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Simple Clean and Homemade I Lemongrass Chicken and Rice Soup

If you didn’t already notice, we eat a lot of soup. Like at least once a week I am cooking a pot of soup. Even in the summer. I also really love using my Dutch Oven and cooking soup all day long on the stove or in the oven. Sometimes, I need to make something quick and just don’t have the time to cook my soup all day long. But don’t worry, we still get our soup fix in. The obvious solution is to eat the obsessive amount of soup in the freezer. If that is not an option, I have a few quick soups that I can make in less than 30 minutes, faster if the protein is already cooked and in the fridge.

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My Lemongrass Chicken and Rice soup is inspired by my favorite cup of soup at my favorite Thai restaurant, Nicky’s. I wrote about it here. On that day, they served the soup with rice noodles. Sometimes they do the noodles, other times they do rice. I love it both ways. My favorite thing about the soup is the citrusy flavor that of lemon grass and the slight heat from the pepper. Those were the flavors I was seeking in my version. I added a few more veggies and meat because we ate ours for our meal whereas they serve it as an appetizer at lunch before your meal.

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I love the addition of cilantro and green onion. It adds freshness. I added brown rice. I am sure you could use left over rice if you have some. You also could use leftover chicken (or turkey) if you wanted. Hello Thanksgiving/Christmas leftovers!

Lemongrass Chicken and Rice Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 carrot, cut into match sticks
  • 4 stocks lemongrass
  • 1 large handful cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 servings cooked brown rice
  • black pepper to taste


In a 4 quart pot, sauté onion and celery with oil until tender. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Salt with a pinch of salt.

Add Chicken Bouillon, carrots, and lemongrass. Fill the pot leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top. Add half of the cilantro and green onions. Add some freshly ground pepper. Simmer on medium for about 10 minutes. Add the rice just before serving. Allow to cook about 3 minutes with the rice in the soup. Garnish with cilantro and green onions.

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Now that fall is in full swing, we are eating a lot of soup. I wanted to share with you a round up of our favorite soup, stew, and chili recipes. These are all perfect on chili nights especially when the sun goes down before you even get home from work. I do most of my soups on Sunday and then we eat it on Monday and Tuesday. I always freeze a couple of containers for quick lunches or dinners.

Chili Verde

Chicken Dumpling

Stuffed Pepper

French Onion



Chicken Mole

Pasta Fagoli



Chicken Noodle



Tomato Basil


Check out these delicious soup recipes to fill you up and keep you warm.

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Simple Clean and Homemade I Chicken Dumpling Soup 3

I still can’t really believe it is fall. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that summer was just starting. I really am not ready for cold weather and shorter days. I can get myself a little more enthusiastic about cool, crisp weather by reminding myself of warm, fuzzy sweaters and boots. To survive cooler weather, I think we all need a little comfort. There isn’t much more comforting than a hot bowl of soup on a crisp fall day. Luckily, some soups are fast and easy enough to make on a weeknight to enjoy during the week.

Simple Clean and Homemade I Chicken Dumpling Soup

Chicken Dumpling soup reminds me of a little restaurant near my parents’ house. I specifically went there for the the Chicken Dumpling Soup. When I discovered it closed a few years ago I was very disappointed. It inspired me to create my own version. It is still just as comforting and only takes about an hour to make. It is something that I can make on a whim when we are craving soup.

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I like to pack this soup with tons of spinach. We love spinach in soups, So I put much more in it than in the recipe. Feel free to add more spinach. I love the texture of wilted spinach when I am eating soup. That coupled with the texture of the fluffy yet slightly doughy dumplings gives this soup the texture that I love.

Chicken Dumpling Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 stocks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • water
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat a 6 quart sauce pan over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan and cook the chicken until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and cook the carrot, celery, and onion until soft. Add the bouillon, bay leaf, and about 4 cups water. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Add spinach.

