Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

I was thinking about what convenience items are worth the spurge. I especially was thinking about it while trying to get the knife through some butternut squashes. Those suckers are definitely tough to cut so it can be your call if you want to save some dollars and halve the squash yourself, orrrr if you want to pay to get it all skinned and chopped. I cut through them but didn’t peal before roasting. It was super easy to scoop it out once they were cooked.

The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Ingredients: (makes ~4-6 servings)

2 small butternut squash
2 large apples, pealed & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups veggie stock
3 tbs half and half

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Cut the squash in half and roast for 45-60 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
In a large pot, heat to medium high heat and add in the apples and onion with butter. Cook for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the apples are soft. The butter will get all bubbly and brown.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Scoop out the squash seeds and spoon the squash pulp into the pot with the apples and onion.
The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Add in the stock and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Transfer into a blender or blend with an immersion blender then return to the pot.
Season with salt and pepper. Add more stock if it is too thick for your liking.
Add in the cream and stir well.

I loved this. It was so good with a touch of sweetness from the apple and I toasted some sourdough for dunking. I froze the rest and will be so glad to pull it out of the freezer some day when I’m not into making dinner. I know, the apples just keep appearing…that’ll be over soon.

The Three Bite Rule - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
Bailee oversaw the whole operation. She likes to know what is happening in the kitchen if there’s food around and she wanted to say hi.
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Potato Soup with Loaded Potato Toppings

New England is in that in-between winter and spring time so I have (at least) one more truly wintery meals…don’t hold me to it. The warm days remind me that spring is coming and the cold days give one last chance to wear a favorite sweater one more time, or to make one more hearty meal. I wanted to do a potato soup and figured I’d mix it up with the “loaded” potato ingredients being toppings. This soup relies on some pureed potato to thicken it. I also thought some sweet potato in there would be fun.

The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, diced fine
4 potatoes, pealed and cooked
1 sweet potato, pealed and cooked
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup half & half or cream
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
4 slices of bacon
2 green onions
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions:

Boil or bake the potatoes until cooked through.
In a heavy pot or dutch oven, cook the onions for about 5 minutes in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent and soft.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Add the chicken/veggie stock. Be sure so scrape the bottom to mix throughly.
Add in the cream and wine, reducing the heat to medium low.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, chop them into bite-sized chunks. Add half the potato & half the sweet potato into the pot.
Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp in a flat pan. Add a teaspoon of the bacon drippings into the soup pot, discarding the rest.
Chop the green onions and grate the cheddar.
Carefully ladle most of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Or, use an immersion blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Return to the pot, adding the rest of the potatoes & sweet potatoes.
Add in garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Cook for another 5 minutes or so. Add more broth if it is too thick.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings
Top with shredded cheddar, green onions, and bacon!
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Soup with Loaded Toppings

This was really good. Toppings make everything more exciting to have the cheese, bacon, and onions for toppings instead of cooked within the soup. I didn’t blend it all the way but I loved it thickened with the potato, rather than a ton more cream, butter, or anything else. By blending it then adding in more chunks on purpose, you get the best of both worlds!

I don’t make soup all the time but this seemed so appropriate on a Sunday night with a pretzel roll to dunk.

What I Ate: Curry Carrot Soup

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

This literally couldn’t be easier. It was a nice change of pace for a quickie dinner. I came home from a class at the gym and either I want something light to not un-do my workout OR I want something filling and rich.

Ingredients:

4 large carrots with the tops cut off
1 cup veggie stock
1 cup water
1 tsp curry powder

Directions:

In a large pot, cook carrots in stock and water over high heat, for 15 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Curry Carrot Soup
When carrots are cooked though and soft, blend until smooth, either with an immersion blender or in a stand blender.
Return to the pot and add the curry and some pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Curry Carrot Soup
Cook another 5 minutes. Add more water if desired.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Curry Carrot Soup
I was a little heavy handed with the pepper. hahaha oops. I thought the curry flavor was so good with the sweet carrot flavor.

