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‘Tastes Just Like’ Pizza Soup

On the heels of Thanksgiving ( and our Tryptophan carbohydrate-induced post coma ) we needed something light, but still packing that flavor punch. We couldn’t stomach more than one course (shoot one whole meal seemed a struggle) so soup seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Pizza Soup

And not just any soup, but pizza soup, a soup that’s a soup but still really not a soup since it encapsulates one of our most beloved dishes (and all its flavors) in one dish, without all those dastardly carbs. Who needs to hibernate in a carb coma two days in a row? Am I right, or am I right?

We’ve found most people frown at the name, but after one taste they get it. It really does taste just like pizza, but better for you. And who can’t get behind that?!

Pizza Soup

Pizza Soup 2

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
8 oz. fresh, washed, sliced baby bell mushrooms (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Italian sausage, browned and drained
4 cups chicken broth
2 (24 oz) jars of marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. sliced pepperoni, quartered (or use mini pepperonis)
shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh basil, roughly chopped or chiffonade

Directions

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add in the prepared veggies and saute until they’re tender and slightly browned. Add the minced garlic during the last minute or two of cooking time. Transfer the veggies to a large pot. Brown the sausage in the same skillet and drain it well after cooking, then add it to the soup pot along with the stock, sauce, red pepper flakes and most of the pepperoni, saving a few to use as garnishes. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the soup pot with the cover slightly askew so some of the steam can escape while it cooks. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 to 30 minutes.
    2. Ladle the hot into bowls. Top each bowl with some of the Mozzarella, a few slices of pepperoni and a little basil. Let the bowls rest for just a few minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread or breadsticks.
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Brazilian Strawberry Soup with Mint and a Coconut Cream Drizzle

Chilled Strawberry Soup is a perfect treat for any hot day. Matter of fact, it’s pretty dang spectacular. Just think of it as ‘slurpin up some Summer’. It’s smooth and creamy, and a perfect end to any meal, but also a totally excusable snack. We like ours rich and creamy so I opt for the full fat coconut, but if you’re looking for a lighter option, or counting calories, then you can use light coconut milk or even omit it altogether. You can add some extra yogurt to get the creamy effect, or more oj for a soupier effect, adjusting the sugar accordingly. Just taste as you go.

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

For us, as written, its perfectly sweetened, and however you end up tweaking it, it’s loaded with flavor from the strawberries. It’s cool and creamy, with just the right bit of texture from the puréed berries. The sons love theirs topped with a heavy-handed dollop of whipped cream, but for the hubs and I? It’s several fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of some cocnut cream. It’s so simple, yet so scrumptious. It’ll have you scraping every last drop out of your bowl and still licking the spoon.

and it doesn’t get any easier. Throw everything together, blend it all up, and voila! It takes 5minutes. Tops.

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

Brazilian Strawberry Soup

2 lbs fresh strawberries
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (we’ve made this with plain Greek yogurt as well, but then added extra vanilla and sugar to taste)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 -4 tbsp sugar
1/3 -1/2 cup coconut cream from can of full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight so the cream and water separate)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Garnish
mint leaves
orange zest
whipped cream or whipped coconut cream

Directions

1. Add all the soup ingredients to a food processor, or a blender. Blend everything together until the soup is smooth. We stop there, but if you want to avoid any seediness, you can go the extra step of straining the mixture through cheesecloth.

2. Serve as is, or chill for an hour or two. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream, or coconut whipped cream (whip the chilled coconut until soft peaks form), or a dollop of whipped cream, followed by a sprinkle of orange zest (optional), and a few fresh mint leaves.

