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Jan
14

Savory Soup Sunday: Split Pea and Kielbasa Soup

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One of the best reasons to make your own soup, rather than rely on that stuff in cans, is so you can make it the way you like it. Which brings me to this week’s entry in Savory Soup Sunday–Split Pea and Kielbasa Soup.

Split Pea and Kielbasa Soup

The difference is immediately noticeable. The classic split pea soup usually features peas that have been cooked to almost mush state and then pureed. It’s also often made using a ham bone. While I don’t eat ham, I do like that form of split pea soup, but not enough to make it. So I made adaptations, including using turkey kielbasa.

First, I used turkey kielbasa instead of ham or other pork product. Of course, you could use another meat or leave it out. And while I used chicken stock, if you want to make it vegetarian, use veggie stock. And, as you can see, I left the split peas as they are–no smooshing here.

Begin by browning off meat products, if using. Then add the stock and all the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until done. That’s really how easy it is.

As for serving, it’s good on its own and even with some sourdough bread, My favorite way is to add some shaved Parmesan cheese on top. A few fresh spinach leaves is also a good, healthy addition to this hearty, warming soup. Here’s my version.

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Jan
07

Savory Soup Sunday: Lentil and Spinach Stew

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Every once in a while I get in the mood to make lentil soup or maybe a lentil burger. So I buy lentils. If there’s ever a shortage, officials may want to check my pantry. You see, I buy them, but then I forget to actually cook them. Even if I had a specific recipe in mind when I bought them. Well, seriously cold weather and Savory Soup Sunday was the impetus I needed to actually make something with them. Ergo, Lentil and Spinach Stew.

This recipe also complies with the January Pantry Challenge as everything in it comes from my pantry, mostly my dehydrated pantry. Of course, you can use fresh or even frozen ingredients. The recipe reflects what I used. You’ll have to make adjustments if using fresh.

You’ll need minced onion, minced garlic, stock, Worcestershire sauce, carrots, diced tomatoes, eggplant, spinach, lentils, and assorted herbs. You’ll also want some apple cider vinegar; trust me on this. A word about the stock. I call for 6 cups of stock. If using dehydrated items where called for, you’ll probably need all 6. But start with 5 cups and add more if needed.

Everything except the spinach gets thrown in the pot at once. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the lentils are almost tender and the vegetable done. Add the spinach–fresh or dehydrated–and cook until everything is done. Add the vinegar just before serving.

A piece (or 2) of sourdough bread makes a great accompaniment.

Thanks to this stew, lentils will be showing up on my menu more often. You can find my recipe for Lentil and Spinach Stew here.

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Jan
01

Savory Soup Sunday: Bean and Spinach Soup

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Beans are a favorite around here. I love adding them to soups and stews as well as making them the featured ingredient. And well, if you make bean soup as often as I do, you just sometimes want something a bit different. While I’ve made and posted recipes that mixed beans and greens before, this one is a bit different.

I use a white bean for this soup, but you could certainly use any other bean. Whatever you like or have on hand works. I used cannellini beans (white kidney beans).

A note about soaking. As a general practice, I do not soak my beans prior to cooking. If you do, be sure to plan ahead for soaking time.

While this can be vegan or vegetarian, I decided to add some turkey smoked sausage and chicken stock I had on hand. Celery and carrots were there, of course, as well as onion powder (you could use fresh), garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. To add something different, I added a dash of chili powder a friend made from some of her homegrown peppers. You don’t need a lot, but it adds another flavor profile.

When the soup is almost done, add some spinach. I used frozen spinach because it’s what I had. Fresh works fine too. And if you don’t have or like spinach, use another green. Kale is another favorite. I’ve loved spinach since childhood. We never had fresh or even frozen; we always had Popeye’s canned spinach. And I loved it. Especially with some apple cider vinegar mixed in. So, why not? I added some apple cider vinegar in this bean soup. YUM.

Bean and Spinach Soup

Lunch was the soup with a slice of homemade sourdough bread. I do believe it’s one I’ll have often.

You can find my soup recipe here. Enjoy.

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Dec
29

It’s Time for a Challenge

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A pantry challenge that is.

Oh, I know, you’re wondering, Huh? Understandable. But bear with me.

If you follow me here, on Facebook, or YouTube, you know I dehydrate, can, and freeze. I mill most of my own grains for bread and bake my own sourdough bread. (Next year, I hope to even be able to say I grow part of it.) You’ll also know that I’ve been participating in the Whip It Up Wednesday: Slow Cooker Meals YouTube challenge. Now, the same women who brought us that challenge is bringing us the January Pantry Challenge.

