Ok, I admit.  I am a bit of soup junkie.  One of the many reasons I love when the weather turns colder is because I can start breaking out the cookbooks and making a different soup each week.  How can you not love it?  It’s filling and healthy, you usually only have to dirty one pot and it feeds you for days.  It’s comforting, like an old friend or a warm blanket.  There’s just something about soup. 

I also am currently obsessing over brussel sprouts (reference Eat Your Veggies) and find myself trying every recipe I find that features them.  I have had the Sprouts and Sausage Soup recipe tucked into my recipe binder for years and finally just tried it out on the family this weekend.  It was a raving success and so, so easy!  Few ingredients, quick prep and cooking time and very satisfying.  This would definitely make a good Monday night football soup served with some hearty bread and beers all around. 

Sausage & Sprouts Winter Soup  – Serves 8

1 lb. Brussels sprouts

1 lb. sausage link (turkey kielbasa, andouille, etc)

2 tsp. olive oil

6 large red potatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tsp caraway seeds

8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise.  Set aside.  Cut sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Put olive oil and sausage into large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is well-browned, about 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2 –inch pieces. 

When sausage is browned, add bay leaves and caraway seeds.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add potatoes, broth and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Add Brussels sprouts.  Partially cover pot and reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer.  Cook soup until sprouts and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and serve soup hot with crusty bread and a green salad. 

My good friend from college, Denise (one of the D’s in the recipe title) and I are into emailing and texting each other what we’re making for dinner.  We also sometimes do the “ok, I have these five ingredients on  hand, what can I do with them?” challenge.  It’s been so fun to get to know each other as fellow  foodies and share our passion for cooking since our friendship in college was based much more on  knowing each other as fellow Coors Light drinkers  and sharing our passion for 2 am Jack-in-the-box runs.  We both love the magazine Everyday Food and we tend to lean towards Mediterranean influences like kalmata olives, capers, feta cheese — all the really good stuff.    We also like to take other people’s recipes and “doctor” them up a bit.  Put our own twist on them if you will.  So D & D’s (Daphne and Denise’s) Winter Vegetable Soup is just that, a doctored (and better if I do say so myself) version of an Everyday Food recipe Denise and I both decided to make.











D&D’s Winter Vegetable Soup (adapted from Everyday Food)  – Serves 4-5

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 medium onion, cut into fine dice

2 garlic cloves, minced

coarse salt and ground pepper

1 lb. acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 bunch kale or escarole (for kale, ribs cut away and discarded), leaves torn

5 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth

1 can canellini beans, rinsed

1 small package cheese tortellini

½ package diced prosciutto

3 sprigs fresh thyme (if available)

grated fresh Parmesan, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium.  Cook onion, garlic and prosciutto until fragrant, about three minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Add squash and kale or escarole and cook until greens are wilted, about three minutes.  Add broth, beans and thyme.  Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and greens are tender, about 12 minutes.  Add the tortellini in when you have about 5 minutes remaining of cooking.  Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan, if desired.                                                                    

accent_smilingsoup_200x153Every one knows chicken soup is good for the body and soul.  Whenever I stayed home sick from school as a kid, my mom would give me some form of Campbell’s chicken soup, saltine crackers and 7-up and for the most part, the world would be right again.  What I love about this Greek Chicken Soup recipe is that it’s easy and so delicious, it makes my mouth kind of pucker to think of it’s savory, tart flavor.  It’s very forgiving so feel free to add more/less chicken.  You can also use a different pasta noodle but I love it with the orzo.  It’s a great soup to take to a sick or down in the dumps friend. 

Greek Chicken Lemon Soup (Avgolemono)

8 cups (64 oz) chicken stock/broth

¾ cup orzo

1 lb. cooked boneless, skinless diced chicken breast

3 eggs

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1 tbsp. grated lemon zest (1 lemon)

salt and fresh pepper

2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

Hungarian paprika, for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the orzo and cook until tender, 15-20 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the diced chicken. 

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl.  Whisk the eggs while pouring in the lemon juice.  Add the zest.  Whisking continuously, slowly pour a ladleful of the hot stock into the egg mixture.  Reduce the heat to low.  Then, while whisking the soup in the pan, slowly pour in the egg/lemon mixture.  This will thicken the soup slightly.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and serve garnished with the parsley and paprika, if desired.




Daph with pumpkin

Brrrr.  It’s been so chilly here in Idaho.  It seems we went straight from summer into winter with not much of my favorite fall season in between. 

With the cooler temperatures, not much sounds better to me for dinner than a bowl of warm homey soup.  I’m kind of a soup fanatic and because of that we do “Souper Sunday” each weekend in our household.  I created this recipe for Pumpkin Soup a couple of years back and it’s become a favorite stand-by especially around this time of year.  It’s simple, low-fat and high fiber.  Plus it just tastes really good!  

If you want to be really creative and Marthaesque, hollow out a big pumpkin and serve up your soup in it.  The croutons are obviously not low-fat but they are delish and if you can keep yourself from shoving them in your mouth by the handful (I personally struggle with this), you won’t have to run too far to justify adding them to this healthy soup.

Daphne’s Easy Pumpkin Soup

 1 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp dried sage

29 oz. can of pumpkin puree (or fresh pumpkin if you so desire)

8 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock

½ cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

croutons (homemade or store bought)

 Heat olive oil and sage in large pot over medium-high heat.  Add pumpkin, stir and heat for 1 minute.  Add broth and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently for 10 minutes.  Add cream, stir and add salt and pepper to taste.  You may need a lot of salt but I prefer to use the low sodium broth and then add my own salt back in so I can control the amount that goes in.

Keep over low heat until served.  Ladle into mugs and top with crunchy croutons.   Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.  Makes 8 servings.


Daphne’s Croutons

Baguette (french, sourdough, seeded – any will work)

1/4 lb unsalted butter,  melted (8 Tbsp.)

1/4 cup olive oil (garlic olive oil works wonderfully too)

sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the baguette into 1-inch cubes.  Toss the bread cubes with the melted butter and olive oil.  Toss well so that each piece is completely coated.  Place the bread cubes on a baking sheet, lightly salt and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Use on soups and salads.  These will keep for several days in a ziploc bag or airtight container.  If they last that long!  You can also experiment and add fresh herbs, parmesan cheese to make “Caesar” croutons, etc. You would just mix in whatever you want to add when you are tossing the bread with the butter/oil mixture.