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Archive for category Soups

Tomato, Sausage and Bean Soup

Sausage SoupTHE VERDICT:

If you’re in the mood for something warm and hearty like chili, but don’t want to be weighed down by such a heavy dish, this soup may just fit the bill. It is a great 30-minute-or-less meal that offers everything you love about chili with a fresher, soupier twist. You can spice it up with green chili or spicy sausage or keep it pretty mild depending on your taste. While it would fill you up all on it’s own, we think it goes great with garlic bread–but doesn’t everything?

This soup is excellent for a toddler who is proficient with solids. On picky nights, it is easy enough to pick out the tolerable chunks of food. The rest of the time, it offers very balanced nutrition.

The recipe serves 10, which means plenty of leftovers for the next day’s lunches if your family is a small one like ours. It definitely reheats well.

If you want to try it yourself…


Hearty Tomato, Sausage and Bean Soup (source: Canadian Living magazine; original recipe)

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Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup

lentil soupTHE VERDICT:

I love a good vegetable soup, but this one puts a yummy twist on the classic. A touch of curry, some coconut milk, red lentils and zucchini dress up the usual round up of vegetables. It quickly became a winter favourite after the first time we tried this recipe a few years ago. The fact that it’s easy to throw together is another plus. If you’re good at chopping veggies, you can have this soup on the table in about 25-30 minutes.

It is a tasty, but low calorie soup, so it’s great for those whose new year’s resolution was to lose a few pounds, but it pairs well with grilled paninis or garlic toast if you’re looking for a more substantial meal. While the recipe calls for chicken stock, you could easily substitute in some vegetable stock and you would have a great vegan soup on your hands.

The leftovers taste amazing because the curry flavours have had time to develop, so this makes a great lunch for the next day as well.

In this house, it is also a very kid-friendly meal because Z loves anything with a touch of curry.

If you want to try it yourself…


Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup (source: Good Food Fast by Australian Women’s Weekly)

2 tbsp. mild curry paste

400g can of diced tomatoes

3 cups chicken stock

1 large carrot, chopped finely

2 trimmed celery sticks, chopped finely

1 medium potato, chopped finely

1 large zucchini, chopped finely

3/4 cup red lentils

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/3 cup light coconut milk

  • Cook curry paste in heated large saucepan, stirring, about 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add undrained tomatoes, stock, carrot, celery, potato and zucchini; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
  • Add lentils to soup mixture; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  • Add peas; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer soup mixture, uncovered, until peas are just tender.
  • Remove soup from heat and stir in coconut milk.

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

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Old-Fashioned Beef & Root Vegetable Stew

Winter weather calls for hearty, comfort foods like this delicious stew. What is even better on a cold winter’s night is to come in from the rain (or snow) to the smell of your dinner ready and waiting for you. What better way to warm up and relax after a long, hard day than to be able to sit down to a steamy bowl of stew without having to do any cooking.

One thing that is nice about this stew is that it can be prepped in a fairly short amount of time (other slow cooker recipes have so many preparation steps that they hardly feel like time savers at all). Brown the meat, chop the veggies, throw it all in the pot and go. You can do this the night before and keep everything in your fridge over night if you are crunched for time in the morning.

Everyone in our house loved this stew. It’s a total classic and will definitely feature prominently in our winter slow cooker rotation. It goes great with crusty sourdough rolls for dipping.

The meat gets so tender from the slow cooking process that it is perfect toddler food as long as all the pieces are cut into reasonable sized chunks. It’s a little messy as finger food, but it is possible for your little one to feed this to himself…just make sure bath time is just around the corner. Otherwise use a spoon.

Leftovers of this stew reheat and/or freeze well.

