Category Archives: Soups and Stews

Skinny Tortilla Soup…A Hominy Story

1 cup is less than 2 Weight Watcher points but you don't need to be watching your calories to appreciate a yummy bowl...or two!

1 cup is 2 Weight Watcher points but you don’t need to be watching your calories to appreciate a yummy bowl…or two!

I’m a soup girl. I could devote an entire blog to my soup creations. I could eat a bowl of any soup any time of day. There is something comforting to me while I have a large pot steaming away all day while I go about other chores, visiting the pot to add an ingredient, give it a stir or to simply taste its progress.

Though a mystery to my Mom, as I was not a fan as a child. I would turn my nose up to anything considered a soup or stew opting for a PB&J instead. I’d pout, make terrible faces and whine until she would cave and excuse me from my bowl.

Despite that I deserve paybacks from my own children, to my pleasure, they too, share my (Now as an adult) love for bowls of anything soupy.

This recipe really got its inspiration from a blog called http://www.skinnykitchen.com/recipes/youll-love-our-heavenly-chicken-tortilla-soup/ I of course added my own twist, but truly, this was the base recipe I used for my own

First, before I continue onto my recipe, let’s get a little lesson on Hominy. These corny nuggets are what really make this the BEST Tortilla Soup ever!

Why Hello, Hominy, welcome to my kitchen.

Why Hello, Hominy, welcome to my kitchen.

According to Wikipedia, Hominy consists of dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization….okay, lesson over…just know this stuff is really cool…indians used it too…so it must be magic!

Here it is, the healthy, yummy, lick your bowl clean recipe:

Ingredients for Skinny Tortilla Soup

1 large or 2 small chopped onions

2 stalks celery sliced

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 corn tortillas chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon quality cumin (more to taste)

1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder (regular is fine too)

1/2 teaspoon smoked spicy paprika (offers a really nice smokey spicy flavor, I found mine at Penzy’s)

3 TBS tomato past (save the rest of the can in a ziplock baggie in your freezer for later use)

1 15oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes juice and all

1 Can green chilis, drained

1 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Yellow hominy drained and rinsed

2 cups of cooked lean chicken

Juice and zest of 1 lime plus more for garnish

In a large stockpot sweat your onions and celery in a bit of EVOO for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and chopped corn tortillas. Sweat for another couple of minutes. Add spices, tomato paste, broth, tomatoes, beans, chilis and bring to a slow bubble. Turn back heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add hominy, and chicken. Simmer for another 10 minutes taste and adjust seasonings. I believe I ended up adding more chili powder and cumin. Just before serving, add the zest 1/2 lime into soup and juice of whole lime.

Garnish with cilantro, baked corn tortilla strips and a wedge of lime

Baked Corn Tortilla Strips

Simply cut 2 corn tortillas into strips, spray sheet pan with cooking spray, lightly spray tops of tortillas and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until edges begin turning golden, about 10 minutes or less.

Italian Minestrone Soup

2 cups of hearty soup is only 188 calories, 1.7 grams of fat, 9.7 grams protein and 9.4 grams fiber

The New Year is well on its way and many of us are paying attention to our diets after indulging in so many holiday goodies. This Italian Minestrone Soup recipe is so hearty and satisfying, you don’t even realize you are eating a big bowl of Healthy Goodness! A generous 2-cups of steamy heaven is only 188 calories, 1.7grams of fat, and packs in 9.7 grams of protein and 9.4 grams fiber….

But how does it taste you ask? It’s an Italian festival in your mouth! Tomato, garlic, Italian seasoning, hearty whole grain pasta and savory vegetables satisfy all of your cravings. With these numbers, one can even afford to grate some quality parmesan cheese over the top!

Use a large stock pot as this recipe makes at least 8, 2 cup servings

Ingredients:
Cooking spray (I used Olive Oil flavor)
1 Cup diced onion
1 1/2 cup sliced celery (about 3 large stalks)
1 1/2 cup Carrots sliced (I used frozen, straight from the Freezer)
1 Tbs diced garlic (I like the jarred as it’s much easier)
1 – 15 oz can low sodium or no salt added diced tomatoes
1 – 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable to make this vegetarian)
1 6-oz can no salt added tomato paste
1-2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (to taste)
1 1/2 cup sliced fresh zucchini
1 1/2 cup frozen green beans (no need to defrost)
2 cups loose leaf frozen spinach. The 10-oz frozen block may be used but it will need to be defrosted and drained of juices.
1 cup uncooked whole wheat shell pasta
Sea Salt to taste if desired.

