Beef Barley Soup

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I haven’t uploaded a recipe in a while, it’s been an extremely busy few weeks of school and life.

This is a wonderful soup, it’s hearty and tasty.  It’s filling with the barley.  Feel free to add more veggies, including your favorites.  It’s actually best on day two and beyond.  In the summer, we’ve actually grilled the meat and then sliced it up and put it in the soup!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb. cooked shredded beef (I use peppersteak or a similar thin steak sliced up)
  • 1 medium onion diced (I use onion powder)
  • 1-2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2 small green bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (I use the slow cooking barley, not the quick one)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • FEEL FREE TO ADD: dried oregano, pre-cooked green beans (we did!), or any other veggies, or more of the mentioned veggies!

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large soup pot, combine beef, onion, celery, green pepper, carrot, and tomatoes.  Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. 
  2. Add bay leaves and broth, bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in barley, continue boiling 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 1 hour.  Stir and check liquid level frequently. 
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lonestar Chili

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So far, this is my favorite chili on the planet.  Nothing in a restaurant and nothing I’ve made in the past compares to this.  We both love it.  It’s a take on Lonestar restaurant’s recipe.  You can saute real onion and garlic but you don’t have to. I came up with the idea to add a red bell pepper as I had it in my fridge one day.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • onion powder and garlic powder
  • 15 oz. can kidney beans with liquid
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, plain
  • 16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (add more if your chili powder is very bland, add less if it’s very potent)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: 3/4 to 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • Optional Final Toppings: grated cheddar cheese, croutons, oyster crackers, bread, sour cream, etc.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown beef in a large saucepan over medium heat, drain fat.  Add onion and garlic powder, cook one minute.  Remove beef to side plate or add to your main soup pot you plan on cooking in.
  2. (OPTIONAL) Leave some residual beef fat, or add olive oil to pan, and saute your red bell pepper, if using.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to your soup pot (excluding the last line: cheese, croutons etc) and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  I cover it 90% with a lid to keep evaporation down.
  4. Let cool slightly and serve with garnishes listed in “Optional Final Toppings”

Chicken Tortilla Soup

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This is a wonderful chicken tortilla soup.  I based it off of someone else’s, doubled parts of it, and found the perfect balance of ingredients for me.  You can experiment with it!  I didn’t give measurements for cheese or chips because c’mon, you can figure that out yourself and make it your own!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, filleted, and cut into small chunks.
  • ½ to 1 T. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Few dashes of garlic and/or onion powder (or you can do 1 tsp. minced garlic and 1 cup chopped onion)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup chunky salsa, mild or to your liking
  • Corn tortilla chips from a bag or homemade
  • ½ cup or more shredded Monterey or Colby Jack cheese

DIRECTIONS:

 

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the chicken in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and mix well.
  2. Then add the broth, corn, onion, chili powder, lemon juice, and salsa.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Break up some tortilla chips into bowls and pour soup over chips. Top with the cheese, sour cream, scallions, and whatever other toppings you desire.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

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This was a great test for my new Christmas gift, an immersion blender.  I didn’t have to transfer the hot soup to a blender and I did it right in the pan.  For this recipe, I’m glad I got two heads of broccoli to be safe.  I did not have to add additional water in the second-to-last step, but you should monitor it.  This is a true keeper!  I threw out my old recipe for cheesy broccoli soup!  I wouldn’t substitute milk for the half-and-half, this recipe needs its fat and creaminess.  I served with sourdough on the side.  ENJOY!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth.
  3. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  4. (OPTIONAL): Meanwhile, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.
  5. Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you’ll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
  7. Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick.
  8. Ladle into the bread bowls and garnish with cheese.

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

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My friend, Cris, gave me this recipe.  I am glad I have it; I have always wanted to make a minestrone soup and never got the chance.  I also never made it because most recipes had literally 20 ingredients.  This one stays simple and is very fresh and nice.  I’d suggest reducing the pasta to 1 cup of raw pasta.  Ditalini would work best but at the time I couldn’t find it.  So I don’t know if the elbows puffed up more than ditalini would have, but I’d guess, even using ditalini, it’d be better using 1 cup of raw pasta.  We had just come from the apple orchard farm and bought fresh green beans, they were great.  If you don’t like a certain veggie or prefer another one (like zucchini or spinach), add it on in!  Enjoy!! 

 

It says it makes about 6 servings, but it depends.  You could easily halve this recipe to test it out or make for a smaller amount of people! 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 4 stalks celery chopped
  • 4 carrots chopped
  • 1 onion chopped (I used onion powder)
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced (we used garlic powder, no problem)
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano (dried is fine)
  • 2 cups pasta, like ditalini or shells, (I suggest using 1 cup raw, estimate how much you think you’ll like).
  • 1/2 can red kidney beans (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop the carrots, onion, and celery fine.
  2. Place the carrots, onion, and celery, plus all the other ingredients (except pasta) in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high for the first hour, then turn to low and cook for a few more hours. 
  4. Add the pasta in for the last 20 minutes of cooking and test a piece before turning the slow cooker off.

 

 

Lentil Soup

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This is a very healthy lentil soup that I plan on making again soon.  It can either be made with bacon or ham, either way you’ll love it!  I found I had to add additional water.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 strips bacon, chopped —-(Optional, but adds a lot of flavor!)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used onion flakes)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved, lengthwise, and cut into 1/4 inch half moons (or whatever you like)
  • Add a few stalks chopped celery, if you like (It’s a great addition).
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic powder)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (you can definitely use more here, you can substitute 1/4 cup tomato sauce just fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3.5 to 4 cups high quality chicken broth (i.e. first ingredient should not be salt!)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 T. red-wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a Dutch oven or other 5 qt. pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook the bacon until brown and crisp, 8-10 minutes.  Pour off all but 1 T. of the fat. 
  2. Add the onion and carrots (and celery if you desire); cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  3. Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Add lentils, thyme, broth, and 3.5 to 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes.  If the soup becomes too thick during cooking, add up to 1 cup more water. 
  6. Stir in vinegar, 1.5 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Serve the soup immediately. 