So what’s a pantry challenge? We eat from our pantries. For example, I have a deep freeze and refrigerator freezer, a refrigerator, and cabinets containing things to eat. Plus, I have dehydrated and canning pantries. If you keep well-stocked pantries, it might be easier for you to do than for someone who doesn’t. But if you need to supplement your in-house grocery stores with a trip to one with a cash register, that’s fine. Some of us will be buying fresh vegetables and dairy products, for example. Though we’ll still be spending money, it won’t be as much. And for many of us, that will be a big relief.

If you have a YouTube channel, post what you’re doing there. I’ll be posting about how I’m doing with the challenge here and on my YouTube channel. You are also welcome to post on our Facebook page. (Why yes, we are everywhere.)

To learn more about the ideas behind the January Pantry Challenge, take a look at Leisa Sutton’s YouTube channel, Sutton’s Daze.

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Dec
24

Savory Soup Sunday: Tuscan-Style Chicken Stew

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I bought a chicken the other day. Okay, nothing particularly unusual about that. I eat a lot of chicken, after all. But I wanted something hearty and filling. It’s been cold and windy, and I thought a chicken stew would hit the spot. After perusing the countless recipes for such I thing, I decided to make a Tuscan-style chicken stew.

Like I said, I bought a chicken–that is, a whole chicken. Most of the recipes called for skinless and boneless thighs, legs, and sometimes the breasts. I decided to cut up the chicken and use those parts for the stew. The rest was put in the freezer for stock. While I skinned it, I didn’t debone it. Put the chicken in the bottom of your Crock-Pot or slow cooker.

The other ingredients are things you’ll likely already have on hand: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, chicken stock, kale, potatoes, and tomatoes. A word about the tomatoes. I used a pint of home-canned crushed tomatoes. If you don’t have those, a can of crushed tomatoes from the store works just fine.

You’ll also need Italian seasoning mix. Use whatever mixture of herbs you like. I make my own Italian dressing mix, and it works perfectly in this stew.

Tuscan-Style Chicken Stew

Most recipes for this dish call for small potatoes with the peels left on. I watch my carb count and want the most nutrition I can get. So I opted for sweet potatoes. I dipped into my pantry and used some dehydrated sweet potatoes. I’m guessing I used an amount equal to 2 small sweet potatoes. Most also call for a flour and water slurry to be used for thickening. I’ll pass. I decided that if thickening was needed, I’d add some tomato powder.

Once all the ingredients except the kale were in the pot, I set it to cook on high for 4 hours. Then I added the kale. It was thick enough for me, so I skipped the tomato powder. After cooking another 45 minutes or so, it was ready. And oh so good. I topped with optional Parmesan cheese, because that’s just how I am.

Will I do anything differently next time? Well, of course. Whether I use already boned chicken or bone it myself, there will be boneless chicken. Finding errant pieces of bone in your mouth is not fun. And instead of potatoes, I’m leaning toward some white beans.

This stew hits the spot when you’re looking for something warming and hearty. Here’s my recipe.

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Dec
17

Savory Soup Sunday: Shrimp and Veggie Chowder

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I’ve been trying to clean out the freezer and deep freeze. The other day I found a package of raw shrimp in the freezer. I’d bought it for something, though I don’t exactly remember what. I did cook some in the air fryer, but the rest went back to the freezer. I’d been wanting to make a seafood chowder, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Ordinarily, I would have likely used frozen or fresh corn. But I had neither. I did, however, have home-canned corn in my pantry. So in they went. Along with stock; I used chicken, but seafood stock would certainly work. Of course, onions were a given. And since I love them, I added broccoli and carrots. Fresh or canned carrots would work fine, but I used dehydrated carrots. And since it’s me, there was no question that I’d add red pepper flakes. I decided chopped pimientos would be a nice finishing touch.

As for herbs and spices, it’s whatever you like, want, and have. For me, I added garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Of course, you can add salt, but I tend not to. As for the nutmeg,, it’s a common ingredient for cream soups, but go easy on it. Remember the caveat that you can always add more, but it’s difficult to take it out.

I opted to use heavy cream because I had some. Of course, half and half or milk can be used. Use whatever you’d like.

Do you need a thickener? Possibly. It’s personal choice. I didn’t want to use flour or cornstarch. I had other options, but when it was done, I didn’t think it needed any. If you decide to go with a starchy potato instead of or in addition to the corn, you may find you don’t need it either.

