Category Archives: Soups

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Soup

SAM_2073Roasted pumpkin seed garnish for a Creamy Pumpkin Soup…

Author: Cassie Stevens

I love this time of year! The colors are vibrant and warm! The seasons are changing. The weather is getting colder. I welcome the Fall with whisk in hand. I love it so much I named my daughter Autumn. I embrace this time of year and try to enjoy it as much as possible. The smell of roasted root vegetables, baked apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and open fires intrigues my soul. The need to get cozy and warm under a blanket on those cool nights your outside under the stars. As Winter approaches… I waited for this time all year, pumpkin everything.

csg-Landscapes143-GreatSmokyMountains-NorthCarolinaMy mountains dressed in their Fall colors, the Great Smoky Mountains, TN.

Every year for about the past ten years – with an exception to the year I was pregnant with my daughter – I have gone on a pumpkin baking frenzy.  I LOVE pumpkin!! as much as Bubba loves shrimp. Yeah that’s me…

gump pumpkinHa! Ha! Ha! I love it! Pumpkin everything…

I had not tried pumpkin in a soup; until now. I make pumpkin fudge, and pumpkin pie every year. Pumpkin fudge is one of my favorites, but this soup is now on my every years pumpkin to-do list.  This is a great soup. It’s sweet and savory with a creamy texture. I really enjoyed. I really think you will too.

SAM_1976Getting ready to gut a pumpkin…

Pumpkins are beautiful, and they are good for you too! You can do just about anything with a pumpkin. You can turn them into dinner, a dessert, a drink, a candy, carve them up for decorations, or use them as target practice. Enemy Pumpkins!!

SAM_1981Seeded pumpkin quarters…

I love roasting pumpkins. The whole house smells great, and I start feeling all warm and fuzzy (and its not from the moonshine). I have always used pie pumpkins for all my recipes. I was told by someone, somewhere that they were the best for baking. The smaller the pumpkin the creamier the texture, the larger the pumpkin the more fibrous the texture (makes sense). I never realized how many different types of pumpkins there are, until my recent research. I am definitely going to try a few other varieties out to turn into something even more amazing.

SAM_1985Scraping the guts out with a spoon…

I will try to post all my pumpkin recipes and endeavors that I make this year. I really want to dive deeper into the realm of everything pumpkin this year, and possibly can some pumpkin puree for the early part of next year.

SAM_1992Roasted garlic and pepper pumpkin seeds…

One of the best parts of the pumpkin are the roasted seeds. I make them as many different ways as I can. Olive oil and salt, garlic pepper, lemon sage, and even a spicy Cajun seasoning. My one year old daughter loves to eat pumpkin seeds too.

SAM_2009Pure pumpkin puree…

Sweet and delicious pumpkin puree, in its purest form. No salt, or anything  just a little water. Ready for whatever comes its way. Now, this is what I made my wonderful soup from. I have about four cups here in my mason jar. You can put this in the fridge and use it anytime over the next couple of days. I used only two cups (half) in the soup.

SAM_2059Sweatin’ the onions…

Finely dice half an onion and about four cloves of garlic. I really like my garlic so i use a lot. Put half a stick of butter in your skillet and add 2 teaspoons brown sugar, dash of salt and pepper, and cook onions until translucent.  This will start to smell wonderful, enjoy it!

SAM_2060Add 2 1/4 cups of vegetable, chicken, or bone broth and bring to a boil…

SAM_2062Mmmmm the soup is coming together…almost done…

Add pumpkin puree and one 12 ounce can of evaporated milk and bring back to a boil. Let this boil for about ten minutes or so.  Take off heat and place an immersion blender in your pot and blend, or place in a regular stand blender and blend until smooth. You are mostly trying to get rid of the chunks of onion in it. So, if it suites you better you can skip this process.  After blended, or not, cook again for about twenty or thirty minutes. It will reduce and thicken a little. I added heavy whipping cream, and roasted pumpkin seeds to my bowl as a garnish. My husband is lactose intolerant so if I can keep the dairy out I try.

SAM_2063Pumpkin soup….