It freezes well too. Ready. Set. Soup!

Quick Cheeseburger Soup

I cannot even put into words how amazing this soup was. One of my favorite things I’ve cooked in awhile. Gahhh. It is so amazing and I want to make it again immediately. It is the perfect non-grilling-weather way to taste a cheeseburger. The tomato flavor and garlic and onions seemed spot on flavors to make me think of a burger.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup

I tweaked a recipe I saw on Family Fresh Meals. That one uses a crockpot and I was making this on speed. I also didn’t include the bacon that this recipe did. I know! I know! Blasphemy. I was attempting to lighten this soup up just a bit while maintaing the flavors. I skipped the potatoes, used less cream cheese, nixed the milk/flour slurry, and swapped beef for ground chicken. But then I served it in mini breadbowls so maybe lightening it up didn’t really do much. Next time I might even skip the shredded cheese and just sprinkle some on to serve it. Gasp!

I skipped the crockpot since I didn’t think there were that many more flavors to develop here. Some things (read: chili, pork shoulder, etc) develop more and better flavors the longer they cook. This one wasn’t likely to do that, but don’t get me wrong, crockpots are great to keep food hot for a crowd.

Cheeseburger Soup

adapted from Family Fresh Meals

Ingredients:

1 lbs ground chicken (or ground pork)
3 large carrots
2 celery stocks
1 medium white onion
16 oz can crushed tomatoes (I swear by Pastene Kitchen Ready tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbs dijon, or whole grain mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper
4 oz (1/2 brick) of cream cheese
4-6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
green onions for topping

Directions:

Heat a large heavy pot (to become the soup pot) over medium-high heat and heat a large skillet (for the ground chicken) over medium heat.
Peal the carrots, and chop carrots, celery, and onion.
In a large skillet, brown the ground chicken until cooked most of the way through. Break into crumbles with the back of a spoon.
In the soup pot, add in 1 tbs olive oil, chopped carrots, chopped celery, and chopped onion cooking for about 10 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
Drain the meat discarding any excess fat/grease and add to the soup pot.
Add in the crushed tomatoes.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
Add in chicken broth, worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, stirring well.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
Cook for another 10-15 minutes covered. It was at a low boil which helped it thicken up a bit (without needing a milk/flour slurry).
Uncover and reduce heat to low.
Add in the cream cheese, stirring well as it melts.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
Finally, add in the shredded cheese. Stir to melt.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
Serve topped with green onions in mini-bread bowls!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Soup
This is a serious crowd pleaser. I loved it and would totally make it again! I was a bit heavy handed with the green onions, don’t do that. This was pretty quick but is a recipe where you could do some prep in advance. You could make pretty much the whole thing in advance and refrigerate or freeze it until needed – I’d leave off the cream cheese until just before serving.

I split a ball of pizza dough into 3-4 balls to bake into bread bowls. Just bake, let cool, slice off the tops, and hollow out the middle.

This would be a perfect recipe to whip up for some family or for a potluck. It could surely be a time savor (and leftover source) during this very busy time of year.

adaptations/suggestions
this recipe + some beans + cooked longer + cumin = cheeseburger chili!
this recipe + some chunks of soft onion rolls with butter for bun croutons
this recipe – cream cheese + a very little dash of cream = lightened cheeseburger soup
this recipe – cream cheese + 5-8 hours in a crockpot + cream cheese at the end = less fuss cheeseburger soup
this recipe + a whole bar of burger toppings (bacon, blue cheese, dollop of mustard, green onions, shredded cheddar, etc)

What I Ate: Tortellini Soup with Sausage and Spinach

This is so easy I wasn’t going to blog it, but those are famous last words which then became the What I Ate series. I whipped the soup up on a cold day and it was a hit! This is a super easy soup that could easily be customized by what you have around. I had spinach to use up or freeze. I had seen some crock-pot soups with tortellini but that is an ingredient that definitely doesn’t benefit from cooking forever. This could have been a one-pot-wonder if I had only cooked the sausage first.