Sweet Italian Sausage Soup with Kale

It seemed like there was this annoying, persistent cough that ran through our whole household. It also liked to linger, taking each person about two weeks to get over. After numerous doctors visits, we learned to ignore it since they assured us it was nothing over and over again. So two weeks ago when I started coughing I didn’t really think anything of it. Even when I started having issues with a lot of muscus. Thought nothing of it. Probably a bad case of bronchitis and I put myself on a self-prescribed regimen of mucinex, pseudophed, and copious amounts of Vitamin C which seemed to help at first. But I just couldn’t shake it, even after a week of heavy meds, sleep, and all my usual go-to remedies. I was tired all the time. Just sitting up was exhausting. Breathing? If that didn’t send me into a convulsive coughing fit, it too was excruciatingly tiring. I just wanted to sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more. I could have slept forever. But, after two weeks of trudging along the worst seemed to be over. Yea, I was still tired all the time and still coughing, but it did seem a bit better. Then I woke up with this persistent pain in my back that continued to get worse over a 48 hour period. All signs pointed to a kidney infection, so I finished work and then bundled up and headed off to the ER on a Friday night. 6 hours and 5 prescriptions later, I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Well … that escalated quickly. The kids seemed to think I was on vacation and not sick leave trying to recover. Out of pity, and because it was the only thing I thought I could stomach, I made one big pot of soup to last through the weekend. You wanted something else, I hope you know where the kitchen is because I thought this Italian sausage soup sounded perfect. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

 Sweet Italian Sausage Soup with Kale

Don’t let the word soup fool you though, sick or not. This is a complete meal in a bowl and kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around, high in vitamins K, A and C with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. I was probably a tad bit heavy handed with the kale on this batch, but that’s where all the nutrients are and I was trying to stop that crud in it’s tracks.

This is also a ‘rough’ soup, so there was no need to feel the pressures of perfection. Which was good, because those veggies weren’t going to chop themselves and the precision required to give them a polished look might have cost me a finger at that point. It’s a rustic soup, and whenever you hear the word ‘rustic’ you’ve got my permission to hack away at the veggies. Relieve some stress. Take out your problems and frustration on the onion and carrots. Let them know you won’t take it lying down. Well, actually you probably will, because when you’ve got pneumonia, making a big pot of whoop-ass in your dutch oven will (not-surprisingly) sap the last reserves of your strength, but you get the gist.

Have you had Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana? This is the worldly Zuppa’s cousin visiting from it’s cabin in the woods. Heartier, healthier, and still just as flavorful. Whether you’re sick or not, this recipe serves up a heaping bowl of (guilt-free) comfort.

Sweet Italian Sausage Soup with Kale

Sweet Italian Sausage Soup with Kale

recipe adapted from The Housewife In Training Files

1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
6 cups beef broth
3 cups chopped kale, stems removed

Directions

1. In a dutch oven, or other large pot, add the Italian sausage and sauté until no longer pink. Drain, and return to the pan. Add in the onions, peppers and garlic. Cooking until just softened.
2. Add in the seasonings, tomato paste, diced tomatoes (with juice), broth and kale.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to meld flavors. Ladle into bowls and serve. Add a sprinkle of cheese if desired.

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings. There’s something so Southern sounding about it. Just it’s name, aside from the fact that it is of course a Southern staple. For years though, the hubs and I only had it when we’d visit a restaraunt. Namely, Cracker Barrel who specializes in Southern style fare. This recipe takes all that old-fashioned taste, all that classic dumpling texture, and wraps it up nice and warm in an easy crockpot package.

You guys know all about my love affair with soups. The sons don’t think anything broth-based should be considered a ‘meal’ for a guy, and the hubs likes soup but really only in winter and only if it’s hearty with plenty of toppings, and served with a salad and a hunk of bread. All my guys are meat and potatoes kinda people. And I get that, and appreciate it when they suffer in silence for me.

Wanna know how I know this recipe’s got it going on? Not. one. single. complaint. And everyone came back for seconds. The hubs liked it SO much that he insisted we have it twice in one week, and then acted like a kid at Christmas when he came home one night the next week from work to find out I was making it for him again.

