Pork Ramen Soup

I wasn’t someone who lived off of Ramen in college, so I was excited to try out this recipe.  The funny part was trying to figure out where the Ramen is kept in the supermarket.

This recipe is from Real Simple, October 2012.

No substitutions were made.

pork ramen soup 1

Pork Ramen Soup

1 tblsp canola oil
2 boneless pork chops (1/2 inch thick; about 1/2 lb total)
kosher salt & black pepper
8 scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 3oz packages ramen noodles (discard the seasoning packets)
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 large carrot, grated
2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves – I omitted this

pork ramen soup 2

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Season the pork with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and cook until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing.

Add the scallion whites and ginger to the drippings in the Dutch oven.  Cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the noodles and boil, stirring occasionally, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in the soy sauce.

Serve the soup topped with the port, carrot, radishes, cilantro and scallion greens.

pork ramen soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Gosh this is some good soup, loved the ramen noodles.  The ginger and scallions add a sweet and slightly pungent taste to the broth.  I added the pork and carrots into the soup before serving, and topped with the radishes and scallions.

Italian Wedding Soup

The temps have hit all time lows here in Nashville this week, the perfect time for warm and nourishing soup.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine.

Substitution made, noted below.

Italian Soup 1

Italian Wedding Soup

1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh sage – I used dried sage
3 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus 1 tblsp grated Parm, plus more for topping
1/2 lb ground pork – I used ground chicken
3 tblsp breadcrumbs (preferaly panko)
3/4 c orzo
8 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add half of the garlic and 1 tsp each Worcestershire sauce and sage; cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, 3 c water and the Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Italian Soup 2

Meanwhile, mix the pork, breadcrumbs, 1 tblsp grated Parm, the remaining garlic, Worcestershire and sage in a bowl.  Form into 1-inch meatballs.

Increase the heat to med-high and bring the soup to a boil.  Stir in the orzo and cook 6 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parm.

Italian Soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The sage lends a rich flavor to the broth and to the meatballs.  I would cut the orzo down to a half cup, and add in a healthy dash of salt and pepper.  Healthy and hearty soup ready in about an hour!

Sausage and Spinach Soup

I was figuring out our dinner menu for the week and asked if husband wanted anything special.  He asked for French Onion soup, he got Sausage and Spinach soup instead.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, March 2007.

No substitutions were made.

sausage n spinach 1

Sausage and Spinach Soup

10 oz sweet turkey Italian sausage
cooking spray
1 c chopped onion
2 tsp bottled minced garlic
1/2 c water
15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained
14 oz fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 c baby spinach
1 tblsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tblsp grated fresh Romano cheese

spinach Collage 1

Remove casings from sausage.  Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add onion and 2 tsp garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 c water, beans, tomatoes and broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick.  Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil and oregano.  Ladle 1 1/2 c soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 tsp cheese.

sausage n spinach 5

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a wonderful and quick soup, dinner was on the table in less than a half hour!  Husband didn’t love the amount of tomatoes, but the flavor is rich and wonderful.  Just another soup to help chase away the chill of the Fall.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

The weather suddenly realized it was Fall and the temperatures dropped, we went from flip-flops to wool sock a matter of days.  So the word of the season is SOUP.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, October 2011.

No substitutions were made.

broc cheese 1

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c half-n-half
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher slat and freshly ground pepper
2 c chopped broccoli florets
1/3 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3c)
Croutons, for topping (optional)

broc cheese 2

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, half-n-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 c water, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tblsp water and season with salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, drain.

broc cheese 3

When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender.  Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender).  Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary.  Return to a simmer over med-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Ladle the coup into bowls and top with croutons if desired.

broc cheese 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This soup was good, but not great.  I’m wondering if a blend of cheese, cheddar and mozzarella?  Maybe a little Parmesan?  BUT, it was filling and hot on a cold Fall afternoon.