In a bowl, combine flour, cilantro, baking powder, salt, and milk to form a dough. Drop small amounts of dough into the soup and cook an additional 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Simple Clean and Homemade I Stuffed Pepper Soup 3

Soup season is on! One of my favorite menu planning ideas is soup. There is beauty in letting a big pot of soup simmer for hours and enjoying a hot cup of soup for a few meals during the week. It is so warm and comforting like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and snuggling on the couch. I’m not going to tell you we don’t eat soup in the summer, because we do. A lot. Just not as much as in the cooler months. Summer soups for us tend to be quick soup like wonton soup because they are done quickly and don’t add heat to the house.

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Now that the temperature has dipped below 70 on most days, I like to make a pot of soup and leave it on the stove for hours. Stuffed Pepper Soup is a fall soup in our house. I really like it when green peppers, onions, and tomatoes are available at the farmer’s market. It makes the soup more economical and more flavorful.

This soup is packed with all the fillings of a stuffed pepper. It has green peppers, onion, tomatoes, and brown rice. I am not exactly sure how most people eat stuffed peppers, but we always had them with mashed potatoes as a kid. It seems natural to me to eat stuffed pepper soup with mashed potatoes. We always make some and put a pile in the bottom of the bowl before scooping the soup over top. Soup served over mashed potatoes is something my grandma always did, especially with chicken noodle.

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When I eat this soup I am often surprised by how much it tastes like the stuffed peppers my grandma made when I was a kid. This soup freezes well for quick weeknight meals, but most importantly it makes a perfect early fall meal.

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1-2 hours


Ingredients (8-10 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 4 green peppers, diced
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4-5 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons beef flavored Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 29 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice


Heat an 8 quart pot over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and onions. Cook until translucent.

Add the garlic and green peppers. Cook until the peppers are tender.

Add the ground beef and cooked until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients except rice. Add 3-4 tomato cans of water.

Simmer on medium until the soup is desired thickness. Add the rice.

Serve over mashed potatoes if desired.

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I really, really love soup. I may even hoard it a little wee bit in our extra freezer. My favorite soups are usually the ones that are packed with vegetables. I like to get in a few servings in one comforting bowl.

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I had never tasted minestrone soup until a few years ago when we were out to dinner. It was the soup of the day at a restaurant. I ordered it only because I was so cold. It was love at first taste. I realized very quickly that this soup is just a vegetable soup with Italian-style seasonings. I like to use marina sauce in the base to give it a rich flavor. The most important part of this recipe however, is the cheese that I stir in to the broth at the end of cooking. It gives the broth a rich, salty complexity.

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This soup can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock. It can be gluten free if you just leave out the pasta (I like it better that way). This soup freezes well and makes an excellent work lunch.

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Minestrone Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients (8-12 servings)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 carrots diced
  • orange pepper, diced
  • yellow pepper, diced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Idaho potato, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped
  • 16 oz marinara sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicen stock
  • 12 ounces green beans
  • 1/2 bag veggies for soup
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • parmesan cheese rind
  • 2 handfuls parmesan cheese


In a medium stockpot, cook onion over medium until tender in olive oil. Add carrot and cook until tender. Add peppers and mushrooms, cooking until softened.

Add potatoes, green beans, marinara, paprika, chili flakes, and stock. Cook until heated then add veggies for soup.

Allow to simmer with the parmesan rind until all veggies are cooked through.

Add parmesan stirring constantly when combining and beans and cook an additional 10- 20 minutes.

Stir in pre cooked pasta like ditalini before serving.

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So, chili is one of my favorite meals. It always has been. I love how hearty it is. I like the different flavors of peppers. I also like to experiment with different kinds of chili. Last weekend, when I decided to make Chicken Mole,I knew that it was the perfect base for chili. I decided to only eat that delicious meal for one night so that we could enjoy the leftovers in chili.