Doesn’t that look so delicious. I still had a couple of chunks of onion in it, but I didn’t mind at all.  The cream added a delectable texture that was perfect.  My daughter couldn’t get enough of this soup and neither could I.  We both ate until we just couldn’t anymore. I put hers in a sippy cup with a straw, and it went fast. She is such a good eater! I have never had a problem with her not wanting to eat her vegetables (it’s more the fruit she shuns away from).

SAM_2077So there it is, before it was gone…

Pumpkin Soup Recipe:

2 cups pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

2 1/4 cups chicken broth (or other broth you wish)

1/2 onion finely chopped

1/2 stick butter

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Prep:

Melt butter in skillet, add onion, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Add pumpkin puree, and evaporated milk and bring back to a boil for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and blend with hand blender.  Return to heat, let cook until soup reduces and thickens slightly. Mix in cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve and garnish with cream and roasted pumpkin seeds or whatever else you wish. Enjoy!

~ Cassie Stevens

Advertisements

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Creme

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Creme

Soup warms the soul. It’s just what I need when the weather starts to change, as fall starts to creep back. It’s crunching leaves, crisp breezes, and harvest.

I needed a recipe for the tons of butternut squash I just processed. Soup called to me, and this was the one! I just sort of threw things together, tasting as I went. This is the recipe I ended up with, loosely based on a recipe I once made long ago (but I can’t remember who to give credit to). It’s sweet and savory, smooth and satisfying. Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Creme

Soup Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, seeded, cooked, and mashed – without skins

1 onion, chopped

1 – 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon coconut/olive oil

2-4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)

up to 1 teaspoon curry powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

Coconut Creme Ingredients:

1/2 can of organic coconut milk (I use this one*)

1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt

Method:

Soup: Cook butternut squash by preferred method. Scoop squash meat out of skins, mash and set aside. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onions and apples and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and onions are soft. Add curry powder and butternut squash puree. Cook for another 5 minutes to blend flavors. Blend the soup with an immersion hand blender or in batches in a conventional blender. add sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with toppings.

Coconut Creme: Hand mix or blend coconut milk and yogurt together. Drizzle over warm soup to bring this delicious dish to the next level!

Optional additional toppings: Roasted nuts (walnuts pictured), toasted coconut flakes, chives (pictured), seasoned croutons or chunks of hearty (slightly) stale bread, fried shallots or leeks, pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, shredded apple… anything that offers this smooth soup a bit of a crunch will help with the texture.

*I receive no compensation for sharing links to products or pages. I just want to help you know what to look for when you’re out shopping, especially in this instance. Coconut milk also comes in a carton. What I used here is a canned coconut milk. It’s thicker and tastes a bit less sweet.

I hope you enjoy this delicious soup. Let us know what you topped yours with!

~Veronica

Kick the Can! Homemade Tomato Soup From Scratch

I learned recently, after reading this popular article,  that canned tomato products are really, really bad. Like, enough for me to boycott anything with tomatoes that is not in glass. BPA leaching out into my family’s food? Ugh. No. Here’s a great article talking about why it’s bad and what else we can do.

So in my effort to do away with this evil in our lives, I have to find a boxed or glass-jarred equivalent to the Campbell’s soup my family loves so much. No luck yet. But I looked at all the tomatoes in my garden and on my counter, and I had an idea. I went in search of a recipe to try. I thought I would have to get all witches cauldron on it to make it taste like Campbell’s. As soon as I smelled the first step of this recipe cooking, I knew I already had a winner. So here you are, the freshest, BPA-free, Campbell’s soup fake-out that had my family begging for seconds. The key to that memorable tomato soup flavor? Cloves!

123_0498

I chopped up my tomatoes, between 2-3 cups worth, and added some homemade chicken stock. A friend suggested using bone broth for added nutritional benefits, which I think is a spectacular idea. Next time I will plan ahead and use bone broth. I was so thrown off by the call for cloves that I almost didn’t put them in. I’m glad I did!

