Archive for the 'Soup' Category

All-American Chili

I’ve tried several chili recipes over the years and this one is definitely my favorite.  It’s flavorful, spicy, and hearty.  The recipe comes from the January 2003 issue of Cooking Light, and not only is this chili delicious, it’s also fairly low calorie.  It’s easy to make, and it’s the perfect thing to have on a cold day.  I like to serve this chili with homemade cornbread or crusty French bread.  Like most chilis, the leftovers are excellent and the flavors only improve over time.  And if you are looking for a recipe for vegetarian chili, try this one – it’s also from Cooking Light and it’s another one of my favorites!

All-American Chili

(print recipe)


  • 6  ounces  hot (or mild- depending on how much spice you like!) turkey Italian sausage
  • 2  cups  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  chopped green bell pepper
  • 8  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound  ground sirloin
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, chopped (optional – I always omit this… the chili is spicy enough for me without it)
  • 2  tablespoons  chili powder
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  ground cumin
  • 3  tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • ½  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1 ¼  cups  Merlot or other fruity red wine (beef broth can be substituted)
  • 2  (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, un drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2  (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • ½  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese


  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Remove the casings from the sausage. Add the sausage, onion, and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño (if using)) to the pan; cook 8 minutes or until the sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.
  2. Add the chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in the wine, tomatoes, and kidney beans; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Discard the bay leaves.  Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese.

Makes: 8 servings (each serving size is 1 ¼ cups)

Source: Cooking Light Magazine


Golden Winter Soup

This is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes.  I have been making it ever since it was on the cover of Cooking Light Magazine, in January of 2008.  I look forward to making this soup every Fall & Winter when the weather gets colder and butternut squash is in season–in fact, I’ve already made this 3 times this Fall!  One of the great things about this recipe is that it has only a few ingredients and it’s super easy to make.  The addition of potato makes this soup extra smooth and creamy, and the leeks provide a lot of flavor.

Simply garnished with some freshly cracked black pepper and chives, this soup makes an excellent first course for dinner (I served it most recently for Thanksgiving).  Or, for a complete meal, you can serve it with a salad and crusty bread, dinner rolls, or homemade croutons.  It can also be made a day ahead – just store it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it over low heat.

Golden Winter Soup


  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 5  cups  (½-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 2  cups  (½-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  sliced leek (about 2 medium)
  • 4  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1  cup  half-and-half (optional- half-and-half can be omitted — see note below**)
  • 3  tablespoons  chopped chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the squash, potato, salt, and pepper to the pan; sauté 3 minutes.  Add the leeks; sauté 1 minute.  Stir in the chicken broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until the potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Or you can use a blender: Place half of the potato mixture in a blender.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture.
  3. Stir in half-and-half, if desired. Cover and keep warm.  Ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives.  Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Serves: 8 (serving size is 1 cup)

**Note: When I make this I omit the cream, as I prefer soups without cream.  I have tried it with the half & half though and it is delicious both ways!

Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Winter Squash Soup

Butternut squash is one of my favorite Fall ingredients.  There are so many ways to cook with it!  My favorite way to prepare it is to make soup.  Over the years, I’ve tried several different butternut squash soup recipes.  They have all turned out good, but some have definitely been better than others.  This was definitely one of the better ones, both because of the taste and ease of preparation.  The flavor is spot on, and this soup can be made in less than 45 minutes.  It’s great served as a first course, but alongside some crusty bread, croutons, or a salad, it can be a complete meal.  It also keeps very well in the fridge and makes excellent leftovers.  (I’m not normally a huge fan of leftovers, but I ate this soup 3 days in a row!)  The addition of canned pumpkin puree makes the soup very smooth and creamy.  The recipe calls for half-and-half, but I omitted it because it tasted great without it.  Enjoy!

Winter Squash Soup


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half (optional)
  • Grated Gruyere cheese or croutons for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot (such as a Dutch oven), add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent.
  2. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender.
  3. Process the mixture until smooth, using either an immersion blender or a food processor.  Return to the pot, add the half-and-half (if using), and heat slowly.  If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt.  Serve hot with garnishes (such as grated gruyere or croutons), if desired.

Serves: 4 as a main course, or 6-8 as a first course

Source: adapted from Barefoot in Paris Cookbook, by Ina Garten (Pg. 81)

Looking for other delicious soup recipes? Try these:

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

There are many reasons why I like soup.  It’s easy to make, healthy, delicious, and it is great as a main course, appetizer, or side dish.  It is also convenient because it can be made ahead and reheats very well.  There are so many different kinds of soup – the possibilities and flavors are endless!

This past winter was so cold and rainy that I found myself wanting to make soup more often than normal.  There is nothing better on a chilly night than a hot pot of homemade soup simmering away on the stove.  The idea for this soup came from my sister, when she made Carrot Ginger Soup for a family gathering.  I decided to make this soup on the spur of the moment one evening, and I wasn’t able to get her recipe on such short notice, so I had to find my own.  I did a quick search on the Food Network’s website and found this recipe from Emeril Lagasse.  It was the first recipe that popped up in the search results, and the reviews looked good, so I decided to go with it, and I’m glad I did.  The soup was delicious!