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Reinventing leftovers makes them seem like an entirely new meal with minimal work. In fact, most of the work in this recipe is cooking the peppers and onion. Once you have made the Chicken mole, most of the work is done.

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Then, you are left with a rich, smokey, deep-flavored chili perfect for any cool night.

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Chicken Mole Chili

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: simmer soup/stew

Ingredients (8-10 bowls of soup)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 peppers, assorted colors, diced
  • 4-6 poblano peppers, charred, deseeded, and diced
  • 1 habanero, deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 29 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • leftover Chicken Mole
  • salt to taste
  • cotija cheese
  • cilantro
  • sour cream


In an 8 quart pan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until tender. Add peppers and garlic, cooking until tender. Add tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, and links(Chicken Mole, SImmer for 30-60 minutes. Salt to taste.

Garnish with cotija cheese, cilantro, and sour cream.

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In this post, I told you about my love of chowder. The other day, when we were standing at the grocery store with no ideas for dinner, we decided on chowder. Of course, classic clam chowder came to mind. However, I wanted something different. I wanted something that tasted a little more like winter with a hint of sweetness. 

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We finally decided to make a sweet potato, corn clam chowder. I used coconut milk in lieu of heavy cream. It was delicious that way. In order to make it just a tiny bit creamier, I added a small amount of heavy cream at the end. However, I don’t think it changed much. So, I probably will not add the heavy cream next time. That would make this a dairy free recipe! Also, to thicken the soup, I used sweet potatoes and corn cobs. They add a little starch to the broth, naturally thickening it. 

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This chowder is slightly sweet, salty, and packed with corn, sweet potatoes, and poblano peppers. It made a filling, delicious fall dinner with left overs for the next couple of days. The poblano peppers should be charred under the broiler just like in this post prior to being added to the soup. 

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Sweet Potato, Corn, and Clam Chowder

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: simmer soup/stew corn clams sweet potato coconut milk


Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 pounds little neck clams
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in an 8 quart sauce pan on medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until tender.

Put poblano peppers under the broiler, cooking on all sides until they are charred. Place items in a plastic bag and seal. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Remove from the bag and peel off the translucent, top layer of skin. Dice the peppers.

Add the corn, corn cobs, sweet potato, poblano peppers, bay leaf, cayenne, smoked paprika, thyme, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add water to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove the corn cobs.

Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add clams, cooking until they all open. Add heavy cream if desired and serve.

Discard the shells if you are using whole clams prior to serve as well as the bay leaf.

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Pasta Fagoli

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I have to admit that I almost never go to Olive Garden. In fact, the only time I go is when the people I work with decide to go there. I am not in love with anything there. Most people go there for the soup. I make most of the soups on the menu, which makes me not very excited about their versions. The last time I was there, I tried the only soup I never had before, Pasta Fagoli. My mom always described it to me as an Italian style chili.

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I have to admit, it was pretty good. So, I knew I had to try to make it at home. I wanted it to be packed with beans and beef. It had to be comforting. I noticed small pieces of carrots and celery in the broth. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not trying to recreate the Olive Garden’s soup. Instead, I was trying to make my own version that meets my flavor profile that I was looking for.

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This was good the first day. It was amazing as left overs. It is comforting, filling, and delicious. Topped with cheese, it is so tempting. It really warms from the inside. I recommend cooking the pasta separately, draining it, and rinsing it. Then, just add a small amount to each bowl before serving. That way, the pasta is still a bit toothy, adding another layer of texture to the soup. This soup freezes very  well.

Pasta Fagoli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1-2 hours

Keywords: simmer soup/stew


Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons beef Better Than Bouillon Beef Flavor
  • handful of grated parmesan cheese
  • handful diced basil
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta


Heat the oil in an 8 quart skillet on medium. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add celery and carrots. Cook until tender. Add the ground beef and cook until brown.

Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Add black pepper, crushed red pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, water, beans, and better than bouillon. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse.