Cream of Pea Soup

Back in June husband and I hopped on a plane to Seattle to visit my sister and be there for my middle nephews HS graduation.  Happily, my mom and dad were with us too!  It was the first time our whole family had been together since my wedding (6 years!).  Thankfully it also meant we could celebrate my dad and my brother-in-law on Father’s Day.  This included Star Trek at the movies and English food.  We may not have been the rowdiest group in the place, but we feasted.  Fish N Chips and Bangers N Mash lined the table.

Marrowfat Collage

The restaurant also had a shop attached with all things English.  If only I had unlimited funds to bring home all the delicate china cups, each type of shortbread cookie on hand, and tins upon tins of tea.  What I did come home with was this bag of Marrowfat Peas.  I wasn’t quite sure how or why they’re different, but I thought it was worth a shot.

marrowfat peas 3

According to Wikipedia, Marrowfat peas are “green mature peas that have been allowed to dry out naturally in the field”.  Apparently this is also the type of pea used for Wasabi peas (one of my dad’s favorite snacks).

marrowfat peas 4

I followed the recipe on the back of the package for Cream of Pea Soup.  This included 2 medium onions and 8 pieces of bacon.

marrowfat pea 5

The simmering soup filled the kitchen with the aroma of onions, bacon and fresh herbs.  The immersion blender worked to break down the peas, bacon and vegetables.  In went almost a cup of heavy cream – hence the Cream of Pea Soup.

marrowfat peas 6

What a wonderful and filing soup!  The bacon I used was an applewood smoked bacon, so the soup was very dense with the smokey flavor.  It’s good, but plays second fiddle to Julia’s Pea Soup.

ps – I’m not sure if Marrowfat Peas are available all over?  If you’d like this recipe let me know and I’ll include it in the comments.

Black Bean Soup

Almost every time we have lunch or dinner at Panera Bread, husband will get their black bean soup.  I wanted to try this recipe to see how he’d like it.

The recipe is from Cooking Light, November 2010.

No substitutions were made.

black bean soup 1

Black Bean Soup

1 c dried black beans (about 6 oz)
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 c chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
14 oz organic vegetable broth
4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1/4 c tomato paste
3/8 tsp salt

Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven.  Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil.  Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 1 hour.  Drain beans.

Heat the olive oil in a pan over med-high heat.  Add onion and garlic to pan; saute for 3 minutes or until tender.  Add beans, 2 1/2 cups water, oregano, red pepper, cumin, broth and chiles; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

black bean soup 2

Place half of bean mixture in a blender.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.   Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).  Blend until smooth.  Pour pureed soup into a bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining coup.  I used my immersion blender for this.  Return to pan.  Stir in tomato paste and slat; cook 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

black bean soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9This is a spicy soup!  But in the very best way possible.  Everything blended down gives it a creamy consistency and is perfectly spiced.  Husband was a big fan of this soup and it paired well with our fish tacos for dinner.

ps – photographing dark brown soup in a pot?  kinda boring and not very pretty…

Chicken & White Bean Soup

I am so loving the onset of fall.  All the windows have been open for a week, allowing soft breezes to waft through the house and allowing the dog to sleep in the sunshine on the deck.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, April 2011.

No substitutions were made.

chicken and white bean 1

Chicken & White Bean Soup

2 smoked bacon slices, chopped
12 oz skinless, bonless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 c chopped onion
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 c chopped plum tomato
2 tblsp chopped fresh oregano
2 c water
2 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 c uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 15oz can organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt

chicken and white bean 2

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.

Add chicken to drippings in pan; saute 6 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender.  Add tomato, oregano, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Return bacon and chicken to pan.  Stir in water and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Bring to a boil.  Add orzo and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente.  Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated.  Remove from heat; stir in parsley, vinegar, and salt.

chicken and white bean 3

chicken and white bean 4

cartoon-strawberry-9The tomatoes, onions and oregano give this soup a strong flavor of bruschetta.  Cutting and trimming the chicken thighs took awhile, but the rest of the soup came together easily after that.  Enjoy this soup on a beautiful fall night.

Summer Squash & Corn Chowder

My friends and family in California are dealing with fires and ridiculous heat, meanwhile, I’m making soup for dinner.  But it’s soup with ‘Summer’ in the name, so it’s not as bad, right?

