I love me the soups. Nourishing, comforting, satisfying and life-simplifying, a bowl of soup really hits the spot. Unlike baking, soup making is so forgiving – just throw in what you’ve got! Plus, leftovers never get stale, in fact, they get better! My recipe for Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a great meal for lunch, a light dinner or even on-the-go!
In addition to the directions for making a big pot full at once, I’ve also shared bonus instructions and hacks on how to shortcut the process if you are meal-prepping for enjoyment later. You don’t even have to cook the noodles!
I’ve got so much Texas in me, it’s overflowing into my soup! Seriously though, last week, the hubby and me were feeling a little under the weather but well enough to eat a bit of something (I mean, puh-lease). I tried my hand at an egg drop soup for the first time and it was fantastically easy and tasty – considering I added some of the flavors we love right here in the Lone Star and topped it with chopped avocado! This Tex-Mex Egg Drop Soup is the cure for WHATEVER ails you — even if it’s just hunger!
I think you’ll love the new zesty attitude of a traditionally mild-mannered soup. You can spice it up or down with your preferred amount of chipotle chile powder. It’s the new thing in Texas comfort food (because I say so)! Continue reading →
The best thing about slurping up a big bowl full of my Fast and Fit Steak Pho with Zucchini Noodlesis the overload of delicious meat and veggie goodness sans the traditional noodles (we be low carb-ing it over here). The second-best thing is cracking Pho jokes, puns and innuendos with the family while eating this fast and fit meal. Kids: “Mom, dinner tonight is pho-nomenal, it’s un-pho-gettable! You should take a picture of it, it would be good pho-tography.”Me:“Only the best pho you guys, that’s pho-sure.”
But, no joke, this quick soup is not only “good pho you” it’s weeknight dinner winner when you just don’t have hour after hour to simmer down oxtails, beef knuckles and leg bones and exotic charred spices into the traditional Vietnamese broth. So, I might have broken a few ancient tenets of pho-making here and there – but, then again, I used zoodles (gasp) instead of the thin white rice noodle that my neighbor’s grandmother would more approve of. I’m a rebel who, with my zucchini, is squashing all rules!
Today, I am bringing you tidings of comfort (food) and joy in honor of National Comfort Food Day (December 5th). I believe it’s no coincidence that this feel-good food holiday is falling on a Monday. And, not just any Monday, but the day after I struggled through a cold, windy and rainy marathon.
Honestly, I’m still feeling a little chilled to the bone, depleted, and licking battle wounds, and embracing the opportunity to take a MAJOR rest day, hang out in my PJs and fuzzy slippers, and make comfort food my new best friend.
Y’all know I typically eat reasonably, mostly clean . . . but I’m never going to deny myself food I’m craving for comfort every now and then. Sometimes your body is telling you to eat these things for a reason, other times it’s strictly soul satisfying. Regardless, when you let go of the guilt and give your food worries a rest day, it tastes even better!
Bacon & Blue Cheese Mac – Ahh, most any pasta dish is comforting, but mac and cheese is a like coming home after being away from loved ones for too long. The addition of blue cheese and bacon makes the reunion even better!
Comforting Chicken & Rice Soup – When it’s drafty and cold, and your feeling run down and even under-the-weather, this easy chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue in a snap. And, while slurping up a big bowl is comforting to the core, it’s also a healthy choice!
Root Beer Float Fudge – Imagine if you could have the yummy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream in fudge format? Well, you can thanks to this recipe I develop a few years back for the magazine Simple & Delicious. While, I wouldn’t eat the whole pan at once, I certainly say CHEERS to a piece for a sweet treat.
Pre-make chimichurri by adding all ingredients to small blender or food processor. Pulse on and off in 10 second increments to break up ingredients into coarse sauce. Set aside.
Heat large skilled to medium-high. Add sliced sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Beef will be ready to remove from pan once lightly browned on edges and pink has been just taken off center. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
n same skillet (reserved with a tiny bit of beef fat and bits) add onion slices and cook over medium high, stirring as need, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add beef back into skillet with onions along with tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes; stir to combine.
Meanwhile, heat Panini press or clean skillet to medium-high heat.
Butter outer sides of two slices of bread and layer each side with mozzarella. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on pan and top with ¼ of beef mixture. Add top piece of cheese and bread.
Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side until bread turning golden brown and cheese melting. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
To serve, lift up tops of sandwiches and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve hot.
