With our weather hoovering around a warm, toasty 3 degrees (give or take 10 degrees), many a kettle of soup has been brewing on my stove top lately. Hot, delicious, plentiful yet inexpensive, I love having soup for dinner, paired with a loaf of the Mister's homemade bread.
Some of these soups have been SOOOO good that I can't help but share.
Numero Uno on my list:
The Pioneer Woman's Cauliflower Soup.
A vegetarian soup that even the Mister went ga-ga over (well, it calls for chicken stock, but I always use veggie stock.) I will admit that cauliflower is my least favorite vegetable after celery, but this soup rocked. All the kidlets loved it. This soup's warm, creamy goodness cannot be defined, except to say that it's from The Pioneer Woman. So you know it's that good.
Rachael Ray's Veg-Head Three-Bean Chili
This chili is thick, creamy and oh-so-flavorful. The addition of refried beans is brilliant. Brilliant, I tell you! Technically, mine was only a two-bean chili because I subbed the one can of red kidney beans for a second can of black beans. I broke my no-store-bought-refried-beans rule and bought them for this soup, and the results were still fabulous. I used beer instead of veggie stock, and used 2 yellow Hungarian wax peppers from my garden in lieu of the jalapeno. It made the Mister drool for more.
Quinoa and Spinach Soup
Straight from Jan 09's Vegetarian Times. I made this for New Year's Day as a sort of Detox Day Food. Honestly, I was not expecting this soup to be great. But it is! Great! And Fantastic! So good that I even brought some to my friend Becky (we had quite the New Year Party at her house, and she was feeling how I was feeling), and I would never bring her food that was less than wonderful.
1 med red onion, diced (1.5 cups)
3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
3/4 quinoa, rinsed
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes w/basil, garlic and oregano
10 oz. spinach leaves
Heat large saucpan with some olive oil over med heat. Add onion & saute for 5 min. Add broth and 4 cups water, and bring to boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to med-low. Cover, simmer for 15 min.
Stir in tomatoes and spinach leaves. Simmer 5 mins, uncovered, or until spinach and quinoa are tender. Season w/s&p. I added a touch of freshly grated romano cheese. Yum.
Creamy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup
(this is an "easy" soup that cheats with canned soup, but it's fast, easy and oh-so-good!)
3 cans mushroom soup
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots (I upped to nearly 1 cup)
3/4-1 cup wild rice, cooked
** 1 cup whole milk
** 1 cup half and half
** now, the recipe calls for 1 large can skim evaporated milk. Ewww. If you're gonna make a soup, do it right. Use WHOLE milk and REAL half and half. You could use skim, but then you're gonna have skimpy soup that's bluish in color. And have you ever read what goes into (and out of) milk to make it skim? Ewww. Do yourselves and your culinary palate a favor and go for the gusto.
Speaking of gusto, this is what we eat our soup out of in our house:
Fabulous, wonderful Fiesta Ware Gusto Bowls. The Mister bought me a batch of them (in all different colors) for Christmas. I have cereal bowls, and the adorable little guy bowls. But I LOVE my Gusto's.
Life is so much more enjoyable when you eat good, REAL food. I love gathering my family around a table with steaming Gusto bowls in front of everyone, and the Mister's bread on the table next to REAL butter. So make REAL soup for your family (it still counts even if you cheat and use the store-bought refried beans like I did). It's easy, inexpensive and you get leftovers that taste even better (and on the first day, I wondered how any of these soups could be any more wonderful, but the were) the second day than it did on the first (because the flavors meld).
Your family will love you for it.