Garnish with quality parmesan cheese freshly grated (this does change nutrition information)

Spray cooking spray on the bottom of stock pot. Preheat on med-high heat, add onions and celery. Let them sweat, turn down heat if needed to prevent browning, about 3 minutes, add frozen sliced carrots (or fresh). Stirring often, allow vegetables to become slightly tender. Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes more. Add tomatoes, juice and all, chick peas, broth, tomato paste and italian seasoning. Stir and bring to a gentle boil for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, clean and slice zucchini. Add zucchini, green beans (no need to defrost), spinach and pasta. Soup is done when pasta is done. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread if desired.

This recipe makes a lot, put into individual serving dishes and freeze. Perfect to take to work for a healthy lunch or take out and defrost in the refrigerator the night before to accompany your dinner

Split Pea Soup with Ham – The way Grandma Would Make it if she had access to Ma’s Garden

Get out the stock pot, as soup season has begun!

We love our homemade soup! With all of its liquid goodness, my boys and I enjoy a big bowl of homemade soup and crusty bread. The season officially begins when I pull out my giant stockpot and make a batch of Split Pea Soup with Ham. I crave it all spring and summer, but with the warmer weather, it’s just not the same. Serve this with a thick piece of fresh baked Free Form Artisan Bread.

Although there are many “quick” soup recipes and crock pot recipes, I am a true believer, that soup must be given the love and respect of simmering for many hours. This is an endeavor that takes love and patience. Soup days are also days I plan other home projects, such as laundry, paper work, blogging and phone calls. One does not have to be a slave to the stove as much as you have to visit it periodically to stir, taste, and occasionally add an ingredient. I consider soup to be the perfect food. It usually has a protein, carb, veggies and herbs. It’s everything good in one pot, and how I trick the boys (and myself) to eat vegetables they may not try otherwise.

Earlier in the week, I made a Baked Honey Dijon Ham with the bone in. I removed most of the leftover ham from the bone, leaving some meat around it, put into a large plastic bag to use later. I don’t always have a ham bone like this to make my soup, so often I will purchase ham shanks to use instead. Here it is, My Spilt Pea soup with Ham that I’ve made more than any other recipe as it’s simply a family favorite.

Recipe yeilds…lot’s of soup

Ingredients
2 1-lb bags of dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 ham bone (from 5-7 lb ham with some meat still intact) or 2-3 lbs of ham shanks.
2 quarts of Chicken broth (I used 1 quart of store-bought and 1 quart of homemade I had defrosted from the freezer)
Water (as needed throughout)
2 stalks celery sliced
1 large onion diced (I used a Vidalia)
2 TBS garlic finely diced
3 bay leaves (remove before serving)
2 large carrots quartered and sliced
3 TBS fresh herbs (I used a combination of Thyme and Sage, but savory and parsley are good too)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste
2-3 chicken bullion cubes (optional)

After you’ve sorted out your peas (I pour them on a large baking sheet so I can easily pick out any unwanted discolored ones) rinse well under cold water in a colander and pour into large stock pot. Cover with water (about 1 inch above the peas) and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. This is preparing the peas. There is also an overnight option, but I just prefer to use this method.

After an hour has passed, pour in broth and add ham bone (or shanks). All of the peas and bones should be covered well with liquid. If needed, add water (I often have to add some water throughout cooking process). On high heat, bring to a soft boil. Meanwhile, begin chopping onions, celery and garlic. Add to soup and bring down temp. to a high simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

After simmering for about an hour, add carrots and water if needed. Simmer another 45 minutes still stirring occasionally. Then, add fresh-cut herbs, simmer another 15 minutes or so. Remove ham bone or shanks with thongs and let cool on cutting board until able to handle. Remove meat and cut into little pieces. This process can be a bit tedious, but is worth it for the final result. Return meat to soup. This is when you begin tasting and adding salt and pepper to taste. Carefull with the salt as the ham adds it own, so add slowly, taste and adjust. Personally, I have been known to throw in a couple of chicken bullion cubes in place of the salt as it adds extra flavor and contains salt. Keep adding water as the peas absorb liquid and it evaporates during the process.

Soup is very forgiving and gets better the longer it simmers. Like a tomato sauce, it only gets better the next day. Freeze leftovers in individual servings for quick defrosting another day as a quick hearty lunch or dinner.

If you happen to have a dog, or your neighbor has a canine friend, send the bone for a special treat!

Macaroni and Cheese Soup with Bacon – Kids in the Kitchen

Courtesy of Caleb, future independant man who can cook for himself. Note: I'm still working on cleaning up after himself!

Tonight, after his first dinner, Caleb was hungry again. My growing 4 year old insisted he wanted a soup, so we searched the cupboards for something to his liking.

Lately, I have really concentrated on letting my boys really be a part of our meal making. We’ve had failures, such as Cody’s idea of making one giant pancake with all of the batter, and some great success too. Tonight, my 4 yr old, Caleb is the star.

Macaroni and cheese soup with bacon. Ummm, well, it’s a winner right away!