If you want to try it yourself…


Beef and Root Vegetable Stew (source: Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection)

2 lbs. stew beef cubes

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 each onions, carrots and parsnips, peeled and cubed

2 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup peeled rutabaga

3 cups beef broth

2 bay leaves

2 tsp dried marjoram or thyme

3/4 tsp each salt and pepper

2 cups frozen chopped green beans or peas

  • Trim beef and cut into 1-inch cubes, if necessary. In large bowl, toss beef with 1/4 cup of the flour. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown beef. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Add 1/2 cup water to skillet; bring to boil, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Scrape into slow cooker along with onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and rutabaga. Stir in broth, bay leaves, marjoram, salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low until beef and vegetables are tender, about 7 to 8 hours. Skim off any fat. Move meat and vegetables to 1 side of slow cooker.
  • Whisk remaining flour with 1/3 cup water; whisk into liquid in slow cooker. Stir in beans or peas.
  • Cover; cook on high until thickened and steaming hot, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Makes 8-10 servings. Requires a 5-6 L slow cooker.

Note: When a stew contains sweet vegetables like carrots and parsnips, it may need a splash of lemon juice, cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar to balance the flavours. Taste before you serve and decide.

Per serving: 256 calories; 23 g protein; 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat); 22 g carbs; 3 g fibre; 44 mg cholesterol; 480 mg sodium

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Vegetable Beef & Rice Soup

I was a little skeptical when we decided to make this soup. I’m not the biggest fan of ground meat in soup. Chili I can do. Stew I can do. But soup, not so much. I am so glad I didn’t listen to my gut. This soup is AMAZING! There is no way to effectively describe just how good it is in words, so I will just have to insist that you try it yourself.

It is easy to prepare. All you need to do is brown the meat, chop and sauté the veggies and throw it all in a slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work or out running errands. It’s a great soup for hardworking families and busy days. While the recipe asks you to add frozen peas and lemon juice at the end of the cooking process, we have forgotten this step both times that we have made this soup and it still tastes great. In fact, it tastes so good, we will probably never try it with lemon juice and peas—why mess with a good thing?

Our little soup loving boy was all over this soup the first time we made it. The second time he wasn’t thrilled with the ground beef (guess he takes after me), but toddlers are finicky and unpredictable when it comes to food, so we’ll say he gave it one thumb up instead of two.

Leftovers of this soup reheat well. It’s so good there probably won’t be anything left to freeze.

If you want to try it yourself…


Vegetable Beef & Rice Soup (source: Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection)

8 oz. lean ground beef

2 large carrots, diced

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

Half sweet red pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp crumbled dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

6 cups beef broth

2/3 cup parboiled whole grain rice

1 cup frozen peas

1 tbsp lemon juice

  • In large skillet, sauté beef over medium-high heat, breaking up with fork until crumbly and no longer pink, about 8 minutes. With slotted spoon transfer beef to slow cooker.
  • Drain fat from skillet. Fry carrots, onion, celery, red pepper, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Scrape into slow cooker.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the broth to skillet; bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet. Scrape into slow cooker along with remaining broth, 2 cups water and rice. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, about 5 hours.
  • Stir in peas and lemon juice. Cover and cook on high until steaming hot, about 15 minutes.

Makes 8-10 servings in a 4-6 L slow cooker.

Per serving: 129 calories, 8 g protein, 4 g total fat (1 g saturated fat); 16 g carbs; 2 g fibre; 13 mg cholesterol; 629 mg sodium

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Barley & Vegetable Soup with Cheddar & Herb Biscuits

Soup & biscuitTHE VERDICT:
So last night you made yourself a delicious ham, green beans and scalloped potatoes dinner and now you’re stuck with a bunch of leftover ham. What are you gonna do? Make this soup!

I love it when you can turn last night’s leftovers into a truly tasty meal, and this hearty soup definitely tastes great. It’s easy to make as long as you have the time to pre-soak and boil the barley. The potatoes from the previous evening’s dinner take a while to cook, so I sped up the process further by pre-dicing all the veggies while I waited for them to come out of the oven, which left me with very little prep the next day.

The biscuits are easy to make as well and make an excellent side dish for most soups. They’re also a nice dish to bring to a potluck–who doesn’t like warm biscuits, after all? Save yourself a little time by patting the dough into a large circle and cutting it into wedges rather that rolling it out and cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter.

