Thursday, October 22, 2009

"No Soup for You"

“No Soup for YOU!”

When the weather turns rainy and cold, my thoughts turn to warm foods…long cooked meats, soups, stews…comfort foods.  It’s pouring here today…and will be for the next few days…so I’m thinking soup for dinner.
Remember the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld?   No Soup for you!  But soup is good food, and a homemade or well made soup is really seriously good eats. And yet, homemade soups are becoming a thing of the past. A lot of people think of soup only at lunchtime.  Open a can…pour it in the pan…add the water (or not, if it’s not concentrated)…heat and eat.  But a good hearty soup and some biscuits, cornbread or a whole grain roll can make a great and satisfying meal. If you have never made soup yourself, and always depended on the Cambells and Progressos to do it for you, I think you should try it.  I also think you will find it easy and satisfying to chop and put in your own fresh ingredients…all the while having full control over the amount of salt and what kind of flavors you enjoy.  It is as soul-comforting as sitting in front of the fireplace with a roaring fire…watching your favorite movie or reading your favorite book…That’s the same feeling I get smelling a pot of simmering soup on the stove.  And with cold and flu season here, everybody needs a good chicken soup!
So let’s just start with a basic chicken soup.  Once this is made you can add whatever you desire to it…cooked rice (leftover?) and you have a nice Chicken with Rice Soup, or cooked noodles for Chicken Noodle Soup.  How about some alphabet shapes?  Alphabet Soup. (How much fun was it to make words with Alphabet soup when you were a kid…kids still love it!)  Add peas, beans, corn…whatever…it’s all good.  And if you have a stuffy nose, or the sneezes, or coughs, it’s a proven fact that nothing makes you feel better then a good old bowl of Chicken Soup…well, a little love and care helps too…
Make a batch today…put it into plastic containers…freeze it…and it will be there for you…when you need it.  Here’s to hoping you don’t.

Just the Beginnings Chicken Soup

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 1 back (halved) and two breasts, as much skin removed as possible
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, cut in half
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth, or homemade :-)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. Place the chicken legs, thighs, wings and back into a pot or Dutch oven (set the breasts aside, we will add those later so they don’t overcook and get all dry, dark meat holds its moisture and flavor much better than does the white meat); add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming any foam that rises. Add the breasts and simmer for about 15 minutes longer. Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain the broth through a fine sieve.
  2. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut or shred into bite sized pieces. Thinly slice the carrots, coarsely chop the celery and onions. Return all to the pan and heat. Stir in the parsley.
  3. Now, add cooked rice, noodles, macaroni, orzo, or whatever.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings  Serves 6
  5. Per Serving: (without addition of starches); 344 Calories; 17g Fat (4g Sat, 8g Mono, 3g Poly); 43g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 138mg Cholesterol; 368mg Sodium.
This beefy soup makes a great lunch or dinner.  Serve it with some hearty bread.  Left-overs make for great lunches.  Get a large mouth thermos and fill it up with some tummy warming soup…it’s the best way to deal with a cold day.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Serves 6 – 8
  • 1 pound chuck roast, cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (use some of the leaves)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
  • 1 quart low-salt beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley,(optional)

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the meat, onion, celery, tomato, beef stock, water, thyme and oregano; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, then simmer 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Add the potatoes and peas; continue to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until the potato is tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with chopped parsley, if desired.
  2. Per Serving: 475 Calories; 19g Fat (7g Sat, 8g Mono, 1g Poly); 36g Protein; 40g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 66mg Cholesterol; 450mg Sodium.
We really like barley in soup.  It holds up well over time, doesn’t get soggy, just softer.  If you like your barley soft…then soak it for about 5 hours before adding it to the soup.  This soup freezes very well.  When I first made it, I used left-over roast from Sunday dinner.  Fresh meat works just as well, but if you happen to have some left-overs, this is a great way to re-purpose it.