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Tortellini, Spinach, and Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1 jar light Alfredo sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper
3 sausage links
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
3 cups baby spinach

Directions:

Add Alfredo, broth, and milk into a large pot over low heat.
Cook sausage links and slice into disks when cooked through.
Add garlic, seasonings, cooked sausage and tortellini to the pot, bringing to medium heat and cooking for 7 minutes.
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Test tortellini. When fully cooked, add spinach and stir.
Cook for 1-2 minutes and serve.
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I liked that this one was creamy but not super thick. The spinach reduces greatly even in just a minute so load it up, that’s the healthiest part of the soup!

Corn and Bacon Chowder

Are you stuffed and/or hungover from the Superbowl? This won’t undo any goodies you munched yesterday, but I thought: what food should be the morning-after the Superbowl? Answer: soup!

I’m trying to change people’s impression of soups. I fear they get a bad wrap for being not filling, or for lacking flavor. This recipe has been hanging out a bit because I made a creamy sherry tomato soup and pizza Soup ‎and roasted cauliflower soup all somewhat recently and I thought you might get souped-out. Not to worry though, I have a lighter soup Momma just made that is beyond words amazing. I’ll make it soon-ish. If nothing else, soup helps vary dinner ideas now and then.

This corn and bacon chowder is not exactly the healthiest soup, but the flavors are delightful. I based it off of Tyler Florence’s recipe and loved it. I shaved off some heaviness and calories by using half cream and half low-fat milk. I also used wine in place of some stock. This is a great spot for whole wheat flour since it is only thickening the soup.
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Corn & Bacon Chowder

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:

2 tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs flour (I used wheat flour, all purpose is fine too)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine (or increse stock by 1 more cup if omitting wine)
2 cups corn
2 large potatoes, cooked and chopped
2 cups milk/cream (I used half milk, half heavy cream)
4-6 slices of bacon/pancetta/chorizo
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
½ tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper

Directions:

Boil potatoes until cooked most of the way through (or microwave, or bake)
Saute onion in butter until translucent and cooked through over medium heat.
Add garlic and flour, stirring well before adding stock and wine.
Add corn.
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Cook over medium-high heat, gently boiling.
Pan fry bacon.
Add potatoes and milk to the pot cooking at medium-high heat.
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Stir well, allowing potatoes to break down slightly.
Chop bacon.
Bacon, liquid smoke, and spices, and stir to combine.
Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
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I did the whole thing in 1 pot and 1 pan. Score! I boiled the potatoes and when I drained them, I started the soup in that same hot pot.

I love the bacon in here and the liquid smoke plays off that a bit. I think the bacon adds a depth and difference to the sweet corn that is necessary, not optional. I think the herbs could really be anything you have/love. Sage might be interesting? Tyler uses parsley. Basil always makes me think of lightness/freshness. I love chives (and they’re about the only thing I can grow).

Have I proclaimed my love for liquid smoke? I recommend adding it to traditional chili, soups, butternut squash enchiladas, etc. It seems like a special ingredient, but it ends up going with everything. It also doesn’t go bad for about a million years and you only use a little at a time. Ok, are you sold?

I didn’t freeze any of this soup. Cream based soups can seem kind of texturally off after being frozen to me. This made about 4 sizable portions for dinner & lunches.

Sherry Tomato Soup

Nothing says “winter meal” more than soup. Creamy tomato soup…spiked with wine. The nice folks at Tuttorosso sent me some canned tomatoes to try (and I got a beautiful new le creuset from Mr. J for Christmas) to debut so soup was in order. Don’t breeze through this thinking “didn’t she just make tomato soup?” That was different. this is different.
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I made Ree Drummond’s Sherried Tomato Soup and loved it. It stands up to her thought that after tasting it, “solemnity and peace will be within reach”. True story.

