Tag Archives: soup

Bean and Bacon Soup

26 Oct

Over the years I have purchased a wide assortment of dried beans.  Each time I’ve used whatever I needed for a specific recipe, closed up the bag, and stacked it in the cupboard.  Now, after several years, I don’t just have “some beans” in the cupboard, I have a BEAN CUPBOARD.

Some people collect Precious Moments, and I collect dried beans.  And still, I win.

Dried beans are a great thing to have on hand, but using them requires a bit of planning.  My favorite way to prep beans is to brine them.  It just couldn’t be easier and consistently produces a tender and well-seasoned bean.  Brining beans works basically like this: mix water and salt, add beans, let sit for good while, rinse, then cook.  Done.  And that’s exactly what I did when making this soup.  In the morning I brined the beans and by the time I was ready to make the soup for dinner they were ready to go.

This soup is very hearty, flavorful, and tasty.  It is stick-to-your-ribs thick, so feel free to add more stock or water to bring it to the consistency that you like.  If you save it and reheat it, you’ll definitely want to add more water.  Between the brining and the bacon, this is a fairly salty soup so be sure to give it a check before adding any more at the end.  And although it doesn’t fit my official criteria for a low-calorie item, it comes in awfully close at 309 calories/serving.  Plus, there’s bacon in it.

Make some; it’s delicious.

Bean and Bacon Soup
Serves: 5

4 c. water
1/4 c. Kosher salt
1 c. dried pinto beans
1 c. dried cannellini beans
2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 c. chicken stock
1 c. carrots, sliced


In a large bowl, stir together water and salt until salt is dissolved.  Add dried beans, and let sit at least 4 hours up to overnight.  After soaking, remove beans from brine and rinse.  Set aside.

In a dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove and set aside.  Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 5 minutes or until it is golden in color.  Slowly add stock, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom.  Increase heat, add beans, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 60 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Using a potato masher, mash some beans to help thicken the soup.  Crumble the bacon and add to the soup, add carrots,  and cook covered for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender.


Estimated Calories:  309 cal/serving

Print it: Bean and Bacon Soup

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

7 Sep

Cooler days and school back in session means that the crockpot has returned to it’s semi-permanent position on my kitchen countertop.  Hungry for some flavorful, slow-cooked food and eager to have food ready with little effort, I started searching around for some new recipes to try in the crockpot.  I spotted a Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup on Pinterest that looked mighty tasty, the only problem of course, all that dairy.  Looking through the ingredients, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to substitute the dairy for non-dairy counterparts, and while I was at it I decided to reduce the calories from the original version.  With all new recipes, it feels like a real crapshoot whether anyone will eat it, let alone enjoy it.

This recipe?  Jackpot.  Jackpot in the Crockpot.

Creamy and slightly cheesy, the base of this soup tastes a tiny bit like the sauce in Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta, which normally would not make it a ringing endorsement in my book.  HOWEVER, the kids totally loved it.  And the more I had, the more I loved it too.  Slightly rich, hearty, and low in calories, this soup might be one of our new favorite things.

After replacing the dairy ingredients in the original recipe (butter, parmesan, half and half) with non-dairy counter parts (non-dairy butter, Daiya mozzarella, soy cream), I was worried that the resulting soup would not be thick and creamy enough.  To make sure that the soup was not too thin, I added ingredients in two batches, pureeing the first half to create a thicker base.  The resulting flavor and texture was terrific, helped to thicken up the soup, and allowed me to reduce some of the fat and calorie-laden ingredients (this recipe is about 35% lower in calories than the original).  This recipe makes a pretty big batch of soup, which worked out great here because it has been requested for dinner and lunch several times.  I’m not sure if it will freeze well, and this time, I won’t even have the chance to try.

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 11

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, cut into bite-sized bits, divided
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
1/4 c. onion, cut into big chunks
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh herbs (mix of basil and oregano)
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 c. soy cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. Daiya mozzerella
Salt and pepper to taste

Add one can tomatoes, half the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and chicken broth to a crockpot.  Cook on low for 5 hours.  After 5 hours, use a hand blender to puree the soup until no chunks remain.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add flour and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir until the flour mixture breaks up into the liquid and becomes a thick sauce.  Add 1 c. of soup from the crockpot, stirring until well-combined.  Add another cup of soup from the crockpot if any doughy chunks remain.  When everything has been combined and the sauce has thickened, add to the crockpot and stir.  Add remaining tomatoes, carrots, cannellini beans, and mozzerella, then stir to combine.  Cover and cook for an additional hour.



