Since it has still been snowy and cold here (seriously, I’m over it…), I made a large batch of beef and barley soup in the crockpot this week. This recipe makes a full crockpot so I had plenty leftover to freeze. The best part, it’s healthy — what many would consider “clean eating” and it’s super easy to throw together in the morning, forget about, and have a nice warm dinner ready and waiting in the evening.
I served mine with homemade green bread (recipe coming soon) in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to convince the trio that it was Leprechaun Stew but they weren’t fans. Bo ate two bites, Clara and Anna ate one. Personally, I thought it was delicious.
Last week, the weather report said that there was a blizzard coming — it turned out to be nothing more than a dusting of snow and a bit of strong wind. The cold, dark, dreary, blustery day was the perfect opportunity to throw together a hearty winter minestrone soup.
The recipe I based this soup on is from the Barefoot Contessa. I used different quantities and left out a few ingredients. Spinach in soup just seems weird to me — but who knows. 🙂
It takes awhile to chop all of the veggies for this soup — and you’ll want to have your homemade chicken stock already prepared and on hand. For a snowy evening at home, this soup is thick, rich, and satisfying.
I served it with breadsticks and fruit. The kids wouldn’t touch it — they aren’t soup fans — but even Mike, the vegetable hater himself, ate a bowl — picking out the chunks.
1 - 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup small pasta, I used orzo
½ cup good dry white wine
5 Tbsp. pesto sauce
Parmesan cheese, grated finely
Cook the pasta and set aside.
In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and allow to simmer until meal time. Stir in the white wine and pesto 5 minutes before serving. Dish into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve with warm bread.
Maybe you can enjoy this soup to reintroduce a few veggies after the massive eating that will take place over the next few days! I’ll be posting sporadically until after Christmas break, then I’ll hopefully be back to my three times a week posts. 🙂 Enjoy your holiday season!
Yesterday, we we went for a family walk after our Thanksgiving dinner and it was beautiful outside. The temperature was nearly 60 and just gorgeous. Today, winter has set in with temperatures in the low 30’s and wind chills in the teens here in the Midwest. I can’t say I’m thrilled (I told Mike today I wanted to live in Florida) but at least I can have warm soup for dinner while curled up by the fire (if I can convince Mike to light one…) 🙂
Continuing with our Mexican kick, I threw together (literally) chicken tortilla soup. I’ve made several versions, but this quick and easy crockpot recipe wins out often because it is so painless. It makes a lot, freezes well, and is good for leftover lunches. I’m not sure where the base recipe originated from but it’s probably somewhere in cyberspace.
I threw this soup together while the trio was eating breakfast and it was ready to go by lunchtime with thawed chicken breasts. I’ve also made it using frozen chicken breasts, which I’d recommend if you plan to make it in the morning and serve for dinner. This soup pairs well with BLT Guacamole and chips.
If you have some leftover turkey that you’d like to throw in instead of chicken, I think it would be just as good. I’d reduce the cook time to 2 to 3 hours since the turkey is already cooked. I don’t see anything wrong with adding a bit of Mexican flair to your Thanksgiving leftovers!
2 - 15 ounce cans of Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
4 corn tortillas, sliced into ¼ inch stripes
2 Tbsp. cilantro
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
Place chicken in crockpot and toss in the chilies, garlic, onion, Rotel, broth, cumin, and salt and pepper on top. Stir occasionally while cooking to shred chicken as it cooks. For frozen chicken cook on high for 8-9 hours. For thawed chicken, cook on low for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, add tortillas and cilantro. Serve by topping each bowl with shredded cheese, diced avocado, and a squeeze of lime.