Winter Minestrone Soup
Adapted from Melskitchencafe.com
6 slices bacon, chopped, cooked till crispy
1 c chopped onions
1 ½ c diced carrots (about 3-4 carrots)
1 ½ c diced celery (about 5-6 stalks)
2 ½ c peeled, diced butternut squash (about 1-1 ½ pounds)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
½ tsp dried thyme
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
6 c low-sodium chicken stock or broth (or use vegetarian broth)
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 c small pasta, like ditalini or small shell or elbow macaroni, uncooked
8-10 oz chopped, fresh baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp store bought pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, & thyme in some olive oil or the bacon drippings, stirring occasionally for 10 min, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, 1 tsp pepper and bring soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20-25 min til vegetables are tender. Stir in beans and pesto and spinach. Heat through. Add additional salt and pepper if needed and more broth if soup is too thick (we like it on the thick side).
Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
I serve this with the pasta, bacon, and parmesan on the side to be added to the individual servings as they wanted. It kept it gluten free and dairy free and vegetarian (use olive oil, not bacon drippings!) by doing this.
This would be good served with a crusty baguette or bruschetta. I serve this with a large tossed salad and a bread basket of various artisan breads. ~ Mel B.
Hamburger Vegetable Soup
I think soups are great because they are so adaptable. If you are missing an ingredient, don’t sweat it; throw in a replacement or leave it out altogether. This hamburger vegetable soup from my Mom is particularly flexible. Improvise away! ~ Nicole M.
In pan or soup pot if making on the stove, fry:
(Transfer meat to Instant Pot)
Beef broth/Beef Bouillon & Water
1 can Tomato Juice (or ½ can tomato sauce)
1 can (or fresh) diced tomatoes
1 can Tomato Soup Concentrate*
(*Omit to make gluten free. A substitute could be a few spoons of spaghetti sauce.)
Throw in and let cook:
Cubed potatoes (peeled)
Other options to add immediately or later if time allows:
Handful of Rice
Simmer on low. Enjoy!
Fiesta Chicken (for Crockpot or Instant Pot)
I’ve been using this one often; it’s doubled from the original recipe and feeds our family of 7 plus company (or leftovers for next day). ~ Denna B.
8 chicken breasts (frozen or raw)
2 packets Fiesta ranch dip mix
2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cans corn (don’t drain)
1 can Rotel (optional)
2 blocks cream cheese
1) Cook in crockpot on high for 4 hrs or low for 6 hrs.
2) Shred chicken with forks or cut with kitchen shears.
3) Serve in soup bowls and add a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese OR add cooked rice and serve with tortillas.
1) Use raw chicken for Instant Pot. Cover chicken with ingredients listed.
2) Press poultry button then add 5 minutes to cook the chicken for a total of 20 minutes (some prefer 25 mins).
3) Release pressure, shred chicken and serve as directed above.
Deconstructed Lasagna Soup (Instant Pot)
Our 16-year-old son loves lasagna, but I don’t love the time it takes to make so we worked together to make this soup and the whole family enjoyed it. ~ Denna B.
1 yellow onion chopped
2 lbs. sausage
2 16 oz cans chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 package Mafalda pasta (we used a box of regular lasagna noodles and broke the noodles into fourths)
Grated mozzarella cheese
1) Put a bit of olive oil in the instant pot and press soup/stew button.
2) Crumble and brown sausage in the pot. Add Italian seasoning and lightly sauté everything together.
3) Add in the minced garlic, chopped onion and cans of chopped tomatoes. Stir well.
4) Pour in the chicken broth. Close the lid and seal valve.
5) While soup is cooking, put some grated mozzarella (approx 1.5 – 2 cups) on a plate and mix in 2-3 Tbsp. of ricotta cheese. Mash and roll both cheeses into a tight ball. Refrigerate until soup is ready to serve.
6) Vent to release pressure once soup is done cooking.
7) Give everything a good stir. Add 1-2 cups of dry pasta and season with salt.
8) Shut the lid and press the 1 Minute button. Once done, release the pressure and unlock the lid.
