Tag Archives: soup

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

I know, I know soup season has run its course and you might be wondering why this is being introduced now. I totally get it. So, allow me to explain…

Last night, after a particularly draining day at work, I was putting together dinner and thinking how thankful I was that I had meals already assembled in the freezer that could be pulled and quickly warmed on nights when there isn’t enough time or energy for much more than on-couch zombie status. Last night was one such night and those smothered burritos were exactly the answer!

Every so often I take a chunk of a day and do freezer meal prep. I’ve read lots of how-to for this type of thing and I do it slightly differently….but that’s another lengthy post for another long and rainy day.

Soooo….lemme talk about this homemade cream of mushroom soup and the why for now.  I’ve only ever really known cream of mushroom soup (C.O.M.S.) to be used as an ingredient in another meal or side-dish (casseroles, sauces, etc.) and haven’t ever felt enticed to warm up a bowl to be eaten soup-style. Maybe it’s the way it sort of blobs out of the can all unappealing or the voice in the back of my head questioning all those ingredients I don’t know how to pronounce (which often = chemicals). But despite the unappealing entrance into my world from the can or the wide array of chemicals often found in canned soups in general, there’s no denying the magical power of C.O.M.S. in recipes so now I just make it myself. Not only do I know <and get to control> what’s in it, the texture and flavor of this homemade rendition is so, so much better than that from a can.

Because homemade soup can be a somewhat messy situation, and because I bust this out with a particular line-up of freezer cooking, I typically make C.O.M.S. in a big batch but I’ll post the ingredient break-down for both a single and quadruple batch (not that you couldn’t do the simple math, but because I love ya and will save your effort for something else).

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Ingredients (Single):                                                  Ingredients (Quadruple Batch):
2 large cloves garlic, minced                                      8 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped                                                   4 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup mushroom, chopped                                      2 cups mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup oil/butter (about half of each)                      1 cup butter/oil
1/4 cup flour                                                                   1 cup flour
1/4 cup stock                                                                   3 cups stock
Note: I use homemade chicken stock, but vegetable stock and/or store bought works too!
1 cup milk                                                                       4 cups milk
Salt & Pepper to taste                                                    Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Start by prepping all your veggies – wash and chop.
2. Warm butter/oil in sauce pan (I like to use my Le Creuset soup pot, but any ol’ pot will do for this job.
3. Saute garlic and onion until just before soft, then add mushrooms and continue cooking a couple more minutes
4. Create a roux by adding the flour to the pan. Stir to combine well and continue to cook for a minute to eliminate that raw flour taste.
5. Slowly add stock, whisking until all ingredients are well combined.
6. Once the liquid thickens, add milk
7. Salt and Pepper to taste

Few Considerations:
1. This rendition will be chunkier than the canned variety. Pending your preference, you can run an immersion blender through your pot until you have the consistency you prefer. I leave as is, but that’s just me!
2. If the soup is too thick for your preference and cooking purposes, add more stock/milk
3. I use this recipe as an ingredient in other dishes and eating soup-style. I also portion and freeze for later. Do know that freezing won’t leave you with the same creamy texture as fresh out of the pot though. Use this option for future casserole assembly.

That’s it! Fresh ingredients. Not difficult at all. Totally worth it!

-H

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White Chicken Chili

There’s lots and lots of snow happening in my neck of the woods. Nineteen inches and counting. Just when I never thought it possible, we got a snow day from work! Woo Hoo!

So, I’m snuggled up inside with a hot cup of coffee and dreaming about soup. This one, in particular…

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It’s a white chili made with chicken and topped with cheese and tortilla strips. Mmmm…

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tsp cumin seed
4 chicken breast halves
1 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
2 (9 0z) packages frozen white corn (thawed)
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
2 (15.5 oz) cans white beans, undrained
1 tsp cumin
1 lime, juiced
Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Tortilla Chips

Instructions:
-Combine water, lemon-pepper & cumin seed and bring to a boil
-Add chicken, cover, simmer 20-30 minutes (until chicken is cooked through)
-In medium skillet, heat olive oil & cook garlic for about 1 min
-Add onions and cook until soft
-Remove chicken from cooking liquid (don’t toss your liquid, you need this!), shred and return to pot
-Add onion and garlic as well as corn, chiles, cumin and lime juice to pot
-Bring to boil, then add beans and cook until heated through
-Ladle soup into bowls, top with cheese and tortilla chips & serve

It’s the perfect way to warm-up and re-fuel after battling drifts of snow. It’s also perfect if you have no intention of leaving the confines of your house and dealing with snow in any way…so…really, perfection all around!

Stay safe & warm out there, my friends!
H


Italian Sausage and Potato Soup

We had a gorgeous couple of Fall days recently. Unseasonably warm and absolutely wonderful. It was short lived and we are back to weather more representative of the season: cool and damp. It’s not my favorite, but when life hands you crummy weather, make soup!

This is a new recipe that will be going in the soup rotation at my house (I’m not certain what that rotation is exactly – if I’m lucky there’s enough winter to make my favorite soups a couple times, and others that were just good enough to make the cut, once – but you get my drift).