Once they had simmered for a while, I used my stick blender to help things along. I then ladled it into my sieve and used the back of the ladle to push everything but the seeds and skins through.

123_0500

I put the seeds and skins back into my garden. Maybe we’ll get volunteer tomatoes. 🙂

This beautiful tomato juice was what I got. But there’s another important step. Roux.

123_0502

You’ll make a light brown roux of butter and flour, 2 tablespoons of each. I almost let mine go too far while I was taking pictures. Plus I had a screeching toddler on my leg. This is a bit forgiving though. Mine turned out delicious nonetheless.

123_0504

Slowly add the tomato-ey liquid, making sure everything is smooth and creamy before adding more. It’s so interesting to me how the roux seizes up and then smooths back out again. Cooking is cool.

123_0505

When I was all done, I tasted it and added salt and sugar until it tasted right. Mine needed more sugar than the recipe called for. I’m sure it will be different for every batch and for every cook. We spooned in a dollop of sour cream, added some fresh basil from the garden, a sprinkle of pepper (for the adults), and dipped gooey grilled cheese into our soup.

Amazing.

123_0509

I followed the recipe I found exactly, aside from the amount of sugar at the end. You can find it at this link.

Throw out those disgusting cans. Try this delicious soup and you’ll give your family the chemical-free dinner they deserve! Added plus: this freezes well (according to my bone broth offering friend, thanks V!) so it’s just as easy to pull out and heat up as a can of soup.

For the love of food…
~Veronica

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

hcns

Author: Cassie Stevens

Good home cooking! Nothing helps get over a cold better than hot homemade chicken noodle soup. When one person in the family gets sick it usually passes through everyone in the whole family. Somehow, it’s inevitable no matter how careful and clean you keep yourself and other things. It’s even harder if you have little ones.  If you do then you know what I mean. So when I see the first sign of someone being sick I make a great big ol’ pot of soup. Which goes fast cause if you have a sore throat too, a hot brothy soup seems to be the only thing you can swallow.  This soup is sure to hit the spot. Light and tasty and packed with the good stuff your body needs. When paired with my 30 minute Garlic Parmesan rolls this dish is an absolute delight!

SAM_1061

This is one of my favorite soups to make, my other being potato. I make mine in the crock pot.  I start by adding water about half full in the crock pot then start trimming and cubing 6 chicken breasts to add directly to the water. Turn your crock pot to high and cover while you get the rest of the ingredients together. I chopped three to four celery stalks, and used about half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. I use chicken bullion so I add one tablespoon for every two cups of water in this case I added four Tbsp bullion. I used about half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables I added after a couple of hours (once the chicken was cooked through). I didn’t want the veggies too soggy. I made the Orzo in a separate pot rinsed and drained then added it to the crock pot last. Very few ingredients but very good for your health and well being.  You will want to cook this for a few hours in your crock pot.

So the recipes is as follows: but you can add whatever you like to your soup.  Sometimes I will add stewed tomatoes and even potatoes to make it real hearty and delicious.

Recipe:

6 cubed chicken breast

Water

4-5 Tbsp chicken bullion

half a big bag frozen mixed vegetables

2 Tbsp dried parsley

1 box Orzo

salt pepper to taste

Chopped green onions to top soup

So it’s that easy to have a great homemade soup that will cure anyone if they are feeling sick! After a few hours in the crock pot, the chicken will be so soft and tender.  When you bit into a piece it will fall apart and melt in your mouth, and you’ll be begging for more.  Soon you will have an empty bowl like mine, wishing you had two stomaches or something because you want more, more, more!

SAM_1065

I hope you enjoy this with your family as I did mine. They are sure to love it! Anything made from scratch and from the heart for your family is worth the efforts. It’s much cheaper, and healthier than buying canned soups.

hcns

Sort of Authentic Mont-Asian Ramen Bowl

Sort of Authentic Mont-Asian Ramen Bowl :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

In another post I told ya’ll about our ties and love for the Japanese culture and the awesome Japanese flavors that we’ve come to crave. Every time I make a dish like this, I am transported back to the little ramen shops in the alleys of Hokkaido.  I can close my eyes and see the windows of plastic food that they use as a menu. I can almost feel the brush of the noren, the decorative curtains, that hang atop every entry to a ramen shop. Japan smells like this dinner. 

