Baked Potato Soup (Crock Pot)

Ok, so…this isn’t healthy.  It isn’t vegan.  It isn’t even vegetarian. But it is easy, and when you’ve been sick for two days straight and your body hates you and you STILL need to make dinner, this is your weapon.  Your fight against every flu bug in your body begins and ends here.  

Oh, and its delicious too!

Baked Potato Soup

30 oz frozen hash browns with peppers and onions

3 C chicken broth

1 Can Cream of Broccoli Soup

2 Tb onion or garlic flakes (I use Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic)

Salt and Pepper

8 oz cream cheese

Garnish: Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Green Onions

In a crock pot, put all  ingredients except for the cream cheese and garnish.  Stir to mix.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.  15 minutes prior to serving, add cream cheese and stir.  Garnish as desired.

 
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Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup

It’s amazing what you can make when you keep a pretty well stocked kitchen.  This soup is an example of this.  My pictures are inspired by FrugalFeeding.  You should check out her blog!  She has a picture of a Flourless Chocolate Cake that looks to die for!  Don’t you wish that there was a magic button on your computer that you could push and you’d get to taste all the delicious things you’re at which you are looking?  If there was such a button, I would push it for this cake.  

Anyway, back to this soup.  Its good on a cold day because it has a bit of a kick that will clear up your cold, but not too much of a kick that my two year old wouldn’t eat it.  “Its too spicy!!”  That’s what I hear under such circumstances, particularly when it comes time for toothbrushing.  This soup comes from Quick Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.  I’ve used a couple of her recipes before from Vegan Planet, and they’re almost always good.    Except the other day I made a Shortcut Risotto which I’d consider a total fail.  However, I’m obsessed with Risotto, so its not really a fair judgment.

So, here’s the recipe.  Go give it a whirl.  If you have any ideas for good Vegan/Vegatarian ideas, please, please, PLEASE send them my way!!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup

 

2 tsp. neutral vegetable oil (I omitted this, as per Robin’s suggestion, and just brought in some of the broth earlier to saute with)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 TB. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 TB. soy sauce
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

From Robin Robertson**I also added a can of black beans.  It was a good addition, in my opinion 🙂


Heat the oil (or broth) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweet potato. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste. Add the tomatoes and soy sauce.

In a small bowl, combine, the peanut butter with 1 cup of the broth, stirring until smooth. Stir the peanut butter mixture into the soup, then add the remaining broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes,

Stir in the nondairy milk and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with the chopped peanuts.

Hearty Minestrone

This is my day.

So, this is my lunch.

Hearty Minestrone.  You should add cheese because everything is better with cheese…and bacon.

And this bread.

And these for dessert.

Mmmm….

Cook’s Illustrated Hearty Minestrone Soup

 

SERVES 6 -8

 

* table salt
* 1/2 lb dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over (about 1 cup)
* 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
* 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces  (I used bacon)
* 2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
* 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 small onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 small head green cabbage, halved, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 8 cups water
* 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
* 1 piece parmesan cheese, rind (about 5-inchx2-inch)
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 1/2 cups v 8 juice
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
* fresh ground black pepper
* grated parmesan cheese, for serving

 

1. Dissolve 1 1/2 tbsp salt in 2 qts. cold water in large bowl. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
2. Heat oil and pancetta in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is lightly browned and fat has rendered, 3-5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, onions, and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 5-9 minutes. Stir in garlic, cabbage, 1/2 tsp salt and red pepper flakes; continue to cook until cabbage starts to wilt, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
3. Add soaked beans, water, broth, Parmesan rind, and bay leaf to now-empty Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are fully tender and liquid begins to thicken, 45-60 minutes.
4. Add reserved vegetables and V8 juice to pot; cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and Parmesan rind, stir in chopped basil, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with olive oil and grated Parmesan.

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods.

 

Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Soup with Rosemary Popovers

So, usually, my Meatless Monday’s are REALLY healthy.  Today, not so much.  BUT, before you run away, it’s not horribly unhealthy.  So, please, stick around.

Let’s talk pumpkin soup first, shall we?  This soup is creamy and velvety, and reheats really well.  The original recipe calls for Evaporated Milk, I’d tell you I had none, but that would be a lie.  What really happened is that I brought my EM out from my pantry, made the full recipe, and opened my can of EM, only to find it had completely gone bad, and in a really disgusting, foul way.  We’re talking mold on the inside of the can.  I checked the expiration date, sure that there had to be some manufacturer’s error, to find that it expired in 2006.  Things that have happened to me since I bought that can of EM:

I bought my first house, got a dog, got a teaching job, had my first son, moved to my new house, and had my second son.  Needless to say, that can has seen a lot.

