Side Dishes, Soups

Recipe—Chili (The Classic Kind)

It’s finally cooling off here in California and that means I am cooking up lots of soups and one of my favorite winter comfort foods, chili, the classic kind. This is the good stuff, heavy on meat and beans, light on veggies. That’s how I like my chili. What better way to warm up at the end of a cold day then a big bowl of chili? This recipe really is perfect, it’s not too spicy, not too mild, it’s just right. Something Goldilocks would love, probably Momma, Daddy, and baby bear too. This recipe does take a couple of hours to cook but that’s what makes it so good. All those flavors get cooked into the meat giving you a really hearty and flavorful chili you are sure to enjoy.

Note: If you are someone that likes chili with a little more kick, just add in a couple dashes of cayenne pepper.

2 lbs ground beef
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 c chili powder
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can tomato sauce
1–2 c beef broth

shredded cheddar
sour cream
green onions, chopped
diced avocadoes


  • In a large pot cook the beef, onions, and garlic over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
  • Drain off most of the fat leaving about 2 tbsp in the bottom.
  • Stir into the pot the chili powder, flour, oregano, cumin, sugar, and salt.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, sauce, and 1 cup of the broth to the pot.
  • Cook for an additional 45–60 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add more broth if you want a soupier chili.
  • Ladle the chili into a bowl and have fun garnishing it with your favorite toppings.

Recipe—Velvety Celery Cream Soup

I have gotten big bundles of celery in my organic produce delivery several weeks in a row now. I certainly love my celery sticks but I just don’t think I will be able to eat another one for a few days. While recovering from celery stick overload I made one of my favorite vegetable soups, celery cream. This is one of the easiest soups to make and even though it is very simple it is wonderful. It is super creamy and the lemon and hot sauce gives it just the right kick. I made a big batch to take to my mother in law who just had knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago. One thing I love about this soup is you can make a big batch of it and it reheats great! I typically double the recipe and then divvy the soup up into several containers for future dinners and lunches. It’s a perfect dinner for cool evenings or even on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Note: When using a blender to puree the soup you will need to do it in batches. I recommend placing a towel over the top of your blender and holding the lid firmly in place as the heat will make the lid blow off and it makes a huge hot mess and can burn you if not secured.

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1 bunch of celery, sliced
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 tbsp flour
6 c chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 c heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
4–5 dashes of hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
salt (optional)


  • In a large soup pot melt the butter and add the celery, onions, and garlic.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until soft.
  • Sprinkle the flour in the pot and stir while cooking for 1–2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and bay leaf.
  • Bring pot to a boil, cover, and reduce heat allowing to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf.
  • Using a blender puree the soup in small batches until nice and smooth. (See above note)
  • Transfer the soup back into the pot.
  • Add in the cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, pepper, and salt. (Be sure to sample the soup before adding in the salt. Unless you are using a reduced sodium you may not need it.)
  • Bring pot to a boil, cover, and reduce heat allowing to simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until desired thickness.

Recipe—Best Ever Butternut Squash Soup

I know the title of the recipe carries a big name, but it’s true, this is the BEST EVER butternut squash soup. Most butternut squash soups taste like squash puree and not much else, but this soup has so many flavors and a lot of depth. I absolutely love this stuff. It actually worked out that this recipe was my best use yet of my delivered organic produce. I ended up having the first five ingredients in last weeks box. Score! It was a sign that this soup was meant to be. One thing that I really love about this soup is that it is thick because of all the veggies in there, not because of any flour or cornstarch like most soups. If you are looking for a fabulous fall soup, look no further. This will fit the bill.

Notes: Most of your time making this recipe will be spent chopping veggies. To save some time, you can buy packages of pre-chopped butternut squash at the store. It will cost a little more but will shave off quite a bit of prep time.

This soup can be made vegetarian but cutting out the bacon and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

You can use a hand mixer or blender to process the mixture. The hand mixer will give you a slightly chunkier soup and the blender will give you a really smooth one. If you use a hand mixer be sure you don’t use a non-stick pot, as the hand mixer will destroy it. If using a blender you will need to do it in batches. I recommend placing a towel over the top of your blender and holding the lid firmly in place as the heat will make the lid blow off and it makes a huge hot mess and can burn you if not secured.

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green apple, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
32 oz chicken broth
2 tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 c heavy whipping cream
crème fraîche or sour cream (for garnish)


  • In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat.
  • Remove bacon and drain off grease leaving 2 tbsp in the bottom of the pot.
  • Sauté onions and carrots in the bacon drippings for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the celery, apples, and garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Add in the squash and broth.
  • Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes or until all produce is fork tender.
  • Remove pot from heat.
  • Using a hand mixer or blender process the mixture until smooth. (See above note) If you use a blender return the soup to the pot.
  • Stir in the lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and whipping cream.
  • Simmer soup for 10–15 minutes or until thickened.
  • Using a ladle serve the soup into a bowl and top with crumbled bacon and a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.


Recipe—Crock-Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Today is day 4 of my hot & spicy week! My jalapeño plant has been giving me more peppers than I know what to do with so this week I will be featuring five different jalapeño based recipes. I hope you enjoy each and every one! 