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Ingredients:
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
pinch of red pepper flakes (if you desire some added heat, if not, skip it)
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 pound of red potatoes, diced small
3 cups baby spinach
1/4-1/2 cup cream
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:
Brown sausage in soup pot, crumble while cooking into desired size
Remove sausage from pot
Add garlic, onion and carrot and cook until soft (add in olive oil if needed)
Season with oregano, basil, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stir to combine
Stir in broth and water. Add bay leaf and potatoes. Return sausage to pot.
Bring to a boil, stir well, cover, reduce heat and cook until potatoes are soft (then keep warm until ready to serve)
Just prior to serving, add spinach and cook until it begins to wilt.
Add cream. Taste and adjust seasonings (i.e. salt and pepper)

Serve with cheesy garlic bread, or half a panini on the side. This is a hardy soup so you won’t need a lot…but what fun is soup if there isn’t something to dunk in it?

Psst…this is another recipe that is good if you are stocking the freezer. Follow the recipe until you are just short of adding the spinach and cream – and freeze. When you are ready to eat this one, thaw, bring to a boil, drop the heat down, and finish the last 2 steps (spinach and cream) and Presto! Dinner on the table in a flash!

Stay warm out there, my friends!
H


Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This soup recipe is one of my absolute favorites. There aren’t many soups that get a repeat appearance in my house through ‘soup season’ because there are too many good soups and not enough time, but this one will have it’s day in the cool weather at least twice…maybe three times!

Having pre-cooked chicken and wild rice in the freezer helps this one come together in pretty short order – but it’s not a pre-requisite, so if you don’t have these prepped and in waiting just be sure to tack on a little extra time on the front end to boil the chicken and the rice. These don’t come into play until near the end of the recipe so there is prep and initial stages of cooking happening during which the chicken and rice can be prepared as well.

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Ingredients:
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup celery, chopped small
1/2-3/4 cup carrot, shredded
1 green pepper, chopped (note: in the picture you will notice I used red bell pepper for this batch because I had them out of the garden to be used up. It was good but not as much so as the green — stick with green if you can)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T whole wheat flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup cream
1/3 cup sliced slmonds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:
Saute veggies in butter/oil
Add flour, salt & pepper – stir to combine and cook for approx 1 minute
Whisk in stock and water
Bring up heat to a boil, add chicken and rice to the pot
Cover, drop heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve (skip this step if you are serving immediately)
Just prior to serving, stir in cream, parsley and almonds
Taste and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper) as needed – I always add more of this, in small increments until it tasts just perfect but everyone’s palate is different so there’s no specific instruction on what the exact measurements would be.

Tip: this recipe can be made in advance, up until addition of the cream, etc., and frozen. If you are someone who likes to do freezer prep cooking – add this one to your list! On the day of serving, simply thaw and warm over the stove. Add in the last ‘just prior to serving” ingredients and you will be all set to go!

There is something about the addition of the toasted almonds that just send this one over the top. It’s ridiculously good. I don’t even mind eating the leftovers every day for an entire week afterwards — sometimes even for breakfast.

Happy Souping!
H


Soup Season!

It’s soup season and time to stock up! Pun intended.

Last week I intentionally roasted a whole chicken so that I could later make a large pot of chicken stock to tuck away in the freezer.

Making your own chicken stock is simple and well worth the effort — not only do you control everything that goes into it, it tastes better and is a great way to use leftover veggies as well as really utilizing every bit of that roasted chicken.

I like to keep a bag in the freezer and when I prep onions, celery, carrots, etc. I toss in the elements that would otherwise go in the compost. Then when it’s time to make stock all those leftovers find their way into my large stock pot.

You don’t have to have a frozen stash of veggies for this project, just follow the simple recipe below…

Ingredients:
1 chicken carcass
2 whole onions
5 celery stalks
5 carrots
5 cloves of garlic
4 whole peppercorns
Handful fresh parsley
Small handful fresh thyme (or 1 heaping tsp of the dry stuff)
2 bay leaves
Water

Instructions:
Throw all ingredients into a large stock pot (no need to chop into smaller bits and pieces, you can essentially throw them all in whole – except for the onions – cut those babies in half)
Fill up stock pot with as much water as it will hold
Place on stove and bring to a boil
Drop the heat to low, throw a lid on it and let it ride…all. day. long.

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After a full day of simmering, turn off the heat and allow the pot to cool slightly. Then, with a slotted spoon, fish out what you are able of the chicken carcass, veggies and herbs. If you’d like, add salt. I don’t add any salt, I wait and add when I’m cooking so I can really control how much sodium finds its way into my meals – but that’s totally up to you

Pop the whole pot into the fridge and allow to cool (I leave this over night). When you return to the pot the next day, the fat will be floating on the top.

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Scoop this out. Then, pour the contents through a fine mesh strainer into a large measuring cup.

How you choose to divvy up your yield is up to you. For this batch, I chose to freeze 4 containers of 5 cup portions (a typical size for the soups I make):

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And what was left over I poured into ice trays and froze:

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These little cubes of stock allow for me to thaw out smaller portions, as needed, for other recipes. For my particluar ice cube trays 14 cubes = about 1 cup.

There you have it! Couldn’t be simpler and your house will smell wonderful all day while your stock simmers.

Get ‘stocked’ up and I’ll be sharing some soup recipes with you in the coming weeks.
H