Tomato Soup

It doesn’t get more classic than some tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Such a fabulous combination!  My tomato soup used to be Campbell’s… but I’ve been wanting to make it from scratch lately – because everything’s better from scratch, right?!? I’ve had this recipe floating in my head for a couple of weeks and this weekend I finally got the chance to make this soup a reality. It was really, really good. It reminded me of awesome tomato soup I’ve had at Zoe’s Kitchen. Anyways, I will be making this again for sure. Hope you enjoy!

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
2 26-oz boxes of diced tomatoes (or 4 cans)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 cup half and half

1.) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and add onion, celery, carrots and garlic over medium-high heat. Sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and sugar. Heat to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
2.) Using an emulsion blender, blend soup until pureed (or add soup in batches to a blender and then return to pot).
3.) Add half and half and cook until heated through. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

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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!


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


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.

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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).

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At the beginning of the simmer stage – potatoes not yet mashed

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Potatoes mashed, about to add the cream

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Finished product!

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

Today is my second day home with sick kiddos. They’ve been sick with the flu, but I’m happy to report they are starting to feel better! I made this soup for lunch today in hopes  it would aid in the “feel better” efforts and both boys enjoyed it. My husband (the real chef) first introduced me to chicken soup with lemon, which at first I thought was a weird combination. Lemon in soup?? That is, until I tried it. I was wrong, he was right (I don’t say this often), and the soup was darn good. So when I asked him this morning for some details on how he made it, he couldn’t remember (go figure), but he could tell me that it was lemon juice (vs. lemon zest). So I made a traditional chicken and rice soup and added lemon juice. It was perfect. So flavorful! The acidity of the lemon is a perfect contrast to the salty/savory chicken broth. This recipe makes a big ole pot… I plan to freeze some of it for later. Hope you enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lemon

3 cups shredded chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 sweet onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
5 stalks of celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup white rice (I used jasmine)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1.) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over high heat and add onions, carrots and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add chicken and garlic and sauté for a minute longer.
2.) Add chicken stock, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then add rice.  Stir well then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
3.) In the last 2 or 3 minutes of simmering, stir in fresh parsley. Re-cover and finish cooking.

Big Lemons
I only had to use 1 lemon because it was a gigantic lemon I got from my grandparent’s tree in Florida.

Carrots Celery Onion

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White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili… yum, yum, yum! I’ve been making this chili for a couple of years and it continues to be a crowd pleaser. It’s a pretty simple recipe with no cream soups – just chicken stock and cream cheese to make it creamy.

I made this yesterday because the cold and wet day had me craving something warm – it did the trick! And as I sit here eating the leftovers for lunch, I’m again warm and cozy and enjoying this yummy chili.

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
3 cups shredded chicken (2-3 chicken breasts, boiled or about half a rotisserie or boiled chicken)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
4 14.5-oz cans of white beans, drained (I use a combo of Great Northern, Navy and Cannellini)
4 to 5 cups chicken stock (depends on how much broth you like)
1 4-oz can green chilies
4 ozs cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro
Sour cream

1.) Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add shredded chicken, cumin and chili powder and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
2.) Add chicken stock, beans and green chilies. Stir.
3.) Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
4.) Soften cream cheese by microwaving it for 30 seconds. Add a few spoonfuls of the broth and stir with a fork until creamy. Repeat by adding more broth and stirring a few more times until cream cheese has turned to a sauce. Add to chili and stir well to fully incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste.
5.) Serve topped with cilantro, Fritos and sour cream.

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Beef Vegetable Soup with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Another beautiful fall weekend means more soup cooking in my kitchen.  Vegetable soup is one of my all-time favorites… my mom used to make it for me when I was growing up. And by the way, vegetable soup to me means beef vegetable soup because that’s just how I roll. I used my fav organic ground beef from Costco, lots and lots of fresh veggies, a box of tomatoes and only used cans for the beans. Depending on what I have on hand sometimes I vary the vegetables (zucchini is good in this too), but the one thing that I must have is the cabbage. It adds such an awesome flavor to the soup that I simply will not make it if there is no cabbage. So take or leave any of the others, but I can’t promise the soup will be as good without the cabbage. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box.