Let the crockpot do all the work, and you just sit back and soak it all in. We’ve even found a perfect dumpling shortcut, keeping the whole thing as simple as can be from start to finish. Refrigerated biscuits, cut into small pieces, plump up and cook in the soup creating yummy, fool-proof dumplings.

Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

small white onion; diced
2-3 stalked celery, thinly sliced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3 chicken breasts
2 tubes refrigerated biscuits (not butter flavored or flaky layered), 10 oz each
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1 cup milk
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

1. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and celery in a little bit of olive oil until tender, and then transfer them to the crockpot.
2. Lay your chicken breasts over top the cooked veggies and then season them with salt and pepper.
3. Place the soup, chicken broth, milk, and the additional seasonings in the crockpot. Give the liquids a gentle stir to combine.
4. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. An hour before it’s done cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the mixture. Cut each of the biscuits into 4-6 small pieces and add them into the crockpot as well. At this point give everything a stir and return the lid to the pot to cook for the remaining hour.
5. When the soup’s done cooking, you can either break up the chicken in the crockpot with a spatula or remove the breasts and shred the chicken and then return the shredded chicken to the soup.

Sous Chef Sunday: Crockpot Ham & White Bean Soup

Do any of you other Moms & Dad’s make your kids cook? Because apparently that is listed under to ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ category on Friday nights. Ya know, the weekly fend fo yo-self night. Son # 2 acts like it’s just unconscionable that his mother wouldn’t want to slave over the stove or toil away in the kitchen for him for one evening a week. Because apparently that’s my job. Ha!

So, fend for youself night. Nothing new around these parts, but you’d never know it when listening to the complaining chorus. Anywho, it’s pretty simple make what you want, and leftovers are always divided evenly amongst the boys. Sometimes though, one son will decide that’s not sufficient, or maybe he’s just having a golden child moment, and decides he’s going make dinner for everyone. While years ago that would have been boxed mac and cheese (because that’s where they were at), it’s now an actual meal … something say, like Mom would make 😉 While I’ve always been adamant that my boys know there way around the kitchen and be self sufficient, I wasn’t satisfied with knowing how to follow the directions on a packet of pasta, or scramble a few eggs. (Oh, and to make sure we all know/knew what we were doing we took it back to the stone age by deciding against owning a microwave) Within the past few months or so though, they’ve caught onto a little piece of meal magic though. The CROCKPOT. Turns out I’m not the only one who can throw a few ingredients in that sucker and have dinner ready in a few hours.

It’s Friday? You know where the family recipe books are. Pick one and work together, or there’s always grilled cheese and a can of tomato soup. Or Ramen noodles. I did say it was fend for yourself night, didn’t I?

Behold! The sons won’t did not in fact starve this week!! So we’re here to share their latest creation … crockpot ham and white bean soup. And it’s good you guys.

Want to know what’s even more ironic? I made this for them two weeks ago for supper, and you should have heard the resounding complaining chorus. Because, soup. Of any kind. For dinner.

My, my … how the tables have turned 😉

Crockpot Ham & White Bean Soup

1 lb of dried Great Northern Beans, rinsed and sorted through
about 1 lb of ham, large pieces
6 cups of chicken stock or broth
1 medium white onion, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, to taste
oregano, to taste

Directions

1. Place all ingredients in crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

See? So simple a child can do it. 😉

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This  soup is everything you could hope for in a meal on a cold Winter’s night. It’s creamy. It’s comforting. AND it saves you money. How does it save you money you might be asking? Because it’s so good (and filling) that there won’t be any reason for you to run out to a certain ‘bread cafe’ to get a bowl full.

I first had this particular soup at that oh-so popular bakery/restaurant. You know, the one that starts with a ‘Pan’ and ends with an ‘era’? That’s the one. And it was love at first bowl. It even knocked Broccoli & Cheddar down on the totem pole, and I would’ve never thought that possible. It was just so good. It was packed with veggies, and the broth was thick and creamy with the perfect texture from the rice that I’d just never gotten from pasta in any of the chicken noodle style soups I’d had before. Luckily for me, the hubs agreed! And there may or may not have been a two week period where we went back for lunch (ahem) several times for another bowl of the good stuff. But, I couldn’t just keep shelling out money for ‘the good stuff’. I mean we have responsibilities. Bills to pay! I had to be a grown up. Meh.

