Tag Archives: soup

Recipe: Winter Harvest Soup

This soup was invented based on two criteria: 1. I had the ingredients on hand that needed to be used before going bad, and 2. I needed something that would give Kyle (age 1) vegetables in a soft form. Thus, Winter Harvest Soup. The grownups enjoyed the recipe as is–a heartier, chunky soup; and I pureed the rest for Kyle–or those who prefer a smoother, creamy soup. He LOVED it!

Feel free to adjust the types of vegetables used in this soup (though root vegetables do seem to work best). If you’re not a sweet potato fan, try Yukon golds. If you have acorn squash instead of butternut, go for it! And if you’ve never seen a parsnip–well, first, try to find a parsnip because they’re delicious!–but if you can’t, try a turnip or rutabaga or just more carrots. This made a large pot of soup, so if you have fewer vegetables, just use half of the other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower (chopped)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (halved)
  • 1 butternut squash (halved and seeded)
  • 1 bag baby carrots (chopped)
  • 4 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. marjoram (if you don’t have marjoram, basil would work)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. chicken (or vegetable) bouillon
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. prepared basil paste
  • 2-3 c. coconut milk (or cow’s milk, if preferred)

Instructions:

  1. Prep the winter vegetables. Using two large baking sheets, spread out vegetables in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes.
  2. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool slightly. Peel and chop squash and sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces.
  3. Toss all vegetables in large stockpot; fill with water to not quite cover vegetables. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until vegetables are completely soft). 
  5. Serve hot. 

Suggestion: serve with crackers, croutons, or garlic bread and a simple salad. 

A Snoopy 1st Birthday Party!

It’s hard to believe our little guy is already 1! We have had so much fun being his mommy and daddy! He loves to eat and laugh and play. His favorite word is “Daddy” with a close second of “Uh-oh.” And he just started shaking his head to say “no” and saying “Yeh” for yes. It’s fun to see his preferences come through.

For his first birthday, I gave Bryan 3 or 4 different themes I had narrowed it down to, and he picked Snoopy. It was so much fun putting this together for Kyle! And we’re so thankful to be able to celebrate this birthday in our new home! (Also thankful my folks could make it in for the party and help us by staying up late to hang curtains, pictures, and put final touches on decorations!)

I found Snoopy invitations here. And we got the “Peanuts Greatest Hits” CD by the Vince Guaraldi Trio that we played on loop throughout the party.

Since we just moved in one month ago and got new appliances, we had large boxes to use. So we decorated a Snoopy doghouse and Lucy’s Psychiatric Stand. The kids LOVED playing in these!

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The Menu:IMG_4126Bryan did made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches (we had half a dozen types of cheese to choose from), and who doesn’t love grilled cheese with tomato soup or pumpkin chorizo soup?! I found some awesome little paper trays and styrofoam bowls at Joyce Equipment Store and Restaurant Supply (great place for anyone who likes to host parties!). And we decorated with The Peanuts figurines collection!
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Then there were the cakes made by our good friend Barb Illsley! She’s amazing!

IMG_4121photo 2Opening Gifts:IMG_4136 IMG_4141Finally, we sent each of our kid guests home with a little goody bag of play doh, snoopy stickers, and The Peanuts fruit snacks in personalized bags. We certainly won’t do this every year, but we definitely wanted to do something extra special for Kyle’s first birthday. And this was!IMG_4125

Happy Birthday, Little Man! We love you very much!

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Fresh, February Feast: Cooking in Season

Tonight’s dinner was primarily made from fresh produce that is currently in season! And Bryan brought home some fresh rye and caraway bread from class today to round it all out. Throw in a little citrus and local honey, and we’re golden!

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Counter-clockwise from the top right, we have Sautéed Asparagus and Mushrooms with Fried Eggs, Creamy Cucumber and Avocado Soup, Fresh Bread with Butter, and Broiled Grapefruit with Sliced Bananas and Honey.

Here’s a closer look at the individual dishes:

Creamy Cucumber and Avocado Soup (adapted from EatingWell.com) - my friend Ashley shared this recipe and told me to double the avocado and add tarragon. It was quite tasty! (Click on image for recipe.)

Creamy Cucumber and Avocado Soup (adapted from EatingWell.com) – my friend Ashley shared this recipe and told me to double the avocado and add tarragon. It was quite tasty! (Click on image for recipe.)