Thickened with a little rice cereal, the soup got a rave review from our little man. He also enjoyed a few small pieces of biscuit torn off of the ones we were eating.

Leftovers of this soup reheat and/or freeze well.

If you want to try it yourself…


Barley and Vegetable Soup (source: The Ultimate Italian Cookbook by Carla Capalbo)

1 cup pearl barley

9 cups meat broth

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 large carrots, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 sticks celery, finely chopped

1 leek, thinly sliced

1 large potato, finely chopped

1/2 cup diced ham

1 bay leaf

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Pick over the barley, and discard any stones or other particles. Wash it in cold water. Put the barley to soak in cold water for at least 3 hours.
  • Drain the barley and place in a large saucepan with the broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off any scum.
  • Stir in the oil, all the vegetables and the ham. Add the herbs. If necessary add more water. The ingredients should be covered by at least 1 inch of liquid. Simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the vegetables and barley are very tender.
  • Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Serve hot with grated parmesan if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits (source: some women’s magazine a long time ago)

2 cups flour (white or whole wheat both work)

1 cup shredded cheddar

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (experiment with other herbs if you are so inclined)

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In bowl: combine flour, cheese, parsley, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  • With pastry blender, or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Stir in milk. Quickly mix until mixture forms a soft dough.
  • Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Knead slightly to combine thoroughly.
  • Roll out or pat dough until 1/2″ thick.
  • Cut out biscuits with floured cutter.
  • Re-roll scraps if necessary.
  • Place biscuits on ungreased cookie sheet 1″ apart.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

Work time: 10 minutes   Bake time: 15 minutes   Ready to serve: 25 minutes

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Cheddar Chowder

Cheddar ChowderTHE VERDICT:

This is my all-time favourite soup recipe. On a cool fall evening there is nothing better than a big warm bowl of cheesy soupy goodness. The leftovers are  so amazing that I don’t mind eating the same thing two days in a row. In fact, I love this soup so much that I sometimes double the recipe and eat it for three or four days in a row.

I recommend that you use aged cheddar so that you get a full cheddar flavour from just 2 1/2 cups of cheese. Using medium or mild cheddar is okay if that’s what you have on hand, but cheese lovers will probably find themselves add extra cheese (and extra fat and calories) in order to really taste the cheddar. Though the recipe doesn’t call for it, I like to add some fresh ground black pepper and the occasional drop of worcestershire sauce.

There are two options if you want to feed this to a wee one: 1) puree it–it makes an excellent pureed soup, which is appropriate for a  baby just getting comfortable with solids. 2) cut the potatoes and other veg into smaller pieces so that everyone eats the same thing, which is more appropriate for an older child.

If you want to try it yourself…


Cheddar Chowder (source: I’ve been using this one for so long I no longer remember where it came from)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup celery (though I usually like to add a bit extra)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium if you can find it)

1 tsp. thyme

2 cups cubed potatoes

3 Tbsp. flour

2 cups milk

1 can corn, drained

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you like a little kick in your soup)

2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (aged cheddar works best)

  • In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and celery for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • Dissolve flour in milk. Stir into sauce pan with corn and cayenne.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly.
  • Remove from heat. Gradually stir in cheese until melted and smooth.

Makes 6 (1 cup) servings.

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Open-Faced Sandwiches

Pumpkin soupTHE VERDICT:

This was certainly the perfect soup to usher in the fall, and you can expect lots of soup reviews from us as the weather cools as soup is one of our favourite  foods to enjoy during the chilly and rainy winter months. This soup is a breeze to prepare, so it’s a wonderful weeknight warm up. Leftovers taste even better the next day once the flavours have had time to marinate.

If you have the option when grocery shopping, select the larger can of pumpkin. We’ve used both sizes and find a standard-sized can greatly reduces the overall pumpkin flavour.

