Tortellini Minestrone

This recipe for minestrone soup has been in our winter rotation for almost a decade. Minestrone is something that we usually wouldn’t order at a restaurant because quite frankly, we are busy eating pasta and other Italian dishes we crave. We love to make this soup at home because we can pack it with vegetables and rich herby flavors. If we are watching our food choices, we usually make this soup with butternut squash. But to make it a little more kid friendly (and frankly more crowd pleasing for everyone) we have chosen to add tortellini. Who can say no to cheesy pasta being added to everything? The tortellini adds richness and decadence to the soup and makes it a favorite for everyone in the family.

Tortellini Minestrone

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


Our favorite recipe for minestrone, made kid friendly with cheesy tortellini!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and small dice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 24 oz chicken stock
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 package pre-made cheese tortellini (about 16 oz)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • sliced basil, for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven soup pot over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic to the pot; saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent and fragrant. Add the rosemary, thyme, and cannellini beans; sauté another 3-4 minutes or until the rosemary and thyme are fragrant.
  2. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the tortellini. Cover and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the tortellini is cooked through. Uncover and add the spinach to the pot. Stir it around and cook a few minutes for it to wilt.
  3. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in large bowls with a bit of grated parmesan cheese and some fresh basil.


Potato and Leek Soup

We love soup pretty much all year round, but right after the holidays we have them on our menu regularly. Soup is great on a cold day, easy to make, and an ideal option for a healthy meal when we have our hearts set on January resolutions. The crunchiness of the leeks combined with the creaminess of the potato makes this soup taste indulgent without adding any dairy. You can have this soup as a full meal or pair it with a side salad or sandwich for a delicious lunch option during your workweek.

Potato and Leek Soup

  • Servings: 4 entree servings
  • Print


A healthy soup recipe to kick off January resolutions with easy substitutes for vegan and vegetarian food preferences.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 5 leeks, chopped – whites and greens separated
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock (option to use vegan stock)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, shallot and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the whites of the leeks and sauté an additional 5-10 minutes or until the leeks start to soften.
  3. Add the potatoes, greens of the leeks, and 4 cups of the bouillon to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer with the soup covered for 15-20 minutes or until you are able to easily poke a fork through the potatoes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to your desired consistency. We like to have about 1/4 of the mixture remain whole and blend the remaining. The different textures of the whole potatoes and leeks bring a nice crunchiness to the soup. Once the soup is blended, add additional stock if you prefer your soup a little thinner. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the soup hot and top with cheddar cheese (if desired).


Butternut Squash Bisque

We are the first to raise our hands and admit that packing in the veggies in the wintertime isn’t easy. Salads in the snow are a tough sell. Soup, however, is on the menu many days of the week. This recipe for Butternut Squash Bisque is one of our favorite healthy recipes that we make over and over again. Unlike most butternut squash soups, this recipe drifts more towards the savory side than the sweet side. We love how the licorice flavors from the fennel brighten up the squash; honey crisp apples adds a touch of sweetness and ras el hanout packs a savory curry punch. For those unfamiliar, ras el hanout is a North African spice blend that can be found at most mainstream groceries or linked here for online ordering. The result is a rich soup loaded with flavor, but not loaded with calories. It’s very simple, clean, and healthy; a great recipe to start the new year.

Butternut Squash Bisque

  • Servings: 4 entree servings
  • Print


A simple, healthy soup to make clean eating easy as we start the new year.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, stem removed and sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 32 oz butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed
  • 2 honey crisp apples, core removed and sliced
  • 1 tbs ras el hanout + more for garnish (optional)
  • 32 oz chicken stock (you can sub vegetable stock to make this dish vegetarian)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and fennel to the pot. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are starting to become translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, butternut squash, apples, and ras al hanout to the pot. Saute for another 10 minutes, or until the butternut squash starts to brown. Brown = flavor, don’t skip out too early or you will lose the best part of this soup!
  3. Add the chicken stock to the pot. Give everything a good stir, season with salt and pepper, cover, and let the soup cook for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until it is pureed and an even consistency. We like our soup on the thicker side, but if it is too thick for your liking you can thin it down with water, milk, or cream. Taste and season again with salt and pepper as necessary.
  4. Serve the soup in large bowls with an additional sliced apple and sprinkle of ras al hanout, if desired. A loaf of crusty bread will go a long way with this soup as well.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

We love to have a good pot of soup on the stove in the fall as the weather starts to get chilly. This Chicken Tortilla Soup has been in our recipe repertoire for many years now- it’s a go-to recipe that is the perfect mix of savory and spicy. It’s also very healthy and an easy way to get our veggies in when it’s cold out. If we are having friends over to watch a football game, we can up the ante and have lots of fun toppings to add over top. What starts out as a simple cup of soup can easily turn into a hearty meal with just a few toppings! We love to serve this soup with a batch of cornbread or crusty bread to dip into all of that spicy soup left at the bottom of the bowl.

