French Onion Soup (modified from ATK)

I made this for Dad’s birthday dinner because he loves onions (so do I) and after an icy weekend, what’s better than a bowl of yummy soup with bread and cheese?

I usually make Nanny’s recipe but this time I thought I would try a new recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen.  They have 2 french onion soup recipes listed, but the one I didn’t use called for roasting the onions in the oven for hours and I had too many other things to do to spend that much time on it. This came out wonderfully, no need for hours in the oven. I added more broth than they called for, and more onions, and it made 6 servings.

I always cut the baguette into slices and put gruyere on top and toast it in the oven on a tray so that I don’t need to put the soup bowls in the oven and make them so hot that everyone burns their fingers. This recipe was delicious! I think it’s definitely a keeper. Chris loved it too but said it needed a lot more cheese on top for his taste.  🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 medium red onions (about 3-4 pounds), sliced thin
  • salt and pepper
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 baguette, sliced (2 slices per serving)
  • 8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add sliced onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to coat onions thoroughly with butter. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are reduced and syrupy and inside of pot is coated with very deep brown crust, 40 to 45 minutes. [Note: at this point I took out some of the onions and moved them to a small saucepan so that I could make a vegetarian version for my stepmom, just using vegetable broth in place of beef + chicken but using all of the other ingredients and steps below]
  2. Stir in the chicken and beef broths, red wine, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, scraping pot bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and bring to simmer.
  3. Simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes, and discard herbs.
  4. Stir in balsamic vinegar and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. (Can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days; return to simmer before finishing soup with croutons and cheese).
  5. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Put sliced bread on baking sheet with shredded gruyere on top of each slice and bake until melted and starting to turn golden on the edges. Fill bowls with soup and top each bowl with two slices of bread and cheese.
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Confetti Vegetable Soup

souppot
Now that the new year is here, it’s time to get back to my nutritarian diet, and it’s time for everyone else to start eating better too.

Today was a snow day for everyone here – we spent the morning shoveling and clearing out. I broke that up by baking 2 small loaves of banana chocolate chip bread – one for Chris and one for our neighbor Chris –  and playing with the dogs, and  so the afternoon was just begging for soup, a comfort food all for me!

I was craving veggies but not the raw crudite leftover from the recent festivities, so I decided to put it into a soup. This is such a colorful soup that it looks like party confetti, and it’s just delicious. I don’t often have corn but it really adds sweetness to the soup and the diced bell peppers also add great flavor and freshness.
This is really an “empty the fridge and freezer” soup, so use whatever you have on hand, as long as you start with the holy trinity (onions, celery, carrots).

Happy, healthy new year!

Confetti Vegetable Soup (makes 5 quarts)

2 yellow onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots (or 10 baby carrots), halved and sliced into half-moons
3 large bell peppers (I had red, orange, and yellow), diced
1 bag (10 oz) frozen organic corn kernels
1 bag (16 oz) frozen organic peas
2 cans (14 oz each) cannellini beans
2 boxes (32 oz each) low-sodium organic vegetable broth (I used Pacific brand)
1 bag (10 oz) organic tuscan kale (washed and chopped)

ingredients

Water saute (or saute in a little olive oil) onions, celery and carrots in dutch oven or soup put (mine was 7.25 qts and it just fit everything). Add salt if desired, I didn’t. Cook about 5-10 minutes.
Once onions are translucent and soft and other veggies are starting to cook, add peppers and saute for another 5-10 minutes. Add frozen corn and peas, cannellini beans, and broth, cover, and bring to a rapid boil. Lower heat and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add kale and cook for another 10-15 minutes.

soupcontainers

Delicious! According to myfitnesspal, the recipe calorie count comes to 197 cal per pint (I consider 1 pint a serving; this recipe makes 10 pints). I have shared the recipe on myfitnesspal in case you want to use it for your calorie tracking, listed as “confetti vegetable soup (homemade)”.

 

Black Forest Creamy Mushroom Soup (Dr. Fuhrman)

The smell of almond milk in soup seemed a little strange to me at first, but this soup got even better after sitting in the fridge overnight. It is rich and satisfying, and I love the flavors. Who doesn’t love mushrooms?