Estimated calories:  143 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

– If you would like to replace my non-dairy replacements with dairy versions, I’d recommend using butter, shredded part-skim mozzerella, and half and half in the same amounts noted here.

Creamy Chicken Soup

8 Mar

Earlier this week I spotted a recipe for Creamy Roast Chicken and Rice Soup at Fuss Free Cooking that sounded really good.  I LOVE creamy soups, but rarely make them because they can be a bit heavy and sometimes lose a little in the non-dairy translation.  This recipe, however, was ALREADY non-dairy and did not require any substitutes.  The trick here is genius – instead of adding cream or non-dairy cream, cook rice until it is mushy and then puree it to make a creamy base.  I loved the idea, but have to admit, that I doubted that it would work OR taste good.  I WAS WRONG.

I modified the recipe from the original to make a stock, added the meat that was used in the process, threw in some vegetables, and finished the soup in the crockpot.  As far as crockpot recipes go, this is a speedy one, which makes it perfect for those days when you have a little time but not the entire day for your meal to cook on the countertop.  This soup is very tasty, and as an added bonus, SUPER low in calories.  This recipe makes approximately 9 c. of soup, and each serving is only 157 calories.  Compare that to a regular cream of chicken soup which comes in around 240 cal for the same amount, and what you have is not only a tasty meal but a calorie saving jackpot.

This recipe was popular at our house, and I’d highly recommend it.

Creamy Chicken Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 9

1 T. olive oil
3 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
1/2 c. carrots
1 stalk celery, leaves included, coarsely chopped
1/2 onion, quartered
7 c. water
1 c. uncooked jasmati rice
1-1/2 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Add carrots, celery, and onion and stir, then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour. Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Strain stock and discard solids. When chicken has cooled, remove meat and chop into bite sized bits, discard skin and bones.

Add stock and uncooked rice to a crockpot. Cook on low for one hour. When rice is cooked, puree with a hand blender. Add reserved chicken, carrots, and corn. Cook for at least one hour on low, adding water if it gets too thick.

Estimated calories: 157 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Chicken Soup

Venison Whiskey Stew

18 Jan

Lately, when it comes to dinner, I have faced two problems:
1. I don’t know what I feel like eating.
2. I’ve had a recent string of failed recipes.  The kind of failures that no one wants to eat, including me.

So yesterday, when it occurred to me that what I could really go for was some hearty stew, I was so happy.  Problem #1 solved.  Once that was behind me, I practically crossed my fingers the whole time I made dinner, hoping that Problem #2 wouldn’t show up along the way.

I am happy to report (super, super happy) that this recipe was delicious.  So good, that I was glad to have it again for lunch.  Looked forward to it, even.

From start to finish, this stew is pretty quick to make.  After some prep work, it comes together quickly and finishes in around 15 minutes.  Whiskey, tomato paste, and beef broth form a flavorful base for this thick, chunky stew.  It is very hearty, but still came in at 200 calories per serving.  For me that means I can add a little crusty bread and some fruit to the meal which makes it much more satisfying without too many calories.  I loved the stew, and will definitely make it again.

Regarding the whiskey:
1. I used 2GINGERS Irish Whiskey.  It was delicious, but you could substitute your favorite whiskey (and I know you have one).
2. If you don’t have any whiskey, you could substitute  bourbon, brandy, red wine, or dark beer.  Each one would add a lot of flavor to this stew.
3. If you would like to make it alcohol-free, it would lose some of the flavor that the whiskey brings, but would still make a mighty tasty stew. If you omit the alcohol altogether, add an extra 1/2 c. of beef broth and an extra tablespoon of tomato paste.

Venison Whiskey Stew
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 6

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. venison cutlets, cut into 1” pieces
2 c. carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 c. onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
2 T. flour
1/2 c. whiskey
3 c. beef broth
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

In a large deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add venison and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove venison and set aside.  Add carrots, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes.  Add flour, stir until well combined and cook for about a minute.  Add whiskey and stir to combine, it should start to thicken and bubble.  Add beef broth and tomato paste, stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Stir in fresh parsley and serve.

