Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Soup

This recipe was a mistake! I had planned to make a slow cooker chicken parmesan soup, but after looking at the recipe, I was missing some ingredients…so I winged it and came out with this delicious soup instead! Sometimes mistakes turn into something really good. Since I work from home the majority of the time, I have flexibility to throw dinner in the slow cooker on my lunch break and can cook it on high and it’s ready by dinner.

Everyone loved the soup, no complaints from the kids and it was great for leftovers too!

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Soup | Join Us, Pull up a Chair

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 lb raw boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 cups chicken stock (more may be needed)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
6 ounces uncooked ditalini pasta

In the slow cooker, combine the garlic, green pepper, can of tomatoes, onions, chicken stock, chicken breasts, and seasonings. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 1/2 hours. Once cooked, removed the chicken breasts and shred. Return to the slow cooker and add in the uncooked pasta. Increase the heat to high and cook for an additional 30 minutes or longer until the pasta is completely cooked. Add more stock if necessary.

Serve and garnish with fresh basil or parsley.

Adapted from: Foxes Love Lemons

White Bean, Kale & Sausage Soup

I can’t tell you the last time we’ve seen the sun here in PA. It’s really depressing and makes me want to make hearty soups and stews…and this recipe will not disappoint. It’s a super easy recipe to make and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Perfect for dinner during the week!

This soup was a winner for everyone….no complaints except from Cooper who picked out the beans and threw them across our dining room. He’s been quite the little troublemaker lately! Dinner is usually hit or miss…there’s no in between. I know he’s figuring out what he can get away with, but any times on how to deal with a picky toddler, I’ll take them!

1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
5 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken stock
8 ounces kale, stems removed and finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 15 oz cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
couple dashes of hot sauce
salt and fresh ground pepper

In a Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the sausage. Brown both sides, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sausage to a paper towel lined plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the minced garlic for one minute. Pour in 4 cups of chicken stock into the pot and add in the kale, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Using a hand immersion blender, puree a third of cannellini beans with 1 cup of the stock. When the kale is tender, add in the remaining whole beans, pureed beans, sausage and the remaining 1 cup of stock. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Stir together and allow to simmer until the soup is heated through. Scoop out into bowls and serve with a hunk of crusty bread.

Source: Five Heart Home

Lentil Beef Stew

How is this week Thanksgiving already? Where did November go? I thought things would slow down since Madeline’s cheer season ended earlier this month, but somehow we just filled the rest of the month with other things to do. Granted, I do enjoy having my Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings free…I’m missing hanging out and chatting with the other cheer moms.

I haven’t made beef stew in so long and with the cold snap we had last week, I knew it was time to find a new recipe. This was a super simple recipe and made just enough for dinner and one extra serving for leftovers the next day. I loved the addition of lentils, something different than traditional beef stew.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb beef cubes
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, cut into large, 1″ chunks
1 cup mushrooms, quarters
1 cup lentils
1 Tbsp honey

fresh ground pepper

Season beef cubes with salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch Oven. Add the beef cubes and allow to brown on all sides.
Add the red wine and water to the pot and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add the chopped vegetables and lentils and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the stew to simmer on low for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is fork tender and the lentils are fully cooked. Serve with crusty bread or a green salad. 

Stuffed Pepper Soup

I’ve been on a little bit of a soup kick lately and here’s my newest creation – Stuffed Pepper Soup. I picked a bunch of peppers and wanted to make stuffed peppers. Unfortunately, they were little peppers and wouldn’t have been good for stuffing, so I decided to make a stuffed pepper soup instead. 

I threw this soup together and it was so good! It took way less time to make than stuffed peppers and I did it all in one pot, except for the rice. It’s great for a quick dinner during the week. It made about 10-12 servings which was perfect for leftovers and lunches. I’m looking forward to making it again!
1 lb ground turkey
2-3 medium green peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove, minced
28 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 qt chicken stock 
1/2 tsp oregano
fresh ground peppers
brown rice 
In a large pot, brown the meat and drain off any grease. I used ground turkey that was pretty lean, so I didn’t have too much grease to drain. Add in the garlic clove, green peppers, tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the peppers are tender. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to your taste and add in the oregano. 
While the soup is simmering, cook the brown rice according to the package. I made 4 servings for rice and it was the perfect amount I needed for the soup. To serve, place a spoonful of rice in the center of a bowl. Spoon the soup over top of it and serve to distribute the rice. Serve with a slice of crusty bread. 

Chicken Bacon & Wild Rice Soup

It’s feeling like fall today – with temperatures barely in the 60s and the leaves are really starting to change colors. While I really love this season, there’s been no transition from summer to fall. I made this soup last week when it was still warm, but I’m wishing I had made it again this weekend because it’s definitely soup weather today!

The bacon adds just the right amount of flavor and saltiness and it’s a lighter cream soup..not super heavy and goes perfect with a hunk of crusty bread. This is the kind of soup you make in the morning and let simmer all day and then it’s ready for dinner. I would be great to start a dinner party or for lunch as leftovers!
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
dash of fresh ground pepper
2 cups half and half
2 cups chicken breast, cubed
8 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken stock and water. Add the wild rice and scallions, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. There will be liquid remaining, do not drain. 
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add in the flour, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook for one minute until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Slowly add in the half and half, stirring continuously until the mixture has thickened. Add the thickened cream mixture to the rice and mix in the cubed chicken and bacon. Cook on low for at least a half an hour. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors combine and the soup thickens. 
Adapted Slightly from: My Sweet Savannah

Gazpacho with Basil Cornbread Croutons

This year my garden has been a little off. I’m getting a bumper crop of peppers, all my tomatoes ripened at the same time (even though some were supposed to be ready in early July), and my parsley and basil didn’t do well. I’m blaming it on the weather, lack of rain, and this is our first garden at our new house…need to work out the kinks. 