Beef  Barley Soup

Serves 6 – 8
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon flour (optional) I like thicker soups and usually add flour to thicken them as they cook
  • 1 quart low-salt beef broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomatoes, with the juice, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 10 ounces left-over or fresh roast beef, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes, water, thyme, parsley, and corn. Bring to a simmer, then add the pearl barley and beef cubes, slowly simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the barley is tender.
  2. Per Serving: 339 Calories; 14g Fat (5g Sat, 7g Mono, 1g Poly), 25g Protein, 30g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 51mg Cholesterol; 215mg Sodium.
I used to make this soup for Halloween every year.  Put all the ingredients into the crock-pot and let it simmer away.  That way I could make sure my son ate something healthy before going out to trick or treat with his buds and eat as much candy as they could cram into their mouths.  After, all us parents would sit back and enjoy a bowl of soup while the kids would count, share and trade their treasures.  I miss having my little one at this time of the year…he’s much too grown-up to go trick or treating, well, at least with his parents he is.   Serve this with some hot cornbread dripping in some honey butter.
Serves 6 – 8
  • For the Meatballs
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno, or to taste
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For the Soup
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup seeded and chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup seed and chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 – 2 cans small red beans, or black beans, or combo, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes with juice, tomatoes coarsely chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade, or low-sodium
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional chopped cilantro, if desired

  1. Combine the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Using your hands, mix well. Make small (about 1/2 inch) meatballs. Set-aside.
  2. If using a crock-pot, combine all the ingredients,except the meatballs and rice. Mix well. (Keep the meatballs and rice in the refrigerator until you are ready to add them. They work best if you can take them out at least 1/2 hour before you need to add them to the soup) Cook on low heat about 8 hours or high heat about 4. If cooking on low, turn to high and drop in the meatballs. Cook about another hour, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the cooked rice and cook until heated through.
  3. If cooking on top of the stove: In a large soup pan, combine all the ingredients except the meatballs and rice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about an hour; add the meatballs, cook about 15 minutes then add the rice. Cook until heated through.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in warm bowls; top with chopped cilantro, if desired.
  5. These are good with corn muffins or warmed corn or flour tortillas.
  6. Per Serving: 221 Calories; 8g Fat (3g Sat, 3g Mono, trace Poly); 14g Protein; 26g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 48mg Cholesterol; 387mg Sodium.
Minestrone…now that’s Italian…this recipe comes right from the Colavita USA web-site.  How about having some Garlic Toast with this? And a nice Chianti…


Serves 4 – 6
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 stalks celery, diced (use some of the leaves)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 pound green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 to 4 sprigs parsley, preferably Italian, chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste*
  • 2 cups low-salt beef broth
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 or 2 cans kidney or cannellini (white kidney beans) drained and rinsed
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup small pasta, such as elbow pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
  • *I like to use 1/2 of a can of tomato paste and 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice.

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven; add the onion, celery, carrots, cabbage, green beans, garlic and parsley. Saute over low heat until they are wilted. Add the tomato paste (and canned tomatoes if using); beef broth and water; simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Add the beans, zucchini and pasta. Simmer until heated through and the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Ladle into warmed bowls, top with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Per Serving: 411 Calories; 21g Fat (4g Sat, 14g Mono, 2g Poly); 16g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 9g Dietary Fiber; 4mg Cholesterol; 817mg Sodium.
High Five Veggie Soup
High Five Veggie Soup
Having been raised on mushy canned vegetable soups, my husband was less than enthusiastic when I decided to make and all veggie soup for lunch.  But with one taste, I not only got a High-Five, but I also had a veggie soup convert.

High Five Veggie Soup

Serves 6 – 8
  • 6 ounces fusilli pasta, or another short pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 (14.5 – ounce) cans Italian style stewed tomatoes, chopped or lightly blended
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans, (white kidney beans) or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons basil flavored oil or a good fruity olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook the fusilli for 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set-aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over low heat; add the green beans, onions and bell pepper; sprinkle with salt, cover and allow them to sweat for 10 minutes, do not brown.
  3. Add the stewed tomatoes, vegetable broth and water; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, spinach and basil; simmer another 10 minutes.
  5. Add the beans, pasta and red pepper flakes, if using, along with some additional broth or water if the soup seems too thick; simmer 5 minutes more.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings; Ladle into warmed bowls and drizzle with the oil and give it a good sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  7. Per Serving: 278 Calories; 9g Fat (1g Sat, 5g Mono, 1g Poly); 9g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 2mg Cholesterol; 725mg Sodium.
Left-Overs Turkey Soup
Left-Overs Turkey Soup
Thanksgiving is almost here.  And you know what that means…LEFT-OVERS…yep, turkey this, turkey that.  Making a soup out of the carcass is a great idea…but there is usually more left over than just turkey.  If so, throw it into the soup…left-over corn – sure, green beans…absolutely…wild rice?  of course.  That said, don’t put in any left-over that has been cooked with a pungent or sweet sauce…I also wouldn’t put in Brussels sprouts, due to their strong flavor, or potatoes.

