Soup, soup, soup!

I’ve been in a real soup making mood lately. Two weekends ago it was Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup, then last weekend I made up a Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup and Baked Potato Soup. All so good and so different. Enjoy!

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Italian sausage and white bean soup – My boys both love sausage, so I try to use it pretty frequently. I made this a couple of months ago for the first time and shared it with my neighbors. They loved it and I loved it, and I’ve been a slacker for waiting this long to post the recipe – sorry guys! 🙂

Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup

Italian Sausage and White Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings (I used Publix Greenwise Italian Chicken Sausage
2 onions, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth
26-oz box diced tomatoes (or 2 14-oz will do)
4 bay leaves
4 cans white beans (mix of Great Northern and Navy)
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise then into 1/3-inch sections
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
3 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1.) Add olive oil to a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauté sausage, breaking it into smaller pieces, until it is browned. Remove sausage from pot and set aside.
2.) In the same pot, add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock, browned sausage and remaining ingredients (except 1 can of white beans).
3.) Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add last can of white beans* and simmer 5 more minutes. Top with parmesan cheese.

*This ensures that you still have some whole beans in the soup. Some of the beans first added break apart, but it adds a nice creamy texture to the soup. 

Removing casings
To remove the casing, I slice down the sausage and squeeze out the meet.

Browning sausage

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Mexican chicken and rice soup – The inspiration for this soup came from a local Mexican restaurant, La Parrilla. I would have never thought to order chicken soup at a Mexican restaurant, but one day I got brave and tried it and am so, so thankful that I did. This is by far one of my favorite soups to order out at a restaurant, so I’m glad my copy-cat recipe turned out pretty spot-on.

Mexican chicken and rice soup

Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 sweet onions, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 cups shredded chicken (or 2 chicken breasts, boiled and shred)
8 cups chicken stock
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
Kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 4-oz can green chilies
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups cooked rice (I used brown rice)

1.) Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven until onions are translucent.
2.) Add chicken, chicken stock and then remaining ingredients (except rice).
3.) Bring soup to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in rice, stir, and simmer for about 5 minutes longer. Top with avocado.

Mexican chicken and rice soup2

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Baked potato soup – This stuff is sinful. It is not for the calorie counter, that’s for sure. Let’s just say that I glanced at the fat per tablespoon of the heavy cream and was a little shocked (and am not telling!). See, while I am a label checker, it is ingredients I check (can I pronounce them all?), not calories or fat, because to me (person of many opinions and no real expertise in the matter), ingredients are much more important than calories or fat…  but I digress. I bring this up as a disclaimer, because if you are a calorie-counter, and while making this soup, happen to glance down at our friend Mr. Heavy Whipping Cream and realize what I’m doing to you, I just didn’t want you to be mad at me. Full disclosure over, don’t worry about fat for a meal and enjoy this soup. I promise you won’t be sorry. Oh, and by the way, by far, this was my boys’  favorite.

Baked potato soup

Baked Potato Soup

1 lb bacon, diced (make it good quality bacon without nitrates)
1 1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken stock
7 to 8 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1.) Saute bacon in large soup pot or dutch oven until bacon starts to slightly brown. Add onion, carrot and celery, and continue sautéing until onion is translucent.
2.) Add flour to bacon/veggie mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated. Pour in chicken stock and stir well.
3.) Add potatoes and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to lightly boil for about 20 to 25 minutes (or until potatoes are fork tender). Using a potato masher, mash some of the potatoes (while in the soup) to create varying texture in the soup. Add heavy whipping cream and stir well. Simmer for about 5 more minutes.
4.) Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese and chives (and extra bacon, if you’d like).

Baked potato soup4
At the beginning of the simmer stage – potatoes not yet mashed

Baked potato soup3
Potatoes mashed, about to add the cream

Baked potato soup2
Finished product!

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