This is the second of this year’s recipe trilogy in honor of Saint Patrick’s day. Guinness got just about everything right with their traditional stout, but one thing my father never told me as he slowly sipped it from an ice cold mug, is that it could be so much more than just a relaxing night cap. Last year we introduced you to our Guinness beef stew. This year we built on that idea and decided to put it in possibly the best dinner pie of all time. Steak and Guinness Pie is rich, it’s hearty, and embraces one of the tastiest Irish dinners of all time. Merging a beef pot pie with the tenderizing and fortifying flavors of Guinness stout is pure genius.
Calling all pizza lovers! Don’t have dough or the time to make it, but craving a good supreme pizza for dinner? With all your favorite toppings, and the convenience of being made all in one pot– ‘Tastes Just Like’ Pizza Soup is the hearty meal that fits the bill.
Chilled Strawberry Soup is a perfect treat for any hot day. Matter of fact, it’s pretty dang spectacular. Just think of it as ‘slurpin up some Summer’. It’s smooth and creamy, and a perfect end to any meal, but also a totally excusable snack. We like ours rich and creamy so I opt for the full fat coconut, but if you’re looking for a lighter option, or counting calories, then you can use light coconut milk or even omit it altogether. You can add some extra yogurt to get the creamy effect, or more oj for a soupier effect, adjusting the sugar accordingly. Just taste as you go.
For us, as written, its perfectly sweetened, and however you end up tweaking it, it’s loaded with flavor from the strawberries. It’s cool and creamy, with just the right bit of texture from the puréed berries. The sons love theirs topped with a heavy-handed dollop of whipped cream, but for the hubs and I? It’s several fresh mint leaves and a drizzle of some cocnut cream. It’s so simple, yet so scrumptious. It’ll have you scraping every last drop out of your bowl and still licking the spoon.
and it doesn’t get any easier. Throw everything together, blend it all up, and voila! It takes 5minutes. Tops.
- 2 lbs fresh strawberries
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt we've made this with plain Greek yogurt as well, but then added extra vanilla and sugar to taste
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 -4 tbsp sugar
- 1/3 -1/2 cup coconut cream from can of full fat coconut milk chilled overnight so the cream and water separate)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- mint leaves
- orange zest
- whipped cream or whipped coconut cream
Add all the soup ingredients to a food processor, or a blender. Blend everything together until the soup is smooth. We stop there, but if you want to avoid any seediness, you can go the extra step of straining the mixture through cheesecloth.
Serve as is, or chill for an hour or two. Garnish with a drizzle of coconut cream, or coconut whipped cream (whip the chilled coconut until soft peaks form), or a dollop of whipped cream, followed by a sprinkle of orange zest (optional), and a few fresh mint leaves.
recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings
It seemed like there was this annoying, persistent cough that ran through our whole household. It also liked to linger, taking each person about two weeks to get over. After numerous doctors visits, we learned to ignore it since they assured us it was nothing over and over again. So two weeks ago when I started coughing I didn’t really think anything of it. Even when I started having issues with a lot of muscus. Thought nothing of it. Probably a bad case of bronchitis and I put myself on a self-prescribed regimen of mucinex, pseudophed, and copious amounts of Vitamin C which seemed to help at first. But I just couldn’t shake it, even after a week of heavy meds, sleep, and all my usual go-to remedies. I was tired all the time. Just sitting up was exhausting. Breathing? If that didn’t send me into a convulsive coughing fit, it too was excruciatingly tiring. I just wanted to sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more. I could have slept forever. But, after two weeks of trudging along the worst seemed to be over. Yea, I was still tired all the time and still coughing, but it did seem a bit better. Then I woke up with this persistent pain in my back that continued to get worse over a 48 hour period. All signs pointed to a kidney infection, so I finished work and then bundled up and headed off to the ER on a Friday night. 6 hours and 5 prescriptions later, I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Well … that escalated quickly. The kids seemed to think I was on vacation and not sick leave trying to recover. Out of pity, and because it was the only thing I thought I could stomach, I made one big pot of soup to last through the weekend. You wanted something else, I hope you know where the kitchen is because I thought this Italian sausage soup sounded perfect. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.
Don’t let the word soup fool you though, sick or not. This is a complete meal in a bowl and kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around, high in vitamins K, A and C with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. I was probably a tad bit heavy handed with the kale on this batch, but that’s where all the nutrients are and I was trying to stop that crud in it’s tracks.
This is also a ‘rough’ soup, so there was no need to feel the pressures of perfection. Which was good, because those veggies weren’t going to chop themselves and the precision required to give them a polished look might have cost me a finger at that point. It’s a rustic soup, and whenever you hear the word ‘rustic’ you’ve got my permission to hack away at the veggies. Relieve some stress. Take out your problems and frustration on the onion and carrots. Let them know you won’t take it lying down. Well, actually you probably will, because when you’ve got pneumonia, making a big pot of whoop-ass in your dutch oven will (not-surprisingly) sap the last reserves of your strength, but you get the gist.