9) Ladle soup into bowls and drop a cheese ball into center of soup.
5 Bean Dry Soup Mix
for (4) quart-sized jars with instructions (These make great gifts!)
4 quart-sized jars
4 small ziploc bags
Tag making materials
2 ⅔ cups each of five kinds of dry beans:
great northern beans
1 T dry mustard
1 T pepper
1 T paprika
2 T dehydrated onions
2 T salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
4 chicken bouillon cubes
8 bay leaves
1) Layer 2/3 cup each of peas and beans in each quart-sized jar.
2) Combine above spices (except bouillon cubes and bay leaves) in a bowl. Mix well then scoop 1/4 of the mixture into each of the 4 small ziplock bags.
3) Add 1 bouillon cube and 2 bay leaves to each bag. Seal the bag shut and place on top of the beans in each jar.
Make tags to tie around each jar with these instructions.
1) Cover beans with water in large pot. Bring to boil and cook 1 minute.
2) Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hr.
3) Drain and return beans to pot. Add spices, bay leaves and bouillon cube, plus 1 can of diced tomatoes and 6-8 cups of water.
4) Simmer for 2-3 hrs.
Baked Potato Soup & Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks
I found this potato soup recipe in a Taste of Home magazine many years ago, and it’s become a family favorite. Even my nine-year-old daughter requests it frequently. The breadstick recipe came from the same magazine, and I love that it’s a yeast bread that can be made up fairly quickly because the proof time is less than most similar recipes. They are so soft and yummy that you’ll not want store-bought bread again! Enjoy! ~ Wendy M.
4-5 large baking potatoes (or 5-6 medium red potatoes)
¼ cup onion, chopped
⅓ cup butter or margarine
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
5 cups milk
¾ cup light sour cream
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (or ½-¾ cup real bacon bits to speed up prep time)
½ cup shredded cheese
½ Tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried)
Bake potatoes 60-75 minutes at 350 degrees (or use microwave to speed up prep time). Cool completely. Cube potatoes.
In a large saucepan melt butter on low to medium heat. Sauté onion in butter until browned. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened (may take 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream. Add potatoes, bacon and parsley. Garnish with shredded cheese. Enjoy!
Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks
1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
¾ cup butter or margarine, melted, divided
½ teaspoon salt
4½ cups all purpose flour
Garlic powder or salt
Grated parmesan cheese
Marinara or spaghetti sauce, warmed (optional)
In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let stand for five minutes. Add ½ cup of butter, salt and two cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (I usually knead it right in the bowl). This takes about five minutes. Place in a covered bowl in a warm place. Let rise until doubled (about 30-45 minutes).
Punch dough down. Cut dough in half. Turn each section of dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch by 5 inch rectangle, then cut into 5 inch by 1 inch strips. Twist each strip and place on lightly greased baking sheets.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then brush with remaining butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan. Serve warm with or without sauce. YUM!
Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
3 t chili powder
1 t dried oregano
sprinkle of cumin & garlic salt
1 packet of taco seasoning
2 boneless chicken breasts cooked & shredded*
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 boxes (32 oz) chicken broth**
1 cup corn
1 can (7 oz) chopped green chili peppers
1 can (15 oz) black beans (rinsed & drained)
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
crushed tortilla chips
sliced or chopped avocado (This is my absolute favorite topping!)
1) Sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft (use sauté setting in Instant Pot).
2) Add all soup ingredients to the IP.
3) Set pot to “Soup” setting for 15 minutes.***
4) Serve with toppings and enjoy!
* I usually poach my chicken breasts and shred before beginning soup prep. However, my favorite way to make this recipe is by using leftover shredded chicken! Whenever I cook a whole chicken or we get a rotisserie chicken, I shred the leftovers and freeze to use in soup later. I even use my Thanksgiving turkey leftovers this way!
** The amount of chicken broth is very flexible. I use this much because I like to have a lot of soup but you can do half this much if you want a smaller, more concentrated soup.
*** The IP will take quite a while to build to pressure (about 15 mins). Feel free to quick release or natural, either way works just fine for this soup.
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