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Friday, October 31, 2014

Seafood Stew with Andouille Sausage

Well, today is Halloween.  The final day of October and also the last day of our 2014 Soup Month.  This month has gone by so quickly and I hope you have had the opportunity to try a few of the new soup recipes we presented this month.

It was interesting to ask my family what their favorite soups were this month because they all liked something different!  We all enjoy a big bowl of hot soup for dinner so we now have lots of new recipes to choose from for this winter.

For our Soup Month finale we decided to go with something that my family loves, a Seafood Stew with Andouille Sausage.  Cioppino is one of our favorite dishes and this recipe is very similar, but with the addition of andouille sausage.  The sausage adds a great deal of spice and flavor to the broth and pairs beautifully with the seafood.  I actually splurged and made homemade shrimp stock for this recipe and it added a great deal of flavor to the stew, but can also substitute clam juice for part of the liquid or even use chicken stock with equally good results.

This is a great bowl of soup that can be ready to serve in ab out 30 minutes.  Serve with lots of crusty French bread to sop up all those delicious juices.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Olive Oil
12 oz  Spicy Andouille Sausage
1 cup  Diced Yellow Onion
1 medium  Green Pepper, chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
3 medium  Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp  Dried Thyme
1/2 cup  Dry White Wine
1 14-oz can  Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Onion
5 cups  Shrimp or Fish Stock or you can use Chicken Stock
1 lb  Fish Fillets, Cod or any dense white fish will work, cut into 2-inch pieces
24  Fresh Mussels, scrubbed
1 lb   Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb  Calamari Rings, defrosted

Salt and Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Over medium-high heat, add the olive oil to a large soup pot with the andouille sausage and cook 4 minutes or until browned on the edges.  Add the onion, pepper, and potatoes and saute for 6 minutes or until the onion is tender.  Add the oregano, parsley, thyme and white wine and simmer until the wine has reduced by half.  Add the tomatoes and stock to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add the fish to the pot, pushing the fillets down into the stock.  Add the mussels, again pressing them into the liquid.  Now add the calamari rings and the shrimp as the top layer, pressing them lighting into the top of the stew.  (The calamari and shrimp take the shortest amount of time to cook so they are best near the top of the stew.)  Cover the pot and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to stew to a low boil.  Give the pan a gentle shake every minute or two and this will keep the seafood cooking evenly.

When the shrimp have turned pink, gently stir the stew and remove any mussels that have not opened.  Ladle the stew into wide soup bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Smoky Onion Soup with Asiago Cheese

We're almost at the end of October so I wanted to make a new version of one of my favorites, French onion soup.  So, for day 30 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Smoky Onion Soup with Asiago Cheese.  This soup puts a nice twist on the classic French onion soup by using a piece of lightly toasted Cuban bread topped with asiago cheese as the centerpiece.

The sauteed onions and rich beef broth are accented with dry white wine and just a hint of smoky paprika to add an extra layer of flavor.  The result was a smoky, slightly sweetened onion soup that would be delicious served with anything from a side salad to a roasted pork loin.  Tonight, we paired this soup with Classic Cuban Sandwiches and a glass of dry white wine.  Enjoy!!

4 TB  Butter
2 TB  Olive Oil
3 large  Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
1 cup  Dry White Wine
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1/8 tsp  Smoked Paprika
6 cups  Beef Stock
6 slices  Cuban Bread, about 1/2-inch thick
6 slices Asiago Cheese

In a large soup pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  When the butter melts, add the  onions and saute for about 7 minutes until translucent.

Add the white wine to the onions, stir and continue to cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces by half.  Add the salt, white pepper, paprika and beef stock to the pot, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the 6 slices of bread in 6 soup bowls and place a slice of asiago on top of each piece of bread.  Ladle the soup around the bread, including enough liquid in each bowl to allow the bread to float. Serve immediately.  Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Double Cheese Tuna Casserole

A casserole?  On day 29 of Soup Month 2014?  That's not a soup, stew or chili!  Well, when life gets crazy busy, and you are the chief mode of transportation for 3 teenagers, AND you have a new puppy who is driving you insane...well, sometimes you have to give up and make a quick casserole in place of a soup.  On the good side, I have been craving tuna casserole and this new twist turned out great!

This casserole incorporates creamy ricotta cheese with an extra sharp cheddar cheese that adds lots of flavor to this classic dish.  The ricotta adds such a nice creamy texture and then there are the Durkee onions!  These little onions are everyone's favorite at Thanksgiving time when they make Green Bean Casserole, and we use them in our own version of Asparagus Casserole.  But these little onions can add flavor to many dishes all year long, so I always keep some on hand.  And they were the perfect crunchy topping to this casserole.

This casserole only takes about 25 minutes to prepare and everyone loved it, including our picky eater, which is a true sign of a successful meal.  Enjoy!!

4 cups  Dry Pasta Twists (or another shape)
8 oz  Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese
1 10-3/4 oz can  Campbell's Cream of Celery Soup
3/4 cup  Milk
1 cup  Frozen Peas
3 5-oz cans  Tuna in Water, drained
2 cups  Durkee French Fried Onions
8 oz  Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the pasta in salted water until just al dente, but not fully cooked.  Drain the pasta and place in a deep ovenproof casserole dish.  Add the ricotta cheese to the pasta and stir gently to coat the pasta.

In a medium saucepan, combine the celery soup, milk, and peas and cook over medium heat until warm, about 6 minutes.  Add the tuna and 1 cup of Durkee onions and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture over the pasta and stir to combine, then sprinkle the top with grated cheddar cheese and the additional 1 cup of Durkee onions.  Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden on top and serve.  Makes about 8 servings.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lemon and Tarragon Chicken Noodle Soup

For day 28 of Soup Month 2014 we made a hearty and soul warming Lemon and Tarragon Chicken Noodle Soup.  With the addition of a bit of lemon juice and fresh tarragon to brighten the broth, this soup is just what you need on a cold Fall evening.

Nothing makes you feel better than a bowl of chicken noodle soup and this dinner can be ready to serve in about 25 minutes, so it makes a great weeknight meal.  This recipe is also open to a lot of options.  You could add peas or carrots to the mix, adding them in with the leeks, or add a bit of white wine to the broth or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.  Just use what you have on hand to expand on this simple, but delicious recipe.  Enjoy!!

2 cups  Chicken Stock
2 cups  Milk
2-1/2 cups  Water
10 oz  Sea Shell Pasta (or any shape you have on hand will work)
2 TB  Butter
1  Leek, white part only, thinly sliced
3 cups  Cooked Chicken
1 TB  Chopped Tarragon
3 TB  Lemon Juice
3 TB  Flour
Salt and Ground Black Pepper to Taste

In a large soup pot combine the chicken stock, milk and water and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the pasta, plus 1 teaspoon of salt, to the pot and simmer until the pasta is just almost al dente, but not fully cooked.  You should have about 2 cups of liquid left in the pan, but if you have less you can add a little more milk or chicken stock, if needed.

