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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Salmon and Potato Chowder

It's the last day of Soup Month 2013, and I hope you've enjoyed all of the new soup, chowder and chili recipes.  Since today is the last day of soup month, we decided to wrap up the month with a delicious Salmon and Potato Chowder.  Salmon, in any way, shape, or form, is one of my favorite types of seafood to cook and regardless of the cooking method, salmon always tastes great.

For some reason, many people are intimidated when it comes to cooking salmon.  I'm not sure why, but they usually think this is a difficult fish to cook and that couldn't be further from the truth.  In the past we've made a Basil-Dijon Salmon over Red Lentil Puree,  a Salmon Salad with Mango Salsa, and even a super easy to make Salmon BLT Sandwich, which is wonderful.  And, all of these are easy to prepare.


So, if you've never tried to cook salmon, this is your chance, and what better way to learn to cook salmon than in a nice, warm chowder.  This chowder is real comfort food, with red potatoes, corn and just a touch of white wine to accent the fish.  The chowder takes less than 30 minutes to make and tastes great served with a small salad or a few baked scallop or clam shells. 

Enjoy and thanks for joining us for Soup Month 2013!!

1-1/3 lbs  Salmon, skinned, deboned and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB  Butter, divided
2 TB  Olive Oil, divided
1 large  Shallot, minced
1/3 cup  Dry White Wine
3-1/4 cups  Chicken Stock
5 large  Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1-1/2 cups  Frozen Corn Kernels, defrosted
1 cup  Half and Half
1 TB  Lobster Base (optional)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

In a medium soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by half.  Add the stock and increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes are tender about 12 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, use a large skillet to heat 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper, then add them to the skillet and cook until seared on all sides, but not fully cooked, about 3 minutes total.  Remove skillet from the heat and set aside.

In a blender, combine the corn and half and half and puree until smooth.  Add this mixture and the lobster base to the cooked potatoes, stir, and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. 

Add the salmon pieces to the chowder, stirring gently, and simmer until the salmon is warm. Ladle the chowder into bowls and serve. (Alternately, you could also place the pieces of salmon in the bowls, then ladle the chowder over the salmon.  Either way works great.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beef and Portugese Sausage Chili

For day 30 of Soup Month 2013, we made a smoky Beef and Portuguese Sausage Chili that was simply amazing.  With a unique smoky flavor, this is one of the best chilies I've ever tasted and our picky eater even asked for seconds!  That is a total compliment and I can't wait to make this again.

I originally wanted to use chorizo in this chili, but didn't want the grease that usually comes from Spanish chorizo.  So for this chili we decided to try something new.  The sausage in this recipe is made by a company called Gaspar's and it has a very "old world" flavor, with garlic, pepper and paprika.  It is much lower in fat than many chorizo products, instead relying on the lean pork and spices for flavor.

In addition to the sausage, the smoked sundried tomatoes added more flavor along with the smoked paprika.  Did I mention that this chili was smoky? LOL  It was so delicious it didn't even need any toppings.  The customary sour cream or grated cheese are always an option, but this chili stands on its own quite nicely.


This is an easy recipe to make with prep time of jump a few minutes and total cooking time of about an hour.  If you cannot find Gaspar's sausage in your area, check your local market for a similar brand of Portuguese sausage, or ask the store manager and they might be able to order it for you.  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 medium  Onion, chopped
2-1/4 lbs  Lean Ground Beef
1 lb Gaspar's Linguica Portuguese Sausage, casings removed
1-1/2 tsp  Smoked Paprika
1 TB  Garlic Powder
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 can  Bush's Medium Chili Beans
2 cups  Beef Stock
2 oz  Smoked Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Tomato Paste with Garlic

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the ground beef and sausage to the pot, breaking up the meat using a wooden spoon.

When the meat has started to brown, drain off a majority of the liquid from the pot, then add the dry spices, beans, stock, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir the chili and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 - 60 minutes, or until the chili has thickened to your liking.  Serves about 6.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage and Pasta Soup

For day 29 of Soup Month 2013, we tried a new Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage with Basil from Al Fresco, and it was a great addition to this soup.  This sausage is pretty tasty, and has just the right balance of tomato and basil flavor.  When combined with onions, green pepper, tomatoes and some whole wheat pasta, you've got a healthy meal ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  The sausage is also a much healthier choice than standard sausage.  With just 140 calories and 7 grams of fat per link, each link provides 15 grams of protein.


Cooking the pasta in the broth and tomatoes allows all of those flavors to absorb into the pasta, and blends the spices throughout the soup.  This is also a great way to introduce your kids to whole wheat pasta.  With all of those flavors working together, the pasta will taste great! 

The last step of this soup is to blend in the ricotta cheese, which gives the soup a silky, cheesy texture, and thickens the soup at the same time.  I really like the way the ricotta turns this soup into almost a stew-like consistency, but, if you like your soup a bit thinner, you can skip the ricotta or add 1/3 cup more chicken broth.  Even without the ricotta, the soup is excellent.  Enjoy!!

1 small  Onion, chopped
1 small  Green Pepper, diced
2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 TB  Minced Garlic
Basil Cubes  (or 1 TB Fresh Minced Basil)
1 12 oz pkg  Alfresco Chicken Sausage with Sundried Tomatoes and Basil, casing removed and sausage sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes with Italian Seasonings
3 cups  Chicken Broth  or  Italian Flavored Broth
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
8 oz  Dry Pasta (regular or whole wheat, any shape will work)
6 oz  Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese

In a medium soup pot, sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and basil cubes (or basil) and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the sausage to the pan, stirring so the sausage browns slightly on the edges. 

Next, add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper to the pot and heat to boiling.  When the broth boils, add the pasta, return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the pasta is just tender.

When the pasta is cooked, stir the ricotta cheese into the broth, stirring to blend the cheese into the soup.  Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Portobello and Wild Rice Soup

For day 28 of Soup Month 2013 we made a rustic Portobello and Wild Rice Soup.  This soup is a unique blend of ingredients that come together beautifully.   We started with the wild rice which is from Trader Joe's.  This blend contains brown rice, black barley and tiny daikon radish seeds, all of which taste great with the Portobello mushrooms.  The radish seeds add just a bit of crunch to the soup and work well with the tender mushrooms.


While the rice cooked, we went to work on the soup. First we added a few basics like onions, garlic and rosemary, beef stock and, to give this soup a creamy texture, we included two russet potatoes.  (Without adding too much potato flavor, the potatoes thickened the soup and gave it some extra heartiness.)  The mushrooms are sautéed separately and added to the soup just prior to serving.

Next, we pureed the vegetables and stock, (but not the mushrooms) using an immersion blender (or you could use a regular blender).  Once the soup was smooth, the cream and a touch of dry red wine finished off the broth.  The cooked mushrooms and rice are then added to the soup for a final 5 minutes of cooking.  This soup has a nice thickness to it, but if you prefer a thinner consistency, a little beef stock can be added at this point.  Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika just before serving.

This soup tasted great served with a grilled rib eye steak and a glass of Cabernet, but it would also pair nicely with turkey or roast pork loin.  Although this soup is easy to make, it is definitely elegant enough for a holiday dinner.  Enjoy!!

