Tag Archives: Soup

Easy Chili

Cooler weather has finally arrived in West Michigan which makes it a perfect time to serve up a big bowl of chili.  Although, soup or chili is good anytime of the year (in my opinion).

This is a mild and easy to make chili that can be ready in less than an hour.  However, if you want a spicier chili, add 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne powder when you add in the Seasoning Mix.

Quick and easy, this recipe uses a packet of McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix,  The sautéed diced onions and green bell peppers add a taste of freshness to the chili.

If you are looking for a quick and easy Chili recipe, this is the one to try.  Cheddar cheese is a great topping for the chili.

Easy Chili

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 pound ground chuck or beef
1 package McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1 can  (16 ounces) Bush’s Chili Beans, medium chili sauce, undrained
Cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, sauté the onions and diced bell pepper just till softened.  Add the ground beef.  Break it apart with a wooden spoon.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain the fat, if needed.

Stir in the Seasoning Mix, tomatoes, and beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot with assorted toppings, if desired.

We are starting to get some color here in the Grand Rapids area.  Below is a photo of a pretty country road not too far from my house.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

There used to be a steakhouse restaurant here in Grand Rapids that had a Chicken Pot Pie Soup on their menu.  That was my favorite menu item to order whenever we went there.  Instead of Puff Pastry, they topped the soup with pieces of baked pie crust.  It was delicious.

I have been making Chicken Pot Pie Soup for a few years now and it is a favorite of mine.  It is a creamy soup that has all the flavors of a chicken pot pie and made even tastier with puff pastry croutons.  It may just be my favorite comfort food.

Although it is spring here in West Michigan, we still have some cold days and a bowl of hot soup is always welcome.

The soup is very easy to make.  I used the chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, frozen peas and carrots, and store-bought puff pastry, making for an easy preparation of the soup.

If you can find Wewalka European Bakery Style Dough Puff Pastry, I can recommend it.  It is refrigerated and not frozen.  It is made with butter and easy to work with.  If you can’t find the Wewalka brand, Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is widely available in the frozen foods section of your grocery store.

The puff pastry croutons make a decorative topping for the soup and are also good as a snack.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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For the Puff Pastry

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (if frozen)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned Pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoned garlic powder

For the Soup

3 cups diced cooked chicken breast
2 cups peas and carrots, thawed if frozen
1 cup pearl onions, thawed if frozen
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine (or additional chicken broth)

1 to 1 1/2 cups half and half milk

For the Puff Pastry

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl beat the egg with the tablespoon of water and set aside.  Combine the salt, pepper and garlic powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Unfold the puff pasty.  Lightly brush with the beaten egg mixture.  Sprinkle evenly with the seasoned salt mixture.

With a cookie cutter, cut the puff pastry in to heart shapes (or desired shapes).  Transfer each piece of pastry to the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

For the Soup

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, peas and carrots, and pearl onions.  Set aside.

In a dutch oven or large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add in the flour, salt, pepper, and thyme and stir until well blended.  Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and wine and whisk until combined.  Add in the chicken, peas and carrots, and pearl onions.  Bring the soup up to a simmer and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Turn off the heat and add in 1 cup half and half and stir to combine.  If soup is too thick, add in the additional 1/2 cup half and half.

Serve the soup topped with the puff pastry croutons

With the rollout of the vaccines, hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic.  Be safe everyone.

Below is a tree that blooms in my yard every year.  I believe it is a wild crabapple tree.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Valentine’s Day is in a couple of days.  Here in Michigan, the restaurants and bars reopened February 1st for indoor dining (at 25% capacity) and with a 10 p.m. curfew.  At least the people who want to eat out on Valentine’s Day will be able to.  I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since the pandemic started.  I do support our local restaurants but do it through home delivery or pickup.

This Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup is a simple and delicious soup that will warm you on our cold winter days.  It is very easy and quick to make.

The recipe uses roasted red peppers that you can buy in a jar.  The only prep of the peppers is draining and chopping them.  Use fire roasted tomatoes if you can, as they add a slight smoky flavor to the soup.  This soup goes great with a grilled cheese sandwich.  If there are any leftovers, the soup freezes really well.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onions
2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon pesto (optional)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup half and half

For the Topping
thin slices of fresh mozzarella

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot.  Add the onion and sauté until onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, pesto, broth, salt, garlic powder, and basil.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then cover and reduce heat to a slow steady simmer.  Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the half and half.  Stir to combine.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Serve in bowls topped with a slice of the fresh mozzarella.  (Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool until warm and then transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth and return to the pot.)  

The photo below is my yard after a recent snowfall.  It was definitely a good day for a hot bowl of soup.

Happy Valentine’s Day and stay safe.



Italian Vegetable Soup

I think we all have our favorite comfort food.  Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and grilled cheese sandwiches are quite often considered comfort foods.  Also, it could be a favorite cake, pie, or cookie.

Often times when we eat our favorite comfort food, it takes us back to a happier time or perhaps a reminder of a loved one.

The Huffington Post has a list of what they consider to be the top 25 comfort foods.  The number one being the grilled cheese sandwich.  Check out the complete list here to see if your favorite comfort food is listed.

One of my favorites is any kind of vegetable soup with a tomato base.  I can remember eating vegetable soup when I was kid, and it was always made with vegetables and tomatoes from my Mom’s garden.

This recipe is so easy to make and chances are you will have all of the ingredients on hand.  It is a hearty soup and will be welcomed for lunch or dinner.

Serve the soup with a favorite bread or with sweet Honey Muffins as I do. Recipe for the Honey Muffins can be found here.