This recipe is from Cooking Light, August 2010.

Substitution made, noted below.

squash corn chowder 1

Summer Squash & Corn Chowder

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4 c sliced green onion – divided
1/4 c chopped celery
1 lb yellow summer squash, chopped
1 lb frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4 c 1% low-fat milk, divided – I used 2%
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c shredded extra-sharp cheese

squash corn chowder 3

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over med-high heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 tsp of the drippings in the pan.  Crumble bacon, and set aside.  Add 1/2 cup onions, celery and squash to the drippings in pan; saute 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside.  Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to the blender; process until just combined.  Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan.  Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/8 tsp salt.  Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tblsp bacon, 1 tblsp onions and 1 tblsp of cheese.

squash corn chowder 4

cartoon-strawberry-9The sweet corn makes this soup.  Know how a good Pina Colada tastes like the beach?  This soup is a tastes like the best of summer produce.  Forget the heat and have some soup for dinner!

Spicy Peanut Soup

All the kiddos are heading back to school soon.  Which means lots of lunches, coffees and dinner with these amazing students; telling me of summer adventures, schedules of the upcoming school year, joy, heartbreak, talking for hours and hours.  It blesses me and feeds my heart.

This recipe is from The Complete Book of 400 Soups.

Substitution made, noted below.

spicy peanut soup 1

Spicy Peanut Soup

2 tblsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
8oz carrots, finely chopped
8oz potatoes, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced
3 3/4 c vegetable stock
6 tblsp crunchy peanut butter – I used smooth
2/3 c corn
salt & black pepper
peanuts for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.  Add the chili powder and cook for an additional minute

Add the red peppers, carrots, potatoes and celery.  Stir well, then cook for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the vegetable stock, followed by the peanut butter and corn.  Stir until thoroughly combined.

Season well.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.  Serve garnished with chopped peanuts.

spicy peanut soup 2

cartoon-strawberry-9This soup has a great flavor, but not so spicy.  I need to remember this cook book tends to under-spice the recipes.  Next time I’ll add in some cumin, ginger and maybe some Chinese 5 spice powder.  I served the soup over white rice with some shredded chicken thrown in.

Chicken Minestrone

Who makes soup on a day when it hits 80 degrees?  That’d be me.

This recipe is from 400 Soups.

Substitutions made, noted below.

chix minestrone 1

Chicken Minestrone

1 tblsp olive oil
2 chicken thighs – I used 3 boneless
3 rindless streaky (fatty) bacon rashers (strips), chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
a few fresh basil leaves, shredded – I used dried
a few fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped – I used dried
1 tblsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsely – I used dried
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – I used red potatoes
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 or 2 celery sticks, cut into 1/2 cubes
4 c chicken stock
1 c small soup pasta
salt and ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese shavings, for serving – I used the Trader Joes Parm/Reggiano blend

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, (I used my 5 quart dutch oven for all soup preparation) add the chicken thighs and fry for about 5 minutes on each side.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the bacon, onion and herbs to the pan and cook gently, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, carrot, zucchini and celery and cook for 5-7 minutes more.

Return the chicken thighs to the pan, add the stock and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over a low heat for 35-40 minutes, stirring the soup occasionally to prevent sticking.

chix minestrone 2

Remove the chicken thighs with a slotted spoon and place them on a board.  Stir the peas and pasta into the soup and bring back to a boil.  Simmer, stirring, for 7-8 minutes or according to the instructions on the packet, until the pasta is just al dente.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the chicken skin, then remove the meat from the chicken bones and cut it into small pieces.  Since I used boneless, I only had to cut these into pieces.

Return the chicken meat to the soup, stir well and heat through.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Ladle into warmed soup plates or bowls, top with cheese and serve pipping hot.

chix minestrone 3

cartoon-strawberry-9So this soup was good, but a little bland the first night.  But the second day?  Wowzers!  All the flavors had bloomed and deepened.  When I make this soup again, I will prepare it the day before, skim the fat and reheat for serving.  I would also add a fourth chicken thigh, just to add a little more meat.