Estimated calories:  200 cal/serving

Print it: Venison Whiskey Stew

– If you don’t have any venison, or don’t care for wild game, sirloin would be a great substitution.  For this recipe, subbing an equal amount of sirloin would add about 70 cal/serving
– Don’t like mushrooms?  You must be my brother Ryan!  Whether you are Ryan or someone else, you can leave out the mushrooms but you may want to add something else in its place like diced potato, sweet potato, or red bell pepper would be my top choices.
– This recipe would be a good contender for the crockpot.  However, to build up the base of the soup, it really needs to start out in the pan.  The last 15-20 minutes of cooking could be replaced with 2-4 hours in the crockpot on low.  The advantage here is that you could start the whole thing out earlier in the day, and serve it up when you are ready.

Venison Barley Mushroom Soup

5 Dec

I am highly suggestible when it comes to food.  Last week my friend Nicole mentioned that she was making Beef Barley soup, and just like that, I was trying to figure out how I could get some.  She looks too far away for me to beg for her to bring me a bowl, so my next best option was to make some myself.

One of the things that sets a good barley soup apart from a mediocre one is the silkiness of the broth.  A watery soup base that lacks flavor and texture just makes a disappointing soup.  I’ve found that this happens a lot when I try to lighten up soups.  By taking out much of what makes a soup taste rich and flavorful (namely the fat), the soup becomes boring.  Really, really boring.  I’ve been experimenting with ways to boost the texture of soups without adding a ton of fat, and have found two super star ingredients:  1) bacon (duh), 2) gelatin.

If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian soup, this won’t help you at all.  But for the rest of us, these two gems can add a lot texture without a big impact on the overall calories in the soup.  In this soup, I decided to use gelatin since I planned to have a lot going on in the soup already.  The gelatin’s job in this recipe is twofold: thickens up the soup and adds a silky texture.  Sounds weird, but really makes a difference.

Venison Barley Mushroom Soup
Serving size: Approx 1 c.
Serves: About 12

1 c. boiling water
1 packet gelatin
1/3 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1 lb. venison, cubed
3 T. flour
1 t. Cooper’s spice (or pepper spice blend)
3 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. carrots, diced
8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
6 c. chicken stock (or beef)
1/2 lb. frozen pearl onions
1 c. pearl barley
Salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl, mix together boiling water and gelatin until dissolved.  Pour over dried mushrooms and set aside for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove mushrooms and chop finely, reserving liquid.

In a bowl, mix together venison, flour and pepper spice blend until the meat is well coated.

In a large pot, heat 2 T. oil over medium high heat.  Add venison and cook until lightly browned.  Remove meat and set aside.  Add remaining oil and add onion, garlic and carrots; cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add chopped porcini and venison to the pot and stir.  Add reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a boil.  Scrape up browned bits from the bottom.  Add stock in two or three batches, scraping up all the bits from the bottom and bringing back to a boil between each.  When the bottom is scraped clean and the liquid is boiling, add pearl onions and pearl barley.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 30-45 minutes until barley is tender (should be kind of al dente). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated calories:  166 cal/serving

Print it: Venison Barley Mushroom Soup

– If you don’t have venison, lean beef would be an excellent substitute in this soup
– You could also make it without meat altogether.  In that case, I’d suggest omitting 1 T. olive oil, and adding the flour/spice mixture to the vegetables after they’ve cooked a bit, but before you start adding the liquid.
– I made this ahead and reheated it, and it thickened up quite a bit.  In some cases, you may want to add a little broth when reheating.

Italian Meatball Soup

23 Nov

Next week, when you’re so sick of turkey and turkey related goods, this is the meal to make.  It is easy, delicious, and light, all of which will be totally welcome.

Making this soup is super easy and most of the cooking is done in the crock pot.  Dice up a few things, open a can, toss in the rest and let it cook for 6-8 hours if you can wait that long.  It is hard, because this recipe will make your house smell like heaven (if heaven smells like Italy, which some might argue would be just).

