Category: Soups and Stews

Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

Although it seems like everyone in the Northeast is preparing for a hurricane, I am just trying to prepare myself for a hectic week.  I sincerely hope that everyone stays safe, and feel lucky to live pretty far inland.  I do have candles, matches, and a flashlight, and I guess if the power goes out I’ll be eating a lot of soup!

This soup was inspired by a Betty Crocker recipe I saw on Pinterest.  It’s thick, creamy, and packed with vegetables and plant based protein.  It reminds me of something you’d make with those condensed soups in the red and white cans, except this has all real ingredients and a lot less sodium.

The recipe requires just a little more work than my usual “throw everything in the crockpot and go to bed” routine.  You saute onion and celery prior to starting the crockpot, and add some additional ingredients towards the end.  But it’s still a lot easier to make this soup on Sunday than it is to stare into your fridge at 6am Monday morning, trying to figure out what you’re going to bring for lunch.  🙂



Crockpot Lentil, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 stacks celery, chopped
1 c. lentils
1 (8 oz.) package of sliced mushrooms
1 c. long grain and wild rice
1 t thyme
1/4 t black pepper
6 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
1 (12 oz.) can fat free evaporated milk
2 T flour

In a small frying pan, heat oil.  Add onions and celery, and saute for 15-20 minutes, until soft and lightly brown.   Place in crockpot, and add lentils, mushrooms, rice, spices, broth, and water.  Cook on Low for 6 hours.

Add peas and carrots.  If soup appears very thick, add 1-2 cups of water or broth.  Cook for additional hour.

Whisk milk and flour in a small bowl, and add to crockpot.  Cook for 30-60 minutes until soup is thickened and heated through.

-Inspired by Betty Crocker

Butternut Squash Chili

One of the things I love about Pinterest is finding new recipes.  It’s similar to reading a cooking magazine, except you click through the pin (the picture) for the recipe.  I keep track of the recipes I want to make on Pinterest here, in case you’re curious.  This Butternut Squash Chili came to me from Pinterest, courtesy of Gluten Free Goddess who posted the recipe, and the friend of mine who pinned it.

I’ve been wanting to make some kind of chili since the cold snap here in New England, and this one came out so well.  I modified the original recipe a bit, removing the peppers and chilies that I don’t like, and adding extra squash.  I used frozen butternut squash mostly for convenience; it would have been a lot more fun to hit up a farmer’s market for a locally grown squash, but that wasn’t in the cards this weekend.  The original recipe also indicates that this can be made in a crockpot, but I used the stove top directions because they fit my schedule.

The end result is a mild chili which is rich in flavor from all the vegetables.  Between the bright orange squash and the red tomatoes, the color is perfect for fall.  If you like your chili with more kick, add a jalapeno or some cayenne pepper.  The diced fresh avocado was a nice touch though, and I highly recommend it.  I have more than a few chili recipes on the blog, including White Bean Pumpkin Chili, Sweet Potato Chili, and Black Bean Chocolate Chili, but this one will now be in the rotation.



Butternut Squash Chili

1 T canola oil
2 t minced garlic
1 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t ginger
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (20 oz.) bag frozen butternut squash
4 c. vegetable broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 T sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large soup pot.  Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and ginger and stir well for 1 minute.  Add onion and celery, and stir well to coat.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, squash, broth, beans, sugar, and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes more, until slightly thickened. Serve garnished with fresh avocado if desired.

-Adapted from Gluten Free Goddess

Tortellini Minestrone

I always feel good when I have a big pot of soup simmering on the stove.  And this recipe truly makes a big pot of soup, so be prepared!  The recipe is inspired by this  Spinach Tortellini Soup from Budget Bytes.  I added white beans and zucchini, and renamed it because the soup reminded me so much of minestrone.

I like that the soup is packed with vegetables and really filling, and the tortellini bites are such a treat!  The recipe offers a great way to stretch an ingredient that is both more expensive and more calorie dense.  If you’d like just a little more cheese, sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan on top, because that’s what I did right after I took this photo.  This is really a delicious soup, so gather your family and friends, or get out some Tupperware, and make your own big pot.