Sauteed Asparagus with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Garlic, Mint, Dill, Cilantro, and Parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice; and some fried eggs for some extra protein

Sauteed Asparagus with Baby Bella Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Garlic, Mint, Dill, Cilantro, and Parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice; and a side of Fried Eggs

And last but not least...Broiled Grapefruit with Bananas, Honey, and Ginger from She Wears Many Hats (click on picture for recipe)

And last but not least…Broiled Grapefruit with Bananas, Honey, and Ginger from SheWearsManyHats.com (click on picture for recipe)

It was a feast indeed!

 

Journey Journal: Days 61-64

Day 61: Saturday, March 2, 2013

Slept in, which felt great after several late nights last week–been reading a new novel that’s been hard to put down…more on that later. Spent most of the day with my sister and nephews. Then Bryan and I grabbed coffees at Starbucks and went on a drive–one of our favorite dates–driving through the countryside and several small towns for about two hours before dinner. Made a large batch of Curried Vegetable Lentil Soup, which consisted of carrots, leeks, garlic, tri-colored bell peppers, daikon root, spinach, fresh sage, curry powder, vegetable bouillon, and red lentils, and was topped with fresh cilantro. It turned out very flavorful. If desired, a little sriracha sauce or crushed red pepper flakes would add a nice, extra kick to the dish. Serve with hearty bread, if desired.

Day 62: Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day of Worship. Day of Rest. Lunch with Bryan’s folks–it was good to see them again. We started with a small bowl of the Curried Vegetable Lentil Soup and Homemade Bread, then had a London Broil dinner (seen below), and finished with berries, dark chocolate, and walnuts for dessert. Since I had to make the potatoes dairy-free, I decided to add a little beef broth, a pinch of marjoram and garlic, and two tablespoons of mayonnaise (instead of butter and sour cream). They tasted great–even I was surprised! Of course, the gravy is a secret recipe, which makes everything taste amazing.

London Broil, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Sauteed Onion, Pepper, Mushroom Medley

London Broil, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and a Sautéed Onion, Pepper, Mushroom Medley

Day 63: Monday, March 4, 2013

Down another 2 pounds last week! Very excited! Had a slice of homemade bread for breakfast and leftover London Broil with sides for lunch. It was a long day, and I wasn’t feeling the greatest, so after work, I ended up having soup for dinner with fresh bread, sweet tea, and a good book (or at least, it’s good so far–I withhold full judgment until I’ve completed the reading).

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Dinner and a book…

Day 64: Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hearty oatmeal breakfast with berries, almonds, and a touch of maple syrup, accompanied by two turkey sausage links and coffee. Lunch of curried vegetable lentil soup with my friend Shannah (the last of this batch of soup), and a “vegetable salad” she made that had cabbage, carrots, onions, red peppers, and a sweet celery seed vinaigrette dressing. After work, came home to burgers with guacamole for dinner with a side of sweet potato fries. Thank you, Bryan! Now, to finish that book…or at least come close… Good night.

Recipe: Kale and White Bean Soup by Melissa McKinnon

Kale and White Bean Soup

by Melissa McKinnon

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 baby carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • water (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon (or 2 cubes)
  • 1 can cannelloni beans, with liquid

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, shallot, garlic, olive oil, carrots, salt, pepper, and herbs. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent, stirring regularly.
  3. Add tomatoes, potato, and kale and cook 3-5 minutes, until kale begins to wilt.
  4. Cover with water, just to the top of the vegetables, add bouillon, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low, add beans with liquid, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are tender but still firm.
  6. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with a hearty bread.

Bon Appetit!

Recipe: Chicken Leek Soup (and How to Clean a Leek)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter (you could use olive oil instead)
  • 2 organic Leeks, white portion only, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove organic garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 – 1 tsp. prepared minced garlic)
  • 1 c. vegetable broth (I use 1 tsp. vegetable bouillon + 1 c. water)
  • 2 c. chicken broth (I use 2 chicken bouillon cubes + 2 c. water)
  • 1 1/2 c. organic Yukon Gold Potatoes (I used 4 small potatoes)
  • 1 c. chopped organic rotisserie chicken breast (Bryan made this earlier last week)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 c. organic heavy whipping cream

How to Prepare Leeks:

Organic Leeks - remove outermost leave and rinse

Remove and discard root tip and green portion of stems.

Cut each leek in half lengthwise.