Before you get started, there is one thing about this recipe that is very different from those that I usually make.  Most of the time, I am fully in favor of substituting ingredients based on what is on hand.  This recipe is the exception – there is one ingredient that you CANNOT DO WITHOUT.  Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle.

Never heard of it?  Neither had I, until this summer when I was at a Penzey’s store with my cousins Julia and Jenine.  They told me about how much they loved the Sandwich Sprinkle.   “It makes any sandwich awesome,” they said.  “You can put it on anything and the kids will eat it,” they told me.  They are trustworthy gals, so I picked one up.  To be very honest, I expected to like it fine but thought it was unlikely to be THAT remarkable.   And seriously, not only were they right, but I do not think that they did it justice.  I put it on sandwiches, use it to make croutons, mix it with cream cheese for my bagel, add it to soup, you could even SHAKE IT ON YOUR TONGUE AND BE HAPPY.  It is that delicious, and you should order one today.  Get a good-sized one, you won’t be sorry.

Italian Meatball Soup

Serves: 8
Serving size: 1 c.

1 lb. cooked meatballs, halved or quartered
4 c. beef broth
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. carrots, diced
1 c. potato, peeled and cubed
2 T. onion, diced
1 t. Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle
1/2 t. Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset (Italian Herb Blend)

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Estimated Calories:  170 cal/serving

Print it: Italian Meatball Soup

– If you’d like, you can add some shredded parmesan to the soup, like I did in the picture.  I thought it was good, but liked it just fine without it so I skipped it every other time I had the soup.  If you add parmesan, 1 T. of shredded parmesan adds 21 cal/serving
– I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset herb blend, but if you don’t have that, you could try another Italian herb blend.  It is pretty good though, so if you’re ordering some Sandwich Sprinkle anyway you might want to give it a try.
– For the meatball recipe, I used a modified version of the kind made at Buca (this recipe, but without the romano cheese and panko instead of the Italian breadcrumbs).  However, you could use any recipe you like, frozen meatballs, seasoned or plain.  Just make sure they are cooked before you throw them into the pot.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

8 Nov

A few years ago I went through a Squash Soup phase that was so prolific that it has taken me that long to want to eat it again.  Although it has taken awhile, I’m glad that my hunger for it is back because it is one of my favorite fall foods.  Squash soup is such a great way make the transition from summer produce into fall foods – it is healthy, hearty but low in calories, and full of vegetable goodness.  While I love a good soup, I also love feeling like I’m eating a lot at lunch.  Sometimes if I ONLY have soup with nothing else, I find myself snacking practically before I’m done doing the dishes.

Today I balanced the healthy soup with a side of crunchy baguette topped with the creamy goodness of goat cheese.  Not wanting to blow a bunch of calories with too much bread OR cheese, I mixed the goat cheese with mustard to give it a boost of flavor, and spread it on the bread.  After a light toasting, the result was a perfect complement to the slightly chunky soup.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 c. soup, quarter baguette

1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 c. chicken stock
3 c. butternut squash, roasted and slightly mashed
2 T. fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

1 small baguette (approx. 7-8 oz.)
2 oz. goat cheese
2 T. dijon mustard
2 T. water
1 t. chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook until transluscent.  Add chicken stock and squash.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree slightly so that it thickens but is not yet smooth.  Add sour cream and stir until well combined.

While the soup is cooking, cut the baguette lengthwise and into quarters, for a total of eight pieces.  In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, mustard, water and chives until smooth.  Spread about a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto each baguette.  Place in oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve soup with two crostini.

Estimated Calories:  285 cal/serving

Print it: Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

– Since Sophie swears she hates squash, I decided not to bother making this recipe non-dairy.  In this recipe I used fat-free sour cream, but I’ve also used dairy-free sour cream with great results (adds about 15 calories per serving).
– You can use any kind of squash you like, I just happen to like the flavor and texture of butternut.  A single butternut squash contains about 3 c. worth of squash, but a little more or less won’t make much of a difference.
– If you choose to just make the soup and omit the crostini, one cup of soup is only 110 calories per serving.
– When I made this soup, I had already roasted the squash.  If you haven’t, and you don’t know just what to do, see Related Recipe below.  Super easy.

