The other night, we had a dorm event centered around soup. That is my kind of event! I love soup passionately, and have shared many soups here across the years.
I started to ask my husband which soup he wanted me to bring, then amended my statement to, “Do you want me to make lasagna soup?”
He shook his head vigorously. This is probably his favorite soup that I make, and it’s a great crowd-pleaser for events. It’s hearty and satisfying and really much easier to make than a lasagna. With just a touch of cheese, you get the same lasagna feeling, too, without being weighed down with tons of carbs and dairy products.
Make some soup to survive these last weeks of winter. You won’t be sad to have a bowl of this on your table. And if you need more carbs, it’s a great dipping vessel for crusty bread.
You can never have enough soup recipes during the winter? Am I right? I could eat soup basically for every meal and be happy as a clam.
My assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club was Searching for Spice. Corina lives in Surrey, England, and has two little ones. Her recipes are for busy moms, loaded with hearty spices, and delicious. Many of her recipes are ethnic, especially falling into the Indian and Thai food categories. They look delightful, and I’m eager to try one on my husband, like Chicken Biryani with Spinach Raita. (OK, he won’t eat that raita, but I definitely will!)
I’m always a little daunted by recipes that are in metric and have unfamiliar ingredients, but my husband reminded me that Google is my friend and I can do it! Thankfully Corina’s recipe for Pizza Soup looked awesome and had few conversions for me to do.
This soup has big pieces of bell pepper, onion, salami, and mushrooms, making it hearty enough for a meal on its own, which sometimes soup is not. A slice of cheese toast on the top helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and adds and extra flavor layer. I made just a few modifications. Corin may be ashamed of me, but I can’t handle spicy foods, so I subbed in salami for chorizo and reduced the red pepper flakes a little. If you like spice, by all means, throw in as many as you want. And maybe some jalapeños, too!
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add salami and cook a few minutes, stirring, until it begins to crisp. Add bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic, and onion and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until onions are soft and translucent.
Add balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes to the pot, and stir well. Fill the tomato can about two-thirds with water and add it to the soup, stirring. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and some black pepper.
Top bread slices with shredded cheese and a pinch of Italian seasoning and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Ladle soup into bowls, then top with cheese toast. (You can substitute toasted garlic bread as well.)
Who wants a big bowl of enchilada soup today? Well, lucky you! ‘Cause that’s what I am serving up.
Today is my first reveal with Group B of the Secret Recipe Club (due to the holidays and a glitch … aka I forgot to fill out a form). I’m excited to have a whole new group of blogs to peruse, although I will miss my Group A-ers a lot!
My assigned blog for this month was An Affair from the Heart. I’ve been following Michaela on Facebook since I got this assignment, and I really enjoy interacting on her Facebook page! Every Tuesday she announces a theme and shares recipes on the page based on that theme. It’s fun to see the round-up without ever leaving FB. Not that I am on there all the time …
Michaela is a stay-at-home mom of four (one in college, one in high school, and two a little younger), and she loves to throw big parties and entertain as well as feed her family. I would call her recipes down-to-earth, the kind of things I love to make: not fussy, not necessarily gourmet, but good and delicious.
I was very tempted to make something from the Popcorn & Snack Mix category, but for the benefit of my weight-loss attempts decided to go with soup instead. This Beefy Enchilada Soup will be great for lunches this week. It made a ton, so I froze about half for a later family meal.
I had to make a few adjustments based on what I could find at my store. They didn’t have Mexicorn, so I used one can of regular corn and one can of hominy, which I love. I used mild enchilada sauce, and I think the soup could have used a little more kick, so I would recommend using medium or serving with some hot sauce. I also made this on the stovetop instead of using a slow cooker, 100% because I didn’t want to have to wash the slow cooker. Because I AM THAT PERSON. But I am adding the slow cooker instructions for you at the bottom of the recipe if you want them.