In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the leeks until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken, tarragon and lemon juice to the skillet and stir to combine, and cook the mixture over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the chicken mixture with flour and stir until the flour is fully combined.

Add the chicken mixture to the pasta, stirring gently to combine, until the broth has thickened.  If needed, you can add extra liquid at this point if you prefer more broth in the soup.  Either milk or chicken stock can be added, or even a bit of water, but adding extra mix will give the soup a nice creamy texture.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Creamy Serrano Pepper Soup

The last pepper plants in my garden this year seem like they are never going to stop producing.  We started growing our Serrano and Cowhorn pepper plants from seed way back in April and here we are in late October and we are still getting a handful of peppers from each plant every week or so.

After making more than a few batches of Cowhorn Pepper Sriracha Sauce and a delicious Mexican Pork, Poblano and Serrano Stew, today it was time to turn the Serrano peppers into a soup, a recipe I've been thinking about for a long time.  I knew the peppers would be great in a soup, I just needed the right combination of ingredients to bring out all of that bright pepper flavor.  So here we go!

For day 27 of Soup Month 2014 we made a beautiful Creamy Serrano Pepper Soup.  With sweet red peppers to balance out the heat of the Serranos and a creamy spring onion jack cheese, this soup has the perfect amount of heat and flavor, with a velvety smooth texture.  Every bite is full of flavor and every once in a while you'll hit one of those spicy bits of Serrano. Yummy!

For our soup we used 5 Serrano peppers with the seeds removed, but you can always more or less peppers depending on your own preferences, or choose to incorporate all of the seeds.  The Spring Onion Jack Cheese was a great find from our local Publix store, but if you can't find it, you could always use a Monterrey Jack cheese.

This soup made a great side dish with smoked pork sandwiches, but I think it would be delicious served with grilled steaks.  We might just have to try that next weekend!  Enjoy!!

4 TB  Salted Butter
1/2 cup  Minced White Onion
2  Red Bell Pepper, chopped
5 or 6  Serrano Peppers, seeded or mostly seeded, depending on how much heat you prefer
1/4 cup  Flour
3 cups  Chicken Stock
2 cups  Half and Half
8 oz  Kase Meister Spring Onion Jack Cheese, grated
Salt and Ground Black Pepper to Taste

In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and both peppers and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stirring to coat the vegetables.  Add the chicken stock and stir until there are no clumps of flour.  Use an immersion blender, or a stand blender, to puree the mixture to the desired consistency.

Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, then add the half and half and stir to combine.  When the soup comes to a low simmer, sprinkle the grated cheese into the soup and stir until melted and heated through.

Serve with a sprinkle of crushed croutons or a dollop of sour cream on top.  Makes about 6 servings.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Corn Chowder with Bacon

For day 26 of Soup Month 2014 we made a rich and creamy Corn Chowder with Bacon.  Filled with bits of onion, celery, bacon and of course, lots of juicy sweet corn, this chowder is comfort food at its best.

One soup I really wanted to make before we finished soup month was a new version of corn chowder, and this was a perfect way to enjoy the last of this summer's corn crop.  The sweet corn we used was so juicy, I knew this would be a great bowl of soup and it made a great addition to our end of the season cookout.

To make the base of the soup we started with a really old cooking method of simmering the corn cobs.  Once the corn was cut off of the cobs, the cobs were simmered in a combination of milk and half and half, allowing all of the sweet corn milk to season the broth.  Once the broth has simmered, it is added to a mixture of sauteed onion, celery and cooked bacon.  To add a bright flavor contrast to the soup we added fresh tarragon and the soup was ready to serve.  Enjoy!!

6 ears  Sweet Corn, kernels cut off the cobs and cobs cut in half
1-1/4 cups  Milk
2 cups  Half and Half
3 TB  Salted Butter, divided
6 oz  Smoked Bacon, diced
2  Celery Ribs, finely diced
1/2 cup  Minced White Onion
1 TB  Fresh Tarragon, chopped
2 TB  Flour
Salt and Ground White Pepper to Taste

In a large saucepan, cover the cobs with the milk and half and half and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Simmer for 3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Discard the corn cobs.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  Add half of the corn kernels to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.  Combine the corn and the milk mixture in a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree the broth until smooth.

Using the same pan you used to cook the corn, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until just browned, then drain off the grease.  Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan, then add the remaining corn, the diced celery and onion, and tarragon, and saute over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to coat.

Add the milk and corn puree to the pan, stirring until the flour has combined and the chowder is slightly thickened, and season the chowder with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Surimi Alfredo Soup

For day 25 of Soup Month 2014 we made a quick and easy Surimi Alfredo Soup.  Surimi, also known as imitation crab meat, is made with whitefish and is fully cooked and ready to serve.  It's used in many types of sushi rolls and California rolls, it's very good in salads or even for a quick stir fry.  I used surimi years ago as an entree with sun-dried tomatoes and an Alfredo sauce, so we turned the entree into a soup.

With this recipe you are basically making a quick Alfredo sauce as the base of the soup, but it is slightly thinned down with the water.  This keeps the sauce from being too overly rich.  The addition of poblano peppers adds just a bit of spice and the lobster base, although optional, adds a great seafood flavor.

This is a great weeknight soup and can be ready to serve in just about 25 minutes.  Serve the soup with baked clam shells or even some grilled shrimp on the side.  Enjoy!!

1 qt  Water
2 TB  Salted Butter
1 large  Poblano Pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1-1/2 cups  Half and Half
1-1/2 cups  Milk
1 tsp  Lobster Base (optional)
10 oz  Shell Shaped Pasta (or any other shape)
16 oz  Surimi Imitation Crab Meat
1 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Freshly Ground White Pepper to Taste

In a medium pot bring 1 quart of water to a boil.  In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the poblano peppers and saute until tender, about 4 minutes.

Dip 3 cups of water from the first pot and pour it into the soup pot.  Add the half and half, milk and lobster base, then add the pasta and boil for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is just al dente.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the surimi and Parmesan cheese to the pot and fold in gently.  If the mixture is too thick add a bit more hot water from the first pot or you can add a bit more milk.  If the sauce is too thin add a little more Parmesan until the soup is the consistency you  desire.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste and serve with additional Parmesan cheese and a few baked clam shells.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Asparagus and Potato Soup

As we near the end of October, the days are getting cooler and a warm bowl of soup is most welcome on these chilly nights.  With just 7 more soups to go during our 5th Annual October Soup Month, we have a great recipe for you today.

For day 24 of Soup Month 2014 we made a creamy Asparagus and Potato Soup that makes a great meatless meal or a delicious side dish in place of a vegetable or potato dish.  We served this soup with a simple baked chicken and it made the perfect side dish.

This hearty soup got rave reviews from the family and even our picky eater gave it a thumbs up.  Using the two varieties of potatoes gave this soup a nice texture and the tender asparagus was delicious.  The addition of a sharp white cheddar cheese gives the soup a smooth cheesy texture with just a hint of that sharp cheese flavor.  As a final touch we dusted a bit of smoked paprika on top and the light smoky flavor combined well with the soup.  This soup was easy to make and was ready to serve in about 20 minutes, so it's ideal for a weeknight meal.  Enjoy!!