Italian Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups water
1 10.5 oz can beef broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juices
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can corn, drained
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch Oven and then add the onion.  Sauté the onions until just barely tender.  Add the carrots and celery and stir to combine, cooking for an additional minute.  Turn off the heat, and add all of the spices and mix to combine with the vegetables.  Add the water, beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans and the corn.  Bring the soup to a boil, and then immediately turn down to a very low simmer.  Continue to simmer the soup uncovered for about 45 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Serve the soup while hot.  

1.  Recipe makes a lot of soup but is great for leftovers.
2.  Adapted from allrecipes.com.


Cream of Tomato Soup

There are still a lot of beautiful tomatoes available at the Farmers Market.  Fortunately, there are many wonderful ways to eat and cook with tomatoes.  One of my favorite ways is to make soup.  I always make several batches of cream of tomato soup during the season.  It just happens to be my favorite soup.

I don’t really care for Campbell’s Tomato Soup, although their Tomato Bisque is fairly good.  Panera Bread, a USA restaurant chain, has an excellent tomato soup; their Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup.  But the best is obviously homemade with fresh, ripe tomatoes.

The Campbell Soup Company came out with the condensed tomato soup in 1897.  Although the canned variety made the soup very popular, the first recipe is credited to Maria Parloa in her 1872 cookbook The Appledore Cook Book.

Miss Parloa was a culinary pioneer who authored seven cookbooks and established two cooking schools.  She was also the first to promote cooking brands, such as Baker’s Chocolate.  Miss Parloa also contributed to The Ladies Home Journal magazine and was also part owner.  For more information on this remarkable woman, see this article at the Bethel Public Library.  She left the town of Bethel, CT $2,000 which they used to establish the library.

The above referenced article calls her recipe Tomato Chowder.  However, in her cookbook, it is titled Tomato Soup.  A free digital copy of the cookbook is available from Archive.org.  There are several download options available.

This recipe calls for the tomatoes to be peeled.  I have a great vegetable peeler that actually peels tomatoes.  It is the Oxo Good Grips Serrated Peeler that I purchased from Amazon for $8.99.

You can see in my photo below that it does a good job.

This recipe is adapted from Betty Crocker.  See the original recipe for directions on peeling tomatoes using the boiling method.

Serve this delicious creamy soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and you will be in comfort food heaven.

Cream of Tomato Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups chopped)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

croutons for serving (optional)

In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Cook onion in the oil for 3 to 5 minutes until translucent, stirring frequently.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper,  basil, and chicken or vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-25  minutes or until tomatoes are softened and cooked down.  Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter.

Carefully blend the soup with an immersion blender until desired smoothness.  I like mine slightly chunky.  If desired, serve soup with croutons.  

1.  A blender or food processor can also be used to blend the soup.
2.  I slice the very top of the tomato off in order to get rid of the stem part and then discard it.
3.  I like to use Amore Tomato Paste which comes in a 4 ounce stay-fresh tube and allows you to use the right amount for your recipes.  After opening, it stores in the fridge and has a long shelf life.

Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday.   Usually that time of the year means cold and snowy weather for us but we have had a mild winter till just now.  Yes, we are waiting on an artic blast to roar in tonight.  Guess it will make the snow lovers happy.  Anyway, here is a cute picture from last year.  Snowman and photo are courtesy of a family member.


And, yes we did get the return of winter as forecast, as you can see with the red cardinal in the snow.

red cardinal

But winter just means we need to be cooking and eating  more soup.  Of course, soup is a favorite any time of the year but especially so in the wintertime.  This Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder is a hearty and thick cream based soup that will help warm you on a cold winter day. The sweet corn and red bell pepper are a welcomed  compliment to the jalapeno.  If you want the chowder less spicy, remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeno (or omit altogether).  This recipe makes a large amount of  chowder, but it makes for great leftovers.

Chowder is typically a seafood or vegetable soup made with milk and usually eaten with saltine crackers.  I think all of us in the USA are familiar with Clam Chowder.  Quite often, on Fridays you will find Clam Chowder as the soup of the day at many restaurants.  Corn chowder uses corn instead of the clams.

Chowder is thought to be a corruption of the French word chaudière (“cauldron”).  Chowder may have originated among Breton fishermen who brought the custom to Newfoundland, where it spread to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and New England.  Source Britannica

An early American recipe for Corn Chowder can be found in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, originally published in 1896 and written by Fannie Farmer.  It is a fairly simple recipe and interesting to note it uses canned corn.  The other ingredients are ones that would typically be in a chowder:  potatoes, salt pork (instead of bacon), onion and milk.

I have an iBook version of The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook but a free digital version is available from Google and can be found here.  I bought the iBook version several years ago and had completely forgotten about it until now.

The addition of chicken to the Corn Chowder makes for a very hearty one pot meal.  This recipe is adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe and can be found here.

Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 oz diced pancetta
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped red sweet pepper
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups corn, canned, frozen or fresh
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
Jalepeno chile pepper slices or chopped chives (optional)

In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven cook pancetta until crisp. Remove with a spoon; set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan.

Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoned salt and pepper. Add chicken to the pan.  Sauté over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink; remove from pan.

Add the sweet pepper and onion to pan. Cook and stir until tender. Add chopped jalapeno and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Stir in flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth, potatoes,  corn, cream, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.  Return the chicken to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes,  Discard bay leaves. Serve topped with jalapeno slices or chopped chives, if desired. 

Spicy Chicken-Corn Chowder

1.  The original recipe calls for a whole jalapeno pepper, but I found that 1/2 of one provides enough heat.
2.  Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta.


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