1-1/4 cups  Water
1/2 cup  Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley
1 tsp  Butter

3 TB  Butter, divided
12 oz  Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 small  Onion, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
2 tsp  Fresh Rosemary, minced (or use 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
2 medium  Russet Potatoes
1-1/2 cups  Beef Broth
1 cup  Heavy Cream  or  Half and Half
2 TB  Dry Red Wine
1-1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt, or more to taste
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil, add the rice and 1 teaspoon of butter and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 35 - 40 minutes or until water is absorbed, then remove pan from heat and rest for 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Sauté the mushrooms until the are just tender, about 10 minutes, then transfer the mushrooms to a bowl, cover and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same pot, add onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic, rosemary and potatoes to the pot, stir and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Add the beef broth to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender.  Add the cream and red wine to the soup and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the mushrooms and cooked rice to the soup, stir and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  (If you prefer a thinner soup, just add a little extra broth to the soup.)

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apple Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup

I can't believe it's almost the end of October, and the end of Soup Month.  I hope you've all enjoyed the new soups and maybe had a chance to try a few, but we still have a couple more recipes lined up to finish off the month.

For day 27 of Soup Month 2013, we combined lots of fall ingredients into a healthy, but hearty, Apple Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Soup.  In the process, we also discovered a few delicious new products that we will definitely be including in future recipes.


The apple chicken sausage, with one package of 4 links, comes in at just 160 calories per link and 7 grams of fat.  Pretty healthy for a "sausage" type product, and it's also gluten free.  It was also quite tasty and I'm already thinking of lots of recipes to cook with this product.

The sausage was combined with a bottle of Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider, and this is one unique drink.  The apple ginger hard cider added a nice background flavor to the soup with a slight tartness, and an interesting hint of ginger.  If you go to their web site (here - Angry Orchard) they actually have a recipe for a turkey brine mixture using this cider.  I'm not usually much of a turkey fan, but I've got to try this recipe!

Sweet potatoes, onion and cabbage are added to complete this great fall soup.  The apple flavor is very prominent in this recipe and, since I had never tried this brand of sausage, I was a little worried that the apple would overpower the other ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only did the flavors blend nicely, the apple, cabbage and sweet potatoes gave this soup a bit of a German twist, but in a really healthy way.

Overall, this was a very tasty soup.  I didn't add salt of pepper to my soup, but my husband added pepper to his liking, so adjust that to your own preference.  This soup is also quick to prepare and can be on the table in about 30 minutes.  Serve with crackers or slices of hearty rye bread.  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 small Onion, chopped
1 pkg  Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 bottle  Angry Orchard Apple Ginger Hard Cider
1/2 large  Cabbage, cut into strips
3 large  Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups  Chicken or Vegetable Broth
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, optional, to taste

In a medium soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil until softened.  Add the sausage, stirring frequently so the sausage lightly browns.  Add the cider to the pot, stir and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the cabbage, sweet potatoes and broth to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender.  Serves 6.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Seafood Soup with Tortellini

For day 26 of Soup Month 2013, we made a delicious weeknight soup.  If you're looking for something quick and easy to make after a long day at work, this soup will be something the whole family will enjoy.

This Seafood Soup combines shrimp, canned clams and surimi with an assortment of vegetables and cheese filled tortellini pasta, so you have an entire meal in one bowl.  Although tonight we used water as a base for this soup, a fresh batch of seafood stock would also taste great.  Stock takes a little time to make since it requires time to simmer, so weekends are a great time to make a big batch of stock and then freeze it in portions for later use.  You can also add the optional lobster base to the water or broth which adds a lot of seafood flavor.


Since the shrimp and pasta cook very quickly in the broth, the cooking time is pretty fast for this meal.  The surimi crab meat and clams are already cooked and ready to go, so they are both great time savers that add lots of flavor to the soup.  Fresh spinach is another quick-cooking item that cooks in just a few minutes, but adds color and nutrition to the soup.  As a bonus, I have one daughter that doesn't care for spinach if it's cooked from frozen, but she loves fresh cooked spinach in soups, and I love that!  Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, diced
1 medium  Red Pepper, diced
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 cup  Flour
5 cups  Water or Seafood Stock
2 tsp  Lobster Base (optional)
2 cans  Chopped Clams with Juice
1 TB  Minced Fresh Chives
1 pkg  Rosetto Cheese Tortellini Pasta
1 lb  Raw Shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 lb  Sirimi Imitation Crab Meat Sticks, cut into cubes
1 cup  Half and Half  or  Cream
2 cups  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed

Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper, salt and pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stirring to coat, and continue to cook for 3 minutes.

Add the water or broth, and lobster base if using, to the pot and stir.  Add the clams and chives, and increase heat to medium-high.

Add the tortellini to the pot and bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring frequently.  When the tortellini begin to rise to the top of the soup, add the shrimp to the pot, cook for 2 minutes, then add the crab meat to the pot and cook 2 minutes more, stirring gently.

Add the half and half or cream to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the spinach to the soup and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh minced chives and grated Parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 25, 2013

White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Ale

For day 25 of Soup Month 2013 we went a little Irish tonight and made this White Cheddar Potato Soup with Killian's Red Ale.  With a cheesy and velvety texture, the Killian's adds a delicious flavor to this soup.  And besides, nothing is more fun than cooking with beer!  Just be sure to save one beer to drink with this soup. Yum!

Potato soup is a rich dish, there's no getting around that, but when the weather turns cold and you're looking for something hearty for dinner, this will be the recipe to make.  We started with a quick sauté of onions, celery and leeks.  If you're not familiar with leeks, they land somewhere between an onion and garlic, but the flavor is subtle and more on the mild side.  (You'll want to cut the leek down the center and wash it under cool water before slicing to remove any sand.)  It's a great flavor, especially with potatoes, so try not to skip the leek.


Yukon Gold potatoes were used in this soup because of their rich, creamy taste and the fact that they don't crumble when cooked.  The potatoes are added to the soup, along with the ale and stock, which allows the potatoes to capture all of those flavors.

The butter and cheese sauce is added to the pan just before serving and a sprinkle of crumbled blue cheese and diced cooked bacon are added to each bowl as a garnish.  This is an excellent soup alone or serve a smaller portion as a side for roast chicken or a grilled Rib Eye steak.  Enjoy!

2 TB  Salted Butter
1 medium  Onion, diced
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 large  Leek, white and light green section, washed and thinly sliced
8 medium  Yuken Gold Potatoes, peeled or not, and diced
1 bottle  Killian's Red Ale
4 cups  Chicken Stock
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
3 TB  Salted Butter
4 TB  Flour
3-1/2 cups  Half and Half  or  2% Milk
8 oz  Medium-Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Crumbled Blue Cheese for Garnish
Cooked and Diced Bacon for Garnish

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, celery, and leek and sauté until soft about 6 - 8 minutes.

Add the potatoes, ale, stock, salt and pepper to the pot and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Slowly add the flour to the pan, stirring to blend until smooth.  Slowly add the milk to the pot, whisking to blend, and cook until hot.  Add the cheese, stirring with a spoon until the cheese is melted and the sauce is slightly thickened.

Pour the cheese sauce into the pot with the potato mixture, stir gently to combine and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes.  Ladle the soup into bowls and add a sprinkle of blue cheese and/or cooked bacon as a garnish.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creamy Tomato Rice Soup with Pesto

For day 24 of Soup Month 2013 we made a creamy Tomato Rice Soup with a swirl of pesto as a garnish.  This Italian tomato soup tasted great with a simple salad and would also be delicious served with a classic grilled cheese sandwich. 


At the end of a cold winter day, there's nothing better than to have a hot bowl of soup waiting at home for you.  So to make this soup even more enticing, it's made in the crock pot.  The preparation of this soup literally takes only 10 minutes using a food processor, and after that the crock pot does all of the cooking for you. 

During the last hour of cooking, make a quick batch of rice, stir it into the soup and you are ready to add a bit of pesto and dinner is ready.   (If you don't have time to make the rice, this soup is delicious on its own.)  A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top is also tasty.   Enjoy!!

1 small  Onion, quartered
2 medium  Carrots, peeled and cut in half
2 stalks  Celery, cut into thirds
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes
6 oz can  Tomato Paste with Oregano, Garlic and Thyme
1/2 tsp  Oregano
1/2 tsp  Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1-1/2 cups  Water
1-1/2 cups  Chicken Broth  or  Vegetable Broth

3/4 cup  Jasmati Rice (or use your favorite white or brown rice)
1-1/2 cups Water
1 tsp  Kosher Salt

Prepared Pesto for Garnish
Grated Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

In a food processor, shred the onion carrots and celery into coarse pieces, then add them to the crock pot.  Next, add the tomatoes, including the juice from the can, tomato paste, oregano, garlic powder, pepper, water and broth and stir.

Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.  When you are about ready to serve the soup, and before you add the rice, use an immersion blender to puree the pure to a smooth consistency.  Taste test and add salt or pepper, if needed.  (Since the tomatoes do have some salt, we did not add any additional salt here, so this will depend on your salt preference.)

During the last hour of cooking, prepare the rice.  Place the rice, water and salt in a small pot, cover and reduce heat to low until the water is absorbed.  Stir the cooked rice into the tomato soup and stir, adding a bit more water or broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Ladle the soup into bowls and add a spoonful of pesto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Creamy Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup

For day 23 of Soup Month 2013, we made an incredibly seasonal Red Lentil and Pumpkin Soup that would be perfect for an elegant Thanksgiving meal.  With a delicate blend of unique spices, this soup will pair nicely with roast turkey or pork and would also be delicious with a glazed ham.

I love anything pumpkin, and lentils are quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.  But by combining these two foods, you create a totally luxurious soup with somewhat of an exotic flavor.  The cinnamon and pumpkin go together nicely, of course, but then you get just a hint of cumin and red pepper flavor in the background, while the heartiness of the lentils pulls all of those flavors together.


Another great thing about this soup is that by using the red lentils, which cook much faster than the green variety, you can have this soup ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  If you are serving this for a dinner party, the soup can be prepared an hour or so in advance, then kept warm in a crock pot until you are ready to serve.  Garnish with a spoonful of crème fraiche or sour cream and Enjoy!!

2 tsp  Canola Oil
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 tsp  Minced Garlic
4-2/3 cups  Vegetable Broth, divided
1 cup  Dried Red Lentils
1 tsp  Cumin
1/4 tsp  Paprika
1/4 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp  Cinnamon
1/8 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1 cup  Canned Pumpkin
1/2 tsp  Ground Ginger
1 TB  Lemon Juice
Crème Fraiche for Garnish

In a medium soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.  Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, the lentils, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon and cayenne to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until it's very smooth.

Add the remaining 1-2/3 cups of broth to the pot, followed by the pumpkin, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Add the ginger and lemon juice to the soup and stir.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley

For day 22 of Soup Month 2013, we made one of my favorite soups, a hearty Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley.  Not only is this soup packed with lots of healthy veggies, the barley adds extra nutrients and fiber, too. 


This soup does take a little extra time to cook to create that rich tomato broth, so it's a great soup to make on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  With about 20 minutes of prep time and one hour to simmer, the results will be delicious and so worth the wait.  Just brown the meat, add the veggies and stock along with a few spices and it's time to simmer. 

This soup tastes great served with a few crackers or a loaf of crunchy French bread on the side.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Canola or Vegetable Oil
2 lbs  Beef Stew Meat
4  Carrots, peeled and chopped
4  Russet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 large  Onion, chopped
32 oz  Beef Stock
2 tsp  Kosher Salt, or more to taste
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste
1 14-oz can  Diced Tomatoes
2 tsp  Garlic Powder
2 tsp  Oregano
3  Bay Leaves
1 cup  Quick Cooking Barley

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and brown for 5 minutes, then add the carrots, potatoes, celery and onion, stir and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for one hour, or until the beef is fork tender.  Serves 6 - 8.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spanish Garlic Soup

For day 21 of Soup Month 2013, we made a rustic Spanish-style Garlic Soup.  This is a nearly clear broth soup that gets a majority of its flavor from smoked paprika, lots of garlic, and a perfectly poached egg on top.  And for such a simple soup, the flavor is extraordinary.

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between "paprika" and "smoked paprika".  Regular paprika is very mild and is usually a blend of domestic or imported ingredients, and the taste is not really hot or sweet.  This generic paprika is great for garnishing, such as sprinkling over deviled eggs or on top of salads, but it doesn't add a lot of flavor, but mostly color.


Smoked paprika is from Hungary, where they consider paprika a national treasure, and they take this product quite seriously.  There are actually ten different varieties of smoked paprika ranging from delicate and mild, to medium and semi-sweet, to a more pungent flavor with more heat.  The color can also range from brownish to light red to bright red and even orange.  Lots of different choices.

The smoked paprika sold in the U.S., such as the one used in this recipe from Spice Islands, is a blend of chilies that are smoked over wood fires, and is perfect for adding a smoky, earthy flavor to paella, or added to dry rub mixes for beef, chicken or even lamb.  The flavor is so unique, you'll find yourself using it in more and more dishes to add just that little something extra. 

This recipe is super easy to make, uses only a few common ingredients, and it makes a perfect side dish when you don't want anything too heavy with your meal.  It is a little tricky dropping the eggs into the broth, but if you carefully slide the eggs into the soup one at a time, keeping them about an inch apart, it is easy to scoop them up and transfer to the bowls.  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 tsp  Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
5 cups  Progresso Tuscany Broth (or regular chicken broth)
3/4 tsp  Genuine Smoked Paprika (not plain paprika)
3/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
2 tsp  Sea Salt (or more to taste)
5 large  Eggs
Large Croutons or Thick Toasted Bread Squares

In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt.  Sautee for 2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown.

Add the stock, paprika, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully crack the eggs onto the top of the simmering soup.  Simmer for about 4 minutes for a soft yolk, or add 2 minutes extra if you prefer the yolks to be set.

Place several croutons or toasted bread squares into the bottom of each soup bowl.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer a poached egg to each bowl, then ladle the soup over the eggs.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seafood Chowder

For day 20 of Soup Month 2013, we made a creamy Seafood Chowder with shrimp and swai fish fillets.  My plan for this chowder was to combine a light, vegetable and herb broth with spicy shrimp placed in the center.  Then I got to thinking how tasty the swai fillets would be with the same Sriracha-based marinade. I decided to add the fish to the mix, and it was a delicious success.


To create the flavorful broth, the onion, celery and carrots are sautéed with a bit of white wine and a tablespoon of lobster base, which adds a deep layer of flavor to the soup.  The soup is then pureed and the cooked seafood is placed in the center of the bowl to provide a burst of spicy flavor to the chowder.

This chowder makes an excellent dinner on its own, but it would also be perfect served in smaller portions as a first course, or even as an appetizer.  Serve with crunchy French bread and a glass of chardonnay.  Enjoy!!

Marinade for Seafood
4  Fish Fillets
3/4 lb  small  Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 TB Olive Oil, or enough to coat
1 TB  Minced Garlic
2 Basil Cubes or 2 TB Fresh Chopped Basil
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 TB  Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp  Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp  Paprika
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

2 TB  Butter
1 TB  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, finely chopped
2  Carrots,  finely chopped
2 stalks  Celery, finely chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
3  Bay Leaves
1 TB  Lobster Base
1/8 tsp  White Pepper
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 cup  Dry White Wine
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1/2 cup  Heavy Cream

In a medium glass bowl, combine the marinade ingredients with the fish and shrimp, stirring to coat the seafood.  Set aside for 15 - 20 minutes.

In a large soup pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lobster base, pepper and salt, and cook for 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, add the cream and cook for 15 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove the pot from the heat and carefully use an immersion blender to puree the soup until completely smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the fish and shrimp mixture to the skillet, including the marinade, and stir gently, cooking until the seafood is fully cooked, about 7 - 8 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the heat and keep warm, if needed, until ready to prepare the soup bowls.

Ladle the soup into bowls, place several pieces of fish and shrimp into the center of each bowl, top with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quick Chicken Mole Chili

For day 19 of Soup Month 2013 we made a spicy Chicken Mole Chili with bold flavors and a rich, dark sauce.  The term "mole", (pronounced mo-lay) is a popular Mexican sauce that consists of cooked onions, garlic and chilies, various spices, plus a small amount of Mexican chocolate or, in this case, cocoa.  The chocolate might sounds a bit odd, but it actually adds richness to the chili without adding overt sweetness.


This is a pretty spicy bowl of chili, which I love, but adding a little crumbled queso fresco cheese on top was just the right thing to balance out some of the heat.  My daughter, who doesn't like too much spice, added sour cream to her bowl and she loved the chili.

We saved a lot of time preparing this chili by using the canned black beans instead of soaking the dried beans and we used already cooked chicken.  These shortcuts allowed us to keep the cooking time to just over an hour.

This would be a perfect chili to serve for a football party, but it is spicy.  If you have some guests that prefer a more mild chili, just serve both!  Make two batches of chili the day before, then heat each of them in crock pots the day of your party.  Use the same assortment of toppings that would work for both types of chili, such as grated cheese, sour cream, avocado slices and corn chips, and you have something for everyone, and your guests will love you!  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Olive Oil
1 medium  Onion, diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
4 oz can  Diced Jalapenos (use just 1/2 can for less heat)
1/2 tsp  Cumin
1/2 tsp  Chipotle Powder
1/2 tsp  Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp  Cinnamon
1 tsp  Chili Powder
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 TB  Cocoa Powder
1 TB  Sugar
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes
14 oz can  Black Beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups  Chicken Stock
2 - 3 cups  Cooked Chicken
1 medium  Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 cup  Frozen Corn
1 cup  Chicken Broth
2 TB  Cornmeal

In a medium soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic and jalapeno, then cook 5 minutes until tender.

Add the dry spices and the sugar to the pot and stir to blend into the vegetables, cooking for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, black beans and 3 cups chicken stock to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the chicken, red pepper, and corn to the pot and stir to combine and increase heat to a low boil.  In a small bowl combine the 1 cup chicken broth with the cornmeal, stirring to form a paste.  Add the cornmeal paste to the soup and stir until fully dissolved, then cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese or crumbled queso fresco, avocado slices and tortilla chips on the side. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Soup

For day 18 of Soup Month 2013 we made a spicy Mexican Salsa Verde Chicken Tortilla Soup that's packed with bold spicy flavors and is actually quite healthy. 

If you've never tried tortilla soup, this is a great recipe to try.  Made with green tomatillos, the salsa verde adds lots of flavor to the broth.  With just the right amount of chilies, onion, garlic, and just a touch of cilantro, the salsa verde makes this soup very easy to make.



By seasoning the meat with a basic taco seasoning mix, then quickly searing the meat, the chicken is nicely flavored and all of the juices stay inside.  Next the vegetables are sautéed and it's time to create the broth. 

I used this technique in a few other recipes recently and I love the results. By pureeing the corn with a cup of the chicken broth, you get these little pieces of corn in the soup, but the sweetness of the corn is infused into the broth.  This gives the broth a sweet taste and, when combined with the spicy chicken, is a perfect balance in this soup.  The addition of cornmeal near the end of the cooking time adds more corn flavor and gives the soup a nice rich texture, without diluting the flavors with flour or cornstarch.

For a garnish we fried up some tortilla strips, which only take a few minutes to make and add a crispy-crunchy texture to the soup.  You can also add avocado slices or crumbled queso fresco cheese on top of the soup. 

This is also a great "party" soup and it stays warm nicely if kept in a crock pot on the low setting.  Provide bowls of assorted toppings and your guests can serve themselves.  Super easy!  Enjoy!!

1-1/2 lbs  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, trimmed and cut into small pieces
2 tsp  Taco Seasoning Mix
1 TB  Canola Oil
1 small  Onion, finely chopped
1/2  Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
1  Poblano Pepper, finely chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 cup  Green Salsa Verde
4 cups  Chicken Broth, divided
1 cup  Frozen Corn, defrosted
3 TB  Cornmeal
2 TB  Water
6  Corn Tortillas, cut into narrow strips
Canola Oil for Frying

Season the chicken pieces with the taco seasoning and set aside.

In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the chicken to the pot and cook until browned, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm.

Add the onion, both peppers and garlic to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the salsa verde and 3 cups of the chicken broth to the pot, and bring the mixture to low simmer over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn and 1 cup of chicken broth and use a stick blender to puree the mixture, then add this mixture to the soup pot.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. 

Combine the cornmeal and water in a small bowl, stirring until the cornmeal is moist.  Add this mixture to the soup, stir to combine, then reduce the heat to medium- low and cook for 15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, heat 1/4-inch of oil in a large skillet.  Add the tortilla strips to the pan so they are not touching, working in 2 or 3 batches if needed, and fry the strips until golden and crispy.  Transfer the strips to a paper towel lined platter to drain.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with an assortment of toppings such as avocado slices, crumbled queso fresco cheese, and tortilla strips.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato and Italian Sausage Soup

For day 17 of Soup Month 2013, we made a creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with Italian Sausage.  This soup gets a nice dose of smoky flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of smoked paprika, and the tomatoes add an incredible aroma to the soup.  The tomatoes are quite inexpensive and can be found in the produce department, and they are a wonderful addition to lots of recipes.


To make this soup more of a one-pot-meal we added some gnocchi pasta, which are cute little half-shell shaped pasta.  This shape helped the pasta hold onto the sauce really well, but any pasta shape, such as penne or farfalle, would work fine.

To make the sauce we started with a Tuscany-style broth, added seasoned diced tomatoes, and a few spices, then finished the sauce with a little half and half and ricotta cheese.  The ricotta adds a nice texture to the soup and, even though we used the low-fat ricotta, it added a nice richness to the soup and helped thicken the broth.

This soup is pretty quick to prepare.  Since the three components of the soup are cooked separately and then combined, this meal was ready to serve in under 30 minutes.  Serve with a green salad and crunchy garlic bread, an maybe a glass of Rioja wine.  Enjoy!!

1 cup  Smoked Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
3 cups  Progresso Tuscany Broth
6 oz  Dry Pasta, any shape
1 lb  Italian Sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled
1 small  Onion, diced
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
14 oz can  Diced Tomatoes Seasoned with Garlic, Basil and Oregano
1-1/2 tsp  Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
3/4 cup  Half and Half  or  Heavy Cream
3/4 cup  Low-Fat Ricotta Cheese
Grated Parmesan-Romano Cheese for Garnish
Chopped Fresh Parsley for Garnish

In a medium soup pot, over medium heat, add the tomatoes and broth and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the tomatoes.

