I am so into soup right now. It definitely wins first place for best fall and winter food in my house (at least it takes first place for me). Generally soup recipes are very adaptable and are an easy way to use up different veggies you have leftover in your fridge (for example I don’t always add potatoes if I don’t have them). Not to mention soups can be healthy and great for weekday leftovers. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 large butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
2 sprigs of finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 to 2 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, rosemary, apples and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.
2. Hold the lid of a blender in place with a kitchen towel and carefully start the blender using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth and pour into a serving bowl. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup in the pot. If needed, add additional chicken stock until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.
A friend recently gave me this recipe for Beef Barley Stew (thanks Susan!) and since the weather is quite wintry these days a slow cooker beef stew recipe sounded like the perfect meal. Weekends seem so busy with hockey, basketball and other outdoor family activities that an EASY meal was in order. I love SLOW COOKER recipes, you throw a bunch on things into the slow cooker, clean up and in 8-10 hours your meal is ready with little to no additional prep. Serve with some yummy bread and you have a delicious meal all ready!
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew
1 ½ lbs beef stew meat
1 T. cooking oil
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
½ cup coarsely chopped sweet green pepper
4 cups beef broth (I use lower sodium)
1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes (again I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
1 cup spaghetti sauce
2/3 cup barley
1 ½ t. dried basil
½ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Cut meat into 1 inch cubes. In a large skillet, brown meat, half at a time, in hot oil. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a 3 ½ to 6 quart slow cooker combine carrots, celery, onion, and sweet pepper. Add broth, undrained tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, barley, basil, salt, and black pepper. Stir in browned meat.
- Cover; cook on low heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high heat setting for 4 ½ to 5 hours. Stir in parsley.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
I generally like winter, at least at first. So far winter hasn’t been too bad and it seems like we have escaped the typical frigid January temperatures ( I know, I know below zero temps are bound to happen). And the snow??? It’s all to our south. We have just enough snow for our winter sports but we have been lucky to escape the HUGE storms that have occurred down to our south. And of course I am hoping that by March all our our snow is gone and signs of spring are in the air (yeah right, I think May is a safer bet). So to get me thought the long VT winters (besides planning a vacation to a warmer place) I love to cook soups, stews, and other comfort foods.
But kale? I am guessing that you probably are not dreaming of kale as you think of warm yummy winter dishes. Along with broccoli, kale is a stand out among vegetables. It’s loaded with cancer fighting antioxidents and other important nutrients. White Bean & Kale Soup with Chicken Sausage is a recipe that I found online about a year ago. My 5 year old son loves kale so I thought I’d give this soup a try, even though I wasn’t sure how it would go over with the rest of the family. I was pretty psyched that my kids (and husband) actually liked it since it’s filled with so much healthy goodness. I think the flavor from the sausage helps. I like to serve this soup with a crusty white bread.
White Bean and Kale Soup with Chicken Sausage
2 (32-ounce) boxes low sodium chicken broth, divided
1 (12-ounce) package Chicken Sausage, such as Spinach & Feta, sliced
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
7 cups cooked white beans (cannellini, navy or great northern), divided
1 bunch organic kale, stems and tough ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
Heat 1/4 cup broth in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and sausage is just browned, about 10 minutes. Add onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes more. (Add a splash of broth to the pot if onions begin to stick.)
Meanwhile, put 3 cups beans and 2 cups broth into a blender and purée until smooth; set aside. Add remaining broth to sausage mixture in pot and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add kale, reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted and softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover, add remaining 4 cups beans, bean puree, salt and pepper and simmer until hot throughout, about 5 minutes more.