The soup takes about 30 minutes to prep/start and about an hour to simmer.  So as I was waiting impatiently for my soup to be done, I started day dreaming about what I could make to go with it… and then it occurred to me – garlic cheddar biscuits would be to die for with this soup.  So I modified my ole buttermilk drop biscuit recipe with some garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and cheddar cheese.  And oh my gosh these things are good. They’ve got a similar taste to Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits. They were quick and easy and did turn out to be the perfect compliment to my soup.

This made a huge pot of soup (I’m not great guestimating serving sizes), but you could easily freeze half and still have plenty to enjoy.

Veggie soup and garlic cheddar biscuits

Beef Vegetable Soup

1 1/3 lbs ground beef
1 large sweet onion, diced
6 carrots, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 26-oz box diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1″-2″ pieces
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
3 red potatoes, cubed
1 14.5-oz can of kidney beans (not drained)
1 8.5-oz can of lima beans (not drained)
1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
4 bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp sugar

1.) In a large dutch oven or soup pot, brown ground beef. Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
2.) Add tomatoes and beef broth and stir until well combined. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Try it and add more salt and pepper to taste (I almost always need to add more salt).

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This is what the soup looks like when you first add all the veggies.

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This is after about 30 minutes of simmering.

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This is an hour after simmering.

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Garlic Cheddar Drop Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 stick cold butter (8 tbsp), cubed
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley. Stir with a whisk until well mixed.
3.) Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter until the flour resembles coarse meal.
4.) Add buttermilk and cheddar cheese and mix well with a large spoon.
5.) Using a scooper, scoop out the dough and drop onto a cooking stone. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. This recipe yielded me 10 large biscuits.

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Lentil Soup

It’s a rainy Saturday in Georgia – a perfect day for soup.  I found this recipe on a blog I follow, Aly GarlicHands,  and it looked so great I had to try it.  Plus I have lentils in my pantry that have been begging to be cooked – so all the conditions were right to make a big pot of soup, and boy was that a great idea!

I had to make a couple of modifications based on what I had on hand. You see, the only thing worse than attempting the grocery store with two little ones by yourself is doing so in the rain. As I like to say, it is what it is.  I had to reduce the amount of lentils, tomatoes and broth (so I added some more carrots and celery), I used chicken stock instead of vegetable, and I had to forgo the fresh parsley.  And so I did the best with what I had, and it still turned out delicious! This is a very easy soup to make, and it doesn’t have to cook all day.  Just a little over 30 minutes and voila! Hope you enjoy!

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Lentil Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, cut lengthwise and chopped in 1/2 inch sections
5 carrots, cut lengthwise (quartered in the thickest part) and chopped into 1/2 sections
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups dried green lentils (or use black or brown)
2 boxes chicken stock (8 cups)
1/2 cup dry elbow pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese for topping

1.) In a soup hot, heat olive oil over high heat, add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, then add thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until veggies begin to become tender.
2.) Add can of tomatoes (with juice) and cook for a few minutes; stir in lentils.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
3.) Add dry pasta and simmer for 7 more minutes.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

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Adapted from Aly GarlicHand’s Lentil Soup.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Okay, okay, I know it’s not quite “soup weather” – it’s still in the mid-80’s here in Atlanta. However, it is September and Starbuck’s is serving Pumpkin Spice Latte’s… so, it’s getting close and I’m going to start making soup anyways!

My first soup of the season is a Broccoli and Cheese Soup.  It’s a little different than your standard B & C – it has a thinner broth and is loaded with veggies.  This recipe was inspired from one I found on Pinterest, and I followed it pretty closely except that I added a lot more broccoli.  I couldn’t get the boys to eat any (they’re not much for soup so I’ve got some work to do!) so it was a good thing I made grilled turkey and cheese to go along with it!  If you like Broccoli and Cheese this is a must-try. Hope you enjoy!


Broccoli and Cheese Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
6 1/2 cup chicken broth (reserve 1/2 cup to mix with flour later)
10 to 12 small red potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup half and half
2 large bunches of broccoli (see picture below), florets cut off
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1.) Melt butter in a soup pot. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute over medium high heat until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes).  Add garlic, sauté for 1 more minute.
2.) Add 6 cups chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).
3.) Add broccoli and milk and cook until broccoli is tender, about 5 more minutes.
4.) Mix flour with 1/2 cup chicken stock and pour into soup.  Simmer until it slightly thickens.  Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Mix thoroughly and serve.

Adapted from Lulu the Baker’s Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

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