#FantasticalFoodFight: Slow Cooker Soups

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I’m happy with this first food fight theme of 2017 – slow cooker soups.

While participating in the Countdown to 2017 blogging event (also hosted by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes) I discovered that I hadn’t blogged a single slow cooker recipe in 2016. Good news, I’ll have at least one slow cooker recipe to share at the end of this year.

My slow cooker will be earning its keep in my cupboard this year. I’m happy to finally report that we’ve worked out a way to add Pure Barre back into my schedule.

I gave Pure Barre a try in January of last year in Ohio and loved it! I became hooked and attended class as often as possible. While my husband was getting his masters it was easier as his schedule was more flexible.

When we moved to California I immediately searched for the nearest studio and found it less than a mile from our place. It’s conveniently located next to Whole Foods, an easy 20 minute walk (sans stroller) or 4 minute drive. I was excited! But then I saw their class schedule times and my heart sank. It simply wasn’t going to work with my husband’s schedule/traffic.

After coming back from our Christmas vacation we reassessed and figured we at least had to try. I’m nearing the end of my 1st month unlimited membership and I’ve been able to go 3-4 times a week! Those days that I’m only able to go around dinner time, the slow cooker is going to be my best friend. I’ll be able to feed the kids before heading to the studio and my husband will have warm food whenever he wants it and I can have a warm dinner when I return home, too.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has brought to this food fight!

I’m sharing a Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms. It’s a simple soup that makes for a perfect appetizer or light lunch. I served the soup alongside homemade teriyaki.

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms for #FantasticalFoodFight from Sew You Think You Can Cook (1)

As I was editing my photographs, I realized I forgot to garnish with scallions! Oops. I’m happy to say I still like the pictures! I decided to set aside enough soup to save for a photo shoot the next day at lunch to take advantage of natural lighting. Evidently, I forgot about slicing some fresh scallions.

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 1 container (8 oz) sliced mushrooms

Steps:

  1. Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and scallion in a slow cooker. Top with the chicken stock. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours.
  2. Remove veggies from the broth.  (I added the onions to my teriyaki!) Season to taste with S+P. Add the mushrooms and cook on LOW one more hour.
  3. Serve warm. Option to garnish with fresh scallions.

*This recipe is adapted from Amanda at http://theskinnyfork.com/blog/2013/3/8/crock-pot-japanese-onion-soup*

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms for #FantasticalFoodFight from Sew You Think You Can Cook (2)

To check out the other Fantastical Slow Cooker Soups click here:  

If you would like to join our Fantastical Food Fight, you can learn more on our informational page.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

There I was, standing in my galley kitchen with a fussy one year old on one hip and a wooden spoon in the opposite hand stirring some beautifully softened onions and celery in butter.

img_4085All of a sudden, there I was, standing in my galley kitchen with an over turned bowl of bread cubes, dried cranberries, and pecans on my hideous floor.

Does this story sound a little familiar?

Don’t worry, I didn’t make the same mistake twice. I’m simply leading you into one of our newest favorite recipes.

Buffalo Chicken Chili!

Of course, I had to share the amusing event with my mom. Along with a plea for what to do with half of that pan of onions and celery. She suggested chili and I immediately thought buffalo. Buffalo wings and celery are like partners in crime!

I’ve since made this recipe twice in less than two weeks, we loved it that much! My husband says its his favorite chili that I’ve made.

To play off of the buffalo wings & ranch/bleu cheese pair, I bought some sour cream & onion potato chips for garnishing the chili as I require a crunch with my chilies. (Usually tortilla chips or oyster crackers depending.) If you need to tone down some heat, swirl in a little bit of ranch dressing or sprinkle on some bleu cheese. If you want extra heat, shake some hot sauce onto your bowl of chili.

An Original Recipe

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C buffalo sauce

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook ground chicken completely. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add the butter. Saute the onions and celery, season with S+P. Cook until tender.
  3. Add the beans, onion powder, garlic powder, and parlsey. Stir in the chicken broth, and buffalo sauce. Return the cooked chicken to the pot.
  4. Partially cover, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 50 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Buffalo Chicken Chili | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Beef and Chorizo Chili

Now that football season is well underway and the weather, in some parts of the country anyway, is cooling down, chili season is in full swing!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is one I created for a Chili Cook Off in the summer. I actually took the time to think about what I wanted to do. I even did a dry run before the event at my husband’s office! We invited a friend over to help be another set of taste buds, too.

My beef and chorizo chili was a huge hit! There weren’t even leftovers. It was determined that I didn’t need to make any changes. (And we definitely didn’t need the back up plan of “order a pizza.”)

Unfortunately round one of my chili was better than the round that went into the competition. Though, my husband takes full blame for not setting the slow cooker on high to warm the chili through before people would be digging into it. I didn’t bring home a victory like my last chili cook-off experience, but even still, there weren’t any leftovers.