So, frantically, I searched for something in my fridge that would do the job.  I had used the last of my milk for the popovers, so what I had left was plain greek yogurt.  I am happy to tell you, it worked out really well.  

And, this soup goes awesomely with these bad boys:

I had some leftover rosemary from my Sweet Potato Pierogies, so I threw it in with the popover batter.  This resulted in something beautiful.  This one was my favorite:

I love popovers.  Has anyone else gone to Afternoon Tea at the Jordan Pond House in Acadia, Maine?  Such a cool place.  If you can get there, go.Popovers are one of those things that someone must have totally messed up when they were making rolls, and came up with something even better.

Enjoy this combo!  I know I did!

Pumpkin Soup

4 Tablespoons Butter***
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Onion, Diced
1-¼ teaspoon Curry Powder
½ teaspoons Salt (omit, if using greek yogurt, combine and puree, then salt to taste)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspince
⅛ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper 
3 cups Chicken Broth (I used Vegetable Broth, for a truly Meatless Monday)
1 15 oz can Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie filling)
1 C plain greek yogurt, original calls for Evaporated Milk

Melt butter and saute onions and garlic until golden brown. Add spices and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add pumpkin, stirring till smooth. Add yogurt. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes; do not boil.

In batches, transfer soup to a blender or food processor. Process till very smooth. Serve hot. 

**You can probably cut the butter down by half and have the same flavor and texture.

 

Rosemary Popovers

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 eggs

1 C Milk

1 TB melted butter, cooled

1 C flour

1/2 tsp salt

5 tsp oil (If using a muffin tin…if you are cool and have a popover pan, then it would be 3 tsp, 1/2 tsp for each popover cup)

1 Tb fresh rosemary

1 Tb parsley

In a blender, combine milk, eggs, and butter until smooth. Add flour and salt.  Blend at high speed until combined and bubbly, about 1 min.  

While you let the batter sit, move the oven rack to the lowest setting, and preheat the oven to 450.  Prepare muffin tin by placing 1/2 tsp of oil in each of the ten outer tins, leaving the inside two empty.  Put in oven for about 2 minutes (at 450).

Remove pan from the oven and quickly fill the outer tins with batter.  Return to the oven for 20 minutes.  DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!

Rotate the pan and reduce heat to 350.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup

 

A sign of the season, Acorn Squash.  This soup can easily be made with Butternut Squash, if you’d prefer.  It has a creamy, slightly sweet taste, with a tiny bit of a kick.  The base of the soup is pureed vegetables: onions, carrots, leeks, apples and squash.  It has chicken broth, but can be made with vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian soup.  

It only has a splash of cream for color, so, if you’d like a lower fat soup, leave it out.  It will still be decadent.  If you REALLY want to wow people, add 1/2 C of cream. My husband told me, if I ever open a restaurant, I should just throw the whole carton of cream in the pot.  So, if you want to try that, let me know how it works out 🙂

On a difficulty level, this soup is about a 1.  I think there’s like 3 steps.  Oh, 4…because you have to eat it.

I garnished my soup with light sour cream and some crumbled bacon.  If you want to try using goat cheese, instead of the sour cream, I’ll marry you now.

 

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup

2 Tb Olive Oil

2 Tb Butter

2 onions, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 leek, sliced thin

2 Tb Curry Powder

2 Acorn Squash or 1 lg Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds out, and chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 C Apple Cider 

3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

2 C Chicken or Vegetable Broth

Splash of Heavy Cream

Salt

White Pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried basil

*All the above ingredients are a general estimate, start small, and taste as you season.  I’m just guessing, as to what I put in.

Sour Cream, as garnish (optional)

Bacon, as garnish (optional)

 

In a deep skillet, add olive oil and butter.  When butter melts, add onions, carrots, leek, and curry powder.  Sautee until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add squash and apples, sautee for 5 minutes.  Add the broth.  Lower heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until squash and apples are soft.  

Puree in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Return to pot, add apple cider and cream.  Stir.  Add water or broth, if the consistency is not to your liking.  Add spices.  Add more to taste.  

Serve warm with bacon and sour cream.  Great with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich!