Category Archives: Soup

Easiest Black Bean Soup EVER!

EBBSEI still remember the taste of the Black Beans and Rice I had at a restaurant in Ybor City. We were visiting my grandparents in St. Pete Beach. It was a very difficult time for our family and our mom decided that several weeks in Florida were needed. As a parent now, I can only imagine what was happening in her world that caused her to make that decision. Whatever it was, it must have been awful for her. And sadly, she is no longer with us so I can’t talk to her about it. The difficult times she experienced trying to raise five kids largely alone make me appreciate all she did for us. Of course, typical of a kid and then a young woman with my own life and issues, I never said those words to her. I regret that very much.

Back to the restaurant and the Black Beans and Rice. Delicious. I remember the bite of the vinegar and the saltiness of the ham. I had never had Black Beans and Rice before. We are descendants of Eastern Europeans, and beans and rice weren’t in our family cuisine.

Thankfully, they are now. My Faithful Assistant will make them as an after school snack! For years, I have been on a quest for the quintessential Black Bean Soup. I scour the internet looking for something easy and flavorful all the time and after reading dozens of recipes, I have come up with one that I think combines the best of them all into one super simple recipe.

Easiest Black Bean Soup Ever
3 cans black beans
2 cups salsa
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Cumin
Cayenne

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent.
  2. Combine everything in a slow cooker or stock pot.
  3. Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Did you notice I didn’t say drain and rinse the beans? I read up on that too. It’s water, salt and starches from the beans and can be a nice way to give your Black Bean Soup a little thickness.

As the soup heated and all the aromas started filling the house, I was in heaven. The smells didn’t bring back bad memories of our struggles. They brought back memories of new experiences, the warm Florida sun, the beach, and many other things. I think it’s safe to say that I will never suffer as a parent the way my mother must have. She had a very difficult life that was sprinkled here and there with some brightness. I’m going to choose to remember the brightness.

Enjoy.

Mommy Ramen

MRI’ve been very intrigued by a newish trend in dining: The Fancy Ramen Bowl. The prices for this delightful dish can range from $10 to $20. But thanks to some really great boxed broth, you can now make your own at home!

Mommy Ramen
1 box Imagine Ramen Broth
8 oz. ramen noodles
6 oz. pork – I used Irish Bacon
Shredded carrots
Sautéed mushrooms
Bean sprouts – the white ones
Chopped green onion
Boiled egg, slice in half

  1. Saute the pork with a little oil. Set aside.
  2. Boil the noodles in the broth.
  3. When the noodles are done, layer the noodles in the bottom of a large bowl. Add some broth.
  4. Add a few slices of the pork, some of the veggies, and two egg halves.
  5. Sprinkle the chopped green onion on top.

The beautiful about this is that it’s so easy to customize. You can have a whole bunch of everyone’s favorite fresh chopped veggies and they can choose what they want.

My Faithful Assistant was pretty happy when I told him I was stopping to get some stuff to use to make ramen. A friend of his had made some recently and he was a little envious. He did have a little feedback, of course. He said he would skip the carrots next time, and more broth, and a different kind of mushroom. We both loved the bean sprouts though!

Our Mommy Ramen was ready very fast, and it certainly didn’t cost $10 a bowl to make. I can’t wait to have it again!

Enjoy!

Asian Dumpling Soup

adsRemember that time you had that soup at that place? The broth was the perfect combination of flavorful, smooth, and sort of exotic tasting without having too much heat or ginger? Remember how you thought “I can make this at home!” Yeah. No you can’t. But thanks to the magic of Imagine Food broths, you will get darn close!

I’ll try to keep this tale as short as I can. At Whole Foods, my son decided he wanted some salmon candy (smoked salmon that is sweetened with sugar or maple syrup. Very tasty). Next to the salmon candy, there were some Sea Bast Dumplings Intriguing. I remembered a friend at church had told me about some great soup she had at Trader Joes that was simply some wontons in Miso broth with a few veggies. Hmmm. The gears were spinning fast! I picked up some mushrooms, and snap peas and threw together what turned out to be an incredibly tasty soup.

Asian Dumpling Soup
1 quart Imagine Ramen Broth
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
Small bunch of chopped green onions – keep an inch of the green
2 cups snap peas
12 medium dumplings

  1. Saute the mushrooms and both types of onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Onions should be translucent.
  2. Add the peas and broth and heat thoroughly.
  3. Add the dumplings and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until dumplings are hot. Be careful not to leave them in too long. They will get kind of soggy and pasty.

I am not ashamed to use prepared broth. I consider prepared broths to be a precious gift. I always keep a few boxes in my pantry. They allow me to make delicious soups which are very important to my existence as a human being in no time at all. I am always very happy to find new varieties and the Imagine Ramen Broth didn’t disappoint. I look forward to trying it again and sampling a more of their offerings.

Enjoy!

Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Soup

psssOh my darling soup, how I’ve missed you!

You can call it laziness, or complete inability to adjust to a new routine, but I have really fallen apart in the kitchen. Dinner has turned into a bunch of adventures in heating, combined with the occasional sandwich and too much Chick-Fil-A.

When I realized that my entire Sunday from 1:00 on was going to be free, I quickly scanned the shelves to see what soup creation I could make. And since my main dinner companion these days is My Faithful Assistant, the options were great. He loves soup as much as me. We finally settled on Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Soup.

Potato, Sausage, and Spinach Soup
Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 white onion, chopped
5 medium all purpose potaotes, chopped
1 quart broth of choice
3 sweet Italian sausage links, cooked, drained and chopped
2 cups frozen chopped spinach

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add the chopped potatoes and broth. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Use a potato masher (or a big spoon) to mash some of the potatoes.
  4. Add the sausage and spinach.
  5. Simmer for at least another 20-30 minutes until hot.

I love a hearty soup, but I don’t want to feel so full that I can’t move. This soup was perfect. Since I used turkey sausage, it wasn’t heavy but it warmed me through. If you are interested in something a little more decadent, you can add 1/2 cup cream and 5 slices of chopped bacon and turn your soup into Tuscan Sausage and Potato Soup.

We are all tired around here and we can’t wait for winter break and the opportunity to have our whole family in one place and for everyone’s schedule to calm down. We are in the home stretch, people. A nice pot of soup may be just the inspiration you need to make it through to your winter break, too.

Enjoy!

Four Cold Soups

fcsAs we enter the dog days of summer, with the scramble to get kids (and adults) ready to return to school, easy meals feel like a critical need. And with the heat, cool entrees also seem like a good idea.

To that end, I’ve compiled some of my favorite chilled soups for you.

Cold Cucumber Mint Soup – Cucumber, mint, a little cabbage, buttermilk and yogurt, combined into a creamy and very refreshing summer soup. Are you still inundated with cucumbers? This will help you use some of them!

Cool Cucumber Watercress Soup – More cucumbers, this time with watercress! Another way to use up those cucumbers!

Chilled Green Bean Soup – This one takes a little more prep, as you have to cook the beans. Of course, if you have some frozen beans, or leftovers, this will also come together very fast for a nice easy, pre-school supply shopping meal.

Chilled Fruit Soup – Any post about cold soups would be incomplete without a chilled fruit soup. this one was so fun to make! The raspberry half was and remains my favorite chilled fruit soup ever.

I hope these soups help calm your nerves on these last days of summer and bring you a cheerful, relaxed beginning to the school year.

Enjoy!