The noodles are not authentic, obviously. The ramen in Japanese restaurants is WAY superior to the disks of processed ramen noodles we have here. My term for this type of fusion food is Mont-Asian, because I am in Montana. But it works.

This recipe was thrown together on the fly, as I went.  When I started cooking the napa cabbage I didn’t know it would take an Asian turn. I like cooking like that. It’s like painting. Sometimes you start a painting not knowing how it’s going to look when it’s done. These are often the most rewarding experiences for me because I think the process is more enjoyable, sometimes, than the final product.

That’s not true for this umami-infused, slurp-worthy bowl of memories. The result is even better than I’d hoped. This could easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth and not using the ramen flavor packs at all.

Be aware that I use low-sodium ingredients whenever I can. This dish would be incredibly high in sodium if I didn’t. I only used one ramen flavor pack, and tried to cut the sodium in my other ingredients, but it is still very high. We should always do everything we can to decrease our sodium intake. High sodium diets are strongly associated with  cardiovascular (heart) disease. So make this a sometimes meal and always watch your sodium intake. If you are already eating a low-sodium diet, just don’t use the ramen flavor pack and the sodium is cut to 514mg per serving.

Sort of Authentic Mont-Asian Ramen Bowl :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals
Mont-Asian Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

Ramen noodles (Beef flavor) 2Pks (1 Pk flavor)
Napa cabbage 1 Head
Oil (coconut) 1 Tblsp
Beef broth 1 Cup
Soy sauce (Shoyu, low-sodium) 2 Tblsp
Ginger (fresh) 1 Tblsp
Broccoli, or cauliflower, steamed 1 Head
Nori sheets 2 Sheets
Avocado 1
Lemon juice Splash
Sesame oil Few drops

Directions: 

Begin to cook the cabbage first because it will take the longest. Wash, then cut the cabbage into bite-sized pieces. Melt oil in a large pan. Add soy sauce, beef broth, ginger, and the cabbage and cook on medium/low heat, covered, until the cabbage has cooked down by about half and tastes “done”. Steam the broccoli or cauliflower until it is the desired softness. Cook the ramen noodles according to the package directions, but only use one flavor pack (or none). Meanwhile, cut up the avocado and dress it with a splash of lemon juice (squeeze half a lemon) and a few drops of sesame oil, you don’t need much! Once everything is cooked, assemble the ingredients in a deep bowl. Ladle some liquid from cooking the noodles and some of the beef broth liquid from cooking the cabbage over everything. Spoon the avocado “salad” over the top. Then use kitchen shears to cut smaller pieces of the seaweed nori sheets over the top as a garnish. Enjoy!

Servings: 4

Nutrition Info: Calories: 341, Fat: 18g, Sat. Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 939mg, Carbohydrate: 41g, Fiber: 9g, Protein: 10g

Friday’s Flavor; Ginger, Not Just a Pretty Red-Haired Girl

Author: Veronica Hilliard

Oh ginger. You make my taste buds happy. You taste so good in both savory and sweet dishes. You make a smoothie great. And if I find you in dressing… watch out. I’ll eat the whole bottle in a week. 

Because just one post won’t do you justice, my tasty friend, check out these delicious applications of spicy, yummy ginger. These bloggers have got it right.
 

Ginger, Strawberry & Watermelon Smoothie Ginger, Strawberry & Watermelon Smoothie from Korean American Mommy

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup

Carrot Apple Ginger Soup from Joy the Baker

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing {vegan & gluten-free}

Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing {vegan & gluten-free} from Ambitious Kitchen

Ginger Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry

Ginger Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry from Life’s Ambrosia

Ginger Maple Miso Ice Cream

Ginger Maple Miso Ice Cream from spabettie

These images are not mine. They belong to the blog owners I have featured here. Click the pictures and follow the links to even more delicious food blogging. Visit those blogs and share the love. Try their recipes. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!