Tag Archives: queen of soup

Kick-ass soup

We’re getting into rainy, wintery weather (and for Northern California, that means temperatures in the 40s and 50s), and we’re trying to live as frugally as we can. So that means…soup!

Here’s a soup we made on Saturday night. And it was so good, we decided to eat it again for dinner tonight. It’s even better on the second or third day.

* 2 cups dried soup assortment (lentils, beans, barley, grains, etc, whatever your local bulk bin sells as “7-bean” or “12-bean” soup mix)
* Several root vegetables, peeled/chopped. We used a small unpeeled yukon gold potato, a rutabaga, and a parsnip. Probably 3-4 cups total.
* 2 celery stalks, coarsely diced (including leafy tops)
* 1 large carrot, coined
* 1/2 yellow onion, diced
* 6 cups broth or stock (chicken, vegetable, or other – we use water mixed with a concentrated stock base)
* 2 seasoned chicken sausages, coined (optional)
* 2 cups chopped spinach

Soak dried soup mix overnight in cold water or for 2 hours in hot water. Rinse and drain.
Prepare vegetables. If using sausage, sautee over medium heat in the bottom of a large soup pot, then add all of the vegetables (except for the spinach), stir.
When vegetables start to smell like they are cooking, add the broth or stock. Add rinsed, drained soaked bean/legume/grain mix.
Put lid on soup pot and let it simmer for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Leave the lid off the pot for the last half hour or so to allow steam to evaporate and concentrate the soup a bit more.
Just before serving, add chopped spinach. Serve with biscuits, crusty bread, or other appropriate soup accompaniment.

Makes many large servings!

Beautiful Soup, plus other random stuff.

My contribution to the week’s dinners:

Wintery 10-bean and root vegetable soup

1 cup 10-bean soup mix (this is actually mostly a variety of lentils/split peas and barley with maybe 3 or 4 kinds of actual beans in it, from the bulk bin at the hippie grocery store), soaked overnight, water changed in the morning and soaked until I started the soup
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped small
1 celery root, peeled (this is difficult, but so worth the flavor!) and chopped small
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (plus the leafy tops thrown in)
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno
2 precooked chicken or turkey sausages (I used part of a turkey kielbasa and one chicken sausage, precooked), chopped into rounds and halved
seasonings to taste (I used 2 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriender, 1 tsp mexican oregano)
salt and pepper

Soak the 10 bean soup mix overnight and through the next day, changing the water at least once. About 2 hours before you want to eat, put the beans in a big soup pot and cover with 6 cups of water, heating to a rapid simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes. Dump in all the vegetables (including the leafy tops of celery stalks), seasonings, and add some vegetable or chicken stock base or boullion if you like. Cook another 45 minutes, checking the largest beans for doneness. Add tomatoes and sausages. It will be done in 15-30 more minutes. Makes mass quantities of super tasty soup. The sausage is optional (the soup is super tasty without it as well) but I like animal protein in my soup. Serve with crusty bread. Very low fat, high protein, and high fiber and so delicious!

A thing that happened this week:

We were at the grocery store buying food and a DVD display caught Dan’s attention. He found a copy of the Dark Crystal for 10 bucks, and as it’s a childhood favorite and a movie I’ve wanted to own, we threw it onto the conveyor belt. The clerk scanning our foodstuffs asks, “Is that a good movie? I’ve never heard of it”. “Yes it is,” I told him, and realized he was likely a teenager and therefore born way after the movie came out. “It was made by Jim Henson,” I told him. Blank stare. “You know, the guy who made the muppets?” Blank stare. “I don’t know voice actors,” he said. “Jim Henson was the guy who invented Kermit the Frog!” I exclaimed. Another blank stare. SERIOUSLY!?!?! Here’s a kid who is at least 16 if he’s old enough to be a checker at the grocery store and he’s never heard of Kermit the Frog or the Muppets? What are they teaching kids in school these days? Sheesh, way to make an almost 30-year-old feel ANCIENT.

Also, Sunday is our 2-year engage-a-versary. 2 years since I said yes and we started planning the Big Event. It hardly even feels like it’s been six months, let alone 2 years, but then again we’re only 6 weeks away from our first wedding anniversary. Where does the time go?