Over a course of a few days, I picked way more tomatoes than I knew what to do with. I knew I needed to figure out something to do with them, so I made 2 quarts of sauce with most of the Roma tomatoes. I still had a bunch of early girl and Mr. Stripey heirlooms to use so the next thing on my list was gazpacho. I used more tomatoes in another recipe…I’ll be sharing it later this week. I looked around for a gazpacho recipe since I had never made it before. 
The soup turned out amazing. I just threw it all in the blender, pureed it and then let it hang in out in the fridge while I made cornbread croutons. Seriously, it can’t get any easier than that! It makes six large portions, perfect for dinner on a hot summer night! 
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped basil 
3 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 large red bell pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, seeded
1 shallot, peeled
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×9 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the croutons. In a small liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and eggs. Combine the egg-milk mixture with the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add in the chopped basil and mix in. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. 
Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack and then remove the bread from the pan. Place on the cooling rack to completely cool. Once cooled, cut the cornbread into the desired size of your croutons. Place them on a large baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Stir once halfway through the baking process. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 
In a blender, add in the all the ingredients. Puree until there are no chunks. You might need to do this in batches. I did the tomatoes separately and then combined everything in a large bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator  for at least one hour before serving (the longer it sits, the more the flavors blend together). Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and croutons. 

Cream of Zucchini Soup

Are your counters filled with zucchini like mine are? I planted one plant in my garden and its been producing all summer long…plus we’ve been getting a few zucchini from my in laws. While I love zucchini, it’s been a little overwhelming this year. I’ve made muffins several times and have 12 quart sized bags frozen to use in the winter to make bread and muffins. I think one week we ate zucchini noodles or grilled zucchini every night. So needless to say, I was excited when I saw this recipe on Pinterest for a new way to use zucchini!

My kids refused to try the soup, but I’ll work on them next time I make it. It’s super simple, only a few ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Plus, it goes great with crusty bread!

1/2 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks (leave the skin on)
1 qt reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper
shaved Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, combine the onion, garlic, zucchini, and broth. Bring the mixture to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Allow the soup to simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the zucchini is fork-tender. Remove from the heat and puree using an immersion hand blender, Add in the 2 tablespoons of sour cream and then puree again. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Top with shaved pieces of Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. 
Source: Skinny Taste

Hamburger Soup

We’re recovering from a nor’easter that dumped almost 20 inches of snow on us. I’m sure everyone in the Northeast is over winter. It’s been storm after storm this winter season and I’m throwing up the white flag and giving up. Let’s hope this weekend’s storm is the last one forecasted for this winter…otherwise we all might lose it!

I made Ree’s (aka. The Pioneer Woman) hamburger soup and it was perfect timing! I loved the soup and how hearty and nutritious it is being packed full of vegetables. It made a good amount of soup and we had enough for leftovers and lunches for a couple of days.

2.5 lbs lean ground beef (I used 93/7)
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 qt low-sodium beef broth
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
5 whole red potatoes, diced into large pieces
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp ground oregano
In a dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat with the onion, celery and garlic. Once the meat is completely cooled, drain off the fat. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, serve with a chunk of bread. Enjoy!

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Black Beans

Things have been pretty crazy around here especially coming off the rush of the holidays and trying to get back into the swing of things. Of course with the New Year, I’m trying to get us back to eating cleaner and working out again. It’s been going ok, but I need to really focus after my trip to Nashville later this week.

This stew was perfect since we were affected by the arctic cold and it was warm and hearty. It made a good amount and it was ideal for leftovers for lunch. I was surprised that my little guy even liked it, especially since he’s going through a phase of not liking anything right now. 

1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 quart chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
Steam the squash until just tender, approximately 10 minutes. Set half of the squash aside and steam the other half until very tender. Mash the fully steamed squash with the back of a fork and set aside. 
In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth over medium-high heat until it simmers. Add the chicken thighs, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate to cool. Save the broth. 
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and when warm, add in the onions. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes until they’re turning brown. Add the salt, garlic and oregano. Add in the diced tomatoes, both cut and mashed butternut squash and stir to combine. Stir in the reserved chicken broth, quiona and black beans. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quiona is completely cooked.
While the stew is cooking, shred the chicken thighs with a fork. Stir in the chicken into the stew, uncover the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
Divide out into bowls and serve! 

Italian Meatball Soup

It’s a cold, damp day…perfect weather for this soup. It really warms you up. I love the Italian meatballs but neither of my kids were real fans them. Cooper loves meatballs but I think the addition of sausage in them made him dislike them. He would put a piece in his mouth and then spit it all out. He picked out the carrots and least it was something.

This recipe makes a good amount, but it was perfect for 2 dinners and I have a container that I froze for lunches later this month.

To make the meatballs: 
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 cup dried onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Turn on the oven boiler. 
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Shape the mixture into small meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking and broil for 7 to 10 minutes. The meatballs should begin to brown. Remove the meatballs from the oven and set aside until you’re ready to put them in the soup. 
For the soup:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 32 oz containers of reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup of elbow macaroni, uncooked
2 cups spinach, thinly sliced
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Saute the onions and garlic until cooked and translucent. Add the broth, water, tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Heat to boiling. Gently add the partially cooked meatballs, carrots and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the sliced spinach and cook until the carrots are soft and the meatballs are cooked though.
Divide into bowls and serve with crusty bread. 
Source: Our Best Bites Cookbook