After I try each week’s soup, I often find myself saying, “I think I have a new favorite.” And that is certainly true with this one. And since I have more shrimp in the freezer, there may be more of it–or another version.

By the way, I often eat bread or crackers with soup. I don’t think they’re necessary with this soup. But if you want them, go for it!

Here’s my recipe for Shrimp and Veggie Chowder.

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Dec
10

Savory Soup Sunday: Chicken and Habanero Cheese Soup

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You know how much I love to turn non-soup dishes into soups. That’s a given. That was not, however, my intention with this week’s Savory Soup Sunday offering. But you know, the best intentions, yadda, yadda, yadda.

One night I roasted a chicken. And I made the cauliflower-based cheese I’ve mentioned. This time, it was flavored with powdered habaneros thanks to Lilie Potter, who grew and powdered some, and I was very thankful to receive. There was quite a bit of the chicken left, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. The first thing that came to mind was to make a casserole in the slow cooker. Throw in the cheese, broccoli, and some cauliflower, and that had the makings of a great dinner.

Chicken and Habanero Cheese Soup

I added some stock to help the broccoli and cauliflower to cook.

And ergo, the “problem” that wasn’t a problem.

I put in too much stock. Oh well, it happens.

So now I had soup. And that was quite fine. When it was almost finished, I threw in some olives to warm. Any excuse to use olives, you know. And I also added some of my homemade and home-canned honey mustard. It may have started out as a mistake, but this soup was amazing. Simply amazing.

If you don’t have habanero cheese, use any pepper cheese or even a sharp cheddar. Or you can go mild if a spicy cheese isn’t your thing. If you want a creamy cheese, stir in some room temperature labneh or cream cheese with the olives. You can also add cream, whole milk, or half and half.

If something doesn’t come out as planned, don’t immediately write it off as a mistake. Like this soup, it can be better than what was planned.

My recipe can be found here.

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Dec
03

Savory Soup Sunday: Thanksgiving Soup

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And another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I hope everyone had a good one. More important, I hope everyone was able to find something–large or small–to be thankful for. I know for some of us, it may have been more difficult to find this year, but I hope you have.

One of the things I’m always thankful for are the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Every year, one of the highlights for me is a soup based on the leftovers. I try to use as much of the dinner as I can. This year’s soup used the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Ordinarily, I would have used the carcass to make a stock before making this soup.  This Thanksgiving, though, I opted for a turkey breast. On its own, I’ve found those bones don’t make a stock as rich as I’d like. So I put the carcass in my bag of chicken bones for a  poultry stock.

 

Thanksgiving Soup

Also in the soup are chopped celery, chopped onion, and sliced carrots. Although you can certainly use fresh–and I did use fresh onion–I decided to take advantage of my extended pantry. I used dehydrated celery and sliced carrots I canned this summer.

So what about the stuffing and cranberry sauce? I treated both as finishing touches. I used homemade stuffing bread for stuffing this year, so it had the seasonings we all associate with Thanksgiving. Just before serving, I plopped a spoonful into the bowl of soup. Now, it will likely disintegrate, but that helps thicken the soup a bit. Today’s lunch is leftover Thanksgiving Soup. I’m out of stuffing, but I do still have some of my bread cubes. They’ll be croutons on today’s soup.

As for the cranberry sauce, I make my own. It’s not as sweet as most mass-produced versions; they’re usually too sweet for me. While I’m plopping things into my soup, I plop some of mine into the bowl. The tartness helps cut the richness of the soup, especially if you’ve used a homemade stock.

This recipe works equally well with leftover chicken. You can make a tasty vegetarian version by using oil instead of butter to sweat the vegetables and a vegetable stock instead of turkey or chicken.

I hope you’ll give Thanksgiving Soup a try. You can find the recipe here.

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Nov
28

Savory Soup Sunday: Forest Blend Mushroom Soup

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Okay, I know it’s not Sunday. Every time I sat down to post on Sunday, I seemed to get interrupted. My intentions were good, but that’s as far as they got.

Anyway, here we go with another soup recipe. This time, I’m taking advantage of some My Spice Sage purchases. I’ve mentioned before how much I like this company’s products. I’ve ordered spices and herbs from there, of course, but it’s also a good source for dehydrated mushrooms, peppers, and myriad other things. It also solves my craving for mushroom soup, but one that is a bit different from what I usually make.

First and foremost, the mushrooms. I used My Spice Sage’s Forest Blend Dried Mushrooms. Here you find a mix of shiitake, porcini, oyster, maritake, and black trumpet mushrooms. I added more of their porcini mushrooms as well. You can certainly use fresh mushrooms, but by rehydrating dried ones, you have mushroom liquor to use in the soup. By the way, I had powdered another package of the Forest Blend and added some of that mushroom powder as well, but that’s optional.