Note, he gobbled it up right away and is now in Carb-Coma!

Ingredients:

1 Can Cambells Cheddar cheese soup
2 Cups cooked Macaroni
1 Can milk
2 splashes of chicken broth to thin
2 TBS real bacon bits plus some for garnish
Salt and pepper to a 4yr old’s taste

Combine all ingredients until hot. Pour into bowl. Have a wrestling match while soup cools, eat like crazy and then take a bath!

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

It’s that time of year here in Michigan, seems there are more tomatoes than one can use fast enough. BLT’s, Salsa’s and Salads are often staples on your menu if you too, are blessed with the abundance of our seasonal produce. But what do you if your garden is still bursting or your counters are full with ripe tomatoes begging to be part of your next meal. Short of canning (a task that does not appeal to me), I’m quickly running out of ideas. As I was visiting other blogs I ran across a recipe I couldn’t wait to try! Inspired by another co-blogger’s post, Roasted Tomato Soup. I decided that fresh basil from Ma’s Garden must be a Co-star to what is now, my very favorite soup to compliment my grilled cheese

Share with me, your favorite tomato recipes, I would love to hear your input or suggestions, as I’m sure there will more from the garden soon!

Ingredients:

4-5 large ripe tomatoes (about 4 1/2 lbs) halved and seeded
1 large Vidalia onion peeled and cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves peeled
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste

On a large baking sheet, place halved and seeded tomatoes, onions and garlic. Pour about 2 TBS EVOO over the top, salt and pepper lightly. Toss and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. Turn onions and garlic about 2/3 way through cooking time. Remove pan from oven and let tomatoes cool. Carefully, peel skins from tomatoes right on the cookie sheet so not to lose any juices. Roughly chop tomatoes removing the top piece where the stem was. Pour all contents of baking sheet into a stock pot with chicken broth. Bring to a low boil then turn back heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chopped basil and cook an additional 10 minutes. With an emulsion blender, very carefully blend until smooth. If you do not have an emulsion blender, do small batches in a blender. Be sure to let liquid cool first. Reheat in stock pot on low, slowly stir in heavy cream, simmer for another 10 minutes careful not to bring to a boil.

Serve with toasted bread and freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.

Dinner on a Dime (Really!)

This is not necessarily a recipe as much as a concept. Tonight is the end of a long work week for me and I am tired. I am a single mom to 2 boys, 14 and 4. My oldest often surprises me with 1 or two of his friends for dinner, I actually just think that they’ve caught on, if they stay at my house long enough, I will make them appetizing and hearty food. I hadn’t really made dinner plans, but came home to a house full of teens and a hungry 4-year-old to feed.

So, off to the refrigerator I go. Inside, I knew, was the extra pot roast from 2 nights ago. I had also saved the juice it had cooked in. There was an extra tomato and 1/2 of a large red onion from the Pico de Gallo. More digging brought me to my vegetable drawer, 2 carrots, 3 large mushrooms, celery and a few stalks of asparagus. In my cupboard, there were 3 remaining redskin potatoes, extras from the Smoking Redskin Potato Salad I made for Cody’s B-day pool party.

Oh how the plan has developed! Soup! A hearty beef and vegetable soup. An extra can of beef broth, some Rosemary and Thyme and a TBS of jarred diced garlic get this meal moving! I get to chopping as the broth and juices from the roast are warming up. I add more water and a couple of bullion cubes, veggies (carrots, onions and celery first as they take longer) After half an hour, I have cleaned out my refrigerator of it’s leftovers and made the house smell amazing. My son and his friends are now getting too close to the kitchen and Cody is even taste-testing my broth. This is when I remember one of my son’s latest discoveries and send them out on a mission.

Jimmy Johns, its a sub joint all around our area. Cody discovered earlier in the summer while skateboarding with his buddies that they sell day old French bread for 27 cents out the door! He and his friends would take their change and buy a loaf to share to feed their growing bodies, fueling them for more summer-time fun. I have since used the bread for our Italian Subs Pizzeria style and cannot believe the amount I get (same as the deli’s french bread loaves I buy for at least $2.00)

Armed with only a single dollar bill, the boys and thier skateboards have gone for a few minutes. Finally, I have space to finish our dinner without these boys drooling over my stove. I pre-heat my oven to 350 degrees and decide my soup needs a couple of TBS of tomato paste and a splash of Worchestershire Sauce. After adding 2 more cups of water as the veggies and meat are in need of more broth to bath in, I set the table for 5. the bread arrives, is heated for about 6 minutes to make it perfectly crusty on the outside and warm in the middle.

Dinner is served! It only cost me pennies and everyone has full bellies! An added bonus, I have cleaned out my refrigerator as I plan to go grocery shopping soon anyways. Only 2 of them picked out the mushrooms…lol!