Since it’s been quite cool around here these days, it just seems like soup weather. Reading on Facebook that so many friends were pulling out their crockpots to make soup gave me the incentive to play around with an old favorite. I’ve used the usual bean recipe but tweaked it with what happened to be in the fridge. Take heed and use up what you have lying around and you’ll find all kinds of great combinations you wouldn’t have tried before. Leeks and black beans? Yup. Kale and pine nuts? Yup. Just give it a try. I will admit I’ve made some real stinkers in the past, but that’s the price you pay, Dear Chef, for experimenting. The majority of the time you come up with a winner.
Leek and Bean Soup
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
3 carrots, sliced
1 red pepper (or 5-6 small, sweet red peppers)
3 cans black beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups veggie broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1. Saute leeks, carrots and peppers until soft-about 10 minutes.
2. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except corn) into the crockpot and turn on high.
3. Pour veggies into crock pot, mix and cover.
4. Cook for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on medium.
5. Remove about 1.5 cups of the soup and set aside. Take an immersion blender and smooth out the rest of the soup in the pot.
6. Add retained soup and corn back to crockpot and stir. Wait about 5 minutes for corn to warm up.
7. At this point, add salt and taste. Adding salt while cooking beans can make them tough, so wait until the end to add it.
7. Serve with shredded cheese (optional) and tortilla chips. This soup comes out so thick, we use the tortilla chips and scoop it up like a dip. Hmmm, there’s an idea.
You may recognize this as the soup we usually add Taco Bell taco sauce into. Today, I decided to go without and add my own spices. It came out with a great texture and just enough bite without making it too spicy. Feel free to add tabasco or more hot sauce if you want. I prefer to make it mild to start with.
Throughout the ages, we’re all looking for that great, quick soup recipe. Well, here it is. This is the reason for buying a crockpot, just to make this soup. I must give credit to the original recipe-I found it on crockpot365.com. I did have to tweak it, you know that’s the way I roll. I love using a crockpot since the work is done for you. Follow the recipe and you can’t go wrong (unlike the mushroom/broccoli risotto fiasco just a week ago in the crockpot. I won’t even tell you how that turned out. Let’s just say we all make mistakes!)
Awesome Black Bean Soup
3 cans black beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes, do not drain
2 cups veggie broth
6-9 packets Taco Bell mild taco sauce (yes, I’m not kidding)
1 TBS cumin
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup frozen corn
shredded cheese (optional)
1. Pour all ingredients except corn and cheese into crockpot. (I usually spray the inside just to try and make cleanup easier).
2. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, medium for 8-10 hours.
3. At the end of the cook time, take out two cups of soup (trying not to get too many tomatoes) and use an immersion blender to blend it till smooth.
4. Return the reserved soup and frozen corn.
5. Cook for about 5 minutes to warm corn.
6. Serve with shredded Mexican cheese if you want, or even tortilla chips.
My daughter loves to scoop the soup with tortilla chips. I prefer to just eat it with a slight pinch of cheese. Husband adds a boatload of tabasco. Whatever floats your boat, dear chef. And I tend to double the recipe if I’m bringing it to a potluck. It goes over very big and is one of the first things to be empty.
It’s one of those days where I just don’t feel like cooking, but I don’t want to open a package. Unfortunately, being GF and vegetarian means I can’t just make a turkey sandwich, which is what my husband just did.
However, I know how to make soup, and quick soup. I love soup…it’s comforting, smooth and yummy. While visiting California Pizza Kitchen recently, I ordered the asparagus soup, creamless and vegetarian, yet smooth with a powerful asparagus flavor. It was grand. So I came up with a simple recipe and here it is, a compilation of things I’ve learned. I call it easy peasy asparagus soup since it’s got peas and asparagus in it. Remember, one pot, simple ingredients, blend…
Easy Peasy Asparagus Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbs olive oil
2 bunches of asparagus (about 45 stalks)
1 cup frozen peas
3.5 cups organic veggie broth
The ingredients are that simple. No kidding.
1. Saute onion in olive oil in a large soup pot until soft and translucent.
2. While onion is cooking, snap ends off of asparagus and cut stalks into 1-inch pieces. Save a few of the tops for garnish.
3. Add asparagus, peas, salt and pepper to onions. Let cook for about 5 minutes to bring up the temperature.
4. Add veggie broth, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Check to make sure asparagus is cooked to tender.
6. Blend soup in a blender till smooth. Remember to do this in batches, and start slowly each time blending since the soup is hot and can create steam in the blender.
7. Pour into bowls, garnish with asparagus tops.
You can use any kind of veggies for this, dear chef. Broccoli works great, cauliflower, peas, asparagus (on their own), carrots… the possibilities are endless. Mix and match or let them go solo. Give it a try and your veggies go down real smooth. It’s comforting and yummy.
While taking advantage of some free time, I sat back and read a magazine. This happened to be the April issue of Fitness magazine. In the very back, I spotted a recipe that looked beautiful. Those magazine photos make food look so good, don’t they? Well, I spotted this, realized I had it all in my kitchen already (and more) and jumped up to make dinner. Success…we had it for dinner, breakfast for two days and even gave some to a friend for dinner. It sounds like a lot, but with brown rice and beans, it’s filling and wonderful with a salad on the side.
Even though the recipe didn’t have cabbage or yellow squash in it, I had those left in the fridge…so in they went. It was great since the cabbage gave it a little crunch and the squash gave the soup a pretty yellow. Try it and add whatever you have in the fridge. I’m sure you’ve got most of it in the kitchen already.
Savory Bean and Spinach Soup
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5 cups chopped cabbage
1 yellow squash, chopped
1 package (about 2.5 cups) Trader Joe’s frozen pre-cooked brown rice (or 1/2 cup uncooked rice)
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed (or any white bean really)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper
2 cups frozen spinach (or about 8 cups fresh spinach)
4 cups vegetable broth
Parmesan or Romano for garnish
This is all made in one pot, adding as you go.
1. Saute onion and garlic in large soup pot with 1-2 TBS of olive oil.
2. When onions are translucent, add cabbage, a pinch of salt and cook for another 5 minutes till cabbage is getting translucent.
3. Add chopped squash and saute another few minutes.
4. Add basil, parsley, a little more salt and pepper.
5. Add rice and mix well. If you’re using the frozen rice, it will reduce the heat so mix well and cover for a few minutes to bring the heat back up. If you’re using uncooked rice, just add it in and mix.
6. Add tomatoes, beans and spinach. Mix well and cover for a few moments to bring up the heat with frozen spinach and wilt fresh spinach.
7. Finally, add broth and enough water to cover by about 1 inch. If you’re using frozen or cooked rice, just simmer until everything is hot and blended–about 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re using uncooked rice, you’ll need to add more water and give it at least 40 minutes to an hour of simmering to cook the rice.
Serve with a garnish of shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese.