spinach and orzo soup with pork


One pot wonder.

Even better the second day.
Soup.

I really love soup. Enough to write a haiku about it, apparently. And this one is especially nice. Kind of a fresh take on Italian Wedding Soup—because I’m not a fan of the meatball element. This is easier. The sesame oil and Sriracha sauce add this beautiful flare that nods to Asian influence.

Enjoy!

SPINACH AND ORZO SOUP WITH PORK

2 quarts stock—chicken, beef, vegetable, or pork
2 cups diced pork (any cut)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c orzo pasta
1 c spinach
2 tablespoons sesame oil
a dash of Sriracha sauce (optional)

In a large sauce pan, heat broth to boiling and add pork (cooked or raw, either is fine). Boil until meat becomes so tender it begins to fall apart. Broth will reduce about one-third. Add salt and taste. Adjust to your liking and then bring pot back to a boil. Add orzo pasta until tender and remove pot from heat. Add spinach and stir into the soup until wilted. Then add the sesame oil and Sriracha (if you like a little heat). Serve hot.

Makes 4-6 servings—or dinner for tomorrow!

easy egg-drop soup

Sometimes you need a bowl of soup. A quick one.
But soup is notorious (or is nefarious a better word?) for being best when cooked for all the hours over low heat.
Whatever.
I don’t have time for that when I’m hangry. (My auto-correct keeps trying to change that to “hungry” but I really do mean hangry).

So here you go. A soup that takes literally five minutes, one sauce pan, and an egg to whip up. “Easy” seems too descriptive a word. But “tasty?” Now that word doesn’t even come close.

Enjoy.

EASY EGG-DROP SOUP

 In a saucepan heat 2 cups of chicken stock to boiling. Add a dash of salt. Turn burner off.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg until frothy and then gently and slowly pour the egg into the hot (but no longer boiling) stock. stir gently with a soft spatula and then let sit for three minutes. Serve topped with diced scallions or other favorite herb blend.

vegetarian chili

Everyone has that one recipe that tastes like it took hours of prep work and days over the stove to bring to fruition. This is one of those . . . bonus: it makes a TON of food, so it’s perfect for that church potluck, family dinner, neighborhood get-together, or football party. FYI: Even though it tastes homemade, absolutely everything in this recipe (if you so choose) comes out of a can. (You can totally soak and cook all of your own beans, use frozen corn or corn from your garden, and stewed/roasted fresh tomatoes, if you’d rather. And admittedly, that would be a healthier route). It’s completely up to you!
If you like a little protein in your chili, brown up some spicy Italian sausage, burger, diced steak, chicken, or tofu, and toss it in the mix.
Enjoy!

VEGETARIAN CHILI

2 cans black beans
2 cans chili beans
2 cans whole-kernel corn
1 can baked beans
3 cans diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 jar of salsa
3 cups vegetable broth

Over medium heat, empty all the cans and broth into a large soup pot, stir and heat through. Allow to cook on low for an hour or so to incorporate all the flavors. Adjust spice to your liking with pepper/chili pepper/salt/fresh garlic.
Serve hot with grated cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream or plain greek yogurt, and diced scallions.

 

 

fire-roasted cream-of-tomato-soup

I love food with history—food that invokes a memory, both with its preparation and its enjoyment. This particular soup recipe comes with story and memory and a long history for me. It was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and to me. It has some inherited some variations along the way, specifically in regard to the tomatoes.

(It can be easier to pick up a couple cans at the grocery than it is to head down to the cellar and grab a couple jars off the shelf from last summer’s canning session —as my great-grandmother did. I love canning and tomatoes are definitely on that list, but for this recipe, feel free to get yours at the grocery store, unless you happen to have a few Ball canning jars of summer’s bounty tucked away).

I have this distinct memory of my mom with her hands on her hips, my sisters and I lined up in front of her, while the classic question was posed:
“What should we have for lunch, girls?”
I was probably no more than nine or ten at the time. But I remember the smile on her face when she suggested, with a mysterious grin, “How about Cream-of-tomato soup?”
At that point, we had never had cream of tomato soup, but the look on her face told us it would be wonderful, so we agreed happily and helped as she pulled out a saucepan, a couple cans of tomatoes, whole cream, garlic, onion, butter, and cheese. And I distinctly remember thinking, this is how memories are made.
So from my family to yours,
Enjoy!

3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon diced onion
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
3/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan melt butter over med-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and simmer until both caramelize and begin to brown. Open tomatoes and empty all three in the the pan with the garlic, onion, and butter. Stir to combine. Add broth and heat through. Turn off heat and balsamic and cream. Stir and taste. Adjust salt and pepper to liking.
Serve hot the grated cheddar on top (and with a side of grilled cheese!)

roasted acorn squash soup

I very nearly destroyed dinner last night.
This happens to me sometimes when I forgot that I put something in the oven and it overcooks. In a big way.
Fortunately, I was cooking squash. And squash are redeemable. I mean, with a name like squash, they almost have to be, right?

They were going to be a side dish, but instead they became the main dish. And it was serendipity all around. —A happy accident. And also delicious. Worthy of sharing.
Enjoy!