Related Recipe: Roasting a Butternut Squash
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
– Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and guts.
– Place the squash open side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender, usually around 45-60 minutes.  You’ll know it is done when you can poke it with a fork or knife.
– Remove from oven and flip open side up to cool for about 30 minutes.
– Scoop out all of the insides and either smash with a fork or puree until it reaches desired consistency.
– Squash can be used immediately or placed in baggies and frozen.

Pheasant and Potato Soup

17 Oct

If you’re the kind of person that eats out at fancy restaurants, you may have ordered pheasant as a special treat. If you live in the Midwest are a hunter, or have a husband/father/brother/sister-in-law/husband’s uncle who hunts birds, you may have some in your freezer. If you fall into the second category, the idea of pheasant may not be as exciting to you as if you were in the first.

I’ve tried lots of pheasant recipes over the years and only once did it turn out great. Often it’s tough, or greasy, or gamey, or a combination of all three. The last time I made pheasant, no one would eat it. Not even one bite.

So now that it is fall, and hunting season is underway, it is a good time to line up some pheasant recipes that people will both EAT and ENJOY. Many pheasant recipes are heavy on the cream (or cream of mushroom soup), and since that doesn’t work at our house, I decided to try something a little lighter (and non-dairy). A broth-based soup, this recipe is light and packed with flavor. I wasn’t sure that I would like a soup made with pheasant, but thought it was wonderful and helped to reduce the gamey flavor that sometimes happens with wild birds.

Even though the soup was good, I still don’t like pheasant enough that I’d go out and buy some to make the soup. But if I had some in the freezer, I’d definitely make this recipe again to use it up.

Pheasant and Potato Soup
Serves 8

1 pheasant
4 quarts water
2 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
2 bay leaves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. peppercorns
1 slice pepper bacon (uncooked)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 slices pepper bacon
2 large carrots, sliced and halved (half moon shape)
1 onion, chopped
¼ t. caraway seeds
1 lb. red potatoes, halved and sliced 1/3” thick (half moon shape)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, place pheasant and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skimming off the white foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat and add celery, onion, carrot, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns, and bacon. Season lightly with salt and pepper, partially cover and simmer on low for 2 hours.

Remove pheasant and set aside to cool. Line a colander with cheese cloth and strain solids. Set aside broth. Remove breast meat from pheasant and chop into bite‐sized pieces. Set aside (or refrigerate until use).

In a soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon once crisp and set aside. Crumble bacon when cool. Add carrots, onion, and caraway seeds, cook until onion is softened. Add potatoes, cook for 1‐2 minutes then add 7 c. reserved stock. Bring to a boil, add reserved pheasant meat and crumbled bacon. Return to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Print it: Pheasant and Potato Soup

– This recipe starts out by making a stock – it was really easy and quite flavorful. I made a big batch of the stock by using two birds and doubling the rest. I’ll freeze the remaining stock and meat and save it for another time.
– In this recipe, I only used the breast meat. I found that while the rest of the meat on the bird was very tender, it was hard to make sure that there weren’t any little bones or inedible bits that were mixed in with the meat. The breast meat produced plenty for the soup. I tossed the rest.
– Watch out for shot. It does not make a good addition to any meal.

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

3 Oct

Chicken soup is always a big hit at our house.  Sophie especially loves it when I make homemade noodles and add them to the soup.  I’m happy to make it for her, but it can be kind of messy and a bit labor intensive.  A few weeks ago, I picked up a Spaetzle Maker hoping that it might be a little easier than making homemade noodles.  Before we get to the recipe, I should explain spaetzle.

To start, spaetzle is pronounced in a few different ways.  Some say “SPAT-zle”, at our house it is “SCHPET-zle”, and when my grandma talks about them she simply calls them as “nep” – as in, “grandma used to make us eat liver nep soup”.  Basically, they are little German dumplings.  On the DOUGH IN SOUP SPECTRUM, they land somewhere between a dumpling and a noodle.  On the MAKING DOUGH IN SOUP SPECTRUM, they are the easiest and require little cleanup.

Making spaetzle is easy, as long as you have a spaetzle maker.  It looks much like a grater with a box on one side where the dough is held.  It balances on the top of a pot of boiling water or broth, and you quickly grate the dough over the pot and they drop in to cook.  Spaetzle makers are not very expensive, don’t take up much space, and while you can make spaetzle without one, this tool makes it fast and easy.  Plus, with the tool you can ensure that they are uniform in size so they cook evenly and quickly.

