Category Archives: Soups & Stews

Fiesta Soup

Years ago, I was scared to try new foods.  Really.  So when my mother-in-law brought this to our house when they visited, I was a little hesitant to try it.  But I actually *did* try it, I loved it.  I had to ask my mother-in-law for the recipe, and since I’ve been making it, it has become one of my favorite go-to  soups.  And it freezes well, so you get a lot of meals (and meals for the freezer) for very little effort.  Enjoy!

Fiesta Soup
Recipe from Mary Ross Smith
Makes about 12 cups

2 lbs ground turkey breast
1 onion, chopped
2 packages taco seasoning mix (I make homemade – see below)
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomatoes w/green chiles (such as Rotel), undrained
2 cans white corn, undrained (I usually use 2 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 cups water
Fat-free shredded cheddar cheese and fat free sour cream (optional – not included in nutritional information)

In a large non-stick stockpot, brown turkey and onion together. Add seasoning mixes to meat. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 hours. More water can be added if too thick.

Garnish with shredded fat free cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, or fat-free sour cream (optional).

Homemade taco seasoning (equals 1 store-bought packet):
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp tomato powder

Nutritional Info Per Serving:
Calories: 216.8
Total Fat: 1.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 659.3 mg
Potassium: 172.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 19.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.0 g
Sugars: 3.2 g
Protein: 25.3 g


Vegetarian Curry with Butternut Squash, Eggplant, and Chickpeas

I was looking through my food photos, and I realized I never posted this recipe from this winter! It’s almost too late in the season for recipes with butternut squash, but I thought I’d go ahead and post it before I forgot!

We found this recipe (that goes with our Cuisinart Multicooker) on the Williams-Sonoma website when we were in the mood for a cozy vegetarian meal, and it was fantastic! Next fall & winter when we have butternut squash around, we will be making it again! And it also freezes well, too! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Curry with Butternut Squash, Eggplant, and Chickpeas
Serves 8
Slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma website

2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
3 Tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 can (14.5 oz./455 g) no salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chickpeas, no-salt added, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (13.66 fl. oz./403 ml) light coconut milk
8 oz green beans, trimmed and halved
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat a Cuisinart multicooker on the brown/sauté setting to 400°F (200°C) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Warm the oil in the multicooker. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, curry powder, cayenne, sugar and salt andrcook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, eggplant, chickpeas, cauliflower, potato, squash and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. **Alternatively – this step can be done on the stovetop in a large skillet, then transferred into the slow cooker.**

2. Set the multicooker (or a slow-cooker) on the slow cook-high setting. Cover and cook until the cauliflower and potato are almost tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Stir in the green beans and bell pepper, cover and cook until tender, about 45 minutes more. Stir in the lime juice and the 1/2 cup cilantro. Serve the curry over rice and garnished with cilantro.

Nutritional info (not including rice):
Calories: 238.1
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 620.2 mg
Potassium: 820.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 39.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.6 g
Sugars: 4.0 g
Protein: 7.2 g

Pureed Broccoli Soup

This is definitely one of those recipes that qualifies as “looks gross, but tastes great!” I almost didn’t want to try this recipe, but I had quite a bit of extra broccoli in the fridge, and I wanted to do something different with it. So I gave it a try, and it was fantastic! Enjoy!

Pureed Broccoli Soup

From Eating Well, Jan/Feb 2011
Serves 8

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
8 cups chopped broccoli (stems and florets)
2 cups water
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Heat butter and oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

2. Stir in broccoli. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 67.7
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
Cholesterol: 3.9 mg
Sodium: 258.1 mg
Potassium: 335.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 7.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g
Sugars: 1.0 g
Protein: 2.9 g

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

It took me many, many years to become a fan of cauliflower, in general. However, once I had it roasted, I was hooked. I still wasn’t a huge fan of cauliflower in other applications (like soup, for example) until I found this recipe. It combines the roasted flavor that made cauliflower a tasty vegetable (to me!), and also made it useful and tasty in soup form! We have enjoyed this recipe, and you can even make it vegetarian by leaving out the prosciutto (but if you do this, you will probably need to add a bit more salt!). Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light, Jan 2013
Serves 4

8 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 large head)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Cooking spray
2 thin slices prosciutto, chopped (about 1 ounce)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 ounce panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Place cauliflower in a large bowl; drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring once after 30 minutes.