1/2 cup  Minced White Onion
1 TB  Canola Oil
2 TB  Flour
1-1/4 lbs  Asparagus Spears, hard ends cut off, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups  Milk
2 cups  Chicken Broth
3 medium  Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 medium  Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/8 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
3/4 cup  Shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Smoked Paprika for Garnish, optional

In a large soup pot coon the onion in canola oil until softened.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion and stir to coat.  Add the asparagus, milk, broth, potatoes, salt and cayenne pepper and stir.

Cook until the broth comes to a low boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with smoked paprika, if desired.  Makes about 6 main course servings.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mixed Mushroom Soup with Bacon

For day 23 of Soup Month 2014 we made an elegant Mixed Mushroom Soup with Crispy Bacon.  By combining several types of mushrooms, this soup takes on a really deep, earthy flavor, making this soup perfect for your upcoming holiday dinners.  If you choose to serve this soup as a first course along with a Prime Rib or Roast Pork dinner, this recipe will serve about 8 - 10 smaller portions.

If you prefer a smoother texture, you do have the option of pureeing the soup just before adding the sour cream and bacon garnish, but we really enjoyed the little bits of different mushrooms in the soup.

When buying mushrooms for this soup check your local market for a "gourmet blend" of assorted mushrooms, which are sometimes available at a great bargain price.  Any type of mushrooms can be used, but adding at least a small portion of oyster mushrooms really has a big impact on the flavor of this soup.  They are delicious!  Enjoy!!

1/4 cup  Salted Butter
1/2 cup  Minced White Onion
1-1/2 tsp  Minced Garlic
12 oz  Mixed Mushrooms, sliced (we used Oyster, Shiitake and Portobello)
2 TB  Flour
2-1/2 cups  Chicken Stock
2/3 cup  Milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2/3 cup  Half and Half
6 slices  Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Melt the butter in a large pan and saute the onion, garlic, and mushrooms until they are soft and beginning to brown.  Sprinkle the flour onto the vegetables and stir to combine.  Slowly pour the stock into the pan while stirring, followed by the milk, again stirring well to combine.  Bring the mixture just to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add the half and half.  Ladle the soup into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and a few crumbles of bacon and serve immediately.  Serve 4 to 6.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

For day 22 of Soup Month 2014 we made an easy Asian dinner soup that busy Moms will absolutely love! This is a quick and easy recipe for a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, which is also known as Pho.  Although this is a total cheater recipe when compared to the authentic version, this soup is fast, simple, healthy and delicious.

With a combination of beef broth, sriracha sauce, baby spinach, thinly sliced beef and rice noodles, this is a filling soup that delivers just the right amount of spice.  A squeeze of lime juice can also be added if you like a bit of citrus flavor in your soup.

This is a great soup to make if you have leftover meat from a bottom round or top round roast.  Just slice the meat very thin, or use 2 forks to tear the meat into smaller strips, and you have beef ready for this recipe.

Also, if you have leftover beef rib bones from a Standing Rib Roast, which I always save and freeze to use in soups, add the bones to the broth and let simmer for 30 minutes before adding the other ingredients. This will give the soup a deeper beef flavor.  Enjoy!!

2 - 32-oz boxes  Beef Broth
6 oz Rice Noodles
1-1/2 tsp Sriracha Sauce, plus extra for topping
1  5-oz bag  Baby Spinach Leaves, stems removed
8 oz  Deli Roast Beef, sliced very thin
2 Green Onions, chopped, for garnish
Lime Wedges, for garnish (optional)

Put broth in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and chili sauce, reduce heat to medium-high and boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until noodles are tender. Add the spinach leaves during the last 2 minutes of cooking time and stir gently.

Divide the beef among 4 serving bowls, then ladle soup over the beef, sprinkle with scallions and drizzle with chili garlic sauce, if desired. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on the soup.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Caribbean Black Bean and Vegetable Stew

For day 21 of Soup Month 2014 we made a hearty Caribbean Black Bean and Vegetable Stew that is packed with healthy ingredients.  Peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots and just a bit of Serrano chilies come together to create this healthy, light soup.

Beans are very easy to cook and this recipe allows you to adjust the level of spice to suit your own preference.  If you like your soup a bit more spicy, just add an extra Serrano chili or maybe a little more cumin or hot sauce.  For a more mild soup you can even choose to leave the chilies out.  For a thinner soup you can add a little more broth or for a thicker, more hearty soup, just increase some of the vegetables to your liking.  This recipe is very forgiving so it's a soup you can get creative with and it will always turn out delicious.

As funny as it sounds, I think this would be a great soup to serve for a Halloween party!  With such a deep, dark color and bits of red and green color, it just seems to be a slightly "ghoulish" soup that Halloween guests would love.  And the kids loved it!  This soup would also hold up well in a crock pot so it would be easy to serve during an evening party.  Enjoy!!

1-1/3 cups  Black Beans, soaked overnight in cold water (or use 2 15-oz cans of black beans, drained)
7 cups  Vegetable Stock
1/2 cup  LandShark Beer
1/4 cup  Dark Kraken Rum
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 medium  Yellow Onion, diced
2 TB  Vegetable Oil
1 stalk  Celery, chopped
1  Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1  Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
1  Serrano Chili, seeded and minced
2  Carrots,  peeled and diced
1/2 cup  Crushed Tomatoes
2 tsp  Cumin
2 tsp  Chili Powder
1 tsp  Frank's Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
Sour Cream and Chopped Green Onions for Garnish (optional)

Drain the beans.  Place the beans in a large soup pot and add the stock, beer, rum, garlic and half of the onions.  Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the liquid begins to evaporate during his time, add 1 cup of water and continue to simmer.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.  Saute the remaining onions, celery, peppers and carrots over medium heat until the veggies are tender, about 6 minutes.  Set the mixture aside.

When the beans are soft, puree half of the bean mixture using an immersion blender or a stand blender.  Return the puree to the pot and stir in the cooked veggies, crushed tomatoes, and the seasonings.  Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Again, add more water, or a bit more rum if the soup is too thick, or continue to simmer a bit longer if the soup is too thin.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pan-Seared Cod in Hot and Sour Broth

For day 20 of Soup Month 2014 we made a light and flavorful, Pan-Seared Cod in Hot and Sour Broth.  With a delicate Asian-style broth laced with honey, ginger and sesame oil, plus a gentle spike of sriracha sauce and cider vinegar, the seared cod adds the perfect final touch to this meal.

My family really liked this soup and we all agreed that the broth was so tasty, that it would even combine well with shrimp or small pieces of chicken.  Even by itself the broth had a great texture and just the right amount of sweet, spicy and sour flavors.  If you enjoy making Asian cuisine at home, this is a great recipe to keep on hand.

