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 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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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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Classic Minestrone Soup

Classic Minestrone Soup

There are so many different variations of Minestrone soup; it can be somewhat difficult in choosing which recipe to follow. This recipe is more traditional and borrows from several recipes with elements that I liked in particular. I was interested in the idea of using the rind from parmigiano reggiano, as I heard it enhances the flavor. I tried it out and it turns out the rind does add more depth of flavor to the broth. I chose a simple bean medley of red kidney beans and great northern beans, both found in many Minestrone recipes. To get the freshest flavor I roasted Roma tomatoes in the oven and then pureed them for the diced tomatoes. It made a big difference due to the roasting process which concentrates and enhances their flavor. Many recipes do not require any meat as part of the base but I added sliced pancetta for richness and complexity. Everything came together great and it was a perfect transition meal from Summer to Fall! I garnished the soup with extra parmesan and basil and served it with crusty french bread.
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Thai Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken

 Thai Noodle Soup

Lately I can’t get enough of Thai curries! The balance of savory and fresh ingredients make Thai food one of my favorite meals. This curry is a soup with rice noodles and a savory broth. The base is flavored by red curry paste and coconut milk. It’s surprisingly easy and quick to throw together yet the broth tastes like it has been cooking for hours. The chicken is very thinly sliced so it cooks in a few minutes in the hot broth. You can find red curry paste at local Thai markets or make it from scratch. I garnished this dish with plenty of fresh Thai basil, fish sauce, lime juice, green onion and cilantro.
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