And that’s how this here beauty was born. Necessity is the mother of invention after all. And it doesn’t disappoint. It’s just as good, even a little friendlier to your waist-line (amen!), and A LOT friendlier to your budget.

This is amazing on the first day. One the second day? It’s somehow even more flavorful and a little thicker. It’s like magic. That really good kind of refrigerator leftover magic. A quick repeat and you’re back in business. Again 😉

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

 Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed, or shredded
2 (6 oz) boxes of Long Grain and Wild Rice mix
2 (14.5 oz) cans of chicken broth
4 cups milk, regular or evaporated
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, optional
2-3 carrots, thinly sliced
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the box.
2. In a large pot, melt butter. Add in the chopped carrots and celery and pepper to taste, and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Add in the flour, cornstarch and poultry seasoning (optional), and whisk together quickly.
3. Add in the chicken broth and milk, whisking constantly as you pour. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often.
4. When the rice is finished, add both the cooked chicken and rice to the soup.
5. Give everything a good stir, allow to heat through, and enjoy!

Philly Cheesesteak Stew

Do you ever get an intense craving for a good philly cheesesteak sub? Like an, ‘I know I’m not pregnant or anything, but I have got to have one right. now’ kind of craving? (Come on, I know I can’t be the only one!) But then there’s all these impossible obstacles in the way, like not wanting to go to the sub shop, or the store, or perhaps maybe you don’t have bread in the house, or you don’t want a bunch of carbs, or you don’t want to chew a lot… guess what? I have a solution! Philly Cheesesteak Stew. I’ll admit we’ve never been to Philly…maybe someday….but we sure do like their sandwiches. And, I figured if their sandwiches were good, then a soup would be, too! Boy, was I right!!

If you like the philly cheesesteak sandwich, then you got to try this soup. All the flavors of the famous sandwich you love come together here in a thick, and hearty stew that is sure to satisfy any level of cheesesteak craving. See? We’ve got you covered.

Philly Cheesesteak Stew

 Philly Cheesesteak Stew

recipe adapted from Lady MeLady

1 1/2 lb top sirloin or ribeye, cut in thin slices
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp flour, divided
2 onions, quartered and cut into thin slices
1/2 – 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups beef broth, 2 if you want a really thick stew
1-2 sweet bell pepper; thinly sliced
4 large buns; hollowed out (the recipe called for sourdough buns, I couldn’t find any so I used crusty Kaiser rolls)
12 round slices provolone cheese

Directions

1. In a large bowl, toss the steak strips with the salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and toss again, making sure the slices are well coated.
2. Sear the steak, in two batches, over medium-high heat, so that both sides brown, only about 1-2 minutes per side. At this stage we still want the centers pink. Once browned, set aside.
3. Next, add the onions and mushrooms to the same skillet and brown for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Now, add the garlic powder, salt, pepper and the last 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir to ensure the onions are coated with flour.
4. Add in the beef broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition so that it thickens, until it’s finally fully incorporated to avoid lumps. Allow to thicken and bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add in the peppers in the last 10 minutes of simmering. Add beef after the 30 minutes and let simmer, about 5 minutes, so that it’s heated through.
6. Cut a circle in the top of each bun and remove most of the insides. Set on either a foil covered pan, a pan with a non-stick baking mat, or a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add one slice of provolone to the inside of each bread bowl. Carefully spoon stew into each bread bowl over top of the cheese, and then top the stew in each bread bowl with two slices of provolone.
7. Place the pan under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and begins to turn a golden-brown.
8. Serve hot with the removed pieces for dipping.

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