Tom Kha Gai Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, rough chopped

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1 whole jalapeño, rough chopped

3 1/4 inch slices of fresh ginger

1 lemongrass stalk or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste

3 teaspoons red curry paste

4 cups chicken broth

2 cans of coconut milk (light is fine)

2 medium chicken breasts, thinly sliced

8 ounces of mushrooms (oyster or shitake)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice – 2 limes

fresh cilantro for garnish


In a large pot, head the oil over medium heat. Add the yellow onion, garlic, jalapeno, lemongrass, and curry paste. Cook about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the chicken broth, continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

Now that there is a flavorful base, strain the broth and discard all of the onions, chili, lemongrass, and ginger. Replace the broth into the pot over low heat. Add in the coconut milk, chicken, fish sauce, mushrooms. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add in lime juice, cilantro, and the green onions. Let sit 5 minutes and then serve.

Chicken and wild rice soup

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6 whole white mushrooms, diced

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced

3 ribs celery, sliced

2 large carrots, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup wild rice uncooked

10 cups water

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

4 teaspoons chicken bouillon

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk
Place the rice in the bottom of a crock pot. Add all of the diced vegetables. Then add the spices. Lastly add the water. Cook on high for 2-3 hours. Add the chicken. Remove the bay leaf. Time to add the cream sauce.


In a saucepan on medium heat melt the butter. Add in the flour and stir until fully mixed. Slowly add the milk stirring constantly until all the milk is added. Continue to stir mixture constantly until thickened. Add this to the crock pot. Cook another 30-40 minutes. Serve.

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Black eyed peas

Being from Missouri, we never…. NEVER ate black eyed peas. Now that I live in Texas they are a staple. It has taken me several years to get a spice variety I like. Now that I have it down, I could easily eat these every day. I based my recipe off the Paula Dean variation. It is warm, comforting, and just a little flavor with still allowing the peas to shine. We even grow the peas, jalapeno, onion, and okra right in our backyard. How easy is that?

This is a true “dump and go’ type recipe. It cooks for 2 hours, which can seem a bit long, but there is little that needs to be done to it once it is in the pot. It just needs a few stirs here and there.

This recipe does not work well using dried black eyed peas because of cooking time. They require much longer cooking, and I personally do not like the way they taste as much. It is a lot better to buy fresh peas or even the frozen type that can be found near frozen vegetables at the grocery store.

These black eyes peas are really a meal in itself. Serve them with cornbread and they are perfect. My husband and I like them with BBQ chicken and cornbread. For extra luck, add a side of cabbage.

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2-3 cups black eyes peas – fresh or frozen

6 slices of bacon

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 handful frozen okra slices or 2-3 pods fresh okra sliced

6-8 cups water

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon guajillo chili powder

 

Cook the bacon in a dutch oven. Drain the grease and replace the bacon in the pan.

Add all of the ingredients. Cover. Simmer on medium or low for 2 hours.  Stir every 30-45 minutes. Add more water if needed.

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Pinto bean soup

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I think I prefer this pinto bean recipe to taco soup. It is just that good. I made this using dried beans that I had soaked in water for 20 hours. At one point I learned that the longer you soak dried beans, the easier they are on the tummy. It is true. I know that the soaking time could be decreased if you wanted.

The meat I used for this was from a butcher. I purchased the bacon and ham end pieces. You could use any type of ham or bacon for this recipe. You do not have to purchase premium meat as it cooks for a such a long period of time that the meat will tenderize.

This soup cooks for approximately 2-4 hours. It is an all day type meal but most of the work really happens in the first 30 minutes. It is kind of slow and low cook type meal that is very hard to mess up. This recipe makes enough for 6-7 very large bowls of soup.

 

1.5 pounds of bacon ends and ham ends

1 large yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 large jalapenos, sliced

15 ounces of canned diced tomatoes – undrained

1 pound or 2 cups of dried pinto beans

5 chicken bouillon cubes

10 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon mexican oregano

1 bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper

 

In a large dutch oven, cook the bacon and ham over medium heat until done. Remove the cooked meat from the pan and drain any fat.

Add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Replace approximately 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the meat back as well. Cook on medium to low heat for approximately 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and reduced.

Add the diced tomatoes, water, and all spices (including the cilantro). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir the soup every 20-30 minutes and add more water if needed.

 

Serve this with corn bread or toasted tortillas.

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Red lentil sausage soup

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This soup is a perfect weeknight meal because it cooks in about 30 minutes. It goes really fast if the vegetables have been cut up ahead of time. It is thick and rich and has a real Italian flavor.
1 pound Italian sausage

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 leek, cleaned and sliced whites only

1 can rotel tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups water (more if desired thinner soup)

1 large chicken bouillion cube

1 cup dried red lentils

1 tablespoon sweet basil

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 12 ounce can tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Add olive oil to a large soup pot. Bring the oil to medium heat. Add the veggies and cook 10 minutes stirring often. Add the sausage. Continue to stir often cooking until browned. Add the water, rotel, tomato sauce and all of the spices. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lentils and stir. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

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Pork lemongrass soup

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We had some leftover smoked pork butt to eat. I wanted something that was very different than the usual bbq pork or pulled pork options.

Here are some of the ingredients I found at the grocery store.

This Thai inspired soup took about 30 minutes to make and it was irresistible. The only portion I did not enjoy were the dried mushrooms. The store I chose did not have fresh mushrooms and a second stop was not an option.