I will definitely make this chili again, and happily serve it to guests. Some mini cornbread muffins are a perfect accompaniment to the subtle smokey chili.

Let me know what you think of my original creation!

An Original Recipe

Beef and Chorizo Chili

Ingredients:

  • 3 links chorizo sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lb top round roast, cubed
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Santa Fe pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C beef stock
  • 2 cans (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • scallions, chopped for serving
  • shredded cheese, for serving

Steps:

  1.  Brown chorizo in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking up as it cooks. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Season the beef with S+P. Sear on all sides in the chorizo fat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on the plate with the chorizo.
  3. If needed, add a couple of teaspoons of oil to the Dutch oven. Saute the onion, peppers, and garlic until tender. Season with salt.
  4. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
  5. Return the chorizo and beef to the chili and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer uncovered 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with scallions and shredded cheese. Serve with cornbread.

beef-and-chorizo-chili-sew-you-think-you-can-cook

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. But I really only prepare it one way, so I was excited to see the article “Asparagus, 10 Ways” in the spring edition of Cook Fresh magazine. 2 of the 10 I’ve done before and 5 of the remaining 7 were dogearred. One of those 5 was a soup. I don’t tend to think “soup!” when it’s spring and summer, but this one was a simple option for a great weeknight dinner.

The recipe indicated it would serve “8 as a first course.” I figured I could halve it and it’d be perfect dinner for two; simply serve with with some great crusty bread or garlic bread. Surprisingly, there was a tiny portion left for lunch the next day. My husband gave it to Treat on my first outing without the kids since the move. I’m told he quite enjoyed it!

Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • heaping 1/2 C sliced leeks
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 1/4 C chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1/8 C heavy cream
  • squeeze of lemon
  • fresh parsley

Steps:

  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and garlic, season with salt. Give the leeks a quick stir, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, 1 tsp Kosher salt, asparagus, broth, and water. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat and cook uncovered until tender, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove soup from the heat and puree with an immersion blender, or carefully transfer to a blender.
  4. Stir in the cream, lemon, and S+P to taste. Garnish with parsley.

*This recipe is modified from CookFresh Spring 2016*

Asparagus Soup  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Pork Ramen with Mushrooms and Spinach

Would you believe me if I told you I’d never had ramen before making the recipe I’m sharing with you today? Well, it’s true! Even on a college dime I never tried it. I’ve always been a macaroni and cheese kind of girl, ever since I was a wee one. The kind in the blue box that’s 98 cents. Or if I’m feeling fancy, the liquid gold kind for 2 dollars a box. A guilty pleasure that I haven’t indulged in since we moved into our new place.

When we moved we decided that we’d go ahead and alter our diet a little bit. I don’t care much for a strict diet – there isn’t any gluten-free, paleo, or vegan-style eating in my house. What we discussed doing to eat a more healthy and balanced diet is to start cutting out processed foods. It’s a slow transition that’s taking place in my grocery shopping and until I feel completely settled in, it won’t be in full force. But, I haven’t bought those childhood favorites of mine. And I’m not buying those canned cinnamon rolls that we require every Sunday morning, either!

I feel like there are a lot of changes taking place and definitely a lot of “firsts.”

img_1624I just spent my first week “home alone” with the two boys while my husband was in Denver for work. To say I was scared would be an understatement. I’m happy to report that the three of us did survive, and with very minimal scarring. Treat decided it was high time to learn to stand the day Stuart left. At six months old! I expected the second child to do things more quickly to be able to keep up with the older sibling, but I was not prepared for things to happen this fast! He seems to only half master a skill before careening head first into the next milestone. At the age of 6 months he started to sit, started to army crawl, started to hands-and-knees crawl, mastered the army crawl, mastered sitting, pulled himself up, and started to scoot along the couch. If you ask me, that’s way too many things to discover in 4 short weeks. He needs to stop trying to be a toddler and just be a baby!

Among the “firsts” is my first taste of ramen noodles (not including the flavoring packet, just the noodles) and my first usage of miso in my own kitchen. Due to the enormous size container of miso, you’ll be seeing a bit more of the Japanese product on the blog in the future.Pork Ramen (components)

I loved the flavors of the roast pork tenderloin, sweet from the honey with the warm spiciness (not heat) from the Chinese 5 spice powder. It paired nicely with the subtly salty broth. I even actually ate the mushrooms in the soup – gasp! As for the ramen, I don’t think I’ve met a noodle I don’t like. For 12 cents and a 3 minute cook time, I’ll be looking to the Chinese noodle more often.

Pork Ramen with Mushrooms and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce, divided use
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 portabella mushroom cap, thinly sliced
  • 7 C chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • 6 C baby spinach
  • 3 pkgs (3 oz) ramen noodles, soup mix discarded
  • sliced scallions, for garnish

Steps:

  1. Put the pork in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar, Chinese five-spice powder, and salt. Pour 2 tbsp of the soy sauce and the sherry over the pork as well. Let marinate at room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Place pork on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Flip and roast another 15 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached. Brush the pork with the honey and roast about 5 minutes, until pork is 155 degrees F. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the onions until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, remaining 2 tbsp soy sauce, and the miso. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach to the soup until wilted.
  5. Cook ramen according to package instructions.
  6. Assemble: Divide the ramen among 4 shallow bowls, ladle soup over the noodles, and top with sliced pork. Garnish with scallions.