Onto the soup.  I started with a whole chicken and cooked it down for about an hour.  I use this same approach whenever I make a chicken-based soup.  It makes a rich, flavorful broth plus cooks the chicken perfectly with very little effort.  Overall, this soup was very easy to make and full of flavor, I’ll definitely make it again.  It makes a very big batch, which means that we’ll have enough to eat this week plus some to freeze for later.

Chicken Spaetzle Soup
Serves 14

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
2-1/2 c. carrots, chopped, divided
3-1/2 lb. whole chicken (without neck or giblets)
14 c. water, more if needed
2 eggs
2/3 c. plain soy milk
2 c. flour
1/2 t. kosher salt
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add onion, celery and carrots and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for one hour. Add water if needed to keep chicken covered.

Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Remove all of the solids from the pot and discard. Increase heat to high and bring stock to a boil. When chicken has cooled enough to touch, remove all of the skin and bones. Shred chicken into bite-sized bits and return to the pot. Add carrots to the pot, and return to a boil.

In a bowl, beat eggs until they are foamy. Add half of the soy milk, flour and salt and combine. Add remaining soy milk, flour, and salt and combine. By hand, combine until the dough is elastic but not sticky. Add more flour or soy milk if needed.

Using a spaetzle maker, drop spaetzle into the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Estimated Calories: 292 cal/serving

Print it: Chicken Spaetzle Soup

– You can substitute cow’s milk for the soy milk if you prefer

German Potato Soup

15 Sep

This year seasonal changes have happened very quickly.  BAM!  It’s summer.  BAM!  Now it’s fall.  These quick shifts have made it very hard for me to adjust to each change.  I don’t know what to wear, I don’t know how to dress my children for the day, and I don’t know what to make for dinner.  My mind is all swimsuits and grill, but my body is sweaters and soup.  It is confusing.

The shift from hot to cold weather makes me crave rich flavorful foods, the kind that cook all day and fill the house with warm smells.  One of my favorite fall dishes to make is Hot German Potato Salad.  Not so much a salad as a hearty side, the flavors hit the spot but it can get kind of heavy.  I decided to make some soup that contained the same kind of flavors found in the dish, but with less of a caloric commitment.  I based the flavors on my very favorite version of this dish which can be found at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge in Minnesota.  It is thick, rich, and full of bacon and vinegar goodness.  With that recipe in mind, I created a soup that is just as hearty and full of flavor, but comes in under 300 calories per serving.

The recipe is easy to make and requires just a bit of prep, then a few hours in a crockpot to cook the potatoes and bring the flavor together.  It makes a batch that is perfect for dinner with enough leftover for lunch the next day.  This soup improves with age, and freezes very well.  I would highly recommend this soup, and will definitely make it again.

German Potato Soup

Serves: 6
Serving Size: 1-1/2 c.

2 lbs potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced into thick slabs
1 c. carrot, sliced
1/2 c. onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
3/4 lb. venison, cubed
4 slices pepper bacon
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. flour
1/2 t. celery salt
10 turns freshly ground black pepper
4 c. beef stock, divided
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/4 c. fresh parsley, minced
Place potatoes, carrots, and onion into a crockpot, turn to high.

Add oil to a pan over medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, add venison and cook until browned.  Remove and place in crockpot.  Add bacon to the pan, reduce heat then cook until bacon is crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel. 

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, celery salt and pepper.  Add to the pan and stir for one minute until the flour mixture absorbs everything in the pan.  Add 1/2 c. beef stock and 1/2 c. cider vinegar to the pan and stir until a thick sauce forms.   When it starts to bubble, add the remaining stock and bring to a boil.  Pour stock mixture into the crockpot.

Crumble all of the bacon, add half to the crockpot.  Cook for 4-5 hours on high.

When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and top with bacon crumbles and fresh parsley.

Estimated Calories:  284 cal/serving

Print it: German Potato Soup

– If you don’t have venison, you could substitute beef or leave it out entirely
– I used Yukon Gold potatoes, but baby reds would be a great substitute