Minestrone Soup

Matt taste testing the minestrone soup. It is SO YUMMY! Recipe via The Sisters’ Cafe – I highly recommend this one! One thing my mom pointed out when I gave the recipe to her: you don’t have to boil the pasta separately…just throw it in the soup! DUH…what would I do without my mom?!

Matt’s Favorite Chili

Matt wanted chili for his birthday. The boy loves my chili. (It is SO easy and SO good!) My father-in-law, Marc, has been quoted as saying, “I think this is the best chili I’ve ever had.” Matt is the same way, so sweet and complimentary no matter what I make!

He woke me up Friday morning before he left for work to make sure I was making chili for his birthday dinner that night. His co-worker told me it’s all he talked about all day. He called and checked up on me just to see what I was doing, even stopped by the house once and smelled it cooking in the crock pot. He is so funny!

Here it is after simmering all day and making the whole neighborhood smell fabulous!

I was surprised at the reaction I got regarding the plastic liners I use when I uploaded these pics to facebook! They are a lifesaver. You don’t have to lift your heavy ceramic part into the sink to soak or scrub off any stuck-on goodness! Just throw that plastic liner away. Heaven!

Here’s the recipe:

2 lbs. ground beef

2 cups diced onions

2 (15 1/2 oz) cans pinto beans

1 (15 1/2 oz) can pink kidney beans

1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (14 1/2 oz) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14 1/2 oz) can tomatoes with chiles

2 (4 1/2 oz) cans diced green chiles

1 (4.6 oz) can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed (optional)

1 (1 1/4 oz) package taco seasoning mix

1 (1 oz) package ranch salad dressing mix

For Garnish:

Corn Chips

Sour Cream/Ranch Dressing

Grated Cheese

Green Onions (optional)

Brown ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain excess fat, then transfer browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, black olives, taco seasoning, & ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6-9 hours. Or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with garnishes of choice and enjoy!

Here I am baking some cornbread muffins…with some honey and butter on top…YUM!

Please note the candle in his muffin…it totally melted because the muffins had just come out of the oven. Oops!

My bowl, a la ranch

Matt’s – a la sour cream

Chicken Taco Soup

This soup is a staple in our home; every fall I start making it again! I found this recipe in the Essential Mormon Celebrations cookbook that my Aunt Liz gave me. It has so many wonderful recipes in it! I also made the Cilantro Lime Dressing which was awesome, it had a thick texture and tasted great with the soup and as a dip for chips. (I halved this recipe & Matt had seconds with plenty leftover for lunch or dinner for the two of us)

Chicken Taco Soup
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes (could sub chicken stock)
  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons chili powder (I used one and it was perfect for me - but I like things on the mild side)
  • 1 (29 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, undrained
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Cheese, grated
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Sour cream
  • 2 limes, quartered
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil; dissolve bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cubed chicken, cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, sugar, rice, and garbanzo beans. Simmer for about 1 hour. When ready to serve, add remaining ingredients as toppings to individual servings. Makes about 8 servings.

Cilantro Lime Dressing
  • 1 (1 oz) packet Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (3 in.) jalapeño pepper, cut and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro (I put more because I love cilantro)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  1. Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor & enjoy!

Chicken & Orzo Soup

It has been rainy soup weather up here! I’ve had this recipe sitting around for two years just waiting to be made. I found it in Williams-Sonoma…that glorious store that is like Disneyland! Matt & I were there with Ada a few weeks ago and I was in heaven looking at everything. The saleslady asked if I liked to cook and if I wanted a job! Too bad it was way up in Los Gatos…that discount would be oh-so-sweet.

This is one of those wonderful recipes that takes a short time to prepare, but tastes (& smells) like it’s been simmering on the stove all day long. It is so comforting & reminiscent of chicken noodle soup.

Chicken & Orzo Soup
Recipe type: Soup
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. fresh (or 2 t. dried) marjoram
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • ¾ cup orzo or other small pasta
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ½ c. grated parmigano-reggiano
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots, celery and marjoram and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes more. Add the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
  2. Add the pasta to the simmering soup and cook until al dente, 3 to 4 minutes or according to package directions. Add the spinach and chicken and cook, stirring, until the spinach has wilted and the chicken is warmed through, about 1 minute.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Serves 4 generously.

White Chicken Chili

I saw this recipe on Down Home with the Neelys. Do you think they’re always like that? They are kind of entertaining to watch, but annoying if you’re not in the mood. It made me think that I want a cooking show with my husband. It would probably be a disaster, though, because Matt tends to get majorly awkward in front of cameras.

We made this Sunday night for dinner, and it was delicious! Matt is my sous chef and chops my onions because they make my blue eyes cry. This soup was perfect on a cold, rainy day and packs more of a punch with the jalapenos and poblano (or pasilla as I found at the store) peppers.  Don’t worry though, I’m a mild girl and I still loved it.

2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced

2 medium poblano peppers, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded

1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Sour cream, for topping

Tortilla chips, coarsely crushed, for topping

Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher until chunky. Reserve the beans until needed.
Add the canola oil to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt, and pepper, to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute to toast the spices. Stir in the chicken stock, and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes.

After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

Husband approved :)