This black bean soup is a fast and filling dinner – with great ways to customize the toppings. Continue reading
My favorite soups for this time of year when a bowl of something comforting is just what we need. Continue reading
I’ve been meal planning lately and it’s working out great. I’ll go into further detail later, but I think it’s helping me a bit more well rounded. Mr. J might have been a little bit nervous when I popped a soup onto the weekly list but we LOVED this.
I wasn’t even going to blog this but just after I got going I figured it was worthy! My roux was perfect. That doesn’t happen all the time. I’ve made a few mac & cheeses that haven’t been ideal because my roux ratios were off. This time it was right on and it made the soup velvety and delicious.
¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter
1½ cup half and half cream
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups broccoli florets
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar (I used a mix of sharp and American)
Melt butter and whisk in flour. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on medium low until golden and sticky.
Add in cream and chicken stock, stirring until well incorporated. Add broccoli and cook covered for 15 minutes.
Slowly add cheese and stir until melted.
Cook for 15 minutes on low.
I served this soup in bread bowls by just baking lumps of pizza dough and scooping out the middle after the outside was fully cooked. It took about 30 minutes at 375-degrees to cook far enough in. The bread bowls were about baseball size each or a quarter of the dough.
It was so thick and could easily be thinned out with more milk, water, or chicken stock. We really liked how creamy it was and the thickness was a good thing to us. I owe all the credit to the roux. I normally don’t measure but the equal parts worked magically.
Look at how interested the pup is. Windsor hangs out by the microwave that is set into the island. He was interested in the chicken stock warming up.
This literally could have been fondue it was that thick and melty. I think it would have liked it as a dip with crusty bread or to fill baked potato skins.
I don’t make soup nearly enough. I was totally enticed when I saw this tomato soup that doesn’t have any cream in it. It’s not that huge of a deal health-wise, but it doesn’t taste the same when it is reheated and it is just one more ingredient needed since we drink light soy milk and that gets wanky in certain recipes. I made it during one of the very brief winter-weather days here in New England.
I loved that the bread made it thick and rich.
I grabbed the canned tomatoes and almost choked when I got home. $5 something?!?! WHAT? In retrospect it was totally worth it for good stuff since there aren’t many ingredients annnnd it is the highlight of the soup. Maybe I ate the soup about 6 times so it is not much cost per serving anyway. Ok, I’m over it.
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice (I used Pastene’s San Marzano Tomatoes with Basil)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium high heat, warm olive oil before adding onion, cooking until translucent and starting to caramelize.
Stir in tomatoes, sugar, bread, garlic, red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium until bread starts to break down.
Add broth and blend with an immersion blender/blender/potato masher to the consistency of your preference.
I left mine a bit chunky because I like chunks in ice cream, peanut butter, apple sauce, and soup! I made it smooth when I recreated it for some new parents who I thought could use a meal or two.
I served it with grilled cheese (the secret ingredient was pesto) and it was a fantastic wintry meal. Mr. J isn’t into soup so I ate this myself a million times. It is surprisingly filling.
Because I’m feeling especially dorky, I looked up what the nutritional facts are and this is a scant 53 calories per serving! A considerably smaller serving of a condensed tomato soup (who shall remain nameless) is 91 calories (with a lot more sugar, double the sodium, and less iron than mine).
Here’s the cost breakdown because I made such a stink about it:
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes: $4.99
3 slices wheat bread: $0.24
1 small onion: $0.99
2 cups chicken broth: $0.22
total = $6.44 (or $1.07 per serving)
Way back when, I mentioned a chili cook-off I entered. I didn’t win but it was a great excuse to make some chili. It also got me thinking about my next birthday cook-off/taste-off…especially after last year’s booming success!
Ms. J from Better Than Butter introduced me to the cookoff. Guess what?! She won!! Woohoo!
I made a chili recipe my friend Ms. A graciously gave to me after I complimented her chili profusely about 5 years ago. It is modeled after Wendy’s Chili and it’s realllly good. I told her I’d share my winnings but I didn’t quite win. I came in a pretty respectable 4th (out of 11 or 12?).
Here’s the recipe, with a few of my own tweaks, to make a HUGE batch. I recommend cutting in half if you aren’t serving an army or if you don’t want leftovers for weeks. It’s just too easy not to make more often.
3 lbs. ground turkey
1 can tomato sauce (29 oz)
1 can tomatoes with green chilis (10 oz)
1 can kidney beans (29 oz with liquid)
1 can black beans (29 oz with liquid)
1 large onion, diced
1 cup green chili, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
3 tbs cumin powder
4 tbs chili powder
2 tbs black pepper
3 tbs salt
3 cups water
1 tsp liquid smoke
Brown the meat and drain.
Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes and onion.
Add the beans, chilies, celery, and garlic.
Add the spices.
Finally add water and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 3 hours
The chili cook-off was a fundraiser for the Arlington Boys & Girls Club. It was $10 to enter a chili and $1 to sample and vote during a fall event they were having. I thought it was fun and it was great to see the community support.
We served non-stop for 90 minutes. I filled a huge crock pot. Most folks ran out even serving small amounts! It was so busy that we (the chili cookers) didn’t get to sample everyone else’s chili! We were asked to list the ingredients so the tasters could have that info. I would have liked to see what everyone used.
I didn’t serve any toppings but totally should have. People had tortilla chips, cornbread, cheese, onion, etc! I had a bit leftover so Mr. J and I ate that with cornbread muffin tops once I got home.
I’m a little backwards on my timeline here but shhh! Don’t tell anyone you haven’t seen honeymoon meals before seeing this honeymoon-return-meal.
I’m lucky to call one of the kindest humans I know, my friend. Ms. L not only supported me through allllll my wedding planning as a bridesmaid, but she cooked a meal and delivered it to me with all the fixings so I could put off grocery shopping after the honeymoon. How well does she know me?!
She made Ina Garten’s chili and sent onions, sour cream, shredded cheddar, and corn chips for toppings. AMAZING! I ate it for meals on end before actually grocery shopping. It was delicious and I hope she kept some for herself too!
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
For serving: Chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, sour cream
Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly.
Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes.
Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.
Speaking of chili…I entered a Chili Cookoff! Can’t wait to share that with you too!