It is totally flavorful and comforting. I served it with some grilled cheeses and was thoroughly impressed. I liked how heavy-handed she is with the sherry. She’s also heavy handed with the cream making this delightful and it off-sets the sherry a bit.

Sherried Tomato Soup

(adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped (next time I’d reduce this to ¼ cup)
3 tbs butter
1 tbs garlic, chopped
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups tomato juice
2 tbs sugar
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup cooking sherry
1 ½ cups heavy cream
chopped parsley, basil, ground pepper (optional)

Directions:

Heat a pot over medium heat and add onions and butter, cooking until translucent, adding garlic just for the last minute or two of cooking.
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Add canned tomatoes, tomato juice, sugar, and broth cooking for 5-10 minutes to heat through and release the flavors and sugars, not boiling.
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While first few soup ingredients are cooking, assemble grilled cheeses or prep garlic bread.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and add sherry.
Now is an opportune time to start grilled cheeses or garlic bread for dipping. Cook soup for another 5 minutes.
Turn heat off, and add cream & herbs.
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Serve & enjoy!

I loved the super strong tang of the sherry. Mr. J thought it was a bit too intense. You can reduce the amount or cook it a bit longer. I think soup gets a bad wrap and should be very flavorful. None of that Oliver Twist watery cabbage junk. This soup is like a warm itch-less-sweater wrapping like a hug around you.
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I liked this one reheated. If you’re feeling fancy, only add some of the cream to the part you’re eating right then. Reheating the soup, with the cream in it, isn’t for everyone. I like it though. A dollop of plain greek yogurt in each bowl, instead of the cream would be good. I got about 5 good-size servings out of this.

Talk about McSteamy! (Also, I know. I’m aware my placemats are still supporting the holidays. All they need is a flip to the reverse to become winter versus Christmas. I’m delaying the holidays-being-over thing.)
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Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: Tuttorosso sent me a set of samples of their canned tomato products to try out and taste. The product samples were completely complimentary but my experience, thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own. They are offering an apron giveaway for the first 4,000 people to “like” their page on facebook and who provide an original recipe. Also one lucky winner gets $500 to cooking.com. 

Pizza Soup in Breadbowls

Today I have a leftovers on rehab which I like to call Tonight & Take 2. It is a great way to use something you prepped or even ate before. Using leftovers and creating them into something new is key especially since I’m cooking for 2 and love to reuse leftovers…creatively. It simplifies dinner planning and is green (environmentally speaking and money saving!).

Speaking of leftovers, why were the ladies on the Bachelor so annoyed that Kacie is on, yet a gal from Bachelor Pad was no big deal? Sometimes leftovers are better the second time around! Not that I realllly want to call her leftovers, she is way more classy than the 50-shades of gray drunkard. Anywho, back to food.

Way back when, I tried my hand at Bolognese sauce (which was a hit) and then I wanted to let the leftovers shine. Along comes another Tonight & Take 2. Take last night’s bolognese sauce and make it into a comforting soup. I froze my leftover sauce so the soup came later and we weren’t eating the same thing meal after meal after meal…

Ingredients:

leftover bolognese sauce or meat sauce
pizza dough
1 cup pepperoni sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbs Parmesan cheese
3 tbs cream

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Directions:

Start with bolognese sauce, or any meat sauce you like.
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Reheat and add a touch of cream, Parmesan, and pepperoni.
Bake pizza dough in baseball/softball size blobs at 400-degrees for about 20 minutes. The interior doesn’t need to be fully cooked. Once cooled, chop of the top, pull out the interior, and add a few tablespoons of shredded cheese.
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Add soup and top with another sprinkle of cheese.
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This was a great use of leftovers feeling completely different without pasta. You could nix the bread bowls to eliminate a step/ingredient. I like that these guys are balanced and filling. It is flavorful and comforting without being complicated. I have a surprising number of soup posts to catch you up on so hold on tight!

What do you think? Thoughts about leftovers? Do you recreate them or enjoy them again and again as-is? Are you watching The Bachelor?