Have you had Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana? This is the worldly Zuppa’s cousin visiting from it’s cabin in the woods. Heartier, healthier, and still just as flavorful. Whether you’re sick or not, this recipe serves up a heaping bowl of (guilt-free) comfort.
Sweet Italian Sausage Soup with Kale
recipe adapted from The Housewife In Training Files
1 1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 onion, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
6 cups beef broth
3 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1. In a dutch oven, or other large pot, add the Italian sausage and sauté until no longer pink. Drain, and return to the pan. Add in the onions, peppers and garlic. Cooking until just softened.
2. Add in the seasonings, tomato paste, diced tomatoes (with juice), broth and kale.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to meld flavors. Ladle into bowls and serve. Add a sprinkle of cheese if desired.
If you grew up in the South, chances are you’ve eaten a variation of chicken & dumplings a few times in your life. We’ve taken Grandma’s recipe and given it a few modern adjustments, making it a quick and easy dinner for any occasion. Set it, forget it, and let your machine do all the work– come supper time, tuck into a cozy bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings.
Chicken & Dumplings. There’s something so Southern sounding about it. Just it’s name, aside from the fact that it is of course a Southern staple.
For years though, the hubs and I only had it when we’d visit a restaurant. Namely, Cracker Barrel who specializes in Southern style fare.
This recipe takes all that old-fashioned taste, all that classic dumpling texture, and wraps it up nice and warm in an easy slow cooked package.
You guys know all about my love affair with soups.
The sons don’t think anything broth-based should be considered a ‘meal’ for a guy, and the hubs likes soup but really only in winter and only if it’s hearty with plenty of toppings, and served with a salad and a hunk of bread.
All my guys are meat and potatoes kinda people. And I get that, and appreciate it when they suffer in silence for me.
Wanna know how I know Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings got it going on? Not. one. single. complaint.
And everyone came back for seconds.
The hubs liked it SO much that he insisted we have it twice in one week, and then acted like a kid at Christmas when he came home one night the next week from work to find out I was making it for him again.
Let the slow cooker do all the work, and you just sit back and soak it all in.
We’ve even found a perfect dumpling shortcut, keeping the whole thing as simple as can be from start to finish.
Refrigerated biscuits, cut into small pieces, plump up and cook in the soup creating yummy, fool-proof dumplings.
- small white onion; diced
- 2-3 stalked celery thinly sliced
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 3 chicken breasts
- 2 tubes refrigerated biscuits not butter flavored or flaky layered, 10 oz each
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 heaping tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp water
- salt & pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the onion and celery in a little bit of olive oil until tender, and then transfer them to the slow cooker.
Lay your chicken breasts over top the cooked veggies and then season them with salt and pepper.
Place the soup, chicken broth, half & half, and the additional seasonings in the slow cooker. Give the liquids a gentle stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 4-6 hours. An hour before it's done cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the mixture. Cut each of the biscuits into 4-6 small pieces and add them into the slow cooker as well. At this point give everything a stir and return the lid to the pot to cook for the remaining hour.
When the soup's done cooking, you can either break up the chicken in the slow cooker with a spatula or remove the breasts and shred the chicken and then return the shredded chicken to the soup.
Pictures Updated 9/15/2017
This Crockpot Ham & White Bean Soup is an easier, set it and forget it, variation of the classic. It’s super simple with a very short ingredient list. It makes it quite a delightful surprise when you first dig in and discover just how incredibly flavorful it is.
This soup is everything you could hope for in a meal on a cold Winter’s night. It’s creamy. It’s comforting. AND it saves you money. How does it save you money you might be asking? Because it’s so good (and filling) that there won’t be any reason for you to run out to a certain ‘bread cafe’ to get a bowl full.
Do you ever get an intense craving for a good philly cheesesteak sub? Like an, ‘I know I’m not pregnant or anything, but I have got to have one right. now’ kind of craving? (Come on, I know I can’t be the only one!) But then there’s all these impossible obstacles in the way, like not wanting to go to the sub shop, or the store, or perhaps maybe you don’t have bread in the house, or you don’t want a bunch of carbs, or you don’t want to chew a lot… guess what? I have a solution! Philly Cheesesteak Stew. I’ll admit we’ve never been to Philly…maybe someday….but we sure do like their sandwiches. And, I figured if their sandwiches were good, then a soup would be, too! Boy, was I right!!