This made about 8 (pint) servings.

I didn’t juice the carrots for broth (as requested in the original recipe), I used premade low-sodium veggie broth. If you want to follow the recipe, you’ll need 5 cups of carrot juice. You’ll see my changes to the original recipe ingredients below. The directions include my modifications.

1

Delicious!

Black Forest Cream of Mushroom Soup
Preparation Time: 60 minutes
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons water
2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (I had a mix of button and cremini) sliced 1/4 ” thick
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (I didn’t have this so I used 1 shallot)
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
5 cups carrot juice (5 pounds of carrots, juiced)  I used 5 cups low-sodium veg broth
3 cups unsweetened hemp, soy or almond milk, divided
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels I didn’t have this so I used frozen petite peas
1 cup chopped celery
3 leeks, cut in 1/2-inch-thick rounds and cleaned
1/4 cup Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest or other no-salt seasoning blend, adjusted to taste
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 cups cooked white beans (northern, navy, cannellini) or 2 (15 ounce) cans no-salt added or low-sodium white beans, drained
5 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish didn’t have this either, skipped it

Directions:
Heat the water in a large saute pan. Water saute the mushrooms, garlic and herbes de Provence for about 15 minutes, or until tender and starting to caramelize. Set aside.
In a large soup pot, bring the carrot juice or veg broth, 2 1/2 cups of the almond milk, carrots, onion, peas, celery, and leeks to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
In a food processor or high-powered blender, puree the cashews and remaining 1/2 cup milk. Add the lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, and half of the beans, and blend it all with an immersion blender until smooth.
Then add the remaining beans and the spinach, and sauteed mushrooms. Heat until the spinach is wilted.

Stores in fridge and freezes well.  Made 8 pints.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti-Cancer Soup

I know, that title doesn’t sound like something I would ever make, but I am sick of being fat and feeling sick after every meal, so I have been following Fuhrman’s Eat to Live diet (the aggressive one). It’s really hard if you don’t have stuff prepared ahead of time, this recipe really helps. ETL is a vegan diet but stricter than vegan because you don’t eat anything processed either, no fake vegan mayo or vegan cheese, prepared vegan meals, etc. Only veggies, fruit, nuts, beans, and seeds.

This soup is delicious and freezes well. Everyone that has tried it has liked it and it really is a great soup and not too hard to make. Just lots of chopping veggies, and if you make your own veggie broth (as I did, following the recipe), you’ll need to juice a ton of carrots and celery.

8pintssoup

Recipe made 14 pints (14 servings)

soup

CLoseup – smells delicious!

 

1 cup dried split peas and/or beans
4 cups water
6-10 medium zucchini
5 pounds carrots, juiced (5-6 cups juice; see note)*
2 bunches celery, juiced (2 cups juice; see note)*
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest (I didn’t have this)
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash no-salt seasoning (I used 1 tbsp of this but there’s too much pepper in it for me)
4 medium onions, chopped
3 leek stalks, coarsely chopped
2 bunches kale, collard greens or other greens, tough stems and center ribs removed and leaves chopped
1 cup raw cashews
2 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (shiitake and cremini), chopped

Directions:

  • Juice the carrots and celery to make the broth. 5 lbs carrots made 4.5 cups juice but the celery made up for it by making more than it called for, so it evened out. You can also use No Salt Added vegetable broth instead.
  • Place the beans and water in a very large pot over low heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  • Add the zucchini (chopped) to the pot.
  • Add the carrot juice, celery juice, VegiZest and Mrs. Dash.
  • Add the onions, leeks and kale.
  • Take out 1 cup of liquid and blend with the cashews until creamy. Pour this mixture back into the soup pot.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue to simmer the beans until soft, about 2 hours total cooking time. Make sure you cook it long enough or else the split peas will be too hard!
  • Optional: using an immersion blender, blend soup until it’s creamy and smooth, with some chunks of veggies remaining (up to you).

* Freshly juiced organic carrots and celery will maximize the flavor of this soup.

Creamy Mushrooms (evil) and Blue Potato Leek Soup

Soooo delicious…. would be better with fresh parsley (I only had dried)

I know, the title sounds strange, but there’s an explanation.
The creamy mushrooms recipe is Jamie Oliver’s but I made a slightly more evil version because Chris and I had a strange idea that it called for bacon (like this Nigella Lawson recipe). This was delicious. I didn’t have crusty bread to serve with it so I baked up some puff pastry from Trader Joe’s. It didn’t puff properly and didn’t taste great, so we ate the mushrooms plain and then threw some into the potato leek soup, which was delicious!

Next time I’ll serve the mushrooms with crusty bread (and no bacon). It’s a great treat. I would make this without bacon next time and serve it with a side of bright arugula salad with lemon and pecorino romano to cut the heaviness.

My recipe:
3 tbsp butter
3 slices bacon, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
1 lb mushrooms (I used oyster, shitake, cremini), trimmed and sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, pepper
parsley (fresh is better, I only had dried)

Melt butter in large pan. Add bacon, cook until soft and just starting to brown. Add onions and mushrooms.
Cook for 10-15 minutes until onions soft and translucent and mushrooms are cooked down. Add salt, pepper, cream, and cook for 10 more minutes on med-low flame to reduce cream. Add parsley too (if fresh, add at the end). Serve with crusty bread. Delicious.

Now I’m sure you want to know why the potato leek soup was blue. It was actually grayish. Not very appealing, but trust me, it wasn’t a Bridget Jones-type error, I just had blue potatoes in the kitchen. Blue potatoes blended with white potatoes and leeks and cream makes gray/bluish soup.  🙂  It’s the same potato leek soup recipe that I made before, just tweaked a little (2 c cream, 3/4 c skim milk, 6 potatoes, 4 small trimmed leeks… it’s a very flexible recipe).

Blue and white potatoes cooking with leeks
Finished soup, slightly blue, slightly gray   🙂

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

February must be soup month… it’s all I want to make.
This one is great, from the latest (March 2012) issue of Everyday Food. Tastes like a potato cheddar soup but with more flavor because of the cauliflower. I served it with bbq boneless/skinless chicken thighs and leftover roasted potatoes and onions from last night (and you can see my glass of ginger beer in the background… yummy!).
It’s super easy too. Where would we be without immersion blenders?  🙂
Another great veggie option if you switch to vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Ingredients:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 med yellow onion, diced small
1 med head of cauliflower, cut into 1.5″ pieces
32 oz fat free low sodium chicken broth
8 oz water
5.5 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional; I skipped this)

Directions:
Melt butter in dutch oven. Add onions, cook 8 minutes over med heat until softened, stirring occasionally. Add cauliflower, season with salt and pepper, and cook 12 minutes until just beginning to brown.
Add broth and water. Bring heat up to high and bring to boil.
Then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until cauliflower is very tender.
Turn off heat, use immersion blender to puree soup.
Add cheddar cheese, stir until melted (you can put the heat back on to low if necessary to melt cheese).
Sprinkle cheese on top for garnish and with cayenne pepper, if desired (I think chives would look nice on top too, but I didn’t have any), and serve immediately.

Serves 6. 212 cal per serving.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Mmmmm… it’s so good, and super easy. How could I not love that?
I made it really easy by buying pre-peeled and cut butternut squash in the produce section. Then I just chopped it up. I also bought a bag of frozen sliced leeks from Trader Joe’s (excellent). The hardest part was peeling and chopping 3 apples. So easy.  🙂 This is my stripped-down version of Michael Chiarello’s recipe.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
1 cup sliced leeks (white and lightest green parts only)

4 cups butternut squash, chopped (about 1/2″ cubes, can be a little bigger)
3 organic apples (3 cups chopped) – I used fuji, braeburn and gala

36 oz chicken stock (approx, anywhere from 32-40oz is fine)
salt and pepper

Directions:
In heavy soup pot (dutch oven) melt butter until it turns nut brown. Add garlic clove (cut in half), and add leeks (I saved time and nuked the frozen leeks first).  Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add squash and apples (season with salt and pepper) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add stock, bring to low boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes (covered about 3/4 way with lid) until squash and apples are soft.
Blend with an immersion blender (watch for hot soup splatters!) and serve immediately.

It made 10 cups of soup, 92 calories per cup. Yum!