Forest Blend Mushroom Soup

Other ingredients include ones you’d find in most soups: celery, herbs, garlic powder, and onion powder. There’s also some Worcestershire sauce, which may strike you as odd, but trust me about this.

One ingredient you might not be familiar with is labneh. Labneh is a Middle Eastern cheese, but there’s nothing exotic to make it. The easiest way is to buy a container of your favorite plain yogurt. It can be full fat, low fat, or fat free. It’s your choice. Seriously, that’s all the ingredients you need for it. Well, you can add salt, pepper, and other flavorings, but it’s your choice. As for equipment, yes, I have a couple of yogurt strainers to make it, but all you really need is a strainer and cheese cloth. Plop (technical term) the yogurt into the strainer, and let it drain. And drain. And then drain some more. Taste it along the way for tartness. The longer it drains, the more tart it tends to become. I usually let it do its thing sitting on the counter, but then, my house is usually cold year-round. You want the labneh to be thick, like a soft, room temperature cream cheese. If it’s not as thick as desired but getting a bit more tart than you think you’d like, simply let it finish draining in the fridge. If you don’t have or want to make labneh for this soup, you can use the aforementioned cream cheese.

I also used milk in the soup, but if you prefer, half and half or cream can be used. If you’re pleased with the consistency, leave it out. The same goes for the herbs/spices I used. We all have our likes and dislikes. Plus we can’t always go out and get something we’re missing for a recipe. But in many cases, you can just adjust to personal preferences and what you have on hand.

I hope you’ll give this mushroom soup a try. It’s familiar yet different. Most important, it’s very good. You can find my recipe here.

 

 

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Nov
19

Savory Soup Sunday: Goulash Soup

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The time between paychecks can seem to drag on forever. It certainly did when I was growing up. Those last few days were often rough. Mom did what she could to stretch the money until the next paycheck. One way she did so was by what she served for dinner.

One of my favorites was goulash. In the recent past I’ve learned it’s also called American goulash or American chop suey. Whatever you call it, it was darn good. It was simple food at its best. Mom usually made it the same way every time. Cook off some ground beef. Cook some macaroni. Drain the macaroni, add a can or two of whole tomatoes, and add in the ground beef. If we had any, she sometimes added green bell pepper. Sometimes Mom added onions and sometimes not. And Parmesan cheese was always available in that familiar green shaker canister available at every supermarket. It was one of those dishes that was even better as a leftover. Or cold; more than once I might have snitched some from the fridge.

Once out on my own, I added it to my repertoire. It was a favorite for years. Sometimes I used ground beef. Other times I used ground turkey. Sometimes I skipped the meat altogether. And while the pasta and/or types of peppers used may have changed from time to time, I always used tomatoes, too. Sometimes I turned it into soup.

Then came 2016, and I had to change my diet. Pasta was no longer in the picture. Or so I thought. But I just couldn’t give it up for good. It is a dish that had an important place in my childhood. Besides, I really like it.

Finally, a week ago, I made goulash soup for the first time in a long while. I didn’t skip the pasta, either. But I treated in differently. Instead of featuring it in the dish, it was a costar. I didn’t leave out the meat, but again, I didn’t let it play a starring role. The stars of this goulash soup were the vegetables.

Besides taste, the greatest thing about about this soup is its versatility. Just like the non-soup version, you can use whatever vegetables you want. Tomatoes are pretty much a given. In this case, I used Italian-style tomato sauce I made and canned. I used both red and green bell peppers because they’re what I had on hand. And I threw in some red pepper flakes because that’s just how I roll. I did use meat this time, but you can certainly skip it. And I topped with mozzarella. Yep, that’s what I had on hand.

And the pasta?

I had a partial box of rotini that I’d had for who knows how long. I made approximately 4 servings of the soup. But rather than use 4 servings of pasta, I used 1 serving. So even if I sat there and ate the whole pot (which I didn’t), I’d still only be eating 1 serving of pasta.

I made this goulash soup in the slow cooker. Ordinarily, though, I make it in a soup pot on top of the stove. So you can do either. Choose whatever is convenient for you.

This soup is a good choice for any time of year. During the summer, use fresh produce you’ve grown or gotten from the farmers’ market. Use what you preserved when fresh vegetables are difficult to come by. Commercially frozen vegetables–without salt or sauce–are also good choices.

Here’s my version of goulash soup. But remember–make it your own.

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