Cream of Broccoli Soup

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I have always wanted to make cream of broccoli soup and this was a great first try.  It was a little on the watery side, so if you prefer it thicker, you could just add less milk or add another thickener, in addition to the flour, like cornstarch, etc.  I used butter and reduced the amount to 1.5 TBSP.  I used a quarter onion and added 2 celery stalks and it was more than enough.  This was the first time I cooked with raw onion in about a year and a half.  I learned that I can eat cooked onion, but being around raw onion cooking still makes me feel off and sick.  So now I know!  Next time I will use onion powder and add more celery.  Very tasty, healthy, and full of nutrients!   Enjoy…. 

 

  • 4 cups water

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a medium-sized cooking pot, add water and broccoli florets and bring to boil; reduce heat and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving all of the water.
  2. In a food processor or blender, process half the cooked broccoli until fairly smooth. Chop remaining broccoli and set aside.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed cooking pot, melt butter or margarine, add onion and celery and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until soft. Stir in flour; cook, stirring constantly for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add reserved water and chicken bouillon granules, and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring constantly until thickened.
  5. Stir in milk, nutmeg, pepper, and processed and chopped broccoli, and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve garnished with grated cheddar cheese.

Won Top Soup

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My comments:  I found this recipe on About.com and I liked how authentic everyone said it was.  The wrappers can be found in your grocer’s fresh fruit/veg area, usually.  This recipe is very much worth it; we ate all the leftovers.  We replaced sherry with chardonnay because that is what we had.  Also, I took reviewer’s advice and used GROUND pork, it was easy to work with! The cool bowls with spoons are from World Market.  🙂  ENJOY!! -Tiffany

 

The name won ton means swallowing a cloud, and the wonton floating in this popular soup are thought to resemble clouds. This recipe for Won ton Soup serves 4.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 18 – 24 won ton wrappers
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 pound boneless lean pork, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 dashes of white pepper
  • Other:
  • Water for boiling won tons
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups chicken stock
  • green onion, thinly sliced, as desired
  • a few drops sesame oil (optional)

Preparation:

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Lay one won ton skin in front of you. Cover the remaining won ton skins with a damp towel to keep them from drying out.
    Filling the won tons: Moisten all the edges of the won ton wrapper with water. Place a heaping teaspoon of won ton filling in the center.
  Fold the won ton wrapper in half lengthwise, making sure the ends meet. Press down firmly on the ends to seal. Use thumbs to push down on the edges of the filling to center it. Keeping thumbs in place, fold over the won ton wrapper one more time. Push the corners up and hold in place between your thumb and index finger. Wet the corners with your fingers. Bring the two ends together so that they overlap. Press to seal. The finished product should resemble a nurse’s cap. Repeat with remaining won tons.

Alternate method: Place the teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper and twist to seal. The final result should resemble a money bag or drawstring purse.
 
Boiling the won tons: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the won tons, making sure there is enough room for them to move about freely. Let the won tons boil for 5 – 8 minutes, until they rise to the top and the filling is cooked through. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.

To make the soup: bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the won tons and bring the soup back to a boil. Add the green onion, remove the pot from the heat and add the sesame oil, stirring. Ladle into soup bowls, allowing 6 won tons per person.
    
Reader Review:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Comments: This is an easy and excellent recipe. My Cantonese relatives say it reminds them of home cooking.

The Best Ever Baked Potato & Ham (Or Bacon) Soup

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I have tried a few baked potato soup recipes and had a favorite.  This one blows it out of the water and made me throw out my old potato soup recipe!  For this one I used bacon instead of ham, because that’s what I had.  I omitted onion but did everything else like the recipe says.  It was absolutely wonderful and did not curdle!  To avoid curdling, always add your milk OFF THE HEAT and while stirring with the other hand.  So pre-measure your milk so it’s ready to go in a pourable Pyrex or something similar with a spout.  I’m pretty sure I reduced the butter amount because that is a lot of butter.  A+!  You’ll regret ever paying $5/bowl at your favorite restaurant for that baked potato soup again!

 Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

Directions:

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

 

Creamy Chicken Soup With Rice

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The first recipe is from my brand new soup book I got for my birthday, in March, it is a creamy chicken soup with rice.  It’s the first recipe I have tried from the 500 plus page book “The Ultimate Soup Cookbook” by Reader’s Digest, with over 900 recipes.  It’s on page 106.  I’d say it serves more like 6+.

It came together quickly.  I like recipes that use a butter/oil mixture, they usually have more flavor.  I made the stock from bouillon and omitted the onions, and used onion powder.   I used Basmati rice and the fresh parsley was from my garden.  I opted for milk instead of half-and-half.  I used a very tiny pinch of nutmeg.  It was tasty, creamy, and the smell was great.  I will experiment next time to add a little more flavor, maybe even more bouillon.  A!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup milk or half-and-half
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (technically optional)

Directions:

  1. In a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and heat oil.  Add chicken and saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Add stock, carrots, celery, onion, rice, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until rice is tender. 
  3. In a small bowl, blend cornstarch, milk, and nutmeg.  Then stir into soup.  Cooking, stirring, until soup returns to simmer and thickens.