While the tomatoes and broth simmer you can prepare the pasta and sausage for the soup.

In a medium saucepan, cook the pasta in salted water until just al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic to the sausage and cook until tender.

When the pasta is cooked add it to the soup pot with the broth, then add the sausage mixture to the pot when it has finished cooking.

Add the canned tomatoes and remaining dry spices to the soup, stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the soup simmers.  When the soup comes to a simmer, add the half and half and ricotta to the pot, stirring to blend in the ricotta.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the soup thickens slightly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan-Romano cheese and fresh chopped parsley.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup

Today is day 16 of Soup Month 2013 and we are over half way through this month of soups and stews.  To continue on, we have a hearty bowl of soup that delivers lots of protein and healthy fiber.  I love simple vegetable soup and this Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup just delicious.  Packed with lots of complex carbs and healthy veggies and it's so easy to make, you can have it on the table, ready to eat in just about an hour.  It also makes great leftovers.


One benefit of cooking with red lentils is the shorter cooking time.  When cooking with green lentils you are looking at about 45 - 60 minutes of cooking time, and the lentils will still have a firm texture, even after this much cooking time. Red lentils, however, will cook down to a mushy-type consistency in about 20 - 30 minutes.  And mushy is a good thing in this case.  If you have kids that are just a little picky (or a lot picky, in some cases), adding a handful of red lentils to a stew or soup will thicken the stock as the lentils dissolve and add lots of protein and fiber, without the kids asking what those "little things" are in their soup. (Yes, my picky eater always asks this question...sigh.  But she did like this soup.) 

If you prefer a vegetarian soup, just substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and leave out the chicken.  Enjoy!!

1/2 cup  Red lentils
1 small  Onion, chopped
1/2  Red or Orange Sweet Pepper, chopped
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Butter
5 cups  Chicken Broth  (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp  Dried Basil
1/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp  Fresh Rosemary
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
2 cups  Chopped Pre-Cooked Chicken or Turkey
2 or 3  Carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup  Quick Cooking Barley, uncooked
14-1/2 oz can  Diced Tomatoes

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic until just softened.

Add the chicken broth, basil, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and salt to the pot and stir.  Rinse and drain the lentils and add them to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken, carrots and barley to the pot, stir and cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes longer or until the carrots are tender.  Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Broccoli and Corn Chowder

For day 15 of Soup Month 2013 we have a super easy to make Broccoli and Corn Chowder.  This really isn't a fancy soup, just a good hearty bowl of soup that will taste great at the end of a cold winter day.


This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients, and most of them you probably have on hand.  There are also lots of possible variations for this soup.  If you would like to make this a more meaty soup, you just add some leftover cubed ham or chopped chicken during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.  The soup also tastes great with a generous sprinkle of grated pepper jack cheese or a dash of Sriracha sauce.  Enjoy!!

1/2 lb  Thick Cut Bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium  Onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup  Flour
24 oz  Chicken Broth
3 large  Baking Potatoes, peeled and diced
1 lb  Fresh Broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup  Frozen Corn
1/2 tsp  Dried Thyme
1 cup  Half and Half
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

In a medium soup pot, cook bacon over medium-low heat until just crisp, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.  Set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add flour to the onion, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add the broth and potatoes to the pot and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the broccoli to the pot and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the corn, thyme, half and half, salt and pepper to the soup, stir and cook 5 minutes longer.  Serve in wide soup bowls with a sprinkle of crumbled bacon.  Serves about 5.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Savory Beef and Ale Cobbler

For day 14 of Soup Month 2013 we made a dish that I've wanted to try for a long time, a Savory Beef and Ale Cobbler.  No, this cobbler doesn't have apples or peaches in it, but instead offers a beef stew-like filling and is topped with chive and onion biscuits. 


You basically take an inexpensive piece of beef, add carrots, onions and some mushrooms, then add a bit of beef stock and a bottle of hearty ale.  Pop this in the oven for a long, slow-cooking afternoon, and low and behold, you have a meal fit for a king.  Juicy pieces of beef, tender enough to be cut with a spoon, surrounded by a rich gravy.  The only thing that makes this better are the delicate biscuits on top. So yummy!

My husband had quite a debate at work about this dish. It seems many people had never heard of a savory cobbler, declaring that cobblers are fruit based with sugary toppings and sweet filling.  Well, I hate to break the news to them, but savory cobblers are not a new thing, and they have been popular in England for centuries.  The British prepare a cobbler in the same manner Americans prepare casseroles.  Any type of meat can be used such as lamb or beef, assorted vegetables are tossed in, and the biscuit topping is frequently an old-fashioned scone recipe with herbs and cheese.


For the biscuits on top of this cobbler I used some fresh chives that are still going strong in my garden and a bit of onion powder.  The biscuits browned up nicely and soaked up just a bit of gravy as they were perched on top of the cobbler, and they added a nice texture to the dish.

This meal does take some time to prepare, so it's a great dish to make on the weekend when you can let it cook low and slow and then enjoy the tasty results with a glass of dry red wine.  Enjoy!!

1/3 cup  Flour
1-1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1-1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 lb  Beef Chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 TB  Olive Oil, divided
1 medium  Onion, sliced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1  Red or Orange Bell Pepper, sliced into 1-inch pieces
6  Carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 oz  Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered (button, Portobello or other firm mushrooms will work)
1  bottle Goose Island India Pale Ale (or your favorite IPA)
3 cups  Beef Stock
3  Bay Leaves
1 tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

For the biscuit topping
1-1/4 cups  Flour
2 tsp  Baking Powder
3 TB  Butter
5 - 6 TB  Milk
1 TB  Minced Fresh Chives (or other herbs)
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp  Onion Powder

In a small bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle 3 or 4 tablespoons of this mixture over the beef until the meat is evenly coated.  Reserve the extra flour mixture and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat.  Add the beef to the pan and cook, stirring, until the meat is seared on all sides.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a platter and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.  Add the peppers and mushrooms, stir and cook for 3 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the remaining flour mixture over the vegetables and stir to coat.  Add the beer to the pan and stir gently to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the gravy thickens slightly.  Return the beef to the pan, cover the pot and place the pan in the oven at 325 degrees to slow roast for 1 hour.

(After the cobbler has cooked for an hour is when you will add the biscuits to the top of the meat and vegetable mixture, so you will want to have the biscuits ready ahead of time.)

In a medium bowl combine the flour and baking powder, then add the butter in thin slices.  Use a fork to blend in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Add the remaining ingredients, and stir with a fork until you have a smooth dough. (You may need just a bit more milk, just add 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough is smooth.)

Place the dough on a lightly floured board, roll it our to about 1/2-inch thick and cut out circles of dough using a cookie cutter.

Remove the pot from the oven, remove and discard the bay leaves and add the dough circles on top of the cobbler.  Return the pot to the oven uncovered and bake for 30 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and flaky.  Serves about 6.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Creamy Stuffed Mushroom Soup

For day 13 of Soup Month 2013 we have a slightly unconventional soup, that I'm sure you won't see on any restaurant menu.  This soup combines the silky goodness of creamy mushroom and onion soup with one of my favorite classic appetizers, the Crab Stuffed Mushroom.  If you're a fan of mushrooms, you're going to love this recipe.


