Moroccan Lamb & Couscous Stew

Moroccan Lamb & Couscous StewWell it’s almost October and it’s time to gear up for colder weather and warmer food! This stew is perfect for the time of year since it’s hearty, spicy, and a perfect belly warmer. The stew is seasoned with coriander, turmeric, cumin, fresh thyme, fenugreek and cinnamon which makes a lovely blend of spices. I used Israeli couscous for this dish and it has a pretty great texture. It almost reminds me of a smaller, savory version of those tapioca balls in bubble tea. The lamb I chose was ground lamb which breaks apart in tender pieces. If desired the lamb can be rolled into meatballs as well. Preserved lemons also add a bit of savory sweetness that enhances the flavor of the lamb and curry. The nice thing about this dish is that it is filling but doesn’t sit too heavy either. This stew goes great with a generous spoon of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro and lemon for garnish.
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Slow Cooker Cabbage Roll Soup

Cabbage Roll Soup

September is almost upon us and the shortening of the Summer’s daylight hours is just starting to get more noticeable. So in honor of the impending Fall weather I thought I would make a hearty slow cooker soup to celebrate. This soup’s humble ingredients go perfectly together and create a delicious and satisfying dish. This soup is pretty much a deconstructed cabbage roll recipe and the broth is flavored with herbs, Worcestershire and paprika. The cabbage and beef becomes fall apart tender after slow cooking it for hours. Garnish with grated cheese and parsley.
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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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Cauliflower and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Goat Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup

I love roasted red peppers. They go so well with so many things whether you add them on sandwiches, salads, soups or sauces–they are a lovely ingredient to work with. I hadn’t tried roasted red peppers in a soup but I was dying to try out this soup with cauliflower and goat cheese. Diced pancetta, fresh thyme and paprika flavor this soup while the goat cheese and heavy cream give it some tangy richness. It’s fairly low in carbs but surprisingly rich and filling. Even the cauliflower puree alone is rich in flavor and has a creamy texture, almost like creamed mashed potatoes. I served it with a dash of paprika and sprinkled with extra goat cheese. Serve with crusty french bread or croutons.
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Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup

Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup 2

For week night meals, I like to make a big pot of something tasty on Sunday to last me several days into the week. This is a great recipe for week night meals. It’s easy to throw together and the leftovers are just as good as the first day. The soup comes fully loaded with ground beef, elbow macaroni and the flavors of veggies, tomatoes and fresh herbs. This recipe calls for fresh thyme and marjoram, and I would recommend picking up some of the fresh stuff instead of the dried. It does impart way more flavor than dried herbs can. The combination of the fresh herbs with Worcestershire, tomatoes and ground beef were delicious. Garnish with a little grated parmesan and thyme springs and serve with some crusty french bread. As always with soups that have pasta, the noodles tend to soak up all the tasty broth if you add them in all at once. Make small batches and add a serving of noodles to each bowl so that none of the broth gets wasted.
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Beef Enchilada Soup

Enchilada Soup

Tex-mex food is awesome in pretty much every form, including soup! A lot of the U.S. has been dealing with some epic winter weather so to all of you fighting the deluge of snow (hey Chicago!), enchiladas are the perfect winter comfort food. This recipe is super easy to make with hardly any prep time involved. You can buy pre-made enchilada sauce at the grocery store but it’s fresher and easy to make at home. In my opinion it’s worth it to whip up a batch before you start cooking the soup. It can be made several days ahead of time as well if you’re short on cooking time. Possible toppings include: tortilla chips/strips, avocado slices, cilantro, lime slices, diced red onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream…I could go on. The end result was delicious with minimal effort. It can be easily converted to the slow cooker, just add everything into the pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high!
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Jambalaya Soup

Jambalaya Soup

Jambalaya is one of my favorite Cajun dishes. Since I’ve made the dish a few times, I realized that it could easily be transformed into a soup! This recipe is filled with delicious Cajun flavors. I’m fortunate to have a local butcher that makes great Cajun sausage which I used for this recipe. It’s not the same as Andouille sausage which is smoked and usually sold pre-cooked. Instead, this sausage is sold uncooked/unsmoked and is flavored with Cajun seasoning. It crumbles apart easily so it makes for a better sausage for soup. If you can find this type of Cajun sausage great, but if you can’t there’s always Andouille sausage which is tasty as well.

When I made this soup I was out of shrimp and didn’t have time to pick some up. In a pinch, I decided to use a traditional ingredient found in, believe it or not, Vietnamese cooking. The secret ingredient to this soup is…wait for it…fish sauce! I know, it sounds crazy but it really is a great way to get some of that briny/salty flavor into the stock without having to shuck and boil several pounds of shrimp shells. If you prefer to use shrimp for the stock, go for it, but this was a handy way to get that good flavor in a pinch. Not having shrimp in this soup wasn’t that big of a deal for me since I felt that all the necessary flavors were there. I served the soup with Cornbread Muffins which made a great side dish (and for dunking!)
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Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup 2

I’m a big fan of stuffed pepper recipes. Peppers make for a great food “vessel,” but eating a whole pepper can be a bit awkward. I’ve found that the filling-to-pepper ratio can be a little out of wack and most of the time I’m left with too much pepper and not enough filling. This soup takes care of that problem quite well and combines all the flavors of a stuffed pepper without the ratio problems. I was surprised at how similar it tasted to your basic stuffed pepper recipe! One trick I advise using with this recipe: In order to avoid the rice from absorbing too much of the valuable broth I cook the servings separately and add them in to each bowl. I’ve learned that pasta, noodles and rice love to soak up the broth you took pains to prepare and I use this trick on almost every soup recipe now. This recipe has become a staple weeknight meal and makes a lot for several days. Makes for some tasty leftovers when you’re too busy to make dinner each night.
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White Bean, Sausage & Cabbage Soup

Sausage, White Bean and Cabbage Soup

Happy New Years! We have officially arrived in January, the doldrums of winter and in my opinion, the year’s worst month. January has the coldest weather and by now I’m missing the holiday cheer. The one thing to look forward to is the days getting longer and more excuses to eat hearty soups! This soup is great for the “mean month” and helps chase away the winter chill. The soup is loaded with spicy sausage, beans, fresh veggies and herbs. Make it with homemade chicken stock and you have a nutrient rich broth to stave off the flu and common cold (no, the old wive’s tale is not a myth; it does give your immune system a boost). Serve it up with crusty french bread for dunking and plenty of sliced parmigiano reggiano!
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Wild Rice Soup with Bacon and Butternut Squash

Wild Rice Soup

For the winter months nothing beats a hot bowl of wild rice soup! I tend to avoid creamy soups due to their heaviness but I decided to give it a try. In the past I’ve made it as a broth-based soup instead of cream-based. Even though it doesn’t skimp on the cream and bacon, it wasn’t especially heavy which was surprising. I made this recipe with the leftover bones I froze from the Thanksgiving turkey. The recipe for homemade stock (swap out chicken for turkey) can be found here. The soup is also packed with butternut squash, corn and other veggies.  For the rice, I decided to save the broth and not add it into the soup as it cooked; that way the rice didn’t absorb all the tasty broth. I really liked how this turned out and it was a perfect recipe for the holidays!
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