*This recipe is adapted from CookFresh Spring 2016*

Pork Ramen with Mushrooms and Spinach  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Kale Soup

Back in November my brother-in-law came to visit. We went grocery shopping to pick up some items for football watching and dinner making. Upon their departure we were left with a bunch of kale; a large quantity not a single bunch.

So I made kale chips.

And soup.

And still there was a little bit left to freeze and “sneak” into Firecracker’s smoothies.

So. Much. Kale!

Not that that’s a bad thing. I buy kale hardly ever, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve purchased said green. I have nothing against kale, but I guess I never jumped on the bandwagon a couple of years ago.

This soup though, I can get on board with. But only if there’s bacon with it. Before heating up some leftovers I had to fry a piece of bacon to provide that bit of crunch and salt.

Kale Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 leek, sliced in half-moons
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 C chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • sour cream for serving (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Add the potatoes and leeks to the pot and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, S+P and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and 4 C of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.
  3. Reserve a little bit of the kale to make kale chips for garnishing the soup. Add the remaining kale to the soup, cover the pot, and cook 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. Stir in the Worcestershire.
  4. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (Note: If using a stand blender you may need to puree the soup in batches. Leave the lid slightly open and cover with a towel to prevent burns.)
  5. Put the reserved kale on a baking sheet, spray with cooking oil, season with S+P and broil until crispy.
  6. Garnish the soup with kale chips, bacon, and sour cream.

*This recipe is adapted from Food Network Magazine, January/February 2015*

Kale Soup | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Blogger CLUE: Veggie Chili

blogger CLUE

Even though the groundhog has declared it spring, it’s still relatively cold and definitely grey out so the Blogger CLUE crew and I have been scouring our assignments to bring you a wonderful collection of soups or stews.

When I saw my assignment was Azmina of Lawyer Loves Lunch I got very excited! I always love reading her posts and recalled her professing her love of soups, so what could be more perfect for yours truly who doesn’t consider soup a favorite. I did find a couple good contenders though, leek and potato soup or turkey and wild rice soup were quite tempting, and I know my husband would have loved for me to try making pho, but I ended up going with her veggie chili.

I can officially say that I am now a fan of chili. For the longest time it was something I wouldn’t even consider. Then I created my own recipe for chili and professed that “I only like my chili.” Within the past year I’ve ventured out to trying other recipes and have always been happily surprised, so why not give a meat-free version a try? It is Ash Wednesday after all, and that means the Lenten season has begun and the search for meatless recipes is in full force. This vegetarian main course is a perfect fit, especially when the weather is less than ideal.

I did have to make a slight change to the original recipe: instead of a can of crushed tomatoes I used whole tomatoes because the grocery store was out of crushed tomatoes! (Who knew that was a thing.) My substitution actually worked in my favor because I do like some chunk to my chili. Instead of pureeing the veggies before adding the tomatoes and stock, I added the can of whole tomatoes to the veggies and used my immersion blender to crush them along with the veggies. If you like a smoother chili place the cooked veggies in a blender and puree until smooth before adding crushed tomatoes and the remaining ingredients. Additionally, because I left my veggies a little chunky I only used 3 cans of beans instead of 4, using varieties I had in my pantry.

I absolutely loved this chili recipe and it will definitely be in my chili rotation. I find that chili tastes better as leftovers, not something I say about most foods, and it made for a perfect lunch throughout the week; I would place some tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, ladle the chili, and top with shredded cheese before popping the bowl in the microwave. The chips get a little soft and provide a subtle corn flavor along with some additional texture.

Veggie Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced – I used orange
  • 3 jalapenos, deseeded and minced
  • 1 can (28 oz) whole (or crushed) tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable stock
  • 3 cans (15 oz) beans, drained and rinsed – I used dark red kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Steps:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add onions, carrots, peppers, and jalapenos. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. If using whole tomatoes, add them to the veggies and crush using an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. If using crushed tomatoes, place veggies in a blender and pulse until desired consistency is reached then return the veggies to the pot before adding the tomatoes.
  3. Add the stock, beans, and spices. Bring chili to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 20 minutes, or until desired thickness is reached. If chili gets too thick add additional stock or water. Add salt to taste.
  4. Serve with your favorite chili toppings: cheese, chips, sour cream, chives, etc.

*This recipe is adapted from Azmina at http://www.lawyerloveslunch.com/2012/03/chili-and-cornbread.html*

Veggi chili for Blogger CLUE from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Here’s a list of the other players of Blogger CLUE this month: