Tomato and Asparagus Soup with White Beans

This is a tangy and rich soup that will use up some of those tomatoes you canned. You can make it vegan by using veggie stock. It’s an easy soup to whip up from common pantry items.

28 oz canned tomatoes, diced or crushed
28 oz stock, veggie or chicken
1/2 cup red wine
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 TB olive oil
1 1/2 C cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

Place all the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until veggies are tender and beans are flavored with broth. Serve as is or sprinkle on some cheese!

Fennel Stew

Fennel is a fun veggie that is under-appreciated. It is delicious and warming. Fennel is also great for nursing moms! I made this in the crock pot, but the stove top is great too.

1 bulb fennel with stem and fronds, chopped
1 lb red potatoes, large dice
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3+ cloves garlic, minced
2 TB savory
2 TB tarragon
1.5 liters stock
1/3 C olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low and let cook for 4+ hours or simmer one hour on stove top.

Vegan Kale and White Bean Stew

This is a great way to use winter veggies. It can be thrown in the crock pot for a simple supper that will be ready when you get home.

1 bunch kale, chopped
1 lb red potatoes, large dice
3 carrots, sliced
4+ cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 TB thyme
1 TB savory
1.5 liters stock

3 Cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed (That’s about 2 cans if you use canned or 1.5 Cups dried. If you cook them from dried, use only water to cook them. They will make the soup slimy if you cook them with the soup.)

If your stock is fat-free, add 1/4 C olive oil.

Simmer all ingredients for an hour OR place in crock pot for 3+ hours.

Red Beans and Rice

This is a great way to feed tons of people. It’s a phenomenal dish to make ahead because it gets more delicious when it sits in the fridge. The beans can also be made in a crock pot– just transfer the sauteed veggies and simmer on low.

Red Beans over Rice

1 lb dry red beans, soaked, drained, and cooked in filtered water

1 Cup diced celery
1 Cup diced carrot
1 1/2 Cups diced yellow onion
4+ cloves garlic, minced
3 TB evoo
2 TB dried thyme
1 tsp salt

Saute chopped veggies, oil, and seasoning while beans finish cooking. Heating the dried herbs with fat helps develop the flavor. The salt will help the onions sweat and release their moisture, preventing sticking or burning. Let the veggies cook until the onions are translucent and soft.

Add 3/4 lb cajun sausage (andouille is great, I have local pork chorizo that I love!), chopped or crumbled. For a vegan or vegetarian version, use a meatless sausage the crumbles well.

Saute over medium heat to render fat. The veggies will develop a nice orangey glow. If making a non-meat version, add 2-3 TB additional evoo.

Drain cooked beans. Gently add them to veggies and sausage. (Or if you are making this in a crock pot, transfer everything to the crock pot now.)

Add
1 Cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 1/2 Cups tomato puree
2 TB cajun seasoning blend

Simmer covered on low for 20-30 minutes until flavors marry. Serve over rice.

**Quick tip: Use canned red beans. Find BPA free canned beans at: http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/food-and-cooking/product-guide-bpafree-canned-foods-107985

Chicken and Rice Soup

Hail to the chicken carcass! I roast a chicken now and then. We actually prefer to use the meat for salads and sandwiches then make soup rather than eat it roasted with traditional sides. Poultry cooked on the bone has a richer flavor. And since these chickens worked hard to grow tasty, I feel obligated to cook them to their tastiest.

Place chicken carcass in a large (8 qt) stock pot and fill with filtered water 2 inches shy of covering the chicken. Put the lid on and set to simmer for about an hour. You can also do this in your crock pot for 3+ hours.

Once broth has reached a rich color, remove bones, leaving behind chicken bits. Add to your pot:

2 onions, chopped

1 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped (I include the leaves)

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced

3 TB butter (Since there was no skin, the extra fat makes a world of difference to the flavor)

4 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves

2 TB thyme

1 tsp celery seed

2 1/2 Cups rice

Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Or, in a crock pot, let soup cook on low for up to 5 hours.

Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

French Onion Fondue

This will kick up your veggie or relish tray in a big way. Hot dips are perfect for winter entertaining and the sharp cheese flavors in this one pair nicely with winter wines.

2 yellow onions, diced
3 TB butter
1 Cup beef broth
16 oz cream cheese
6 oz swizz cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Caramelize onions in butter over medium heat. When onions are GBD (golden brown delicious), stir in broth 2 TB at a time. Deglaze the pan and allow the broth to reduce. Allow to reduce by half. Stir in cheeses and reduce heat to low. Stir well to incorporate.

Dip can be served immediately or covered and stored in the fridge up to 5 days until your party. To re heat, pop in the oven with the rest of your party spread until bubbly. Also great served in a chaffing dish to maintain temperature. A warmed serving dish will keep dip very soft for about 2 hours.

Turkey Chowder

I’m on a mission to keep your family from saying “Turkey again! Ewww!” so you can eat up all your food, waste less, be greener, and impress them with your versatility and kitchen prowess.

Soup base:
1 Turkey carcass, meat trimmed
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic left whole

Cover carcass ¾ of the way with water (about 8 cups). Boil this (right in the roasting pan if you’ve got a nice one) covered until liquid is cloudy and carcass is falling apart, about 1 hour. Remove carcass, bay leaves, and garlic cloves. Separate out 4 cups of soup base for future deliciousness. It freezes well. Little floating bits of meat should stay in the pot. You can also make this in your crock pot. Allow soup based to simmer for about 2 hours.

Add to the pot:
2 cups left over corn
2 cups left over white potatoes (au gratin, mashed, hash browns, or how ever your family prepared them)
½ cup diced celery
½ cup left over carrots
¼ cup diced onion
2 cups left over turkey, shredded
1 TB Cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste.

Depending on the thickness you prefer, you may need to add back more of the soup base.
Bring to a boil then simmer 20 minutes or until celery is tender. Awesome served with cheddar croutons.

Slice left over rolls or bread into ½ inch rounds. Top with shredded cheddar and bake at 375 degrees while the soup is simmering. Croutons are ready when cheese is bubbly, bread is crispy brown.

EASY Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean soup is really perfect. Here is a recipe that gives you all the flavor right out of your pantry and is easy for students and moms who don’t have time to cook. This is a great dish made from stuff you most likely have on hand right now. It can be made in the slow cooker or stove top. And it’s frugal!

IMG_3264

1 lb dried black beans, soaked (for a quick version used canned, see note)
1 red onion diced
3+ cloves of garlic
2 TB butter or vegan butter substitute
1 TB oregano
1 TB cumin
1 TB paprika
1-2 cubes herb bouillon (or tomato, chicken, or other flavor you have on hand)
8 oz salsa
water

In an large stock pot, saute onions, garlic, and butter with dry spices until onions sweat and soften. Add beans, broth cubes, and salsa. Yes, use that half jar of salsa in your fridge because you ran out of chips. Now add water just below covering the beans. You should have about 15 beans not submerged. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour or until beans are soft.

Crock pot method: Saute onions, garlic, butter, and dry spices on over medium heat. Transfer to your crock when they sweat and soften. Add remaining ingredients. Cover with water by 1/2 inch. Set crock to low for 6-8 hours.

* Cooks tip * Sauteing dry seasonings in fat with the veggies will help pull out the flavor. This can give you a “slow simmered” taste even in quickly prepared foods.

Quick version: Substitute 6 cups drained and rinsed black beans for dried beans. Add water to 1/2 inch below the beans. Simmer for 20 minutes covered then serve.

Toppings include cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, avocado chunks, salsa, olives, or crushed tortilla chips!

Potato Leek Soup

This is a creamy soup that is as easy as it is filling. The Yukon Gold potatoes have a smooth buttery flavor that make this soup a winner. It makes a delicious crock pot meal as well. This soup can easily be made vegan with the use of a quality butter substitute.

Soup with red pepper sauce and gluten-free cheese

Soup with red pepper sauce and gluten-free cheese

2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and diced. I leave the skins on. Peeling is fine too.
2 Leeks, washed well! and sliced thin
8 Cups stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian or vegan versions)
2 tsp thyme
3 TB butter

Place leeks, butter, and thyme in 8 qt stock pot and allow to brown while you dice potatoes. Stir occasionally. Allow leeks to cook down for about 7-10 minutes or how ever long it takes you to dice all the potatoes. Deglaze the stock pot with stock.

If you are going to make this in a crock pot, transfer to crock and add potatoes. Cover and let cook on low for at least 6 hours.

On the stove top, stir in potatoes. Cover and let simmer about 30 minutes on medium low, until potatoes are cooked through and begin to fall apart.

Before serving, mash soup with potato masher or whip with immersion blender. I mash lightly, leaving plenty of hearty chunks behind.

Serve with cheese or sour cream, red pepper aioli, pesto, or croutons.

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