3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add prosciutto; cook 3 minutes or until crisp. Remove; drain on paper towels.

4. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cauliflower, stock, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in half-and-half. Puree with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

5. Melt remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a skillet over medium heat; swirl. Add panko breadcrumbs; sauté 5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Combine prosciutto, breadcrumbs, and parsley (optional). Ladle about 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumb mixture.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 191.1
Total Fat: 7.4 g
Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g
Cholesterol: 14.3 mg
Sodium: 611.1 mg
Potassium: 749.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 25.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.0 g
Sugars: 4.0 g
Protein: 7.9 g

Asparagus Soup

This is a perfect spring soup, when asparagus and fresh herbs are abundant!  It’s so easy, and makes a great meal.  I recently shared this recipe with my friend Sharon, and she loved it, too! Enjoy!

Photo credit: Sharon Tellman

Asparagus Soup

Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2011
Serves 6

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth or veggie broth
1/4 cup tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup fat free half & half
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Finely grated lemon zest, for garnish

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook
over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes.

Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and
peas and simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 10

Add the 1/4 cup of tarragon and the parsley. Working in
batches, puree the soup in a blender (or use an immersion
blender). Return the soup to the pot, add the half & half;
rewarm. Season with salt and white pepper and garnish with
tarragon and zest.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 116.4
Total Fat: 5.5 g
Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.9 g
Cholesterol: 1.5 mg
Sodium: 180.4 mg
Potassium: 470.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 14.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Sugars: 3.5 g
Protein: 4.6 g

Beans, Greens, and Pork Stew with Chipotles

While it’s still (barely) winter in TX, and while we still have some winter produce available, I thought I’d try this recipe from “The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook.” Although it took a bit of time to prep (the soaking/cooking of the beans, and the couple of hours of simmering the meat), it was definitely worthwhile. It ended up being pretty spicy due to the two chipotles, but we liked it (and it can easily be toned down). Enjoy!

Beans, Greens, and Pork Stew with Chipotles

Adapted from “The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook” recipe from Amelia Saltsman
Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb lean, trimmed pork loin, cut into cubes
8 oz lean italian sausage, removed from casings (I used venison italian sausage)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle chiles (from canned in adobo sauce), divided
3 whole sun dried tomatoes, chopped
3 cups cooked pinto beans (from 8 oz dry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 bunches swiss chard (about 1.5 lbs), stemmed and roughly chopped

Soak and cook beans (this can be done the day before). Place soaked beans and one chipotle chile in a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring water to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer beans covered until tender, 45-60 minutes. Alternatively, add soaked beans, chile, and water to a pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 25 minutes. After cooking, add salt to taste, cover beans in their cooking liquid, and set aside (or refrigerate the next day).

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and brown the pork and sausage about 5 minutes. Remove meat to a plate and set aside. To the same pot, add the chopped onions and garlic and turn the heat to medium. Cook until onions are tender and garlic lightly browned, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return the meat and its juices to the pot and add one chipotle, the tomatoes, and three cups of water.

Turn heat to low and simmer covered until meat is tender, 1-2 hours, adding more water as needed to keep a little sauce going.

Add cooked beans plus their liquid to the meat. Add about 6 cups of water, and simmer until meat, beans and liquid are hot. Season with salt and smoked paprika. Next, add chopped greens and cook until tender, 5-10 minutes.

Serve with grilled thick slices of sourdough bread, if desired.

**Note** If you want the soup to be less spicy, reduce the number of chipotle chiles (use one in either the meat or the beans, but not both).

Nutritional info:
Calories: 297.3
Total Fat: 12.5 g
Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 22.2 mg
Sodium: 694.0 mg
Potassium: 1,025.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate:23.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.0 g
Sugars: 1.4 g
Protein: 24.0 g

Beef Stew

This is my favorite beef stew recipe – the one my mom has been making forever!  I have no idea where she got the original recipe, but she passed it on to me, and I’ve made my own slight changes to the recipe over the years, but it’s still fantastic.  Enjoy!