Soup Ingredients

  • 1 package chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs)
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed (we used a roasted corn from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1- 28 oz can roasted tomatoes
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Topping Ingredients

  • shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • tortilla strips
  • sour cream
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced green onions
  • sliced avocado

Directions

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and the paprika. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until they are seared well. They will not be cooked through at this point, but remove from from the pan onto a plate.
  2. Add the yellow onion to the pan. If the pan is dry, go ahead and add an extra tbs of olive oil to prevent sticking. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to caramelize. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and coriander to the pan, saute another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the black beans and corn to the pan. Toss to give it all a good coat. Add the roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and chicken breasts back to the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and remove the chicken breasts from the pot. Keep the liquid cooking on a low simmer while you shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the pot, stir to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the soup hot with any additional toppings.


Oktoberfest Pumpkin Chili

We love experimenting with pumpkin recipes in the fall, and surprisingly have ended up liking the renditions of savory dishes more than the sweet ones! We have been making versions of this pumpkin chili for years now, and this latest is our favorite yet. We have combined all things “October” in this hearty chili- Oktoberfest beer, a can of pumpkin, and lots of warming spices. The beer gives the chili a little punch and helps give it a rich taste. The pumpkin is a great way to add creaminess but keep everything healthy. We suggest buying an Oktoberfest beer versus a pumpkin beer, as sometimes pumpkin beers can be ultra sweet which doesn’t mix well with the rest of the recipe. Serve with any and all of your favorite chili toppings for an ultra-fall cozy night in!

Octoberfest Pumpkin Chili

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for the Chili

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz Octoberfest beer (we used a Bavarian lager)
  • salt, to taste

Optional Chili Toppings and Accompaniments:

  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, minced
  • Mexican cheese blend
  • roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to the pan. Sauté 4-5 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the jalapeno, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes to the pot. Toast the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Mix in the tomato paste and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the both cans of beans and the pumpkin to the chili. Add the beer and stir well to combine, but not so rough that you start to break up the beans. Season the chili with salt. Bring the chili to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and then cover and cook another 20-30 minutes. If the chili seems too thick before you are ready to serve, you can add water or stock to bring it to the consistency of your liking. Season again with salt to taste.
  4. Serve the chili hot out of the pan with any of your favorite chili toppings.

Spicy Chickpea & Harissa Stew

We love soups and stews and get giddy when the temperature starts to get cooler and it is acceptable to eat soup most meals of the week. This recipe incorporates all of our favorite Middle Eastern ingredients into one hearty bowl. You can easily make this vegetarian or vegan by eliminating the shrimp and feta cheese without compromising the flavor. For those unfamiliar with harissa, harissa is a Moroccan pasta made with garlic, red pepper and oil. You can find this is most supermarkets or online through Thrive Market and Amazon.

Spicy Chickpea and Harissa Stew
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cans chickpea, drained 
  • 3 tbs harissa paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 28 oz can of tomato sauce 
  • 28 oz water (reuse the can!)
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Optional Toppings:

  • feta
  • parsley or cilantro
  • pita

Directions 

  1. In a soup pot, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the shallot and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the chickpeas, harissa, cumin and salt and saute for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are coated with all of the spices. If you like your food extra spicy, you can bump up the harissa from 3 to 4 tablespoons. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce and use the same can to add the water. This will help ensure you get all of the tomato juice out! 
  4. Bring the stew up to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  5. Bring the heat back up to high and add the shrimp. Put the cover on the pot and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are completely cooked through. 
  6. Serve hot in a bowl and top with feta cheese, parsley and a side of your favorite pita! 

Cioppino

Summer means it is time for seafood and there is no better way to get a seafood fix than making cioppino. Cioppino is a seafood stew that originates in San Francisco- it has an Italian flavored tomato broth and can be made with just about any seafood you like. We like to go to the grocery store and see what is fresh and looks the best and plan our meal from there. For this version we used shrimp, cod, mussels and clams. You can use any type of fish (halibut, sea bass, even salmon) and other seafood ingredients like scallops, crab, or langoustines. It’s a light and filling summer dinner best served with a thick slice of sour dough bread.

Cioppino

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 12 clams
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb white fish – halibut, sea bass, or cod- cut into large, bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Scrub the clams and mussels with a food brush to clean off any excess dirt or sea particles. Remove the beards from any mussels. Soak the clams and mussels in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. While the seafood is soaking, heat a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, swirling until melted. Add the garlic, white onion, and chili flakes to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add the white wine to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the wine reduce by half. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Slice the lemon in half and add it to the sauce. Cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. After the 30 minutes has passed, remove the lemon from the sauce, carefully squeezing out any extra lemon juice, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the clams to the pot, increase to medium-high heat, and cover to cook for 5-7 minutes. If you are using larger clams like little necks, go the full 7 minutes.
  5. While the clams are cooking, season the shrimp and fish with salt and pepper. After the 7 minutes has passed, add the mussels, fish, and shrimp to the pot. Do not stir, just layer everything in that order, and cover to cook for another 5-6 minutes. The dish is done when most of the clams and mussels are open and the fish is opaque and cooked through. When the fish is cooked through, give everything a gentle stir so that the shrimp and fish absorb some of the sauce.
  6. Serve each serving of cioppino with a few pieces of each type of fish and seafood and a generous helping of the sauce. Garnish with some fresh basil and serve with a slice of crusty sour dough toast.

