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Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

It’s officially chili weather! It’s taking a while for the cool weather to set in here, but we’re definitely enjoying lower temperatures.

I’ve made a few chili recipes in the past, but we always end up coming back to this one – it’s one we made up a while back, and it’s also ridiculously easy. You can easily double or triple it, freeze it if you need to, whatever.

I think I may make a BIG batch of this pre-baby to keep in the freezer, so we have it to eat later!

Favorite Chili

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 can chili-ready tomatoes
  • 1 can Bush’s chili beans [or regular pinto beans]
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • Water or broth as desired, to thin

Brown and drain ground beef. Add all other ingredients, stir well, and simmer 30 minutes. If a thinner consistency is desired, add water or broth (I use broth if I’m using regular pinto beans – but water if I’m using chili beans).

Great with cornbread, cheese, Fritos, sour cream… etc.

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I am SO ready for fall! Temperatures are still high, but hey – no reason I can’t start making beef stew and pumpkin bread, right?

What I loved about this stew was that it was all mixed together and baked in the oven for 3 hours. You could make it in a slow cooker too, if you wanted a little longer cook time. The flavor was great and everything was perfectly cooked. I couldn’t have asked for an easier recipe to usher in the fall season!

The other plus to beef stew, and especially this one which uses a good amount of V-8 juice, is the amount of vegetables. I am NOT good at eating vegetables, so anything that gets them into me (preferably in a delicious way) gets extra points in my book.

We had this with some of the leftover focaccia bread from the other night, and it was scrumptious. Many thanks to Our Best Bites for another hit!

Oven (or Slow Cooker) Beef Stew (Recipe found here)

  • 1 1/2-2 lb. lean stew beef, cut into even smaller bite-sized pieces (just pull out a pair of kitchen shears and cut anything that looks like you’d need to use a knife and fork on) – or cut up a chuck roast, which is what I did.
  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, chopped
  • 4-5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 12-oz. cans or 3 c. vegetable juice cocktail (V8)
  • 1 10-oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 10 oz. water (just use the can from the tomato soup to measure)
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 tsp. beef base)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients in a large oven-safe pot that comes with an oven-safe lid. Cook in heated oven for 3 hours. Remove from oven and serve.

You can also cook this in your slow cooker on low for 9-10 hours (or until vegetables and meat are tender) or on high for 5-6.

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I have a few recipes I haven’t taken pictures of recently due to a misplaced memory card (and the aforementioned battery death) but hopefully all of that will be sorted out in the very near future.

I strongly encourage you to take a peek at the photo of this cassoulet from Kitchenbelle’s blog here, and see if it doesn’t just make your mouth water.

The dish itself was fantastic. I halved the recipe but used 4 chicken sausages instead of 3, because that was how many came in the package and I’m not a wasteful person. Plus, what would I do with one lone sausage?

Also I didn’t add celery because I didn’t feel like buying any or cutting it up. I’m listing the recipe as I made it (except not halved), and you can take a look at the original if you want to add things like celery and rosemary, which I would have added if I had any.

I have to say, this was delicious, and easy! It would be wonderful in the winter, but of course I’m not going to wait that long to make a dish like this. We had it with crusty french bread and it really hit the spot.

White Bean Cassoulet (Original recipe here)

  • 10 cloves garlic, sliced (I used the jarred minced stuff)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 cans cannellini beans
  • 2-4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 chicken sausages, sliced

In a dutch oven, warm the olive oil and brown the sausages until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add garlic, onion, and carrots, and cook until vegetables are soft. Add chicken stock and beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 45-60 minutes.  Drain away some stock if the texture is too “liquidy.” Add sausage slices and cook an additional ten minutes.

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We’ve been on a vegetarian kick with meals this week. JW wanted a salad for dinner on Monday, so we created our own little salad bar. Dinner last night was this chili, and tonight we’re doing ratatouille. I’m sure meat will make an appearance next week, primarily because I have nearly exhausted my list of vegetarian recipes that don’t taste like cardboard.

I was attracted to this dish for two reasons – one, because I love beans and I’m always up for trying a new bean dish, and two, because it was originally a Cooks Illustrated recipe, and Cooks Illustrated is my hero. We thought it was good, although as JW put it, “very tomatoey.” I’d like to try adding something to cut the brightness of the tomatoes, but for a 30-minute healthy dish, I’d say this was really very good.

Oh also, because JW does not like corn, I added an extra can of beans. I’m giving it to you with my adjustments.

Cornbread recipe to follow, hopefully tomorrow.

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili (Original recipe here)

CI Note: A combination of beans is better in this (kidney, black, pinto, whatever). Also, don’t sub in anything for the pureed diced tomatoes, as the consistency is vital.

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans beans (see note above), drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Pour tomatoes and the accompanying juices in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until it’s kinda chunky.

In a large pot (dutch oven), combine tomatoes, beans, chipotles, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and cover. Heat over high until it starts boiling. Drop heat to medium-low and simmer for the time being.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When very hot, add onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir. Saute until onions are soft and a little translucent, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic. Stir. Saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Add onion mixture into pot with tomatoes and beans. Scrape browned bits with the back of your spoon, if you have any, and add them too. Drop heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, until chili has a more chili-like consistency. Stir occasionally.

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I have a confession to make.

This was the first time I have ever made chicken broth.

I know it’s hard to believe because it’s one of those “ridiculously easy” things that every woman who cooks for a man should know. Chicken broth for me usually consists of dropping a spoonful of granules in a cup of boiling water.