This turned out to be a delicious soup and it would be wonderful served alongside a grilled New York Strip Steak. Although a bit whimsical, this soup has a lot going for it.  After sautéing onions and Portobello mushrooms, a bit of dry red wine is added and allowed to reduce.  Beef broth is added, then the mixture is pureed almost smooth, with a few tiny bits if mushroom still visible.  A touch of cream tops off the soup to thicken it slightly and add a layer of richness.

To garnish this soup we added a couple of Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms, which can be served on the side, but taste wonderful served in the soup.  The mushroom caps are baked until the filling is hot and the cheese on top is melted and golden, which adds a roasted mushroom flavor to the soup.  Slicing through the cheesy mushroom, then scooping up a little soup with each bite is an amazing experience.  If you prefer not to make the stuffed mushrooms, the soup is delicious on its own, or you could quickly sauté a few sliced mushrooms and add a spoonful to the center of each bowl.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Butter
1 TB  Olive Oil
1 large  Onion, sliced
8 oz  Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tsp  Minced Garlic
1/4 cup  Dry Red Wine
24 oz  Beef Broth
8 - 10 large  Stuffed Mushroom Caps (click here for recipe)

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and sauté 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook until the vegetable are very tender, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

Add the red wine to the pot and stir, cooking for about 5 minutes until the wine reduces by half.  Add the beef broth to the pot, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the stove and use an immersion blender to carefully puree the soup until smooth.  Return the soup to medium heat and add the cream, stirring until the soup thickens slightly.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 2 or 3 Stuffed Mushrooms and serve.

Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Crab and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms make a great party appetizer.  These are easy to make and, if you're serving them for a cocktail party, you can prepare them in advance using multiple trays and cook them one tray at a time during the party so the mushrooms will be warm and cheesy when served.  These are also great when added as a topping for Creamy Stuffed Mushroom Soup.


The filling is a simply mixture of shredded imitation crab meat, grated cheddar cheese, a little ricotta cheese and a few spices.  When making these stuffed mushrooms, try to find the largest mushroom caps possible, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.  This will allow you to stuff a generous amount of filling into each cap.  If you can't find these on the shelf at your local market, ask someone in the produce department if they have any larger mushrooms.  These are sometimes available in limited quantities, but you have to ask.

2 oz  Imitation Crab Meat, shredded and finely chopped
4 TB  Ricotta Cheese, low-fat or regular
3 TB  Grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Fresh Chopped Chives
1/4 tsp  Garlic Powder
Pinch of Ground Black Pepper
8 - 10 Large Mushroom Caps, (white or Portobello mushrooms work great) stems removed and inside lightly scooped out

Combine the crab, cheeses, salt, chives garlic powder and pepper in a medium bowl.  Stir to combine to ensure all of the mixture is moistened with the ricotta.

Using a small spoon, scoop the crab and cheese mixture into the mushroom caps, pressing the mixture into the cavity of each mushroom.  Place the filled mushrooms into a foil-lined pan and top each mushroom with a little extra grated cheddar cheese, pressing the cheese down onto the caps.

Bake the mushrooms for 8 - 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, or until golden.  If desired, turn the oven to BROIL for 2 to 3 minutes at the end of the cooking time so the mushrooms have a more browned top.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Soup

For day 12 of Soup Month 2013, we have a mild, but flavorful Chicken Enchilada Soup.  If you're familiar with Mexican foods, you'll know an enchilada is a popular Mexican dish, made by filling a corn tortilla with a variety of meat, cheese and vegetables, then rolling up the tortilla, and covering the rolls with a chili pepper sauce.  Although a very simple concept, there are a million ways to make and serve enchiladas, and for this dish we turned this Mexican favorite into a soup. 


This soup is easy to make and is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken.  One ingredient you may not be familiar with is masa harina, which is a type of corn flour that's used to make tortillas.  (You can also use this flour to make Crispy Shrimp Cakes with Lime Salsa.)  The flour is used to give the soup its corn flavor, and it also thickens the soup to a nice creamy consistency.  Masa harina flour is available at most markets in the baking section, and is very inexpensive.

Chicken Enchilada Soup is more on the mild side, so if your kids like tacos and burritos, they will love this soup.  If you like your soup a bit more spicy, just increase the dry spices a bit or, instead of 2 cans of green chilies, substitute one of the cans with a can of diced jalapeno peppers.

We served the Enchilada Soup with cheese quesadillas and some cold Corona beers.

1 TB  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, finely chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
4 cups  Chicken Broth
2  8-oz cans  Rotel Original Sauce
2  4-oz can  Diced Green Chilies
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp  Chili Powder
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp  Spanish Paprika
1/2 to 1 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (for extra heat use 1 teaspoon)
2-1/2 cups  Water
1 cup  Masa Harina Flour
2 to 3 cups  Cooked Chicken, shredded
Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese for Garnish

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.

Add the chicken broth, Rotel sauce, green chilies, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and paprika to the pot and stir, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

In a medium bowl combine the water and masa harina, using a whisk to gets all of the lumps out.  Pour this mixture into the soup and stir.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the soup has reached the desired thickness.  (If the soup is a little too thick, add 1/4 cup water and stir.)

Add the chicken to the soup and cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through.  Ladle into soup bowl and garnish with shredded jalapeno pepper jack cheese.  Serve cheese quesadillas on the side and Enjoy!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Creamy Crock Pot Potato and Ham Soup

For day 11 of Soup Month 2013, we pulled out the crock pot to make this Creamy Potato and Ham Soup.  There's just something so warm and comforting about potato soup.  The texture and creaminess of the soup just makes you relax and say Mmmmm while you enjoy every bite.  As a bonus, having all of the cooking done in a crock pot makes dinner even more enjoyable.

The ham is center stage in this soup adding a great layer of flavor and texture.  Before being added to the crock pot, the ham is lightly browned in a skillet with onion and a touch of butter to give each piece a lightly glazed flavor.

 
The potatoes and onions are shredded before being added to the crock pot, which allows them to gradually dissolve into the soup as they cook down.  The end result is a creamy potato texture, but with little bits of potato still visible in the soup.  Although you could puree the soup for a completely smooth consistency, I really enjoyed the little potato bits along with the ham.

Fresh spinach adds a little extra color and nutrients and creamy low-fat ricotta cheese adds a rich flavor without making the soup too heavy.  A sprinkle of fresh chives on top is all this soup needs before serving.  Enjoy!!

1 lb  Ham, diced
2 TB  Butter
1 medium  Onion, very thinly sliced
5 medium  Russet Potatoes, finely shredded (a food processor works great)
32 oz  Chicken Broth
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp  White Pepper
2 cups  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed
1/2 cup  Half and Half
8 oz  Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
Minced Chives for Garnish

In a medium skillet, over medium-high heat, add the ham and butter, and sauté for 4 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.  Add the onions to the skillet and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the mixture to a crock pot.

Add the shredded potatoes, broth, salt and white pepper to the crock, cover and heat on HIGH for 5 hours or LOW for 7 hours.  Stir once halfway through the cooking time to break up the potatoes.

About 30 minutes before the soup is finished, add the spinach to the pot and stir.  Cook for 15 minutes, then add the half and half and ricotta to the pot.  Stir until the cheese is fully blended into the soup, cover and cook for the final 15 minutes.  Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of fresh chives.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Garlic Egg Drop Soup with Spinach

For our 10th day of Soup Month 2013 we prepared a light and easy to make, Garlic Egg Drop Soup with Spinach.  This meat-free soup is full of bold garlic flavor and it would be delicious served as a first course with baked chicken or served with Shrimp Egg Rolls, and would even taste great served with a simple salad. 