Leeks tend to be quite sandy. Press the center of the halved leek and thoroughly rinse between each layer to ensure the lack of grit in your meal.

How to Make the Soup:

1. Melt butter in Medium Pot on stove over medium low heat.
2. Thinly slice prepared leeks and mince garlic.
3.  Add leeks and garlic to butter with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until soft and slightly golden brown.
4. Finely chop potatoes; roughly chop rotisserie chicken.
5. Add vegetable broth, chicken broth, potatoes and chicken to pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
6. Add seasonings and whisk in cream.
7. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Recipe: Creamy Parsnip, Potato, and Carrot Soup

I followed this recipe for Creamy Parsnip with Ginger Soup from my meal plan, using my parsnips from this week’s basket. However, I made a few slight changes, of course. The carrots and red onion gave it a beautiful color and it’s so smooth and creamy! Yum!

Here’s my version:

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in 6 qt. stockpot over medium heat. Peel and chop 7-8 small parsnips, 2 large carrots, 1/2 red onion, and 4 large garlic cloves and add to pot. Sautee for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.

Add 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. each ground cardamom and allspice (I used pumpkin spice because I didn’t have any allspice), 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper and a pinch or organic raw sugar. Stir into vegetables and cook for 1 more minute.

Add 3 c. chicken broth (or 3 c. water and 3 bouillon cubes), and 4 small, peeled and chopped organic white potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes (or until root vegetables are tender).

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Ladle half of the soup mixture into a blender and liquefy. Add 3/4 c. organic reduced fat milk to this half. Repeat, adding 3/4 c. milk to this second batch as well. Pour into serving dish and top with freshly cracked black pepper and the green portion of one scallion.

Bon Appetit!

Weekly Meal Plan for Two

This week, I decided to try to make a menu plan with what we got today and what we had left from last week’s basket, along with a few of my own random items.

This week’s basket: parsnips, a head of lettuce, 2 tomatoes, potatoes, bok choy, mushrooms, strawberries, pears, oranges, 3 apples, red pepper, ginger root.

 

ON HAND:

PRODUCE: a few organic shallots, 2 organic carrots, 2 organic yams, 2 organic oranges, 1/2 head of organic cauliflower, 1 organic mango, and half a bunch of organic scallions from last week’s basket, some organic celery (already washed and chopped into snack sizes), 1 green pepper,  2 organic apples, 2 lemons, 2 limes, garlic, 2 red onions, 1 pomegranate.

FRIDGE: all-natural eggs, organic milk, all-natural almond milk and soy milk, Trader Joe’s Blueberry Pomegranate all-natural juice (with hidden veggies!), organic whole chicken (on sale at Publix for $1.99/lb. right now), organic carrot juice.

PANTRY: organic steel cut oats, organic quinoa,  all-natural peanut butter, organic brown rice, organic canned black beans (and other varieties, dried), whole-wheat all-natural pasta, all-natural tomato paste, all-natural marinara sauce, organic low-fat coconut milk, raw honey, Multi-grain Cheerios.

FREEZER: Organic Edamame, all-natural frozen mixed berries, chopped all-natural walnuts and pecans, homemade chicken broth.

Grocery list: mozzarella (for pizza), dijon mustard and 4 oz. sharp white cheddar (for cauliflower sandwiches), graham crackers and 1 pint heavy cream (if I decide to make the key lime pie and lemon tart).

Menu Plan:

RECIPES: (click on titles for recipes)

Quinoa with Berries and Nuts

Baked Yams: rub with oil, sprinkle with sea salt, bake at 450F for 40 minutes. serve with 1 tsp. butter, 1/2 Tbsp. cane sugar, 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.

Creamy Parsnip with Ginger Soup

Bok Choy Salad (if I choose not to do the traditional salad with the soup)

Lettuce Wraps

Mango Salsa: chop and combine red bell pepper, red onion, mango, cilantro, lime peel, dried crushed red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional: avocado, black bean, corn, pineapple)

Cheesy Cauliflower Sandwiches

Key Lime Pie

Stirfry

Strawberry Shortcake (avoid whipping cream and serve with milk)

Ginger Honey Tea: Peel and finely chop 1″ of fresh ginger root. Put in tea ball and steep in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp. honey. Enjoy! (or try Sunny’s Ginger Pear Tea)

Steel Cut Oats

Vegan Chili (use fresh tomatoes and tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes)

Lemon Tart (using Lemon Curd recipe) or Lemon Cake with Lime Curd and Pomegranate

Tomato Caper Pasta (turkey feta meatballs, optional)

Brown Rice Bar

Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookies

Other Options for this week’s basket:

Mashed Potato ‘n’ Parsnip

Crab Rangoon (uses bok choy)

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Seared Ahi Tuna with Blood Orange Sauce

Fruit Leather (uses apples, pears, and lemon juice)

Strawberry Yogurt Soup

Ina’s Ultimate Ginger Cookies (add fresh ginger instead of crystallized if you like)

Recipe: French Onion Soup by Melissa McKinnon

We had a catering last week that included a salad bar. There was about 6 cups of shaved onions leftover from the salad bar. They were ready to be tossed and I thought, “What can I do with that many onions?!” Then it hit me, French Onion Soup! I’d never made it before, so I thought it was worth a shot. Turns out, I was right. I didn’t follow a recipe. I just followed my nose. Yum! Check it out below:

French Onion Soup by Melissa McKinnon

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups shaved onions (about 6 medium onions, finely sliced)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce (I used Lee & Perrin’s Thick Sauce)
  • 1/3 to 1 c. Shiraz (or favorite red wine)
  • 4 beef boullion cubes
  • 5 c. water
  • 10 slices Provolone cheese
  • 10 slices of French bread (and butter to spread on top of each slice)

Instructions:

Slice onions as thin as you can slice them. I would recommend cutting each onion in half or quarters before slicing, so they don’t get too stringy as they cook down.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in Medium Stockpan over Medium heat. Add onions, salt, pepper and basil, and reduce. It helps if they’re able to brown just slightly, bringing out the natural sweetness of the onions in the caramelization process. Once it reaches this point, add wine and Worchestershire. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, allowing the onions to soak up the wine flavor. Then add boullion cubes and water. Make sure the cubes are fully dissolved and transfer to crockpot.

Cook onion soup for 4-10 hours on low.

Crockpot of Onion Soup

Ladle 3/4 c. into 10 serving bowls. Meanwhile, butter and  toast slices of french bread (I broiled mine in the toaster oven for 2 minutes).

The Toast is Ready for the Soup

Place one slice of toast in each bowl and cover with 1 slice of Provolone cheese.

I let my cheese hang over the edges of the bowls. You can use shredded if you like and just top the bread.

Broil on low for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

The one cup Pampered Chef glass storage containers are the perfect size.

I served mine with salad and a slice of french bread with butter, thyme and garlic salt.

Dinner is Served!

This is a great make-ahead recipe. To reheat, place in toaster oven on bake at 300F for 5-10 minutes. Bon Appetit! ~Melissa

Recipe: Ham, Bean and Barley Soup

I’ve had a bunch of dried beans in my pantry for ages and have been waiting for the fall to make a great soup. This recipe is healthy, hearty, and homey! And it makes plenty, so invite a crowd! Here’s what I did:

Sneak Peek at Some of the Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried black beans
  • 1 cup dried red beans
  • 1 cup dried northern beans
  • 1 cup dried mung beans
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • WATER!
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 # turkey ham, chopped
  • 1 c. uncooked pearl barley

Instructions:

First, I took 1 cup each of the following dried beans: black beans, red beans, northern beans, mung beans (the little green ones), and lentils (the little tan ones). I soaked them overnight in a big pot of water.

Beautiful Beans! I felt like I should be doing some kind of Aztec Art, they were so pretty!

Soaking overnight...

Then this morning, I drained and rinsed the beans, and put the big pot on the stove. I melted one stick of butter and added the salt, pepper, spices, and the chopped onion.

Tip: to finely chop an onion, cut a criss cross pattern without going all the way through, then lay the onion on its side and slice. Makes perfect little squares of onions.

Mmm! Onion cooking in butter...one of the most pleasant aromas on earth!

Once the onion was transluscent, I added the rinsed beans, chopped ham, and 8 cups of water.

I used an 8 quart stockpot.

Bring to a boil on high, then turn down to low and simmer for 1 hour. After the hour, add the barley and cook for another 40-45 minutes.

Be sure to invite a crowd...or be ready to eat this for a very long time!

Serve hot! To reheat, I would suggest adding a little water, bringing it back to a boil, then turning down to low to keep it warm.

If you don't have enough bowls to go around, utilize those tea cups from your grandmother! Enjoy!

Recipe by Melissa McKinnon