Food on Friday: It’s Cold Outside edition

The temperature here dropped dramatically. Our high on Tuesday was in the 60s and yesterday was about 18F (plus, there was snow). When the mercury goes down here, my appetite changes to wanting hot, starchy white people food. However, it’s not good for me to only eat starchy things, and especially not good for my waistline. I conceded to my appetite last night, making a somewhat-healthy version of a shepherd’s pie, and boy was it YUMMY. Here, in all its glory, for your viewing pleasure:

MLE’s Healthy-ish Shepherd’s Pie

1/2 pound ground turkey or chicken (substitute veggie crumbles if you’re a veg.)
2 medium russet potatoes
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas or 1/2 cup canned corn (I used peas last night)
1 small can mushroom gravy
seasonings (I used garlic powder, savory, and thyme, plus salt and pepper)
milk (nonfat or soy if you like) and butter (or butter substitute) for potatoes
Oven 350F

Chop veggies. Start potatoes to boilin’ for mashed po’s. I cut my po’s up to decrease cooking time but don’t peel them because I like the skin. Brown the turkey or chicken in a small skillet. Sautee onion, carrot, and celery in a large skillet with a little oil and add seasonings. Add peas or corn. Add mushrooms when other veggies are mostly cooked. Add browned meat (or crumbles if you’re using those instead). Add mushroom gravy and stir everything together, turning the heat down. When potatoes are soft, prepare in whatever way you like best (for 2 potatoes, I use 1 tablespoon of butter, probably 1/4 cup of nonfat milk, and some salt and pepper). Transfer contents of large skillet (veggies plus ground meat) into a coverable casserole dish (I have a 2 quart glass pyrex one). Spread mashed potatoes over the top, cover, and put in oven until everything is heated through and the gravy is bubbling up through the potatoes, 20-30 minutes. Let sit for a few, then serve. Makes 4 dinner-sized servings. I use a kitchamajig to get it out. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add some parmesan cheese to the top of the potatoes for the last couple of minutes, removing the lid of the casserole so the cheese has a chance to brown a little. Last night, I was all about the easy and not feeling fancy, so I opted against.

I forgot to write about all the things I made for Thanksgiving at my mom’s house. I made a pumpkin pie from scratch (starting with a pumpkin), two pear tarts, sweet potato soup, salad with balsamic-carmelized fennel and pomegranate seeds, cranberry sauce with mandarin oranges and pears, and did about half the work on the mashed potatoes. Plus I helped with the fondue setup and making.

The soup was the best version I’ve made yet, so here is the recipe, seasonally appropriate, good for non-meat eaters, and tasty. Nobody in my family likes candied yams/sweet potatoes, so this is a way to use them in a holiday meal in a more savory fashion.

Sweet Potato Soup (scaled down to serve 4 meal portions, I made enough to serve 11 appetizer portions)

2 large yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks plus the leafy tops, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups veggie broth

Peel and chop veggies. Add to large pot, along with veggie broth (either from a box, made from veggie base, etc. Add whatever seasonings sound good; many herbs could work here, or even red pepper flakes or something to give it some kick. Heat until veggies are soft. Let sit to cool a little, then add half of the veggies and broth to a blender and puree until smooth. Puree the rest of the veggies/broth and mix with the first batch. Reheat in the pot, stirring occasionally so the soup doesn’t stick. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds or sour cream/greek yogurt.

Last night I made soup and it was hella good

Here is what I did.

First, on Tuesday night I rinsed and soaked about 1.5 (dry) cups of navy beans overnight. I changed out the water and continued to soak them all day Wednesday. When I got home at 7 PM, I chopped up one onion, 2 celery stalks, 1 large carrot, 1 small parsnip, and one small rutabaga and sauteed them in the soup pot for a few minutes in a little canola oil until they started to soften. Then I added the beans and 4 cups of chicken broth (I use water and a chicken base which is like non-hard boullion). I put the lid on the pot and let it cook at a pretty rapid simmer for about an hour. I added a cup of water. Then, I chopped up half a turkey kielbasa (into rounds) and about 3 large handfuls of baby spinach (coarsely chopped) and added that. 15 minutes later, it was done.

Seasonings were a little salt and pepper, some savory and some oregano. And the leafy tops of the celery stalks.

And it was SO INCREDIBLY good that this morning Dan said he may need to relinquish his title of King of Soup. I told him that I’m a girl so I could be the Queen of soup and he could be the king still. He said OK.