There is no need to modify this soup recipe for baby as it is a pureed soup. To thicken it and add a boost of iron, just add some rice cereal.  Zayden really enjoyed this soup, but that’s not a surprise. He’s a soup-a-holic. Whenever he has soup, he goes in to hysterics if we don’t shovel it in fast enough. Thanks to his passion for soup we’ve learned a few tricks to help speed up delivery. We thicken it with rice cereal and thicker soup results in less drips, and he can get it off the spoon more easily. We also pop an ice cube into the soup to help cool it down faster so we don’t have to blow on every spoonful.

If you want to try it yourself…


Spiced Pumpkin Soup (source: Spark Recipes; original recipe)

Build Your Own Open-Faced Sandwich (source: Tonight’s Dinner)

1-2 slices of bread per person, toasted (we suggest ciabatta, French bread or sourdough)

A condiment of your choice, optional (we suggest Dijon mustard)

About 50 g of deli meat per person (we suggest smoked turkey, salami or black forest ham)

Sliced or shredded cheese (we suggest cheddar, swiss, jack or havarti)

Some sliced veggies of your choice (we suggest red onion, green peppers and/or tomatoes)

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Spread pre-toasted bread with condiment, if using.
  • Top bread slices with meat, cheese and veggies.
  • Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 5-7 minutes.

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I was really excited to make this recipe. I fell in love with gazpacho on a backpacking trip in Spain and have obsessed over the gazpacho on Burgoo’s summer menu for the past several years, so I was delighted to discover that Zayden loves gazpacho as well. Having lunch at the Bakehouse in Edgemont a few weeks ago, I gave him a few bites of my gazpacho. He quite literally went hysterical between bites; he loved it so much, he would be shrieking for more before he’d even swallowed his current spoonful. He ended up eating almost the entire bowl. Gazpacho seemed like a natural choice for our baby-friendly menu.

I picked a simple, traditional Andalucian gazpacho recipe, but realized after Zayden took his first bite that this was a mistake. Andalucian-style gazpacho is heavy on the vinegar while the gazpacho Zayden loved was heavy on the tomato (kind of like eating salsa without the spicy kick). He had two bites and quickly made his displeasure known. We made the full recipe (almost 4 litres!) thinking we could freeze some of it for him to eat later, but now Justin and I are stuck eating it all ourselves. Thank goodness we really like it. In fact gazpacho is one of those brilliant foods where the flavours marinate over time and it just keeps tasting better with each passing day. It’s great for a light meal or as a starter, but it’s not hearty enough for a full meal. Be sure to serve it with some crusty bread or a toasted bagel for dipping.

A couple of things we did differently from the recipe:

  • We didn’t marinate things over night. We didn’t have the time to prepare it the night before. If you have the time, I would take this step. As I already mentioned, gazpacho only tastes better as the flavours blend.
  • We didn’t peel the tomatoes. Gazpacho is a pureed soup, and it seemed unnecessarily time-consuming to do so. We really don’t notice the skins.
  • We didn’t use red wine vinegar because we intended to serve some of the soup to our baby. We substituted 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. It still tasted good.
  • We didn’t strain it through a sieve. Again, it still tastes great and you have one less thing to clean in the end. Strain it only if you don’t like the texture of pureed soup.

If you want to try it yourself, we recommend you halve the following recipe…


Gazpacho Andaluz (source: The Professional Chef  by The Culinary Institute of America)

8 lb/3.63 kg peeled, seeded and medium-diced plum tomatoes

1 lb/454 g diced cucumbers

8 garlic cloves, crushed

8 fl oz/240 ml red wine vinegar

16 fl oz/480 ml olive oil

salt, as needed

ground black pepper, as needed

  • Combine all the ingredients, cover, refrigerate and marinate overnight.
  • Puree the marinated ingredients in a blender or food mill, working in batches if necessary. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Chill the soup thoroughly before serving.

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle SoupTHE VERDICT:

The flavours of this soup are good, but it could probably use some salt next time.  Even adding salt, the sodium content would still be much less than a packaged soup.  A recommended meal for the day before is this one, which leaves a nice carcass for the soup base.  You can substitute thyme or some other fresh herb for the dill, depending on your tastes and the season.

If you want to try it yourself…


Chicken Noodle Soup (source: Canadian Family magazine; original recipe)

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