Left-Overs Turkey Soup

Serves 6 – 8
  • For the Stock:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 turkey carcass, broken into as small of pieces as you can
  • Turkey legs and thigh bones
  • Turkey wings
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 quart low-salt beef broth
  • Cold water
  • For the Soup:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Turkey stock
  • Reserved turkey meat
  • 8 ounces cooked small pasta, such as Ditali or small elbow (or rice or noodles)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Prepare the Stock:
  2. Heat the oil in a large stock or soup pot; add the turkey pieces and brown for about 10 minutes. Add all the remaining stock ingredients and enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil; reduce the heat to barely a simmer; simmer 3 – 4 hours.
  3. Drain though a fine sieve lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth into a large bowl. Set the vegetables, meat and bones aside to cool. (I like to prepare the stock the day before making the soup, setting it uncovered in the refrigerator so the fat is easy to remove. If you want to skip that step, proceed with making the soup.) When the vegetables and bones are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, tear or cut into small pieces taking care to remove the small pieces of bone. Set-aside. Discard the vegetables and bones.
  4. Prepare the Soup:
  5. If making with all fresh ingredients* – In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-low heat; add the onion, celery, carrot and green beans; give them a good pinch of salt; cover and sweat** over low heat for 10 – 15 minutes – do not brown. Stir in the parsley, thyme and flour; saute a couple minutes then add the stock along with the meat and peas. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add the cooked pasta; simmer until heated through; taste and adjust seasonings. Top with additional minced parsley if desired.
  6. *LindySez - If using left-over vegetables, eliminate them from the sweating process. Add them to the soup near the end of the cooking time and allow them to heat through. ** Sweating… when the heat is low, the moisture from the vegetables come to the surface and all the flavor that is deep within comes out.
  7. Per Serving: 305 Calories; 10g Fat (2g Sat, 6g Mono, 2g Poly); 22g Protein; 30g Carbohydrates; 3g Dietary Fiber; 40mg Cholesterol; 923mg Sodium.
This is a wonderful and deliciously different way to serve salmon. As a lover of Pho soups, I invented this recipe after having something similar at a restaurant in San Francisco that no longer exists :-(   This serves 2 but can easily be increased.  It’s also excellent when you add some shrimp, scallops and/or clams in the shell.  Add any or all of them, or even in place of the salmon.  If you don’t like any seafood, or have an allergy, use slices of chicken breast.

Thai-Salmon Soup

Serves 2
  • 4 cups low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, outer layer remove, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon red or green curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen) or to taste
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, torn
  • 5 basil leaves, torn
  • 4 ounces soba noodles, cooked according to package directions (soba noodles are made of buckwheat and are a very healthy grain)
  • 2 (3 to 4 ounce) salmon fillets, all bones removed*
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. Combine the chicken broth, water, lemongrass, scallion, ginger root and jalapeno pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, simmer; covered, for 30 minutes. Shut off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour though a sieve into a bowl; return the broth to the pan. Add the coconut milk and curry paste (red if you want red curry, green if you want green curry); stir until the curry paste is dissolved. Taste, add more if you want it hotter, but LindySez, watch out, it’ll sneak up on you. Stir in the spinach and basil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the broiler to high. Rub the salmon with the sesame oil and place under the broiler. Cook, without turning, about 3 – 5 minutes, you want the center to be slightly underdone as it will continue to cook when the broth is pour over.
  3. In a large deep bowl, divide the soba noodles. Top with the salmon (remove the skin.) Ladle the soup over and serve with additional basil if desired.
  4. Per Serving: 511 Calories; 16g Fat (4g Sat, 1g Mono, 1g Poly); 52g Protein; 69g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 45mg Cholesterol; 726mg Sodium.
Soup is easy.  It’s tasty…and there is no reason in the world to buy another can of soggy veggies and over-salted broth.  All of these soups (well, except for the Thai Salmon Soup) keep well in the freezer and make fantastic lunches.  I remember the wide mouth thermos filled with a nice hot soup for lunch when I was in school…it was great to have when everyone else was eating another PB&J or Baloney and Cheese on those cold winter days.  Wide mouth thermoses are also great for left-over stew, chili or spaghetti.
LindySez: So.SousMe..I like soup on a cold day, I like soup when I have a cold… or flu…it makes me feel so much better.  And I bet it will you too.  Cheers!

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