The cod and broth are served atop a small bed of steamed rice, with brown or white rice working equally well.  Serve with Homemade Shrimp Egg Rolls or steamed edamame on the side.  Enjoy!!

1-1/2 lbs  Cod Fillets, cut into 4 portions
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
24 oz  Chicken Broth
1/8 cup  Honey
2 TB  Tomato Paste
2 TB  Cider Vinegar
1 tsp  Sesame Oil
1 tsp  Fish Sauce
1 tsp  Minced Fresh Ginger
1/2 tsp  Sriracha Sauce, or more to taste
1 TB  Peanut Oil
1/4 cup  Chopped Green Onions, for Garnish
2 cups  Steamed White or Brown Rice

Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth, honey, tomato paste, vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, ginger and sriracha sauce.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add peanut oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the cod fillets to the pan and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until the edges of the fish begin to turn opaque.  Turn the fillets, cook 2 minutes longer, then cover and remove the pan from the heat.

Taste test the broth and add salt and white pepper, if needed.

Place a 1/2 cup of steamed rice in each of 4 bowls.  Place a cod fillet on top of the rice, then pour about 3/4 cup of broth around the rice.  Sprinkle the fish with green onions and serve immediately with steamed edamame on the side.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mussel and Spinach Bisque

For all of you seafood lovers out there, we have something special for you today.  For day 19 of Soup Month 2014 we went a little fancy with a delicious Mussel and Spinach Bisque.  With a creamy broth of white wine, milk and half and half, the bisque is dotted with pieces of baby spinach and plump, juicy mussels.

Many people shy away from mussels because, let's face it, they do look a little odd.  With their black, shiny shells, often with little green "beards" hanging off the edges, they do look a bit intimidating.  The good thing is, they taste wonderful and they are easy to make.  With a slightly salty, briny flavor, mussels are quite good when they are simply steamed, but adding mussels to a creamy bisque elevates them to a more sophisticated level.  So, if you've never eaten mussels, this is a great way to try these tasty little bites.

This soup was quite filling on its own, and makes a great main course, but it could also be served in smaller portions as a first course.  It would be perfect served with grilled steaks or a Prime Rib Roast.  Enjoy!!

3/4 cup  Dry White Wine
1/4 cup  Water
2 lbs  Mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed
2 TB  Salted Butter
1 TB  Finely Minced Shallots
3 TB  Flour
8-oz bottle  Clam Juice
1 TB  Tomato Paste
1 cup  Milk
1 cup  Half and Half
Salt and White Pepper to Taste

In a large skillet bring the wine and water to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Add the mussels, cover, and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mussels to a cookie sheet to cool, discarding any mussels that did not open, and reserving the cooking liquid from the mussels.

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour, stirring to combine, and cook 2 minutes longer.

Add the clam juice and the reserved cooking liquid to the pot, whisking to blend in the flour.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then add the tomato paste and stir until smooth.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the milk and half and half and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

Add the spinach to the pot and cook just a few minutes until the spinach is wilted, then add the mussels to the pot, season with salt and white pepper and serve immediately.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Autumn Butternut Squash Stew

For day 18 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Slow Cooker Autumn Butternut Squash Stew that is perfect for a chilly fall dinner.  This delicious, earthy stew is packed with cubes of butternut squash, potatoes, carrots and thinly sliced kielbasa sausage, that slow cook during the day so dinner will be ready and waiting for you when you arrive home.

There are a couple of small ingredients that add a huge boost of flavor to this stew and create a really remarkable broth.  Tiny pearl onions add a little sweetness to the stew, followed by just a bit of red wine vinegar for acidity, and the final touch, a teaspoon of herbs de Provence.

If you're not familiar with this herb blend, it is a combination of dried rosemary, marjoram, thyme and savory, and it's kind of the "secret ingredient" to many French meals.  I've tried this blend from several manufacturers and my favorite is McCormick's Gourmet Collection.  The herbs can be used to season many types of soups and stews and even works nicely in stuffing and salad dressing recipes, so it's a good spice blend to have on hand.

Serve this stew with simple baked dinner rolls and a glass of bold, fruity red wine, such as a 2010 Undici Sangiovese, for a perfect fall dinner.  Enjoy!!

1-1/2 lbs  Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium  Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2  Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 cups  Beef Broth
1 TB  Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Herbs de Provence
1 lb  Kielbasa, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
12 - 15  Frozen Pearl Onions
1/4 cup  Cold Water
2 TB  Cornstarch

Combine the butternut squash, potatoes, carrots, broth, vinegar, pepper, salt and herbs in the slow cooker.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the kielbasa and onions until both are slightly browned on the edges, about 5 - 6 minutes.  Transfer the sausage and onions to the slow cooker, cover and cook on LOW until the vegetables are tender, about 6 hours.

During the last 20 minutes of cooking time, combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then pour the mixture into the stew.  Mix gently with a spoon and heat until the stew has thickened, about 5 - 10 minutes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yucatan Lime Soup

Ahhh...it's finally Friday!  After a long work week, we have the perfect quick and easy soup for you to make this weekend.  For day 17 of Soup Month 2014 we made our own version of Yucatan Lime Soup also known as Sopa de Lima.

There are many versions of this soup, some of which call for allspice berries or 20 cloves of garlic or banana chilies, but we wanted to keep this soup simple.  We wanted this to be a standby recipe that can be made on any weeknight, without needing a lot of special ingredients, and I think we came up with the perfect recipe.

I'm always a fan of making a big roast chicken (about 5 or 5-1/2 pounds) for Sunday dinner, knowing I will have enough chicken left over for an easy weeknight meal.  Sometimes we use the leftover chicken to make Baked Chicken Chimichangas or Chicken Fajitas, and this recipe will surely be added to the list of options for those leftovers.

After a quick saute for the vegetables, the chicken and broth are added to the soup along with crushed tomatoes, a bit of spicy salsa and lots of lime juice.  This is a soup that you really want to be able to taste the lime juice, but you can adjust this up or down according to your own preferences.  We used 5 tablespoons of lime juice and everyone agreed the flavor was great.  I might have liked just 1 more tablespoon to increase the citrus, but I love lime!

The crunchy corn tortilla strips that are sprinkled on top of the soup only take a few minutes to prepare, but they are worth the extra bit of work.  They add a nice crunch to the soup and, if you sprinkle them with just a dusting of salt, this will add to the flavor of the soup, too.  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Canola Oil
1 small  White Onion, chopped
1 TB  Minced Garlic
2 or 3  Serrano Chilies, finely minced
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp  Salt
1 TB  Lime Juice
3 cups  Cooked Chicken, chopped (leftover chicken works great)
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1 cup  Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup  Hot Chunky Salsa (we used Pace)
4 to 6 TB  Lime Juice (to taste)
Limes, cut into wedges for Garnish
6  Corn Tortillas, cut into thin strips, fried and drained on paper towels **

In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, chilies, pepper, salt and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.  Stir to combine and saute until the onion is translucent.