Tortellini Minestrone

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 t minced garlic
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
28 oz. water
1 t Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach
1 (8 oz.) package frozen zucchini
1 (12-13 oz.) bag frozen cheese tortellini

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Saute onion and garlic on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, and beans, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Add spinach, zucchini, and tortellini, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables and tortellini are tender.

-Adapted from Budget Bytes

Corn and Zucchini Chowder

Now this is the perfect recipe for August, and it happened all by accident.  My sister had a ton of corn on the cob left over from my nephew’s party.  My parents had purchased zucchini from the Farmer’s Market the day before, and had thyme and tomatoes in their garden.  We put this all together with some household staples to create a delicious soup.  After a busy few days of parties and birthday cake, we all welcomed a fresh and healthy meal.

I was inspired by this recipe, which uses pureed corn and milk to create a creamy base without using cream.  I know that corn chowder typically includes potatoes, but we didn’t have any on hand and I don’t think you’ll miss them.  This soup is colorful and delicious just the way it is.




Corn and Zucchini Chowder

1 T olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 large zucchini, chopped
7 c. corn kernels, divided
2 c. milk
4 c. vegetable broth, divided
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 t black pepper
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.  Add onion and zucchini, and saute for 10 minutes until softened and lightly brown.  In the meantime, add 4 cups of corn, milk, 2 cups broth, thyme, and black pepper to food processor and blend until smooth.  Add pureed mixture to pot, along with remaining 3 cups corn and 2 cups broth.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until heated through.  Serve garnished with shredded cheddar and chopped tomatoes.


Baked Potato Soup

Although it may technically be spring, it’s not too late to make a big pot of soup for dinner.  This Baked Potato Soup from Skinnytaste has been on my “must try” list for a while now.  If you’re into things like bacon (and I know some of you are!) head on over to the original recipe.

I made a vegetarian version of the soup which I intended to be like a broccoli and cheese stuffed potato.  The soup was good, but it was a little bland.  I was much more generous with the salt and pepper than usual.  I added some extra cheese too, which always helps.  This was a filling soup, and very quick to make if you bake the potatoes in advance, so I may just have to try it again and make it better.




Baked Potato Soup

2 large potatoes, baked, peeled, and mashed with a fork
1 (16 oz.) package frozen cauliflower
2 c. vegetable broth
1 c. skim milk
Salt & Pepper
1/2 c. low fat sour cream
1 c. chopped broccoli, steamed
Shredded cheddar cheese (such as Cabot 75% reduced fat)

Steam cauliflower in a large pot.  Drain, return to pot, and mash.  Add potatoes, broth, milk, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.  If you have an immersion blender and would like a more consistent texture, give it a whirl.

On low heat, stir in the sour cream.  Serve topped with broccoli and shredded cheese.

-Adapted from Skinnytaste


Vegetable Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

Everyone’s working extra hours these days, and my crockpot is no exception.  Last weekend, I made Lentil Soup overnight, poured it into containers, and then got the crockpot clean and ready for this recipe.  The stew by itself is a hearty vegetable and bean stew which is good, but a little boring.  It’s the cornmeal dumplings that make the difference!  The texture of the dumplings is hard to describe; they are firmer than a matzoh ball, but moister than a biscuit.  The steps at the end of the recipe take a few minutes, but the dumplings are well worth the time!




Vegetable Stew with Cornmeal Dumplings

1 (20 oz.) package peeled and diced butternut squash
1 (16 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 (16 oz.) bag Trader Joe’s frozen romano beans
1 c. water
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cornmeal
2 T Parmesan cheese
1 t baking powder
1 egg, beaten
2 T milk
2 T canola oil

Place squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, edamame, beans, water, and Italian seasoning in crockpot.  Stir and cook on High for 5 hours.  Lift cover and smash butternut squash pieces against the side of the crockpot to thicken the stew.

Mix flour, cornmeal, cheese, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix egg, milk, and oil in a small bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until moistened.  Drop the dough by spoonfuls into the stew.  Replace the cover and cook on High for 45 minutes.

-Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Crockpot Cookery

Crockpot Lentil Soup

When things get hectic, and they always do, I like to go back to the basics.  The celery and carrots in my vegetable drawer looked pretty tired, but I hate throwing away produce.  While I got a good night’s sleep, the soup simmered in the crockpot and the vegetables came back to life.  I stirred in a little balsamic vinegar at the end for extra flavor.  You’d never know this soup is just lentils, vegetables, and spices because it tastes much richer.  Getting back to the basics can be really good.


Crockpot Lentil Soup

1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 c. lentils
1 t minced garlic
1 t Italian seasoning
4 c. vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes in juice
2 T balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients except vinegar in crockpot.  Cook on Low for 12 hours.  Stir in vinegar and serve.

-Lightly adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Crockery Cookbook

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Sorry to leave you hanging on the Mardi Gras recipes, it turned out to be a busy week and this post required more typing.  I was pretty far out of my comfort zone in making this dish, and the Internet has about 1000 different gumbo recipes.  There seems to be some squabbling among cooks as to what makes a gumbo authentic, and I am not even educated enough to have an opinion.  So I took a step back from the computer, and turned to a classic Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.

The recipe starts with a roux, and thankfully BH&G said to cook the roux until it is the color of a penny.  I am not sure I would have waited (and stirred!) that long if I hadn’t read that advice.  I was also a little nervous about using okra.  I’ve only had okra once, and it was tough and stringy.  That’s not the way okra is supposed to be, so I was grateful that the recipe uses frozen okra and I didn’t need to pick it out myself.

In the end, this is the only gumbo I’ve ever had, so therefore it was automatically the best.  I liked the smoky flavor and the okra was good, not stringy at all.  We couldn’t take a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but I’d say our Mardi Gras dinner was a success.



Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. canola oil
2 onions, chopped
1/2 c. chopped celery
2 t minced garlic
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t cayenne pepper
4 c. vegetable broth
10 oz. smoked turkey sausage
1 (16 oz.) package frozen okra, thawed
3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces

Combine flour and oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir continuously for 20-25 minutes, until the roux turns reddish brown, similar to the color of a penny.  Stir in onion, celery, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are softened.  Gradually stir in hot broth, sausage, okra, and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover; simmer for 30-40 minutes.  Serve over rice.

-Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Pasta Fagioli

My grandmother used to make pasta fagioli all the time, and it’s still one of my favorite soups.  I am always so busy trying to make new recipes that sometimes I neglect the classics.  This pasta fagioli recipe from Skinnytaste is a vegetarian version of my grandmother’s, and perhaps a bit more like a soup than a stew, but the flavor was right on.  After a weekend full of blondies and nachos and macaroons, this soup hit the spot!



Italian Seafood Soup

I was at Trader Joe’s the other day and spotted a frozen Seafood Medley containing shrimp, scallops, and squid.  I don’t get the chance to eat seafood as often as I’d like, so I picked up a bag.  I found this recipe for Zuppa Di Pesce which sounded like a nice weekend meal.  A ‘weekend’ meal of course because it calls for red wine, and we all know what happens when you open a bottle of wine for a recipe, right?

But first, a quick word about sustainability.  It seems that Trader Joe’s received some negative publicity about their lack of sustainable seafood practices.  It also seems the company has committed to turning things around by the end of 2012.  So how does the Seafood Medley stack up?  I turned to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, and it looks like the shrimp, scallops, and squid from Thailand are not on the worst list, but not on the best list either.  Next time I am at TJ’s I’ll check out other products to see if I can find the best seafood choices.

Now back to the soup, because it was indeed a nice weekend meal.  I really liked the rich tomato broth, and there was plenty of seafood to keep it interesting.  However, the first bowl was by far the best.  The texture of the seafood wasn’t quite as good the next day, so this isn’t the type of thing you’d want to pack for lunch.  (Not to mention, people get upset when you heat up seafood in the office microwave, right!?)  Still, it was a nice soup for a cold winter night.



Italian Seafood Soup

1 T olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, peeled and diced
1 t minced garlic
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. water
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. red wine
1 bag Trader Joe’s Seafood Medley

Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion, and cook for 10 minutes until softened and lightly browned.  Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, water, and seasonings.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add wine and seafood, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

-Lightly adapted from Comfy Tummy