Add the parmesan cheese and basil. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with cooked pasta.

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I always dislike tomato soup. I’m pretty sure that it was because we always ate it from a can. It was flavorless red broth that was just a little too acidic for my taste. While everyone else was enjoying a steaming bowl of tomato soup with grilled cheese, I chose chicken noodle almost every time. 

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It was not that long ago that I found tomato soup that made me change my tune. If you have ever had these tomato soups, you probably know what I am talking about. My favorite of all time is the Tomato Basil Soup from Nordstrom Cafe. It s rich, creamy, and has a sweet hint of basil. We like it so much that we buy at least one jar on every trip to Nordstrom. The other tomato soup is at Panera. It is the only thing that I like there. It is definitely crave worthy. 

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Now that winter is fast approaching, I knew that I needed to develop a recipe to curb my cravings so I could continue to hibernate all winter long. There is noting comforting about eating tomato soup in a cold restaurant on a hard bench. I want to be comfortable when in enjoying this warm, comforting soup. Plus, it is fast and easy, a bonus on those dark, gloomy winter nights. 

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This will certainly be a staple in our home this winter. 

Tomato Basil Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: simmer blender appetizer soup/stew side snack milk tomato fall winter

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 15 ounce can San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 15 ounces water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • cheese for garnish


In a 3-4 quart sauce pan, add olive oil on medium heat.

Add onions. Cook until soft.

Add garlic, oregano, and smoked paprika. Cook an additional minute.

Add tomatoes and water. Cook about 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add heavy cream and basil. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with cheese if desired.

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Vegetable Soup

Does anyone else feel like Thanksgiving went by so quickly? Now, we are officially in the Christmas season. That means shopping, decorations, hot beverages and snuggles on the couch. We did a tiny amount of shopping on Black Friday. I am just not into the crowds. I did manage to get a few good deals on clothing for the winter. I hope everyone else enjoyed the holiday. 

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Vegetable soup has been one of my favorites for a really long time. I remember eating bowls of my grandma’s soup with a slice of fresh, Italian bread. Over the years, I combined her recipe with the recipe that my mom makes. My mom likes a tomato-based brother while my grandmother preferred very few tomatoes. My mom used alphabet pasta while my grandma used noodles. Both used tons of veggies. I really love the fact that I am eating a giant bowl of warm, hearty vegetables. 


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This soup is fantastic served with a piece of fresh, crusty Italian bread or perfectly grilled cheese. One of my favorite things about this soup is that it freezes so well. I like to make a giant pot of soup and freeze it in serving-sized bowls. Then, when we need a fast meal, I defrost the soup and enjoy. 

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This recipe is versatile. I add whatever vegetables that I have in the refrigerator in addition to a few bags of frozen Vegetables for Soup. I also use whatever canned tomatoes I happen to have on hand. On the day I made the pot of soup in the picture, I used a can of diced tomatoes and realized I had no tomato sauce or puree. Instead, I had two cans of stewed tomatoes and pureed them in the blender. 

The bottom line is that this is a delicious, filling meal perfect for a cold evening. 



Vegetable Soup

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: simmer soup/stew beef corn green beans fall winter

Ingredients (20 servings)

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • English Chuck Roast (about 3 lbs.)
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 Bone for soup
  • 1 29 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 29 oz can stewed tomatoes, diced
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 bags frozen vegetables for soup
  • 4 potatoes, diced
  • 1 package noodles or other pasta


Heat oil in a large stock pot. Brown the meat on both sides. Remove from the pan. Add the onions and cook until tender. Deglaze the pan with red wine.

Add the bone, beef stock, and the chuck roast. Add water, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and herbs to the pan. Cook for about 1 hour on medium.

Remove the roast and bone from the pot and set aside.

Add vegetables, potatoes and noodles. Cook until tender.

Cut roast into bite sized pieces and return to soup.

Serve immediately. This soup freezes quite well.

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