Add the chicken, broth, tomatoes and salsa to the pot and stir.  Simmer over medium heat for 20  minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 4 tablespoons of lime juice to the pot and taste test, adding another 1 or 2 tablespoons of juice depending on your own taste.  Serve with lime wedges and crunchy tortilla strips on top.

** Note:  To make the tortilla strips, heat a 1/2-inch of canola oil in a medium skillet, over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully drop the tortilla strips into the oil and stir gently until the strips are golden. Remove the strips and drain on paper towels, dusting lightly with salt, if desired.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Canadian Beer and Cheddar Soup

We're already half way through our month of soups and today we have something really special.  For day 16 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Canadian Beer Cheese Bisque that combines the flavors of a strong cheddar cheese with the malty goodness of a light ale beer and the taste is truly remarkable.

This old, handwritten recipe was dubbed as "Canadian", but we chose a British cheese and an English pub-style beer as the base for the soup.  The interesting part of this soup is how the small amount of carrot, celery and green pepper that are added really bring forward just the slightest amount of sweetness and flavor, allowing the cheese and beer to be the main focus of the soup.  Also, since the beer is warmed before being added to the soup, the beer flavor is right up front and not hidden, which is the case if the beer is cooked down and the alcohol is cooked off.

This Beer Cheese Soup can be serve on its own with a loaf of crunch bread or as a side dish it would taste great with a steak or even grilled fish or seafood.  Enjoy!!

4 cups  Chicken Broth
1 TB  Finely Minced Carrot
1 TB  Finely Minced Celery
2 TB  Flour
2 TB  Salted Butter, melted
7 oz  Londoner Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/8 tsp  White Pepper
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Worcestershire Sauce
1 TB  Finely Minced Green Pepper
1 cup  Boddingtons Ale, heated until just warm

In a medium soup pot heat the chicken broth over medium heat for 5 minutes or until just warm.  Add the carrot and celery to the broth and continue heating to a simmer.

In a small bowl combine the flour and melted butter until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the stock until smooth and blended.  Slowly add the cheese to the broth, followed by the pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce and stir until the cheese has completely melted into the broth.

Add the green pepper to the soup then remove the pot from the heat.  Slowly pour the warm ale into the soup, stirring continuously until blended, and serve immediately.  Makes about 6 servings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Irish Cream of Potato Soup with Bacon and Chives

For day 15 of Soup Month 2014 we made what could be the best Cream of Potato Soup I've ever tasted.  This delicious soup comes from an old collection of Irish recipes and even though the original recipe is over 70 years old, after tasting the soup I wouldn't change a thing.  Not only is this soup delicious, it is elegant enough to be served at your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  It's that good!

Some potato soups come across as think and heavy, but this soup is light, creamy and luxurious.  A light sprinkle of chives and cooked bacon are the perfect finishing touches.  We served the soup as a side dish with grilled New York strip steaks and it was an excellent change from the usual baked potato.  Enjoy!!

1/4 cup  Salted Butter
1 large  Yellow Onion, chopped
1-1/2 lbs (about 6) Potatoes, peeled and chopped
3-1/2 cups  Chicken Stock
3-1/2 cups  Milk
1-1/4 cup  Half and Half
1/2 lb  Bacon, chopped and cooked
1 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/8 tsp  White Pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and fry the onion until softened, but not browned.  Add the potatoes, stock, and milk, and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the potatoes from sticking.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or use a stand blender, until the soup is completely smooth.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, and stir in the half and half.  Bring the soup just to a boil then remove from the heat.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chives and the cooked bacon.  Serves about 8.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shrimp and Chorizo Soup

For day 14 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Shrimp and Chorizo Soup that combines spicy chorizo sausage with fire-roasted tomatoes and fresh shrimp in a white wine broth.  With just a hint of smoky paprika in the background, the broth really completes the soup beautifully.  A loaf of crusty French bread and a glass of white wine are all that's needed to make this a delicious, hearty meal.

This soup is very easy to prepare and features one of my favorite ingredients, chorizo.  (If you are not a fan of spicy chorizo, you could also substitute a mild kielbasa or Italian sausage.)  After a quick saute, the sausage is cooked along with garlic, onion, potatoes and tomatoes and gently simmered to blend all of the flavors.  The shrimp is added to the soup during the last 10 minutes and dinner is ready.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Olive Oil
1 lb  Chorizo Sausage Links, sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 stalk  Celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup  Finely Chopped Onion
1 tsp  Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
5  Medium Red Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 14.5 oz can  Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic
1/2 cup  White Wine
1 cup  Water
Fresh Chopped Parsley for Garnish

In a large soup pot, over medium-high heat, saute the chorizo in the oil for 4 minutes, until just beginning to brown.  Add the celery, onion, garlic and paprika to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Add the red potatoes, tomatoes, white wine and water to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat, add the shrimp, pushing them gently down into the broth.  Cover the pot and let sit for 10 minutes while the shrimp steam.  Remove the lid and check to make sure the shrimp are nice and pink, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cabbage, Andouille and Rice Soup

For day 13 of Soup Month 2014, we used a spicy Cajun Andouille Sausage in our Cabbage, Andouille and Rice soup.  This soup gets a big boost of flavor from the sausage, so buying a good quality sausage is important and will add a tremendous amount of pepper and garlic to the broth.

This is a hearty, warm-you-up kind of soup and I couldn't help but think how delicious it would be on a cold, snowy Midwestern night.

What makes this soup taste even better is that it can be prepared in just about 30 minutes.  Cooking the rice in a separate pan, while you prepare the rest of the soup, saves a lot of time and yet all of the flavors really pop when they come together.  Serve this soup with a cold dark German beer, such as Beck's Dark.  Enjoy!!

2 cups  Chicken Broth
1 cup  Rice Select Organic Jasmati Rice, you can also use basmati or any long-grain rice
1 TB  Canola Oil
1 lb  Cajun Andouille Sausage, or another spicy sausage, thinly sliced
1 medium  Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 large  Green Cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
Salt and Ground Black Pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of broth with the rice and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook over low heat for 18 - 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and cabbage to the pot and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the remaining 5 cups of chicken broth and the white pepper and bring to a simmer.  Cook over medium-low heat until the cabbage is tender, about 12 minutes.  Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, stir in the rice and serve.  Makes about 8 servings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Slow Cooker Italian Tomato Tortellini Soup

For day 12 of Soup Month 2014 we used our handy slow cooker to make this hearty Italian Tomato Tortellini Soup and the results were delicious.  If you're in need of a fast and easy "go-to" recipe for a weeknight dinner, this is the one.

With just a couple of simple ingredients, and a few hours to slow cook all of the flavors together, this soup tastes like something that must have taken hours to prepare, and it did, but the slow cooker does all of the work for you!

The slow cooking allows the vegetables and spices to blend into a delicious and flavorful broth, then the only thing left to do is add the frozen tortellini during the last hour of cooking and dinner is ready. Serve with a loaf of crunch bread and a side salad for a complete dinner.  Enjoy!!