When I’m looking to make a meat-free soup into an entire meal, I have couple non-negotiable. The soup needs to be hearty and thick (as opposed to thin and brothy), it needs to have tons of flavor, and also should have a decent showing of protein. My recipe for Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri meets all of these requirements and more — the “more” bonus is that it’s super easy to make and is loaded with healthy carbs to fuel my long runs and intense workouts. Slightly spicy while simultaneously smoky and just a tad sweet, a big hearty bowl of this meat-free, dairy-free, vegan soup will get you warmed up and keep you filled up until the next meal! My serving size is very generous and, sans the chimichurri, has 400 calories, 20 grams of protein, 80g healthy complex carb, 4g fat – plus is very high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
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Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes blended into vegetable stock make up the bulk of this super simple soup recipe. Pureed white navy beans have been added for additional protein and fiber and help boost this soup into a full-fledged meal appropriate for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking for a nutritious meatless option. As I mentioned, this is a great go-to soup when I’m carb-loading for winter marathons, Spartan races and other endurance events.
When making this simple soup, a step you don’t want to skip is to “bloom” the chipotle chile powder in the stock pot before adding any of the other soup ingredients. Blooming most spices helps to intensify their depth and complexity — the smoky flavor of ground chipotle pepper really opens up with this front-end method.
I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse Blog using their Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend as a quick fix in both the soup and the quick-fix Cilantro Chimichurri. I highly recommend this freeze-dried herb product, it’s one of my all-time favorites with multiple uses beyond just guacamole making – try it in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-frys, and skillet dinners. However, if you can’t find the product in your market, I’ve asterisked the recipe with substitutions.
The Cilantro Chimichurri blended up to dress the soup is a bright and vibrant contrast to the more scarf-and-sweater vibe of the hearty soup. Plus, it adds a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil to a soup recipe that is nearly fat-free. You can also use this Cilantro Chimichurri on drizzled on steak and fish, as a salad dressing, or mixed into Greek yogurt as a dip.
Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/3 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly, discard potato skins.
Heat stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chipotle chili powder and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
Place undrained beans in blender with approximately ½ cup of chicken broth, pulse until smooth. Add to stock pot.
Scoop sweet potatoes out of skin and add to blender with remaining chicken broth and ¼ cup Guacamole Blend herbs. Process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add mixture to stock pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. If soup seems too thick add additional water or chicken broth to suit preferences.
To prepare Chimichurri, add olive oil, fresh cilantro, Guacamole Blend herbs, lime juice, vinegar and salt to blender. Pulse until mixture coarsely combined.
To serve, scoop soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of Chimichurri.
If you can't find Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use this as substitute:
For Soup, instead of 1/4 cup Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic
For Chimichurri, instead of 1/4 cup Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic
Life is an adventure and many days, I’m so worn out from my adventuring that I just don’t want to make a meal – especially, if my husband and boys are gone doing their own thing, and it’s just me! But, a nourishing meal is a must to keep me fueled up for the next epic event – be that training for an obstacle race, stand up paddle boarding all day, or hurdling over parking lot puddles on my way into the store!
Today, I’m sharing a single-serve lunch or dinner solution that is, I must say, quite genius! It’s a “Just Add Hot Water” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup that is perfect for an almost instant fix when you’ve got the hangries. The idea is to fill up a glass jar about halfway with fresh ingredients (like marinara, veggies, brown rice and cooked shrimp), stick in the fridge until ready to eat, and then add boiling hot water and shake, shake, shake before slurping up! When you have to work at your desk through lunch, this almost instant soup recipe is 100x better than peanut butter crackers out of the vending machine and can be made just as fast by nabbing hot water from the break room.
Just pour in 1 1/2 cups of water heated in microwave, coffee pot or hot water spigot!
But, it’s not only for eating outside the home. If you fancy yourself a meal prepper, multiply this single-serve soup recipe and feed the family all week! Keep loaded in the fridge and your kids can make their own on those busy nights when no one is (unfortunately) sitting down for dinner at the same time.
I can always count on Mezzetta® Marinara to help me whip up a quick and easy meal, whether it simple zoodles with sauce or an egg poached in marinara (yum)! I’m all about the #MarinaraSauce . . . every jar of Mezzetta® Marinara is packed with the world’s best tomatoes hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region. Mezzetta® believes in using the fewest, freshest and finest ingredients in their marina sauces (which also contain no added sugar, unlike many other brands).There are six delicious flavors of Mezzetta® Marinara including the Calabrian Chili & Garlic (used in my recipe), Italian Plum Tomato, Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, Caramelized Onion & Butter, Truffle, Porcini & Cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Mezzetta® also makes a pizza sauce that is out of this world!
Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!
You know what would be a great break from all this business of life? A fabulous Italian adventure!!! I have always dreamed of this trip, it is on my bucket list! Mezzetta® is giving away an 11-Day Italian Vacation to Italy, you need to ENTER NOW! One winner (and one guest) will attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy. CLICK HERE TO ENTER
Layer all ingredients in quart-sized jar with sealing lid. Keep chilled for up to four days until ready to eat. When ready to serve, add 1 ½ cups boiling water (from microwave, tea kettle or coffee pot) and pour into jar. Add lid and shake well to combine, open and enjoy! Serves !
Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!” That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer. Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration. Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.
When I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!” That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits. Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.
To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste. A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need. Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off. Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.
This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!
Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot? Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water.
Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
I hope you have a big spoon at the ready, my recipe for Best-Ever Beef Chili is, well, THE BEST! With freezing temperatures and heated football bowl games going down, this big pot of spicy, rich and blissfully beefy chili is what to serve by the mug, bowl or trough.
I typically make chili by breaking down a roast into bite-sized chunks, my kitchen stampeded causing Southwestern Steak Chili is a family favorite. However, the kids love ground beef (and so does my food budget) and requested a chili made with their favorite food group — hamburger meat!
Won’t lie, I was a little worried that the ground beef would come out dry and the beefy taste might get downed out by bold chili spices. After reading an article in Cooks Illustrated on achieving “better browning through science,” I knew I had to try their technique of using a baking solution on meat to enable proteins to attract more water and hold onto it during cooking and also create a higher pH level to speed up the desirable Maillard reaction (basically, the harbinger of caramelization). My dad reported success using this method to keep steaks juicy and tender, and I hoped this easy hack would help improve the taste and texture of my chili’s ground beef.
So, how does this baking soda beef hack work? Typically, when ground beef is cooked on the stove top, so much water and liquid is expelled that the beef chunks just end up steaming in their own juices — very little actually browning happens. When cooked to the point of most water evaporating, the batch of beef will be unpleasantly overdone. However, by gently tossing a baking soda solution with the meat (about ¾ teaspoon baking soda to 2 tablespoons water for 2lbs of grind) and letting sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking , beef loses less liquid, browns faster and tastes better. I tried it myself with 80/20 Chuck Ground Beef and I must say, I was impressed! The ground beef cooked “as-is” was almost immediately was sitting in a pool of liquids (as you can see from the picture) and when taste-tested seemed a little rubbery and bland.
However, the baking soda treated beef immediately started to brown in the pot. And, while there was still a fair deal of liquid released, it was noticely less so than the previous batch (Cook’s illustrated said about 10% less liquid, I felt like maybe even a little more). More noticeable though, was the taste – the baking-soda treated batch had a richer, more complex caramelized flavor and was markedly juicier. In fact, the cooked beef was so yummy; I worried about taste-testing my way through the whole pile before I even started the rest of the chili!
So, my final recommendation on this “baking soda treatment” is definitely try it and see what you think! It does take little bit of pre-planning because you have to let the solution sit on the meat for 20 minutes, but you can have that going while you prep the other ingredients.
So, here is my Best Ever Ground Beef Chili recipe, – every spoon is a mouthful of meaty goodness. It’s rich and spicy, without being too heavy or too “hot” for kids – I think you’ll really like it. But, feel free to use this baking soda technique with any beef chili recipe!
Add ground beef to bowl and drizzle with solution of 2 tablespoons water and ¾ teaspoon baking soda. Gently break apart beef with hands to distribute, but do not over knead (causes toughness). Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large Dutch oven pot over medium high. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring as needed. Mix in garlic and cook for another minute.
Add treated ground beef to pot and cook, while stirring and breaking up into chunks. Brown beef for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink.
Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and salt to beef mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until spices begin to bloom and become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
To pot of beef, add finely crushed tortilla chips, beef broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans with liquid, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then put lid on Dutch oven and transfer to a 275 F degree oven for approximately 1 to 2 hours, or until flavors have developed and sauce is thickened.
Remove from oven and let cool, uncovered for 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, to taste.
Serve with rice or tortilla chips and other toppings of choice including cheese, avocado, red onion, cilantro, etc