If you like the philly cheesesteak sandwich, then you got to try this soup. All the flavors of the famous sandwich you love come together here in a thick, and hearty stew that is sure to satisfy any level of cheesesteak craving. See? We’ve got you covered.
Philly Cheesesteak Stew
recipe adapted from Lady MeLady
1 1/2 lb top sirloin or ribeye, cut in thin slices
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp flour, divided
2 onions, quartered and cut into thin slices
1/2 – 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups beef broth, 2 if you want a really thick stew
1-2 sweet bell pepper; thinly sliced
4 large buns; hollowed out (the recipe called for sourdough buns, I couldn’t find any so I used crusty Kaiser rolls)
12 round slices provolone cheese
1. In a large bowl, toss the steak strips with the salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and toss again, making sure the slices are well coated.
2. Sear the steak, in two batches, over medium-high heat, so that both sides brown, only about 1-2 minutes per side. At this stage we still want the centers pink. Once browned, set aside.
3. Next, add the onions and mushrooms to the same skillet and brown for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Now, add the garlic powder, salt, pepper and the last 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir to ensure the onions are coated with flour.
4. Add in the beef broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring between each addition so that it thickens, until it’s finally fully incorporated to avoid lumps. Allow to thicken and bring to a bubble, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add in the peppers in the last 10 minutes of simmering. Add beef after the 30 minutes and let simmer, about 5 minutes, so that it’s heated through.
6. Cut a circle in the top of each bun and remove most of the insides. Set on either a foil covered pan, a pan with a non-stick baking mat, or a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Add one slice of provolone to the inside of each bread bowl. Carefully spoon stew into each bread bowl over top of the cheese, and then top the stew in each bread bowl with two slices of provolone.
7. Place the pan under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and begins to turn a golden-brown.
8. Serve hot with the removed pieces for dipping.
A bowl of steaming grits is a Southern wake-up call in many homes, mine included.
While I love grits, I’ve been a bit jaded with the same ol’, same ol’ breakfasty/brunchy blend. A lot of recipes for a pairing of grits and anything incorporate TONS of butter, cheese and eggs. My version is somewhat conservative when it comes to making a typical meal of it. For example, there’s no butter, or eggs, and the cheese was only a garnish. It’s going against the grain, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, Grandma’s grits aren’t only for breakfast or brunch anymore.
Move over shrimp & grits. We’ve upgraded. Sausage & Grits are an award winning combo, and while a chowder may not be a ‘typical’ use for grits in my neck of the woods, one bite and you might be calling it Southern Heaven.
Sausage & Grits Chowder
recipe adapted from Plain Chicken
1 lb sausage
2 cans Cream of Potato soup
1 (14.75 oz) can cream corn
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup quick grits
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of broth to a boil. Stir in 1/2 cup of quick grits. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, until grits are done, stirring often.
2. Brown sausage over medium-high heat in a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven. Stir in Cream of Potato soup, cream corn, 2 1/2 cups milk and cajun seasoning. Stir in cooked grits. If soup is too thick, add more milk. Simmer over low heat until heated through, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Serve with toast & shredded cheddar cheese for garnishing.
The hubs and I happened to be out to lunch a while back. Kid-less. Don’t sound so shocked! We were both over-due for an hour where we could feel and eat like adults, without wiping other peoples’ faces, and listening to lip-smacking in between chews. I happened to be idly perusing the menu, listening to some story the hubs was telling, when my eyes caught on something. Chicken Florentine…in a soup? Say whaaaat?? I mean I love Chicken Florentine. We make it all the time with pasta. Well, not all the time, that would be like the calorie equivalent of an atomic bomb, but you get my drift. And, soup itself, in any form, is a staple for my soul. I had to have it. Had to. It was a beautiful thing. It was glorious. And I just knew I had to find a way to make my own version at home because there were bound to be some intense cravings, and possible withdraws. And those don’t make for a fun Mom, and you know, when Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
This here is my precious, but I don’t wanna do the whole Smeagol devolving into Gollum thing so, in the interest of self preservation, I decided I had to share it with you asap.
Chicken Florentine Soup
about 1 lb, or 2 medium, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2-3 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup half and half
3 cups fresh baby spinach
Feel free to round out this romantically, rustic one-dish meal with warm crusty bread. You’ll definitely use it to soak up the every last drop of it’s richly flavored broth.
1. Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces and season with salt & pepper. Heat olive oil in a 2-3 qt saucepan. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the same pan and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 min or until onions are translucent. Add garlic, thyme & cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add flour to the vegetables, stirring to coat them all, and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chicken stock slowly to mixture. Cook for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and soup thickens.
4. Add the Half & Half & cook and stir until thickened. Add Chicken and Spinach, cooking for another 5-10 min. Check the seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or cayenne to taste.
5. Serve with a slice of that warm, crusty bread and enjoy!