Beef Stew

Adapted from Mom’s recipe
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs lean sirloin beef, cubed
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
3 carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
3 medium potatoes, cubed small
1 can 14.5 oz green beans – do not drain
1 can 14.5 oz whole tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes – do not drain
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
2 1/2 Tbsp tapioca
1/2 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 250

In a large skillet, brown beef in oil. When browned, take meat and place in large casserole/roaster. Add and mix all other ingredients. Cover and put in oven for 5 hours.

**Note** For slightly faster cooking, cook at 350 for 3 hours.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 348.3
Total Fat: 7.2 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 47.6 mg
Sodium: 1,305.1 mg
Potassium: 881.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 37.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.2 g
Sugars: 8.1 g
Protein: 29.9 g

Tuscan Pumpkin White Bean Soup

I’ve been making this recipe for years – it is the perfect meal for a cozy winter night! And it also freezes well. Enjoy!

This time I made it, I had an extra pumpkin (from my Thanksgiving decorations), so I roasted it and used it instead of canned pumpkin. But either works great!

Tuscan Pumpkin White Bean Soup

Slightly adapted from WW website
Serves 6

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
15 oz canned pumpkin (or roast a 3-lb sugar pumpkin – see directions)
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
15 1/2 oz canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
6 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For roasting pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 450. Starting with a 3-lb sugar (or pie) pumpkin, cut pumpkin in half, and scoop out seeds.

Place on a cookie sheet, spritz with spray olive oil, and roast for about 25-30 min, or until pumpkin flesh is tender. Once cool, scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor.

Place puree over a strainer, and allow to strain for about 30 minutes or so. Set aside puree.

Coat a large soup pot with oil and set over medium-low heat. Add onion, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, broth, beans and oregano; simmer 8 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup carefully in the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve each bowl with 1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan on top.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 134.8
Total Fat: 4.1 g
Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1 g
Cholesterol: 4.0 mg
Sodium: 529.6 mg
Potassium: 194.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 20.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.4 g
Sugars:3.5 g
Protein: 7.6 g

Pork and Tomatillo Stew

This is a great fall/winter stew. Simple to make, and freezes well, too. I made this a few months ago when the Hatch chiles (Anaheim chiles from Hatch, New Mexico) were available at our local grocery store. I bought my chiles already roasted, so I peeled and froze them to use in recipes like this. Enjoy!

Pork and Tomatillo Stew
Slightly Adapted from Food & Wine, March 2008
Serves 6

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless trimmed pork loin, cut into 3-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large celery ribs, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 Anaheim chile (or hatch chile), seeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons mild chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Pinch of dried oregano
2 cups chicken stock or low sodium broth
1 cup 1/2-inch-diced carrots
Two 6-ounce russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound tomatillos—husked, rinsed and cut into 1-inch dice


1. In a medium non-stick casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on 2 sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the celery and onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the diced chile, garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos, cover and simmer over low heat until the pork is cooked through, about 25 minutes.

2. Transfer the pork to a plate and shred with two forks (I had better luck pulling it by hand). Meanwhile, simmer the stew over moderate heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir the shredded pork into the stew and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a few tortilla chips, if desired.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 272.0
Total Fat: 6.1 g
Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 578.4 mg
Potassium: 1,355.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 25.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Sugars: 7.6 g
Protein: 29.6 g

Chicken Stock

I often think of just how many things I use chicken stock for, and several years ago, I decided to make my own. I did a little bit of experimenting, and I came up with this method.

Each time we have chicken (with bones and/or skin), I save the bones & skin in a gallon-sized ziplock bag, and throw it in the freezer. When the bag is full, it’s time to make stock! Usually from this amount, I can make about 9-12 cups of stock. I freeze it in useable portions (from 1-3 cups), then thaw as needed.

Chicken Stock
A Karen Original

Leftover chicken bones (with bits of meat & skin still attached) – enough to fill a gallon-sized ziplock bag
1-2 onions, peeled & quartered
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks (with leaves, if available), washed & cut into large chunks
1/2 Tbsp peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
4 thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
2 bay leaves

Place bones & veggies & seasonings into crockpot or stockpot. Add filtered water to pot – enough to cover bones and veggies by about 1 inch.

For stockpot, bring to a boil, then simmer 2-3 hours, covered.

For crockpot, cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Strain stock into large container, then refrigerate overnight.

Skim fat off top, then use or divide and freeze.