This is a wonderful old fashioned Italian soup that has several variations.  Some people like to add shredded leftover chicken or sausage to the soup, while others prefer the clear, chicken infused broth.  And some people choose to add the Parmesan cheese only as a garnish and not in the soup pot.  Either way, this mild soup makes a quick and healthy dinner that you can have ready in about 20 minutes.

If you have the extra time, homemade stock gives this soup a deep, rich flavor.  Just boil a few chicken quarters or a whole chicken, and save the stock to use for this soup and you have an extra meal almost ready to go.   Enjoy!!

1 cup  Ditalini Pasta, or other small pasta
6 cups  Chicken Stock, homemade or packaged
5 cloves  Garlic, sliced
5 oz  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
4  Eggs, beaten
1/3 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish

In a small saucepan, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.

In a medium soup pot, bring the stock and garlic to a simmer and cook 3 minutes.  Add the pasta and fresh spinach and cook over medium heat until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.  Add the salt and pepper and adjust to taste.

Slowly drizzle the eggs into the hot soup, stirring to create long strips of egg and cooking for 2 minutes.  Add the Parmesan cheese and stir.  Remove the soup from the heat and ladle soup into bowls, topping each bowl with a sprinkle of more grated Parmesan cheese.  Serve with Shrimp Egg Rolls for a quick and easy meal.  Makes 6 - 8 servings.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

For day 9 of Soup Month 2013 we made a delicate Asian version of Chicken Noodle Soup.  This soup can be prepared in less than an hour, it's a great way to use up leftover chicken and tastes great with Shrimp Egg Rolls.

This soup begins with a light sesame-infused stock, cooked chicken and a generous amount of mushrooms, sugar snap peas and green onions.  Other vegetables such as broccoli, red pepper, or carrots would also work well in this broth, and you could even replace the chicken with tofu, if you prefer, so the possibilities are endless.


We served the soup over a ladle of whole wheat angel hair pasta that worked really well with the broth.  The combination of sesame oil, mushrooms and pasta produced a nice earthly flavor.

Although my daughter and I loved the mild broth, my husband chose to add a squirt of Sriracha sauce to his soup and even a sprinkle of red pepper flakes can be used for a little extra amount of heat.  We served this soup with homemade Shrimp Egg RollsEnjoy!!

5 oz  Uncooked Angel Hair Pasta
4 tsp  Canola Oil, divided
1 cup  Onion, chopped
2 TB  Minced Garlic, divided
2 TB  Minced Garlic, divided
1/2 tsp  Red Pepper Flakes
4 cups  Chicken Stock
1 cup  Water
2 tsp  Sesame Oil
2 cups  Cooked Chicken, dark or white meat
8 oz  Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 TB  Soy Sauce
1 tsp  Sugar
1 cup  Sugar Snap Peas, cut into 1-inch pieces
3  Green Onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Sriracha Sauce or Red Pepper Flakes for Garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions, and keep warm.

To make the stock:  Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add 2 teaspoons canola oil then the onion, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic and red pepper flakes, stir and cook 4 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Pour the stock through fine mesh strainer and into a bowl; discard solids.  Return the stock to the pan and keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sesame oil and heat 1 minute.  Add the cooked chicken and mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring.  Add 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 tablespoon garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

Pour the chicken and mushroom mixture into the stock, then add the soy sauce, sugar, snap peas and green onions.  Reduce heat to a low simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat.

Divide pasta evenly between 4 soup bowls and ladle the soup over the pasta.  Garnish with red pepper flakes and a dash of Sriracha sauce for extra heat.  Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Andouille Sausage and Tortellini Soup

For day 8 of Soup Month 2013, we have a super fast, super easy soup that you can have ready for dinner in just about 30 minutes.  Even better it's a whole meal in one pot.

This soup uses dry pasta and prepared sausage, and we added a few cups of fresh spinach and, for a boost of color and lots of nutrition, a jar of flame roasted red peppers.  The peppers add a delicious smoky flavor to the soup, but they're not spicy, so your kids will love them.

 
The Andouille sausage adds a bit of spice to the soup, and a touch of half and half finishes the creamy broth.  (If you prefer a mild sausage you could substitute kielbasa or smoked sausage, either would work fine.)  Top each bowl with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, add some crunchy garlic bread on the side and you're ready for dinner.  Enjoy!!

1 pkg  Johnsonville Andouille Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 14-oz jar  Vigo Roasted Red Peppers, drained and diced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
3 cups  Fresh Spinach, washed and stems removed
12 oz pkg  Dry Tortellini, any flavor (we used spinach and cheese)
3/4 cup  Half and Half
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste

In a medium soup pot, cook the sausage over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown on the edges.  Add the garlic, stir, and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the peppers, stir and cook for 2 minutes longer.

Add the broth to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the spinach, stirring and pushing the spinach down into the broth, and cook 5 minutes longer.  Add the half and half and pepper to the soup, stir, and taste test, adding more pepper if desired.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Catfish Corn Chowder

For day 7 of Soup Month 2013 we made a creamy Catfish and Corn Chowder that gets just a hint of background spice from creole seasoning.  This soup is not overly spicy, so kids will enjoy it, but the adults can always add a few drops of Tabasco sauce if they would like a little additional heat.


Starting with a blend of onions, celery, orange bell pepper, and red potatoes, the soup gets its creamy consistency from the corn and milk that are pureed together.  This allows the corn flavor to infuse into the soup and adds a little additional sweetness to the catfish.  We also added some small shrimp and a can of chopped clams to the soup to round out the seafood flavors.

This soup is easy to prepare and can be ready to serve in about 45 minutes and tastes great served with a few baked clam shells on the side.

1-1/2 lbs  Catfish, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp  Creole or Cajun Seasoning
1/4 lb  Bacon, chopped
1 medium  Onion, finely chopped
1 stalk  Celery, finely chopped
1/2  Orange or Red Pepper, chopped
1/2  Green Pepper, chopped
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste
1/4 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1 TB  Minced Garlic
6  Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups  Chicken Stock
1 cup  Corn Kernels
1-1/2 cups  Half and Half
1 can  Chopped Clams, with the juice
1/2 lb  Cooked Salad Shrimp

Season the catfish with the creole seasoning and set aside.

In a medium soup pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until just crisp, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion, celery, peppers, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to the pot and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add the potatoes and stock and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

In a small bowl, combine the corn and half and half, then use a stick blender to puree the mixture.  Add the corn mixture to the pot and bring to a low boil. 

Add the clams and shrimp to the pot, stir, then add the catfish pieces to the soup, nestling them into the top of the chowder.  Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Four Pepper Chili

For day 6 of Soup Month 2013, we made a delicious and spicy Four Pepper Chili, and it's just in time for football season!

This chili is packed with fresh flavors and includes green pepper, red pepper, poblano and jalapeno peppers.  I wanted this chili to have a little heat, but I don't really care for chili that has an overpowering amount of heat.  If it's too spicy to enjoy, that really defeats the purpose of a hearty chili.  In order to get that perfect balance of heat, I wanted to include corn, but I didn't want the pieces in the chili, so I decided to make the corn invisible.  The corn was pureed with beef stock and added to the chili to give a unique background flavor and it worked great.  Just enough heat, just enough sweet, and all of those flavors just pop!  As a bonus, the corn also helped thicken the chili.


A pot full of chili is great to serve guests, and is especially fitting for sports parties.  This chili can easily be transferred to a crock pot and kept warm during your party.  Provide an assortment of toppings, such as grated cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, crackers and corn chips, so each guest can prepare their own meal. Enjoy!!

