spinach and orzo soup with pork

One pot wonder.

Even better the second day.

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.



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.
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.



 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.


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,

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.



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.



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.



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.


baby red potato soup with bacon

Yah. I know. Soup again.
But I was totally serious when I said earlier that I could live off the stuff once the temps change. And low and behold! *shows you the view from the window* See? Cold. Windy. All the leaves falling to the ground. Rain even. Summer is over and soup season is here. So yes. Another soup post. *beams*

Potato Soup has never been real high on my list of favs because—oh, I dknow—it’s just potatoes, Man. How far can you go? But because of Whole30, it seemed like a good idea to try try again and I came up with something pretty tasty. Like for real. With bacon. And where there is bacon, there is . . . um . . . happiness?
Yes. Let’s go with that.



12 baby red potatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 teaspoon (or more as needed) Onion Powder
1 teaspoon (or more as needed) salt
1/2 teaspoon (or more as needed) black pepper
1 package bacon
chives for garnish

In a crock out, quarter a dozen baby red potatoes and cover with chicken stock. Add pepper, onion powder, and salt. Set for four hours on high and go do all the rest of the things you would normally do in four hours. Or nap. Napping would be best. When those four hours are up, come back and get ready to blend! I use an immersion blender for this part because I’m all about saving myself dishes to wash. But you can just as easily empty the contents of your crock pot into a traditional blender and whirl away. Add the remaining chicken stock and whirl once more until well-incorporated. Return the contents of the blender to the crock pot and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly.

Now for bacon. Don’t you just love bacon? Me too.
I searched high and low for a bacon that had been raised antibiotic free, uncurred, sugar free, nitrate free, gluten free, GMO free, all the Frees, and finally found it in this brand:


I would prefer to purchase my bacon from a local supplier but it wasn’t ready yet, so I had to make due. Go ahead and cook the entire package of bacon. This is my favorite method for doing so. And don’t forget to save the grease. That stuff (especially with all the Frees) is liquid gold.
Once the bacon is cooked, let it cool and drain on paper toweling and then crumble and set aside.


Ladle the potato soup into bowls and top with bacon crumbles and diced chives. Serve with a loaf of warm crusty bread, because as long as we are doing potatoes, we may as well continue to carb load.

Pho Beef Soup

Fall is so much about soup for me. So much.
Bisque. Chowder. Bean. Split pea with bacon. Wild rice. Noodle. Veggie. Italian. All of them. But Pho is a new discovery. I’d never made it before this spring and then BOOM. Several pots of the stuff raced through my kitchen with warm welcomes and sad farewells. Another reason to love this particular soup is the whole gluten-free thing it’s got going on. No cream base, but not a typical veggie soup either. This baby can pack a little heat, if you’re into that kind of thing. And for me, on this particular fall afternoon, it was exactly what the cool temps ordered. This is a simplified version of the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. Faux. Yah. See what I did there?

PHO (a simple beef version)

3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1.5 quarts vegetable broth (but you could use pretty much any kind)
1 large steak (sliced thin and against the grain in bite-sized pieces. Chicken or pork would work nicely as well).
Sriracha chili sauce to taste
Bean thread noodles—1 package
Spinach—several cups or as desired
green peas— 1 cup or as desired

In a large stockpot heat sesame oil and sauté diced onion. Season with ginger, salt, rice vinegar, and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. Cook until onions are soft and then add another two cups of broth and heat until boiling. Add your meat of choice. Make sure to cut thin, bite-size pieces of whatever meat you choose. The thinner they are, the more tender they will be when cooked in the broth. Once the meat is cooked add the rest of the broth and Sriracha sauce. Taste as you go and adjust the Sriracha, salt, ginger, and rice vinegar as needed. Taste is such a personal thing—especially when it comes to heat.

In a separate pot, heat 2 quarts of water to boiling and cook bean threads as you would any noodle—el dente or just slightly chewy. I recommend adding the noodles to a bowl and then spooning the pho over the noodles for each serving, rather than cooking the noodles right in the pho. They tend to get . . . what’s the word . . . ? Slimy. Once the bean threads are cooked, drain and set aside.

Add green peas to the pho, about a cup or more, or as desired. And several cups of spinach. Cook, stirring gently until the spinach is wilted.
Spoon over bean threads and enjoy!

Spiced pumpkin and sweet potato soup

It’s here.
You can now start using words like “crisp” and “spice.”
Orange and red and gold are back in vogue.
Wool socks and sweaters, scarves, boots that button and zip and lace—all of these in any combination are perfectly suitable attire for pretty much anything.
And the food. Oh the food. This is the season I live for, as a foodie. And if you’re going to start Autumn off right, in my humble opinion, it might as well be with a lovely pot of savory soup. This particular pot is an excellent place to start. —Smooth like a bisque but not overly-heavy. Savory but not too rich. Vegetarian, but hearty enough for your typical meat-lover. And when hedged with a rustic bread and a pat of warm butter, fall can be officially ushered in.
Happy First Day of Autumn!



3 Tbsp clarified butter
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp diced garlic
1.5 Tea ground ginger
1 Tea ground thyme
1 Tea salt
.5 Tea black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth
2 baked sweet potatoes
3.5 cups puréed pumpkin
1.5 cups coconut milk

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and simmer until caramelized. Add garlic, ginger, thyme and mix well. Add vegetable broth, sweet potato, (baked, peeled and cubed) and pumpkin. With an immersion blender, purée until thick and smooth. Add coconut milk, stirring over heat until soup is heated through and desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!