Vietnamese Pho: adding whole spices like allspice and cloves to enhance flavor. It worked out quite nicely and the rest of the soup came together in a flash. It was a great way to use up those leftovers from dinner and is a perfect soup for cold February weather.
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Green Chile and Chorizo Soup with Smokey Croutons

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I love soups and tex-mex food and this recipe combines the best of both worlds! This soup combines a delicious mix of green chilies and tomatillos, chorizo, hominy, potatoes and spices.  I went a little overboard with the garnishes and topped the soup with crumbled queso fresco, green onion,  fresh lime, cilantro and smokey baked croutons.  Even the croutons alone in this recipe are stand out awesome and could easily be snacked on alone!  The recipe does require a lot of ingredients and time to prepare but it is totally worth it in the end. I actually never made anything with hominy before and I thought it worked really nicely with the other ingredients.  The soup was hardy, with multiple layers of sweet, spicy and savory flavors.  I chose a beef chorizo for the meat but soy and pork varieties would work fine in this soup.  All of the ingredients blended together so well and I was happy with how it came out!

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Tomato Curry Stew with Chickpeas and Potatoes

This stew is a staple recipe for me as it is easy to put together and is healthy and flavorful. When I want something light and healthy this is one of my favorite go to recipes.  I use the slow cooker and all it requires is chopping the veggies and throwing everything in the crock pot to cook for about 8 hours.  All the veggies get nice and soft and the flavors of the curry marinate until the stew is bursting with good curry flavor. I served it with warm curried rolls and topped with yogurt.
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Pasta e Fagioli (Italian Pasta and Bean Soup)

Pasta e Fagioli is a traditional Italian peasant soup that translates to “pasta and beans.”  It’s a soup that can be made with several types of pasta, usually tubettini, ditalini, or conchigliette. Prosciutto or pancetta is used for the base to give it a nice smoky flavor. I wanted to make a big batch so I used a slow cooker to cook the beans and broth. It turned out great, though I forgot to cut up the rosemary and it should really be finely chopped. Just before serving I mixed in the cooked pasta. I strained the rest of the noodles out before putting it away to prevent them from absorbing all the broth over night. The soup was great with a warm, crusty baguette and grated parmigiano reggiano.

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Creole Split Pea Soup with Andouille Sausage

After making a good pork roast it’s always great to use the leftovers in a soup.  A great way to use the bone from a pork shoulder (or ham hock) is making pea soup. A few years ago I visited New Orleans and I was taken with the flavors they used in their soups and seafood so I decided to try a creole inspired pea soup.  I started with a base of onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, and carrots which sauteed in butter until soft.  Then I added some creole spices like thyme, sage, oregano, paprika, dried sassafras, and cayenne pepper.  The andouille sausage was my favorite twist on the traditional pea soup.  The sausage was delicious and had great sweet and spicy flavors.

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Chipotle Lentil and Bean Chili

October and November, in my opinion, are the best months for soups and chilis. I can’t really get enough of a warm bowl of something tasty during these months.  Since I had quite a few leftover ingredients from other meals (e.g. lentils, beans, tomato sauce, cilantro, etc) I figured I should try creating a chili out of what I had sitting around.  I kept looking around for more things to throw in and noticed I had some frozen green peppers and jalapenos, so I cut them up and threw them in too.  I was very happy with how the chili turned out! This chili does not need an ounce of meat as it is packed with protein from the lentils, kidney beans, and pinto beans.  The ground chipotle chilis were great and gave it a more smoky, aromatic flavor.  I garnished the chili with sour cream and cilantro, but yogurt would be a good substitute for the sour cream.

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