15 oz. Mexican-style stewed or diced tomatoes, with liquid
15 oz. canned pinto beans, with liquid
15 oz. canned yellow corn, drained, or about 1 c. frozen corn
15 oz. canned hominy, drained
20 oz. water (two enchilada cans)
hot sauce, to taste
2 c. Mexican-blend shredded cheese, divided
6 small corn tortillas, cut in half and then into strips
optional: diced avocado, sliced olives, sour cream, diced tomatoes, etc.
In a large soup pot, brown ground beef and onion together until beef is done. Drain off fat. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, pinto beans, corn, hominy, and two enchilada cans of water.
Stir well and bring soup to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low and simmer.
Simmer soup at least an hour or as long as you can. Take off lid and add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and tortilla strips. Stir well, then cook another 15 minutes or so (uncovered).
Taste and season with hot sauce if desired (or pass at the table). Top bowls with the rest of the cheese and any optional toppings.
To make this in the slow cooker, cook beef and onion as directed. Then mix beef/onion with remaining ingredients except cheese and tortillas in the slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. During the last hour, stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and tortilla strips and season with hot sauce if desired. Serve with additional cheese and optional toppings.
I wish I had been able to post this recipe for your Superbowl festivities! Alas, you’ll have to pick a basketball game instead to watch while you shovel back spoonfuls of spicy, smoky, chicken chili.
After a short break for Christmas (and one oops-I-forgot-to-fill-out-the-form month), I’m back with another Secret Recipe Club reveal. Each month we are given a site and must choose one recipe to make from that site, while someone else is assigned my blog. It’s fun to see what people choose from here.
Ironically enough, A Fit and Spicy Life was my assigned blog for this month! As the title suggests, Mellissa blogs about food (she and her husband LOVE hot sauces!), exercise, wine, and travel with restaurant reviews. She is Minneapolis-based and has reviews for restaurants in Chicago, the Twin Cities, and a few other sites. (My Aunt Jennie will be glad to see those Chicago reviews, I think!)
Since we’re having a chili cook-off tonight with the dorm kids in the student center, I decided on one of Mellissa’s many chili recipes. Together my husband and I picked out Smoky and Spicy Chicken Chili (although Summer Vegetable Chili will be making an appearance on our table in a few months). LAST MINUTE UPDATE WITH BREAKING NEWS: Apparently this chili WON the chili-cook-off in the student center “by a landslide,” they said. Take that, beef chilis! It sat in the fridge for two days, which always helps chili flavor, too. Boo-yah! Thanks, Mellissa, for helping me clench the victory here.
I cut back the amount of broth just a little to make a thicker chili. For my taste-testing, we went with 1/2 a teaspoon of chipotle chili powder. For me, this was so spicy all I could taste was HOT. (Which is what I expected. I am extremely sensitive to spicy things.) My husband said it was a nice, chili-spicy. My sister said it was more spicy than normal chili but she really liked it, especially with the chicken. So you’ll have to decide how spicy you can handle food and go from there. Mellissa used a whole teaspoon of chipotle chili powder which would probably kill me but my husband would love it.
Did I make any alterations to the recipe? Yes. A ton. See below.
Would I make it again in “real life”? Yes, I think so, although we have a pretty good beef stew recipe already.
Since I adjusted this recipe for the slow cooker, to use what I had, and because I forgot to buy wine and marjoram and didn’t have any paprika, here is what we actually had. Which may or may not resemble the original recipe!
I always thought ribollita had to be made with stale bread. Wikipedia tells me that is not so. It’s simply a “next-day” kind of soup, made with leftovers. That makes sense, as this recipe I was given is pretty much vegetable odds and ends. It was sent to me as “ribollita,” but I’m dubbing it Farmer’s Market Soup. Just to be different.
This is a delicious and simple soup, chock full of vegetables. Right now is the perfect time for finding zucchini and carrots at the farmer’s market; you might also be able to search out some ripe tomatoes to puree slightly to replace the crushed tomatoes from a can.