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Spoiler alert: the soup isn’t life changing. It is good enough. Maybe yours will be better. The flavors were great, it was perfect for a chilly day- I just wish I had a better blender. If you have a good blender, whip up this soup. (literally). I was itching for soup to complete my fall list. It is a good one to celebrate Boxing Day.
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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
2 tbs good olive oil
1 cup milk
½ cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt & pepper

Directions:

Cut the florets off the head of cauliflower and roast in a 400-degree oven coated liberally in olive oil, salt and pepper.
cauliflower_soup_raw_590_390Turn occasionally every 20 minutes. Cook for 40 minutes at 400-degrees.
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Add milk, sour cream, Parmesan, and garlic to a blender or food processor.
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Blend until smooth. (mine was less than silky textured)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
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My blending was kind of a catastrophe. I tried my food processor, my smoothie machine, and an immersion blender. My smoothie machine is a Magic Bullet and has been kicking since about 2004? It was my best option here. I just couldn’t do much at a time. It does not chop or dice like advertised. It can puree really well though!

My food processor and blender is one machine and has severely let me down. The blender part doesn’t work well. It whirls and doesn’t seem to do much. The food processor has been great (for the few months I’ve had it) but was dribbling and didn’t even make it smooth.

The immersion is just an attachment to my hand mixer so I don’t expect much…rightly so.

I make frozen fruit & yogurt smoothies verrrrry often to know the liquid ratio is often important, the fill level affects it, and manually scraping the sides or stirring it can help greatly. I was very frustrated and thought it would have looked lovely if it was smoother.

It tasted good. I drizzled a little truffle oil on top since that can make anything better. I served some crunchy toasts on the side for dipping. We liked it, but I wasn’t satisfied with the consistency.

I learned that my tools were inadequate in this circumstance but that Mr. J will make the best of any dinner, despite how frustrated or disappointed I get. It was also a great reminder that roasted cauliflower is reallllly good and I should just make that sometimes. Maybe I’ll redeem myself with another soup. I love pumpkin & black bean. Loaded baked potato could be fun with toppings. Corn chowder is fun. Hmmm. The wheels are churning.

Crock Pot White Chicken Chili

I hosted a mini family dinner and was trying to come up with something easy that I could assemble and not spend the whole visit in the kitchen. All praise the crock pot! I decided I’d try my hand at white chicken chili.
The Three Bite Rule - White Chicken Chili

I took a looksey at Flying on Jess Fuel’s chicken chili since her recipes are always healthier than other folks. (Seriously, check out her collection of fall foods!)

Hers was thickened by mashing up some of the beans which is genius  I opted for a slightly easier approach. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to dump stuff into the crock pot and walk away!

Ingredients:

3 large chicken breasts, pre-cooked & shredded)
29-oz can white beans
2 cans green chilies
1 ½ cup corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 jar light alfredo sauce
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs garlic
1 large head of kale, chopped
1 large onion chopped
1 medium tomato

Directions:

Boil and shred the chicken
Put everything into the crock pot.
The Three Bite Rule - White Chicken Chili
Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 hours.

So easy! This cooked away while we hung and chatted. I made some cornbread muffins the night before. I made them in my whoopie pie pan and they were the perfect size…smaller than my muffin top pan.

When it was time to eat I set up a bar of toppings and let everyone have at it! I had some salsa verde, black olives, sour cream, tortilla strips and the corn muffins.
The Three Bite Rule - White Chicken Chili

I liked the consistency. I was soupy and only a bit creamy. It was so chock full of pieces of chicken, kale, corn, beans, etc that I think if it was thicker it would have been too much. I loved it, but thought I should have sweated out the onions a bit to soften them before dropping them in.

The Three Bite Rule - White Chicken Chili
I have a 6 quart crockpot and it was full to the brim. Five of us ate it that night and I have about 4 more servings for lunches. I also think this counts towards my fall foods list. Check!