But once again, Pioneer Woman inspired me (not hard to do, especially for Ree who I am convinced has superpowers). I followed every step of this recipe (almost – see notes below), down to the Reames frozen noodles.

And now I must interrupt this regularly scheduled program to talk about Reames frozen noodles. They are amazing, just the best thing. Reames has made an appearance at our Thanksgiving dinner table for the past who-knows-how-many years, and there are serious repercussions if my mom even thinks about not including them (which she doesn’t).

This recipe turned out great. A few notes and/or recommended changes:

  • First, 4 quarts of water would not only not fit in my soup pot, but would have been way more than necessary for this dish. I used 3 quarts and it was still more liquid than I would have liked. I will probably use 2 in the future, keeping all other ingredients the same.
  • Reames comes in 12-oz packages in my area instead of 16 oz. No biggie, just use one bag of whatever size you can find.
  • Ree calls for cooking the noodles for 10 minutes. The package of noodles said to cook for 20 minutes, so I followed the package. Turned out just fine, not sure if they would have been done at 10 minutes or not. I guess I could have checked.

Now for the recipe! I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a good, homey, healthy chicken soup. Enjoy!

Homemade Chicken and Noodles (Original recipe here)

  • 1 whole cut up fryer chicken
  • 2 whole carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoons pepper (more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 16 oz (or 12 oz) frozen “homemade” egg noodles (Reames)
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cover chicken in 2-3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process. Return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes.

Remove bones from broth with a slotted spoon, or run through a strainer and reserve broth (make sure to get any small bones that might have detached).

Add the carrots and celery to the pot, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes to meld flavors.

Increase heat and add frozen egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 15 minutes.

Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit. Test and adjust seasonings as needed.

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Due to a small miscommunication with our gas company, our gas was shut off unexpectedly about a week ago. When they came out to our house, the hot water heater and range came back on, but the heat did not. Lucky for us, we have made do for the past week with a couple of space heaters (of which every hardware store in Houston orders 3 at the beginning of winter, and does not reorder when they sell out, so it is nearly impossible to find one in February).

I don’t care who you are – even in Houston, and even with space heaters, a house with no heat in the middle of winter is freakin cold. So finally yesterday we called our home warranty (thank you, seller of our new house, for purchasing a home warranty for us) and they sent someone out today to fix it. Yea! I am super excited that I don’t have to dread getting out of the shower anymore.

That said, I do realize that most parts of the country are experiencing blizzard-like conditions at the moment as a winter storm the size of Jupiter meanders across the United States, and that our high-40’s temperatures really aren’t all that impressively cold to you guys. And to that all I have to say is…

Cold is cold. Period. And on cold days, one of the best meals to warm up with is chili. It’s warm, cozy, and can be (like this one) healthy as well.

I encourage you to try this with chicken and/or turkey as called for in the recipe. If you have true texture issues with ground poultry, of course you can use beef. Regardless of your choice of meat, the flavor of the spices and other ingredients really makes this a great chili. Because of some things that came up last night, I didn’t quite follow the cook time. I let it cook a little over an hour and stirred in the beans right before serving.

Of course, like most chilis, it was excellent the second day as well.

Chicken Chili With White Beans (Original recipe here)
Note: This is not a spicy chili. If you want more heat, increase the cayenne or red pepper flakes.

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped (about 2 medium onions)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken and/or turkey (not extra lean breast meat)
  • Two 28 oz. cans chopped or diced tomatoes (I used one crushed because it was what I had)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or use regular and decrease the salt a little bit)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-15 oz. can small Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Make spice mixture by combining chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Mix well and set aside next to stove.

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed nonreactive (not cast iron or aluminum) pot over medium heat. Add onions and red bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring to prevent garlic from burning, about two minutes more.

Increase heat to medium high and add the ground chicken and spice mixture. As the chicken cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat into very small clumps; cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chicken broth, remaining teaspoon salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered (set lid ajar so steam has a few inches to escape), for about one hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in white beans and let simmer, uncovered, for about 50 minutes more, or until meat is tender and flavors are well combined. For a soupier chili, you can add additional water. For a thicker chili, simmer uncovered until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add salt if necessary.

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Is it getting cool yet where you are? I wouldn’t exactly say it’s cool here in Houston — it’s cooler than it was, but highs are still in the mid-80’s. Lovely weather actually, and I’m sure it won’t last. We’ll be in the 90’s again soon.

That being said, now is the time to round up some good soup and stew recipes for cold weather! I LOVE autumn, and I love autumn foods. JW and I eat soup all year round (given the full two weeks of cold weather we get each year in Houston, it’s really not practical to wait for winter), but there is something special about eating soup when it’s cold outside. This particular soup doesn’t look all that impressive, but oh man, is it delicious! Simple, but so good. It really hits the spot.

The original recipe is here, but I changed it considerably based on our tastes (celery and I don’t particularly get along) and what I happened to have in the fridge.

CIMG1952

White Bean & Bacon Soup

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery, OR 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans great northern beans, undrained
  • 3-4 Tbsp tomato sauce (save the rest of the can for lasagna or something)
  • Pepper, to taste

Heat oil  in a soup pot. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute 4 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add bacon and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute.

Add 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a low boil for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Meanwhile, in a food processor (or in a bowl with a potato masher), combine all but 1/2 can beans, including juice, and tomato sauce. Process or mash until combined and desired smoothness.

Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to this mixture to thin it, and add to soup pot.

Add remaining 1/2 can beans , stir to blend, bring to a boil,  lower heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

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