1 28-oz can  Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil and Oregano
32 oz  Chicken  or  Vegetable Broth
3  Green Onions, chopped
1  Green Pepper, chopped
1  Yellow Onion, chopped
1 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
19 oz bag  Frozen 3-Cheese Tortellini

Combine the tomatoes, broth, green pepper, green and yellow onions, oregano and garlic powder in the slow cooker.  Heat on HI for 1 hour, reduce heat to LOW and cook for 3 - 4 hours.  (For all day cooking, set the slow cooker to LOW and cook for 6 hours.)

During the last hour of cooking, add the tortellini to the pot, cover and cook until the tortellini are tender, about 60 minutes, stirring once after 30 minutes.   Enjoy!!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mexican Pork, Poblano and Serrano Stew

So far this month we've worked our way through several new soups and one new chili, so it's time to add a stew to the mix.  For day 11 of Soup Month 2014, we made a quick and easy Mexican Pork, Poblano and Serrano Chili Stew.  This is a great way to make something different than the usual tacos for a Mexican dinner night and, it won't take very long to prepare.  This meal can be ready to serve in less than an hour.

My favorite part of this recipe is the mix of the mild poblano peppers and the spicier Serrano peppers, and the way they come together to create such a bright pop of flavor.  Some people have told me they hesitate to buy fresh peppers at the grocery because they see a price $3.99 per pound for Serrano peppers and they think this is too much to spend.  The reality is, since you only use 2 or 3 Serrano peppers, and they weigh very little, those peppers are going to cost you around 60 cents.  Very little cost, but lots of fresh flavor.  That's a bargain.

We served our Mexican Pork Stew with a scoop of steamed white rice, or you could use brown rice, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top.  We even tried a spoonful of Spicy Guacamole with this and it was delicious.  Serve with warm corn tortillas on the side and Enjoy!!

2 TB  Olive Oil
2 lbs  Pork Tenderloin, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
1 large  Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
3 large  Poblano Peppers, seeds removed and thinly sliced
2 or 3  Serrano Pepper, remove seeds for mild flavor or leave in for more spice, thinly sliced
3 TB  Minced Garlic
1 TB  Chili Powder
1-1/2 tsp  Cumin
2 cups  Chicken Broth
Lime Wedges, Corn Tortillas and Steamed Rice for serving

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over high heat until shimmering.  Season the pork with salt and pepper and add the pork to the pot.  Cook the meat over high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned on the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add the onion, peppers, garlic, chili powder and cumin to the pot and stir.  Continue to cook the vegetables over high heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar, and simmer until the pork is tender and the broth is reduced by about half, about 20 minutes.

Season the stew with salt and pepper, if needed, and serve with steamed rice, lime wedges and warm corn tortillas.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Firehouse Chili

Since today is Friday we wanted to bring you something hot and spicy for the upcoming weekend.  For day 10 of Soup Month 2014 we made a hot and spicy batch of Firehouse Chili.  This is the perfect chili to serve guests for your next football weekend but be warned, it is spicy!!  Hence the very appropriate name, Firehouse Chili.

We served this chili two ways, on its own with a dollop of sour cream and some Fritos, which taste fabulous with the chili, and the kids scooped their chili over cooked spaghetti with a sprinkle of grated cheddar on top.  Both versions were spicy and yummy and the kids gave this chili 3 thumbs up.

As is usually the case, a good batch of chili does take some extra time to prepare, but that extra time is well worth the wait once you taste the chili.  This recipe uses cubes of chuck roast, which gives the chili a hearty, meaty base. The meat is browned and slow cooked with a mixture of beef stock and tomato sauce, then the spices are added at two different points in the cooking process.  This allows the first round of spices to absorb into the meat and the second round brightens the flavor and brings all of the spices together.

This is a great bowl of chili and we will definitely be making it for Super Bowl Sunday.  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Minced Garlic
1 TB  Olive Oil
2 lbs  Chuck Roast, diced into 1-inch cubes
2-1/2 cups  Beef Stock
8 oz   Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

1 TB  Paprika
1 TB  Chili Powder
1 TB  Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp  Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

1 TB  Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1 tsp  Cumin
2 tsp  Onion Powder
1 small  Onion, diced
1 can  Pinto Beans, drained

Fritos or Corn Chips, for scooping
Sour Cream and Grated Cheddar for Garnish, optional
Cooked Spaghetti, optional

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until tender.  Turn heat to high and add the beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until browned.  Add the beef stock and tomato sauce to the pan and stir.  Lower heat to medium, cover and cook at a low boil for 10 minutes.

Add the paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and black pepper to the pot, stir to combine then lower heat and simmer for 1 hour.

After the chili has cooked for an hour, add the remaining ingredients to the pot, stir and cook for an additional 30 - 45 minutes over low heat, until the meat is fork tender.

This is a spicy chili an

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Quick Asian Pork Soup

For day 9 of Soup Month 2014 we made a Quick Asian Pork Soup that has the most amazing flavor! This soup is so easy to make it would make a great weeknight meal, and you won't spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  The leftovers will even make a delicious lunch for you to take to work.

With hints of flavor from ginger, garlic, and a bit of red pepper flakes, the real flavor booster for this soup is the fish sauce.  Although generally used for fish soups and seafood entrees, especially in Thai cuisine, fish sauce can be added to so many foods that need just a touch of saltiness and an added savory touch.  Fish sauce is a great ingredient to experiment with and it's definitely not just for Asian foods.

To add a bit of heartiness to the soup we used savoy cabbage, which is a bit sweeter than regular green cabbage, sliced mushrooms for an earthy taste, and lean pork loin cut into thin strips.

As I mentioned, this soup is very quick to make, with preparation time at just about 30 minutes start to finish.  The soup is a hearty meal by itself or can be served with Homemade Egg Rolls on the side.  Enjoy!!

1 TB  Peanut Oil
1-1/4 lb  Boneless Pork Loin, cut into thin bite-sized strips
8 oz  Button Mushrooms, cleaned and cut into thick slices
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Minced Ginger
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 cups  Shredded Savoy Cabbage
2  Green Onions, thinly sliced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
2 tsp  Fish Sauce

In a medium soup pot, heat the peanut oil over medium heat, add the pork and cook 3 - 4 minutes, or until most of  the pink color is gone.  Remove the pork from the pan and set aside.

Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, salt, white pepper and red pepper flakes to the pan and saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 - 4 minutes.

Add the pork back to the pan, then add the cabbage, green onions, chicken broth and fish sauce.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the cabbage is tender, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Makes 4 - 6 servings.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Egg Drop Soup

For day 8 of Soup Month 2014 we have a simple but delicious Egg Drop Soup.  Sometimes a simple soup is just what you need after a long day at work, and this soup is one of my favorites just for that reason.  It's ready to serve in just a few minutes.

This delicate soup tastes great on its own but if you prefer a bit more spice, a generous dash of Sriracha sauce can be added, or you can increase the amount of white pepper.  We did not add any extra salt to this recipe since there is plenty of salt in the chicken broth, but you can adjust this to your own taste at the end of the recipe and add a bit of salt.  If you are watching your sodium intake, low-sodium chicken stock can also be used in place of the regular.