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP

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2 medium-large acorn squash
32oz/1 qt chicken broth
1 15oz can of whole-fat coconut milk
1 tsp onion flakes
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon of salt (moire or less, depending on taste preference)
2 tablespoons clarified butter

In a 400-degree oven roast the squash until the rinds are blackened. About an hour or more. —I simply pierce the rinds with a sharp knife so they can vent while cooking, and place them whole right on the rack (with tinfoil underneath to catch drips). I find they are easier to de-seed post roasting. I’m all about simplifying the process.

When they have finished cooking and the rinds are blackened, remove from the oven, allow to cool, then slice open, and scoop out the seeds. scoop the cooked squash from the blackened rind and set aside.

In a soup pot over med-high heat, melt clarified butter and simmer garlic and onion flakes until cartelized. Add the acorn squash, broth, and can of coconut milk. With an emulsion blender (or in a standard blender) emulsify until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with rosemary, or parmesan, or both!

 

 

spicy coconut chicken soup

In the Midwest, we are really good at winter. We’ve got that department mastered like it’s our JOB. I’d much rather be known for summer, but that’s what places like Florida and California and Georgia are good at. Someone’s got to do winter. *sigh*
Also, in the midwest, we are good at thick creamy soups. Because we are trying to stay warm. Anything with cream, or milk, or butter, or cream-of-anything additions to rice and chicken and broccoli and potatoes . . . Yah. You get the idea. Hey, it was -15 for the past week where I live (-25 and lower with wind chills). I’ve got cold on the brain. And also thick creamy soup.

But what happens when you crave that sort of thing but you’re all, “Oh shoot. Whole 30. No dairy . . .”?

Well, then you turn to the glorious creamy sweetness that is coconut milk. No lie, this stuff really is amazing. Chilled in the fridge overnight it separates and all the heavy vegetarian fat rises to the top and thickens. You can scoop it out with a spoon and drop it in your coffee. Or if you whip it (like with a hand-mixer) the consistency changes to something reminiscent of whipped cream. Great for topping pumpkin pie, brownies, or yaknow, coffee. And in this case, it provides an exotic note to an otherwise ordinary soup. Paired with the heat of some Sriracha sauce it’s the perfect blend of east and west—Midwest, in this case. Midwest on Whole30. In winter. Burrrrrr.
Enjoy!

SPICY COCONUT CHICKEN SOUP

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1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon clarified butter
¼ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup Celery, diced
2 cups yellow summer squash, cut in rounds
2 cups of arugula
bean thread noodles
1  13.5 oz can of coconut milk
Sriracha sauce

In a stockpot, over medium high heat, melt clarified butter and cook onions and celery until caramelized. Add chicken stock and heat until boiling. Carrots, diced, can be added next. Turn down the heat and scoop the coconut milk/cream into the broth and whisk until well incorporated. The broth will have a sweet-savory flavor at this point. How much sriracha you add is totally dependent upon preference. I like enough heat to warm my soul. —Not burning, but I want my mouth to remember what it feels like to be warm during a mid January freeze in northern Minnesota.

The noodles can be dropped into the soup and the heat raised again to boiling. Cook them through—they’ll be translucent and soft, but shouldn’t be chewy. Bean thread noodles are my new fav. Their texture is unique and a nice alternatives to egg noddles or a standard pasta.

Lastly, add the squash and arugula as these two soften quickly.

Serve in hot steaming bowls on a cold day.

bone broth & veggie soup with bean thread noodles

It’s no secret I have a thing for soup. We’re friends. It could be because winter around here hangs out for like 9 out of 12 months. So. Much. Fun. Ahem. It’s great for soup though.

Bone broth is a relatively new discovery for me. By name, anyway. I’ve been guilty of over-cooking a soup stock until, when cooled, it turned gelatinous. Gross. Or so I thought. Little did I know it was liquid gold, and one of the best things I could possibly consume for gut health. I’m not going to go into detail here about the creation of, variations on, or nutritional benefits of bone broth. I’ll let Lauren Matheson guest posting at Kitchen Stewardship do that for me because she does such a marvelous job. You can read up on it here

The gist: Bone broth is made from simmering meat bones (chicken/fish/beef/pork) for an extended period of time (8+ hours), until all of the nutrients condensed in the bone marrow, joints and meat are leached out into the broth. Including the gelatin from the bone joins. It all sounds gristly, I know, but it is far less macabre than you might think. I’m not one for being in love with the process, but I sure love the product, and isn’t that they way with most things? And what remains in your soup pot once the simmering process is finished, is the most beautiful broth you’ve ever tasted.

The soup in this recipe is made from a base of pork bone broth, but you could use fish/beef/or chicken as well.

BONE BROTH AND VEGETABLE SOUP WITH BEAN THREAD NOODLES

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1 quart homemade bone broth (Pork/chicken/beef/fish)
Whatever meat remains on bones (removed from bones of course)  once the broth has cooked. Approximately 1 cup or so.
1 cup carrots
2 small zucchini
1 package mushrooms (portabella or chanterelle)
2 large handfuls of baby kale greens
1 package of bean thread noodles
1 teaspoon salt

Take one quart of bone broth and heat to boiling. Add the meat remaining from the bones you simmered and add them to the heated broth. Sprinkle salt into the broth and taste—adjust salt to your liking.

Once the broth is boiling add carrots and cook in the broth until they are fork-tender. Then, add zucchini—sliced into rounds and then half-rounds—and cook for one minute. Add the bean thread noodles followed by the remaining veggies and simmer gently until the noodles are cooked through and tender, but not mushy.

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