This is everything you could ever hope for in a soup recipe. Quick, easy, and delicious! I love using my crock-pot. Not only because it makes dinner a total breeze but also because the house smells so incredibly good when you get home from work. If you are a fan of Mexican food then you will enjoy this. It’s not too mild, and it’s not too spicy, it’s just right. This soup is thick and creamy and warms you from the belly out. Try it with some of my jalapeño cheddar corn bread muffins for a perfect dinner. Heck now that I think about it, it would be perfect for some Monday night football this fall!

Note: If the soup is too thick for your liking add a splash of milk to the crock-pot before serving. If you have leftovers put it in a freezer safe container and save it for a rainy day. It reheats great!

15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
15 oz can whole kernel corn
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1 jalapeño, deseeded and chopped
2 chicken breasts
10 oz can enchilada sauce (I’m a fan of Las Palmas)
10.75 oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c milk

shredded cheese
sliced avocado
sour cream
crushed tortilla chips


  • In a large crock-pot combine black beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and peppers.
  • Place chicken breasts on top of veggies.
  • In a medium-mixing bowl whisk together enchilada sauce, soup, and milk.
  • Pour sauce mixture into the crock-pot.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 7–8 hours or on high for 3–4.
  • Remove chicken and using 2 forks shred into bite size pieces
  • Add chicken back into soup and continue to cook covered on low heat for another 25–30 minutes.
  • Serve in large soup bowls and top with some of the suggested garnishes.


Recipe—Creamy Turkey Noodle Soup

The other day my poor hubby was down with a nasty cold and I wanted to whip him up some sort of soup with my left over rotisserie turkey breast to make him feel better. (This recipe would be just as wonderful with cooked chicken if that’s what you have on hand.) Normally I just make my turkey soup with a broth base, some vegetables, and noodles but since it was a rainy day I thought something rich and creamy would hit the spot. This was sort of an experiment but it really turned out great! I went a little heavy on the cayenne pepper but it gave it a nice kick. The cream balanced out the heat very nicely. One thing I love about this soup recipe is that it was done in under a half hour. It is not one of those soup recipes that has to simmer for hours. Next time I think I might try to substitute the pasta for some homemade dumplings just to mix it up. Mmmmm…

Note: For a delicious turkey alfredo pasta bake, use 5 cups of uncooked noodles instead of 2 and follow the rest of the recipe as usual. The pasta will soak up most of the liquid. When your pasta is cooked al dente, probably about 10 minutes, remove from heat and put in a large baking dish. (The pasta will finish cooking while baking in the oven.) Top pasta with breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes at 350º. Wellah! We have a two for one recipe. Also, feel free to substitute the veggies for whatever you have on hand. I’m sure corn or green beans would be fabulous additions.

1/4 c butter
2 large carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c flour
5 c chicken or turkey broth, divided
2 c cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
dash cayenne pepper
3 c chopped cooked turkey
2 c uncooked rotini noodles
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley


  • Sauté carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in butter until soft.
  • Add flour and mix well.
  • Gradually add 2 cups of the broth and all of the cream.
  • Cook over medium high heat until it’s thick and bubbly, 12–14 minutes.
  • Stir in remaining 3 cups broth, and all remaining ingredients except parsley.
  • Simmer for 11–13 minutes stirring occasionally until noodles are tender.
  • Stir in chopped parsley and serve.

Recipe—Harvest Corn Chowder

What is better than a bowl of steaming hot homemade soup on a cold fall day? This recipe is one of my all time favorites. It is a hearty corn chowder packed with fresh veggies. I made it over the weekend and was surprised that it was even a big hit with my 21-month-old son.

If you have room in the freezer consider doubling the recipe and freezing some for quick meals to enjoy later. (Just be sure you have a large enough pot.) I put leftovers in both small and large containers. The small containers are a perfect size to take to work for a quick lunch and the larger sizes are convenient for a quick family dinner. Dinner could be ready in as little as 10 minutes and you hardly have to lift a ladle. To round out the meal add a grilled cheese sandwich or some fresh rolls.

Note: For a healthy alternative cut out the bacon and replace the half and half with non-fat milk.

6–8 slices of thick cut bacon chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 small yellow onion chopped
2 tbsp butter
5-6 large ears of corn cut off the cob (or a 16 oz bag of frozen corn)
2 medium zucchini chopped
2 large potatoes chopped
1/2 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 bay leaves
leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika (add a couple dashes of cayenne pepper too if you like a little extra punch)
salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
5 tbsp flour
5 c chicken stock
2 1/2 c half and half
1/2 c fresh flat leaf parsley chopped


  • In a large soup pot, cook the chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain off the majority of the fat.
  • Add in garlic, onion, and butter. Cook until the onion is tender.
  • Add in the corn, zucchini, potatoes, and bell pepper, stirring well between each ingredient added.
  • Add the bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the veggies begin to soften.
  • Sprinkle the flour around the pot and mix for one minute.
  • Stir in the chicken stock and bring it to a boil.
  • After it thickens up a bit, stir in the half and half.
  • Simmer for 10–15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add in the chopped parsley and allow the chowder to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and be sure to discard the bay leaves.