The garlic, onions, and ginger give the soup a lot of flavor, and the pepper adds a spicy kick to it.  I used less ginger than the recipe recommended because I didn’t want the ginger flavor to be too overpowering, and I thought it was the perfect amount.  Feel free to adjust the amount of ginger to your liking.  In fact, if you don’t like ginger at all, you can just leave it out altogether, and then you would have a great recipe for Carrot Soup.  I also omitted the cream, because I prefer soups without cream, but you can add the recommended half a cup of cream if you want.  I served this soup as a main course, but I think it would be really fun to serve it in little ramekins or teacups as an appetizer.  Enjoy!

Adapted from: The Food Network, Emeril Lagasse

Carrot Ginger Soup

(print recipe)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • ½  cup diced celery
  • ¼  cup minced ginger (I only used 2 tablespoons of ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½  pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper ( I used black pepper because I didn’t have white pepper)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½  cup heavy cream or half & half (if desired)
  • ¼ cup sour cream (optional)
  • Chopped chives, for garnish


  1. Set a 4-quart stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pot. Once the butter is melted, place the onions and celery in the pot. Sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds. Place all of the carrots in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly caramelized and start to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the soup until the carrots are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the bay leaf from the pot and using an immersion blender puree the soup directly in the pot or in batches in a blender. Adjust the seasoning, and add the heavy cream (if using) to the pot.
  4. To serve, garnish with 1 tablespoon of sour cream (optional) per serving and a sprinkling of fresh chives.

Serves: 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer

Garlic, onion, and ginger add a lot of flavor to this soup.

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

I love vegetables, and sometimes I am in the mood for a vegetarian dish.  A few days ago, I was reading my current issue of Cooking Light Magazine (January 2010) and came across a recipe for vegetarian chili.  I love to make chili during the winter months, and this recipe has a lot of my favorite things in it: butternut squash, red peppers, chicken broth, cannellini beans, and kidney beans.  The combination of these ingredients (plus a few key spices) resulted in a very flavorful, delicious, and filling dish.   Technically speaking, this chili wasn’t vegetarian since I substituted chicken broth for vegetable broth, but I just love the flavor of chicken broth.  And, I always have chicken broth in my pantry because I buy it in bulk at Costco.

One of the best things about this chili recipe is that each 1 ½ cup serving is only 264 calories!!  Another benefit is that many of the ingredients were things I already had on hand (chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, kidney beans, garlic, onion, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes), so it was very economical as well- the only things I had to pick up at the grocery store were squash, pinto beans, and red peppers.

The recipe calls for chopped scallions as a topping, but I decided to leave them out because I didn’t think it was necessary.  But if you are making this for other people, the scallions might be a nice touch to give the chili a pop of color and a little extra crunch on top.  Next time I’m also going to serve it with grated cheddar cheese on the side, because I think cheese would be a great topping as well!  This recipe is definitely a keeper and I can’t wait to make it again!

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine (Jan. 2010)

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili


  • 3  red bell peppers, roasted & chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • ½  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 2  cups  chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 ½  cups  (½ inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1  (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained (or two 14-ounce cans)
  • 1  (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Roast the red peppers, then dice them.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in cumin, crushed red pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add bell peppers, broth, squash, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
  6. Sprinkle with green onions or cheddar cheese, if desired.

Serves: 6 (1 ½ cups chili each)

The combination of cannellini beans, pinto beans, & kidney beans provides lots of flavor.

Step 4: Add the bell peppers, broth, squash, & tomatoes to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Add the beans and simmer 25 minutes.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew with Red Wine)

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Stew with Red Wine)

Ever since watching the movie Julie & Julia a few weeks ago, I have wanted to make Boeuf Bourguignon.  I decided to make Ina Garten’s version of this dish, because it seemed simpler and required much less cooking time than Julia Child’s recipe.  The dish turned out wonderfully, and although it was a little labor (and time) intensive, it was fun to make.  It was the first time I’ve ever flambéed something, which was fun too.  If someone had told me 5 years ago that someday I would be purposely lighting something on fire in my kitchen, I would never have believed it!

Another benefit to this stew is that it made excellent leftovers.  In fact, I think it was better the second night.  Also, since I had more time the second night, I was able to make a couple side dishes to round out the meal.  The beef stew paired perfectly with mashed potatoes (I like mashed Yukon gold potatoes), steamed broccoli, and garlic bread.

Adapted from: Barefoot in Paris cookbook, by Ina Garten (pg. 121-123)

Boeuf Bourguignon


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 6 ounces good bacon, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • ¼ cup Brandy
  • ½  (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves ( ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, ½ tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Brandy, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 ¼ hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew.  Sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Sprinkle each serving with parsley, if desired, and serve with garlic bread.

Serves: 4

Cook the bacon.

Sear the beef cubes in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned.

Saute the carrots and onions.

Flambe the brandy.

Wait for the alcohol to burn off.

Saute the mushrooms.

Mashed potatoes are a good side dish.


Last year I made homemade croutons for the first time, and ever since then I have been hooked.  They are super easy to make and so much better than store bought ones.  I love to put them in soup, but they would be great for salads as well.

When I make these croutons for soup, I like to use herbs that complement the type of soup I am making. 

Some examples:

–          Butternut squash soup: sage

–          Minestrone soup: Italian seasoning, or any Italian herb

–          Broccoli soup: thyme

Adapted from: Real Simple



  • 1 white or wheat baguette, sliced into ½-1 inch cubes
  • 1-2 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh (or dried) herbs
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cracked pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Toss all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl to coat. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

Broccoli Leek Soup topped with thyme-flavored croutons

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