Serve this soup with a few Homemade Shrimp Egg Rolls on the side for a delicious Asian meal that tastes even better than carry out.  Enjoy!!

6 cups  Chicken Broth, refrigerated
3-1/2 tb  Cornstarch
1-1/2 tsp  Fresh Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp  Garlic Powder
2  Large Eggs
2  Egg Whites
3/4 tsp  Sesame Oil
3  Green Onions, sliced thin
Salt and White Pepper to Taste, optional

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the chicken stock, cornstarch, ginger and garlic powder until combined.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

While the soup is heating, whisk the eggs and egg whites in a small bowl.

Once the broth reaches a boil, remove from the heat.  Use a fork or whisk to stir the broth while slowly pouring the egg mixture into the soup.  Stir in the sesame oil and green onions until combined and season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Polish Sausage and Cabbage Soup

For day 7 of Soup Month 2014, I prepared a special soup for my husband after his request for a soup made with Polish sausage.  This Polish Sausage Soup with Cabbage is a hearty bowl of soup that will warm you up on the coldest of winter nights.

Cabbage, carrots and potatoes are a timeless combination when it comes to making soup and they are used together in nearly every ethnic cuisine.  Almost any meat can be added to turn these basics into a soup, such as corned beef, pork country ribs, kielbasa or sausage.  The choice mostly depends on what your family cooked when you were growing up.  That's what makes comfort food like this taste even better.

For this soup we were lucky to come across some locally made Polish sausage that was perfectly seasoned with lots of black pepper, garlic and just a hint of marjoram.  The seasonings in the sausage plus the tang of cider vinegar and just a bit of sweetness from brown sugar give the broth a wonderful old world flavor.  Enjoy!!

1 medium head  Cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 medium  Yellow Onion, chopped
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Olive Oil
6 cups  Chicken Stock
2 TB  Cider Vinegar
1 TB  Brown Sugar
1 lb  Polish Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 medium  Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large  Carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, saute the cabbage, onion and garlic in the oil for 5 - 7 minutes or until tender.  In a small bowl, combine the water, vinegar and brown sugar, then add the mixture to the pot.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Creamy Broccoli Soup

For day 6 of Soup Month 2014 we made a classic Creamy Broccoli Soup.  This soup is easy to make and is a great side dish in place of the traditional vegetables.  It's also very good when served with a baked chicken, pork roast or just a simple salad.

Also, if your children are not crazy about eating broccoli as a vegetable, try it in this soup. With a sprinkle of cheese on top and a creamy smooth texture, this might be another way to get them to eat more veggies.  Adding a few croutons on top will add a little crunch, too.

If you would like to make this soup a bit more hearty, add in a few sprinkles of cooked and chopped bacon or ham or any type of grated cheese would taste great in this simple but delicious soup.  Enjoy!!

2 TB Butter
1 medium  Potato, diced
6 cups  Chopped Fresh Broccoli
1  small  Yellow Onion, chopped
1  Green Pepper, chopped
2 TB Flour
6 cups Chicken  or  Vegetable Stock
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Pinch of Nutmeg, optional
3 Egg Yolks, whipped
1 cup Milk
Grated Parmesan Cheese, for garnish

In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the potato over medium-high heat for 7 minutes or until slightly tender.  Add the broccoli, onions and green pepper to the pot and cook until the vegetables are fork tender. When veggies are softened, sprinkle with the flour and stir.

Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and pepper to the pot and cook the vegetables over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.  Use a stick blender or a regular blender to puree the soup, working in batches if necessary, to the consistency you prefer.  (Sometimes we like to leave the soup with small bits of broccoli visible, but you can also puree the soup until completely smooth.)

Return the soup to the pot and add the pinch of nutmeg and stir. Combine the egg yolks and milk or cream in a small cup, stirring to combine, then add the egg mixture to the soup and stir 3-5 minutes or until the soup is creamy and smooth.

Garnish with a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 - 8.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gold Potato Soup with Chorizo and Mushroom Ragout

For day 5 of Soup Month 2014 we made a creamy Golden Potato Soup with Chorizo and Mushroom Ragout.  The soup was delicious on its own with just a hint of smoky paprika in the background, but the spoonful of sauteed chorizo and mushrooms on top brings to soup to a whole new level.

This is actually a very frugal soup to make in that you only use a half pound of chorizo, equal to about 2 sausage links, to serve 6 people.

The secret to this soup is the mushrooms, which add a nice earthy flavor to the soup, and pick up the spices from the chorizo to create an old fashioned ragout.  I love to make soups with a spoonful of something special in the center, so this was a really fun soup to create.

We chose to use Yukon gold potatoes to give this soup a beautiful yellow color, and since this variety of potato has less starch, the soup does not have a heavy taste but is full of flavor.  The paprika in the sausage plus just a hint more in the soup create a perfect balance of spices.

2 tsp  Olive Oil
1  Carrot, peeled and diced
1  Celery Stalk, chopped
1 small  Yellow Onion, finely diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
4 medium  Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and finely diced
5 cups  Chicken Broth
1 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp  White Pepper
1/4 cup  Half and Half
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
1 tsp  Olive Oil
4 oz  Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 lb  Chorizo Sausage, casings removed
Chopped Fresh Parsley for Garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium heat.  Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic and saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the potatoes, broth, salt, white pepper and paprika, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.   Add the half and half to the pot, then use an immersion blender (or a stand blender, working in batches if needed) to puree the vegetables until smooth.

While the soup is cooking you can make the ragout.  In a small skillet, heat the olive oil then add the chorizo and brown over medium heat, using a spoon to break up the sausage into small bits.  When the sausage is browned add the mushrooms and continue to cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle the pureed soup into wide soup bowls and top with a generous spoonful of the chorizo and mushroom ragout.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.  Makes about 6 dinner servings or 8 - 10 as a first course serving.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vegan Spinach and Pea Soup

For day 4 of Soup Month 2014 we made a delicious Vegan Spinach and Pea Soup that is packed with nutrient-dense vegetables.  A combination of leeks, onions, carrots and celery provided a healthy base for this soup, and the addition of spinach and peas turn this soup to a beautiful, and healthy, shade of green.

If you're trying to increase the amount of vegetables in your diet or maybe you're following a more "clean-eating" type of regimen, this is a great soup recipe to have on hand.  All of the ingredients are easy to find at your local market and the preparation time is just about 30 minutes.

Although this is a vegan soup, it's easy to transform the soup into something a little more hearty for the meat eaters in your family.  Adding a dollop of sour cream or even a sprinkle of chopped, cooked bacon or ham would be a great way to keep the non-vegans happy, too.  Enjoy!!

