Taco Soup

November 2, 2010

1 large onion, chopped

1lb. ground beef or ground turkey

1 packet store-bought or 1/4 cup homemade onion soup mix (optional)

1 packet store-bought or 1/4 cup homemade taco seasoning mix (optional)

Two 14oz. cans chili-style beans (or just plain kidney beans)

2 cups corn kernels (if using canned, don’t drain them – the juice adds nice flavor to the soup)

One 28oz can diced or pureed tomatoes, or 3 cups fresh pureed tomatoes (or 1 can condensed tomato soup plus one can of water)

4 cups beef broth (optional, you can also just add enough water until the soup is the consistency you desire)

Salsa (optional, I add approximately 1/2 cup – 1 cup instead of adding other seasonings)
Taco chips and sour cream for serving

Brown ground beef and onion in a soup pot, breaking it up as it cooks. Stir in onion soup mix and taco seasoning, if using. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, and broth or water and salsa, if using; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 45 minutes. Serve with taco chips and sour cream.


Veggie Chili

March 17, 2010

1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped onions

1 cup each chopped sweet green and red pepper

3/4 cup each chopped celery and chopped carrots

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1-1/2 cups quartered mushrooms (optional)

1 cup cubed zucchini

28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

19oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (or your own cooked black beans)

19oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or your own cooked chickpeas)

1-1/2 cups frozen corn (or 12oz can, undrained)

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1-1/2 tsp each dried oregano and basil

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Spray large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray or a bit of olive oil. Add onions, peppers, celery, carrots, garlic and chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes. Add mushrooms, if using, and zucchini. Cook and stir for 4 more minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Alternatively, you can just dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook for several hours on low. It still tastes great!

Serve with: Tostadas and cheese, or fresh bread and butter, or garlic bread

Mulligatawny Soup

March 17, 2010

This is one of my favorite soups, partly because it is unique (at least to us), but mostly because it is a perfect balance of spicy, savory, and sweet. It is truly a heartwarming soup.

2-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup chopped apple

1 cup chopped carrots

7-1/2oz. can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup long grain rice

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup raisins

1 Tbsp snipped fresh parsley

1 to 1-1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup water

1-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

In a large pot, combine all the ingredients, except the chicken. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in chicken and heat through.

White Chicken Chili

March 17, 2010

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

6 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

One 1lb. package dried white beans

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (we use a little less)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is tender and chicken is cooked through. Transfer mixture to a 4- or 5- quart slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Cook 9 to 10 hours on Low, or approximately 5 hours on High.

Serve with: shredded cheese and taco chips, or Buttery Garlic Cheese Biscuits, and a green salad

Minestrone Soup

March 16, 2010

This soup tastes like good restaurant fare to me. I double this recipe every time I make it.

14-1/2 oz. can chicken broth (or just use approximately that amount of homemade broth – either veggie or chicken)

14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup shredded cabbage

1/4 cup tomato juice

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1-1/4 cups water

15 oz. can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I frequently substitute my own cooked red kidney beans and the soup is just as good)

1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/2 of a 9 oz. package frozen green beans (I just use about 1 cup)

2 oz. spaghetti or linguine, broken up

2 Tbsp finely shredded Parmesan cheese

In pot, mix broth, undrained tomatoes, onion, cabbage, tomato juice, carrot, celery, basil, garlic powder, and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in beans, zucchini, and spaghetti. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 10-15 minutes more or till vegetables and pasta are tender. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

French Onion Soup

February 16, 2010

2 Tbsp butter

2 cups onion, chopped

4 cups beef broth

2 Tbsp wine vinegar, optional

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

pepper, to taste

2/4 cup mozzarella cheese

4 slices French bread

Saute onions in butter for 8-10 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Place soup in 4 ovenproof bowls. Add a slice of toasted French bread to each. Then top with cheese. Broil in oven until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Variation: Instead of putting soup in ovenproof bowls, just heat it on the stove and put into individual serving bowls. Place toasted bread slices on a baking sheet and top with cheese. Broil in the oven. Then place the bread into the soup bowls.

Serve with a green salad for a complete meal.


February 10, 2010

There are two methods I use to make soup at no extra cost.

1. I keep a large ziplock bag in my fridge. Throughout the week, all vegetable peelings, vegetable ends, etc. get tossed into the bag. The bag usually has a lot of carrot peel, potato peel, celery ends and leaves, onion peels and ends, garlic peel and ends, broccoli stalk peel and ends, etc. I sometimes also have a jar in the fridge that I use to save all the vegetable cooking water from the week. If I cook frozen peas, I drain the cooking water into my “soup jar.”

At the end of the week, dump all your “savings” into a large pot. Cover it all with water and simmer it slowly for a couple of hours. Strain it and save the broth. This is the base of your soup.

Now you have a few options:

-Freeze the broth to use as a base for soups that you have recipes for, or make up your own.

-Turn it into a soup immediately by adding in cooked rice or lentils or beans or WHATEVER, and chop up some fresh veggies and add some seasonings and make a whole new soup.

-Use this liquid for the second Free Soup option below…

2. I have two or three empty ice cream buckets in my freezer. These are the big ones – 4L, I think. One is for chicken, one for beef, and if I have a third, I use it for ham or veggie. Whenever there are leftovers at the end of a meal, I put them into the appropriate bucket. If we have chicken stir fry and there are leftovers, they go into the chicken bucket. If we have shepherd’s pie with ground beef, those leftovers go into the beef bucket. Whenever I add new leftovers, I make sure they are covered with water or broth or leftover cooking liquid from veggies. Then the bucket goes back into the freezer. When a bucket is full, I let it thaw and pour it into my big soup pot. We reheat it and taste it. Sometimes we need to add some salt or other seasonings to give it more flavor, but usually, it is the most delicious soup ever!

These soups are different every time. But it’s like a taste adventure! And the best part is, it’s FREE! You’re making soup out of things you would have normally thrown away. For us, these soups are usually enough for two meals each. TWO MEALS FOR FREE!

Waste not, want not!