Minestrone: Spring Edition

All Posts

Minestrone: Spring Edition

April 15, 2020|Soups, Stews, & Chili

We love a good soup recipe just about anytime of the year, but particularly when it’s snowing and we are in quarantine. This soup comes together quickly and only gets better as it sits on the stove. We made this recipe last week and started it mid morning; it was perfect by the time we were ready to eat lunch. Making every meal at home during quarantine has been a challenge! We love recipes like these that are quick, easy, & healthy to help keep us on track during the week. 

Minestrone: Spring Edition 
Makes: 4 entree servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes   Total Time: 1 hour 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced 
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (should be 2 large carrots, shredded) 
  • 4 stalks celery, diced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lemon, cut in half 
  • 2 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 cup orzo 
  • 8 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 cup diced snap peas 
  • 3 cups shredded kale, stems removed 
  • 1/3 cup pesto 
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the leeks, carrots, and celery. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and squeeze the lemon juice from the lemon into to the pan. Add the entire lemon and cook everything another 2 minutes. 
  2. Add the cannelini beans to the pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes to give the beans a little color. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom feel free to add another tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pot. At this point we like to season everything with salt and pepper to get the party started.  
  3. Add orzo to the pan. Saute for a few minutes to coat the orzo in all of the oil and aromatics. Add the 8 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the orzo is al dente.
  4. Remove the lid from the soup and add the snap peas and kale to the pot. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes to wilt the kale. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Remove the lemon from the pot. Serve each bowl with a spoonful of pesto and parmesan cheese. 

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our favorite local restaurants for Chinese food is Shanghai Kitchen. For the untrained, Shanghai Kitchen is a good, standard Chinese restaurant. However, what most people don’t know is that Shanghai Kitchen actually has two different menus – one being filled with authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Throughout the years we have made friends with the restaurant staff and they have exposed us to new, amazing dishes. One of those dishes is the beef in chili oil. Our obsession with this dish inspired us to figure out how we can make new dishes within that same flavor profile. After experimenting a bit, we have come up with this spicy chicken noodle soup. Full of flavor and heat, this soup will warm you up on any cold night. We recommend making it in big batches as one bowl simply won’t be enough.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large chicken thighs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chili oil
  • 1 lb noodles (we used shells for this recipe but prefer udon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the pan along with the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, creating room in the pan so that they have direct contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side so that the chicken starts to brown and retains its juices.
  3. Add the chili oil and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquids up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pot. Shred them with a fork or dice them with a knife and return the chicken back to the soup. Cook another 10 minutes covered and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. While the soup is in it’s final 10 minutes of cooking, bring a second pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup. If you aren’t planning to eat the soup in one sitting, add the drained noodles to each serving of soup and top with chicken and broth. This will prevent the noodles from getting soggy if you eat the soup over the course of a few days. Top with chopped scallions before serving, if desired.

Avgolemono

This soup has been a staple in our homes for quite some time. We love this Greek lemon soup because it is simple to make, has a ton of flavor, and has become a comfort food for us, especially in the winter. We like to serve this as a starter or alongside pitas and Greek salad. If you are looking to serve it as an entree, this recipe can feed 2-3 large sized portions.

The creaminess of the soup comes from tempering eggs into the broth. The technique of tempering is to dilute the eggs with warm broth, gradually raising the temperature, so that the eggs integrate with the broth and don’t curdle. If you still aren’t sure what we mean, the result of incorrectly tempering is egg drop soup. Fun fact – this technique took us a little bit of time to master. We have had many a night where our Avgo soup has floating egg whites and we still love it anyway! We will walk you through it in detail below but don’t be afraid if you don’t nail it on your first try. A little cooked egg never hurt anyone. 

Avgolemono Soup
Makes: 4 servings 
Total Time: minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound orzo 
  • 8 cups water + 3 bouillon cubes (we used Bou)*
  • 3 lemons, juiced 
  • 2 eggs
  • dill 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

*Bou’s serving size is 1 cube per 2 cups of water. We like to add about 1/4 less bouillon than  suggested so that the soup isn’t over salted and season with salt and pepper at the end. 

Directions: 

  1. In a small pot, cook the orzo per the package instructions, al dente. We like to cook the orzo outside of the soup so that the orzo does not over cook if we don’t serve the soup right away. 
  2. While the orzo is cooking, put the water and bouillon in a large soup bot and bring to a boil. Stir until the bouillon is completely dissolved in the water. Add the lemon juice and bring the soup to a simmer.
  3. Temper the eggs. Start by scrambling the eggs in a bowl. While continuing to stir the eggs, use a ladle to add a bit of the broth to the bowl. Keep stirring until the broth is combined and repeat the process once more (stir, add broth, stir). After the second edition of broth, you are going to repeat the process but incorporate the eggs into your soup pot. Stir the soup and gently pour in your egg mixture. Voila! You now have a rich, creamy broth.
  4. Serve by adding 1 cup of orzo to a bowl and topping with the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh dill.