1-1/2 lbs  Ground Round Beef
3/4 lb  Ground Pork
1 medium  Onion, finely chopped
1/2  Green Pepper, finely chopped
1/2  Red Pepper, finely chopped
1  Poblano Pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1  Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1  14 oz can  Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1  14 oz can  Del Monte Diced Tomatoes - Zesty Chili Style
1  8 oz can  Rotel Zesty Tomato and Green Chili Sauce
3 TB  Roasted Garlic Tomato Paste
1 cup  Frozen Corn
1-1/3 cups  Beef Broth
2 tsp  Chili Powder
2 tsp  Cumin
2 tsp  Kosher Salt, or more to taste
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste

In a large soup pot, brown the beef and pork with the onions, peppers, and garlic. When meat is browned, drain off as much grease as possible.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn and beef stock and puree with a stick blender until smooth.  Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to the pot and stir to combine. 

Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Serve alone or with pasta and your choice of toppings such as grated cheddar, sour cream, chopped onion, or crushed crackers or corn chips.  Serves about 8 - 10.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

For day 5 of Soup Month 2013, we made a silky smooth Roasted Red Pepper Soup, seasoned with white wine, onions, carrots and thyme.  To make this soup even better, we topped the soup off with a few Ricotta Cheese and Chive Dumplings that were incredibly light and fluffy.

Since my daughter is allergic to tomatoes, tomato soup is something that we all miss, and this soup makes an extremely tasty substitute.  Everyone loved the soup and I'm sure we will be making it often in the future.  I imagine this would be amazing with a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Mmmm.  Well, that's for another day!

If I am correct in my vegetarian terms, this would be suitable for lacto-vegetarians by substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth, and this makes an excellent meat-free dinner even if you are not following a vegetarian diet.


Cook time for this soup is only about 30 minutes, and the dumplings are super easy to make in about 5 minutes, with 10 minutes of cooking time.  The dumplings can be made while the soup is cooking, so this works great for a weeknight dinner.  This is a fantastic soup and I hope you enjoy it.

Red Pepper Soup
1 TB  Olive Oil
1 small  Onion, chopped
2  Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp  Dried Thyme
1 carton  College Inn White Wine and Herb Broth
2 cups  Chicken Broth  or  Water
1 - 24 oz jar  Roasted Red Peppers, drained
1 large  Russet Potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup  Dry White Wine
1 TB  Sugar
Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, carrots, garlic and thyme  and sauté until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the broths, peppers, potato, wine and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 20 minutes. 

While the soup simmers make the ricotta dumplings.

Ricotta and Chive Dumplings
8 oz  Ricotta Cheese
1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1  Large Egg
1/4 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup  Flour
2 TB  Minced Fresh Chives

Bring 3 quarts of water to a simmer in a large open pot. (By using a wide pot you will be able to make all of the dumplings in one batch.)

Using a food processor, combine the ricotta, salt, pepper, egg, Parmesan and flour and process for 20 - 30 seconds.  Transfer the dumpling batter to a bowl and stir in the chives.

Drop the batter, 1 tablespoon at a time, into the hot water.  Simmer the dumplings for 10 minutes, then remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, drain and place on a platter.  Keep warm until ready to add to the soup.

Now to Finish the Soup

Remove the soup pot from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls and place 3 or 4 dumplings in the center of each bowl.  Serve with garlic bread and a dry Chianti wine.  Enjoy!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Autumn Pork and Apple Stew

For day four of Soup Month 2013, we have a hearty autumn soup complete with sweet potatoes, juicy apples, baby carrots, lean pork sirloin and to top it off, a bottle of apple ale.  All of the ingredients combine to create a perfect blend of fall flavors.

What's great about a hearty stew like this is that the flavor gets even better as it sits.  All of those distinct flavors combine and intensify and create a wonderful broth.  Leftovers, if there are any, are delicious, so this is a great weekend meal that you can enjoy for lunch during the week.  Serve with a loaf of crunchy French bread and a cold bottle of Redds Apple Ale or a glass of good crisp Chardonnay like a Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Reserve 2009.


Preparation time for this stew is just about an hour, and this is a really easy recipe to make.  For the beer we chose a Redds Apple Ale, but you could use any good ale or cider beer.  The next time I make this I'd like to try it with Angry Orchard Hard Cider or maybe Strongbow Cider, both of which sound excellent.  Enjoy!!

3 TB  Unsalted Butter
1-1/4 lb  Pork Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 stalks  Celery, chopped
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 cup  Baby Carrots
1 tsp  Cumin
1  Rosemary Sprig  (or use 2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/3 cup  Flour
3 medium  Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2  large  Baking Apples
3 cups  Chicken Stock
1 bottle  Redds Apple Ale Beer

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat, add the pork to the pot and cook until browned.

Add the celery, onion and carrots to the pan, stir, then add the cumin, rosemary and black pepper to the pot.  When vegetables are just tender, add the flour and stir to evenly coat all of the vegetables.

Add the potatoes, apples, stock and beer to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat and cook uncovered until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.  This will allow the stew to thicken slightly.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken, Vegetable and Noodle Soup

For our third day of Soup Month 2013, we made some adjustments to the traditional chicken noodle soup by adding more vegetables and chicken and decreasing the noodles.  Starting with homemade stock, this soup is hearty, healthy and oh so good on a chilly fall evening.

The addition of Brussels sprouts was delicious and brought an earthy taste to the soup.  With a light clear broth, its ideal for cold and flu season, which is right around the corner.  If you prefer a thicker soup, you can blend in a cornstarch and water mixture near the end of the cooking time, or you could always add a can of cream of celery soup to provide an even thicker broth.


This soup does include a homemade stock, which takes about an hour to prepare, but the rich flavored broth is well worth the extra work.  If you don't have time to make the stock, you can use 8 cups of packaged stock and about 3 cups of cooked chicken. 

Stock Ingredients
3  Chicken Quarters, skin removed
1 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1 stalk Celery, coarsely chopped
1 small  Onion, coarsely chopped

Soup Ingredients
2 tsp  Olive Oil
1 TB  Butter
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 small  Onion, chopped
1 stalk  Celery, chopped
2 medium  Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pkg  Frozen Brussels Sprouts, defrosted and cut in half
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
12 oz  Pasta of Your Choice - Wide Egg Noodles, Linguini, etc

To prepare the chicken and stock:  Using a large soup pot, add the chicken pieces, onion, and celery  to the pot and fill the pot with water.  Add salt and pepper and bring the water to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and pulls easily from the bones. 

When the chicken is cooked, transfer the chicken to a platter to cool, then pull the chicken from the bones, set aside and discard the bones.  Strain the chicken stock, discard the cooked vegetables then measure 8 cups of stock and add it back to the pot.  Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrots and Brussels sprouts to the pan, season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to sauté.  Arrange the sprouts cut-side down so they can sear.  Add the thyme to the mixture, stir and sauté until the vegetables are just tender.

Add the cooked chicken, salt and pepper to the vegetables and stir to combine, and continue cooking until the chicken is warmed.

Bring the pot of stock to a boil over high heat and add the pasta.  Cook the pasta until just al dente, then add the chicken and vegetable mixture to the pot and cook for 5 minutes.  (If you would like a thicker soup you can add a mixture of cornstarch and water to the soup at this point, cook for 5 minutes and the soup will thicken.  One can of cream of celery or cream of chicken soup will also thicken the soup and create a creamy consistency.)  Enjoy!!