The reason I cooked the noodles separate is because I do not like soggy overcooked noodles. You certainly could boil them in the soup pot.

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 cups leftover shredded pork

5 cups chicken broth

1 can light coconut milk

4 pieces jarred lemon grass

1/2 cup oyster mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 serrano or thai pepper seeded

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

3 green onions sliced

2 cup sliced bok choy

4 teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon miso paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon lime juice plus for garnish

2 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

udon noodles, cooked

 

Combine garlic and ginger in oil in a soup pot. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth, carrot, red bell pepper, lemongrass, mushrooms, miso, soy sauce, green onion, bok choy, honey, fish sauce, pepper, and lime juice. Bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes. Add cilantro and coconut oil. Add shredded pork. Cook another 5 minutes on simmer. Prepare udon noodles in a separate pot. Remove the lemon grass and peppers (if wanted). Place soup over udon noodles. Garnish with more lime juice and cilantro.

 

Crab and leek chowder

I recently made steamed crab for dinner and for some reason bought way way too much. I had about 10-16 ounces of leftover crab legs to use. I ended up using one of Rachel Ray’s recipes and It was a true keeper. I only changed a bit of seasoning and I will certainly make this more often. Next time I will try to find the leeks already cleaned. They are a real pain to deal with, but worth it for the flavor.

 

3 leeks, trimmed, wash and diced

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

3 ribs celery, washed and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 slices bacon chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons flour

3-4 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2-1 pound crab meat

1/2 tablespoon old bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 tablespoon cajun seasoning

 

Cook the  bacon in a large soup pot. When crisp, remove.

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Add the olive oil to the pan. On medium heat, saute the leeks, carrots and celery for 5-6 minutes.

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Add the dry seasoning. Add the flour. Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring constantly to prevent forming lumps.

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Add the potatoes and bacon. Bring to a boil.  Cook for 10-15 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, boil a minute or two longer.

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Add the cream and crab. Stir well and serve.

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Ham, bean, and potato soup

For this recipe, I used a ham that my husband smoked on the green egg. Deli ham would work just the same but would give a slightly different flavor.

My cook times for this recipe result in the beans being so cooked that they fall apart. It leaves a creamy buttery texture. If you perfer more firm beans then you should decrease the cooking time my 30-45 minutes.

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3 stalks celery, diced small

1 cup sliced carrot

1/2 onion, diced small

2 cloves garlic, diced small

10 ounces dried white beans

6 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1-2 cups cubed ham

1 large russet potato, diced

1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs thyme – remove stems

1 teaspoom white pepper

pinch or more cayenne

3 tablespoons butter

Clean and rinse the beans. Place the beans in water with salt. Bring this to a full rolling boil. Remove it from heat and cover the pot. Let them sit for 60 minutes.

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Turn the heat back on. Add all of the ingredients to the pot except the butter and ham. Place a few pieces of ham into the pot (1/4 cup) and reserve the rest. Simmer on low covered for 60 minutes. Stir the mixture every 15 minutes. Add water is needed. It is supposed to be a thicker soup.

After an hour, add the diced ham and butter. Cover and cook another 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve with crusty french bread or corn bread.

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Taco soup

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Simple. Delicious. Inexpensive. Crock pot. Taco.

Have I said any words that any busy mom likes? This is a go to meal for many reasons. Made as is, it is a great soup. You can also make it with less water. Then you can place it over chips and shredded iceberg for giant nachos or taco salad. This also freezes and re-heats well. What more could you want?

1 pound ground beef cooked

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 can pinto beans, undrained

1 can rotel

1 small can diced green chili

1 can corn, undrained

1 packet taco seasoning

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 bunch fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

****1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder**** for spicy

1-4 cans water depending on if you make soup or taco meat.

 

Put all of the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. If the plan is to re-heat the soup later, I would stop cooking it an hour early.

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Cracker barrel style chicken and dumplings

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Chicken and dumplings was a Missouri staple. Actually, in Missouri, it was common to eat some type of gravy almost every day. Unfortunately my grandma’s chicken and dumpling recipe was something she just did by heart. No one really remembers it. This recipe is pretty close to what hers tasted like. I have heard that she made the dumplings a day early and let them dry on the counter. Her dumplings were firm and not fluffy. They were thin rectangles and never had raw centers. Next time, I will try that trick and see if it changes the texture to more dense as I remember them.

 

3 quarts water

3-4 pounds whole chicken cut up or bone in chicken thighs

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 bay leaf

4-5 sprigs parsley

1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Dumplings:

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

 

Bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken, salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours. The liquid is supposed to reduce by 1/3.

 

 

When the chicken is fully cooked remove it from the pot and let it set out to cool. I did not cook the chicken a full 2 hours.  I removed it after about 40 minutes and I could have removed it sooner.

After the 2 hours of simmering, strain the broth. Discard all the veggies and spices.

Add 6 cups of the stock back into the pot. Add the coarse ground pepper and lemon juice. Add more salt if desired. Heat the stock on medium heat while making the dumplings.

For the dumplings, mix all. Stir until smooth and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. I used a pizza cutter. These do not need to be perfect in appearance at all. I let my 5 year old cut them.

 

Drop the dumplings into simmering stock one by one. They will first double in size, then they will slowly shrink as the sauce becomes thicker. Stir them often. Do not cover the pot. Here are some photos of the changes you will see. Simmer them 30 minutes. Shred the chicken in between stirring the dumplings.

 

 

Place the chicken back into the pot. Make sure to add just the meat and not the skin or bones. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Serve.

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