1-1/2 TB  Olive Oil
1 large  Leek, white part only, washed and sliced
1 medium  Yellow Onion, sliced
3 medium  Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk  Celery, chopped
1 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  White Pepper
1/2 cup  Water
4 cups  Vegetable Broth
1 cup  Frozen Peas
1 7-oz bag  Baby Spinach, stems removed
Garnishes:  Croutons, Sour Cream, Cooked Bacon or Cooked Ham, optional

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the leek, onion, carrots, celery, salt and white pepper.  Saute for 3 minutes, then add the water to the pot.

When the water begins to boil add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil again.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

Add the peas and spinach to the pot and stir until the spinach is wilted.  Remove the the pot from the  heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. (A stand blender can also be used.  Puree the soup in 2 batches, if needed.)  Taste test and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

Add garnishes of croutons, sour cream, bacon or ham, if desired.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chicken and Poblano Chili

For day 3 of Soup Month 2014 we gave ordinary chili a major upgrade with this Chicken and Poblano Chili.  Not only is this a delicious bowl of chili for those cool fall evenings, this chili is even pretty healthy.

This "family-friendly chili" (as in not super spicy) has wonderful layers of flavor starting with the homemade chicken stock (or you could use packaged), and it's well worth the extra time to make your own stock.  The poblanos add a rich medium spice to the chili and the smoked paprika adds a hint of smokey flavor and a beautiful orange-red color.  Since the chili is not overly spicy,  it's perfect for kids, but you can always add the extra chili powder and cumin, as noted below, if you prefer a more spicy chili.

We used great northern beans in this chili because of their delicate flavor and the way they absorb the flavor of the broth.  (If your kids are a little hesitant to eat beans in their chili, try mashing some of the beans into the broth.  Just add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick.)  Great northern beans can be added to almost any chili or soup and they are a good source of fiber, iron, potassium and protein.

5  Chicken Quarters (leg and thigh), skin removed
4 quarts  Water
2 TB  Olive Oil
1  White Onion, finely diced
1  Poblano Pepper, seeds removed and chopped
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 TB  Chili Powder  (add 1/2 TB more for more heat)
2 tsp  Cumin (add 1 tsp more for more heat)
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp  Smoked Paprika
2 15 oz cans  Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
2 TB  Yellow Cornmeal

In a large soup pot, boil the chicken quarters in 4 quarts of water over high heat until fully cooked, and the meat pulls easily from the bone, about 45 - 60 minutes.  Remove chicken from the pot, reserving the chicken stock, and cool until the chicken is cool enough is handle.  Remove the meat from the bones, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika, and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the cooked chicken, beans and 4 cups of the reserved broth to the pot.  (If you do not have enough broth just add a bit of water to equal the 4 cups.)  Simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in the cornmeal and simmer until the chili is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Garnish with a sprinkle of diced jalapeno peppers for a little extra spice and a few tortilla chips on the side.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Andouille Sausage and Mussel Stew

For our second day of Soup Month 2014 we made a spicy Andouille Sausage and Mussel stew.  Mussels are one of my favorite varieties of shellfish and this dish is a great way to highlight their delicate flavor.

Andouille sausage, which is a type of smoked sausage, is becoming quite popular and is available in a variety of flavors at most supermarkets.  We chose a Cajun variety but any type of Andouille or spicy smoked sausage would work well.

This stew has a rich, flavorful broth similar to the classic San Francisco Cioppino, and is accented with the spices from the sausage and the slight sweetness from the mussels.  We chose Yukon gold potatoes for this stew because they tend to hold their shape and not crumble while cooking and they helped turn this into a hearty one-pot meal.

The stew can be ready to serve in just over 30 minutes and the only things you need to complete this meal are a loaf of crusty French bread, for soaking up all of that delicious broth, and a nice glass of white wine.

14 oz  Andouille Sausage (we used a Cajun variety), casings removed, sausage diced
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 small  Onion, finely diced
3 cups  Chicken Broth
1-1/4 cups  Dry White Wine
5 - 6 medium  Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced
14.5 oz can  Diced Tomatoes with Onion and Garlic
1 tsp  Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp  Salt
1 tsp  Ground Black Pepper
2 lbs  Fresh Mussels, cleaned and beards removed

In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the sausage for about 5 minutes or until it is beginning to brown.

Add the garlic and onion to the pot and saute 4 minutes until tender.

Add the broth and wine to the pot and stir, then add the potatoes, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Continue to cook the stew over medium-high heat until the potatoes are just barely fork tender, but not fully cooked, about 8 minutes.

Add the mussels to the pot, pushing the mussels gently down into the stew, cover and simmer for about 6 minutes or until the mussels are opened.  Uncover the stew and remove any mussels that did not open and discard.

Ladle the stew into wide soup bowls and serve with lots of crusty French bread.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp

~~~ Welcome to Soup Month 2014 ~~~

Today is the start of Soup Month, our annual series that will bring you 31 new soup, stew and chili recipes in 31 days.

We have a huge variety of soups coming your way from simple classic soups to economical soups, that will feed your family a healthy meal and allow you to stretch your budget, to elegant soups for your upcoming holiday dinners.  We will even be making a few new batches of chili to serve during football parties and winter events.

So whatever types of soups are your favorite I'm sure we will have something for everyone.  So get your soup pots ready and let's have some fun during Soup Month 2014!

For the first day of Soup Month 2014 we made a spicy Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp that is better than anything you can get from a takeout restaurant.  This is a unique version of the classic hot and sour soup in that the sour flavor comes from lemon juice instead of vinegar, giving the soup a bright flavor without the lemon being too overpowering.

We spiced up the broth with a mixture of ginger, white pepper and Sriracha sauce, then added shrimp, mushrooms and tofu to complete this hearty Asian inspired soup.  A Homemade Shrimp Egg Roll on the side was the perfect companion for this soup.

This is also a very quick to prepare soup and can be ready to serve in about 30 minutes.  The ingredients are also adjustable to suit your own preferences.  A little more lemon juice will increase the sour level, an extra teaspoon of Sriracha or pinch of white pepper will increase the heat, and more mushrooms or shrimp can be added for a more hearty soup or if you would like to stretch the recipe to serve a few more people.

2 tsp  Peanut Oil
1  Carrot, peeled and cut into small strips
1 tsp  Minced Ginger
6 oz  Fresh Mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8 oz can  Sliced Bamboo Shoots, drained
4 cups  Chicken Broth
1/3 cup  Soy Sauce
3 TB  Lemon Juice
1 tsp White Pepper (use 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon more for more heat)
1-1/2 to 2 tsp  Sriracha Sauce (or more to taste)
12 oz  Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into strips or cubes
1 lb   Medium Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 TB  Cornstarch
4 TB  Water
2  Large Eggs, beaten
2 TB Green Onions, chopped

In a large saucepan heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and ginger and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots and cook 3 - 4 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to soften.

Add the broth, soy sauce, lemon juice, white pepper, sriracha, and tofu to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes or until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink.

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until the soup thickens slightly. Slowly drizzle the beaten eggs into pan, stirring constantly, to create ribbons in the soup.

Remove from heat and serve with a sprinkle of chopped green onions.  Makes about 6 servings.