CHINESE HOT AND SOUR SOUP

Junior’s favorite soup is P.F. Chang’s Hot and Sour and, goodness knows, I’ve tried to duplicate it. Though I haven’t yet succeeded, years ago I hit on a version that made Junior name this recipe his second favorite soup. Though it should serve 6-8 dinner-sized portions, in our house of four it’s often wiped out in one sitting. An added bonus is that it’s pretty easy to make.

8 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chili sauce (or 1 tbsp if you want to tone down the “hot”)

1 tbsp sesame seed oil

1/2 tbsp ground white pepper

1 can bamboo shoots, drained and coarsely chopped

1-1/2 cups bean sprouts (I prefer fresh, but when not available, canned is pretty good)

6 oz mushrooms, chopped

2 cups chopped deli-roasted chicken

1-16 oz pkg firm tofu, drained and cubed

4 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup water

2 eggs, beaten

3 green onions, sliced thin

1-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add: broth, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, sesame seed oil, and white pepper; stir to combine and bring to a boil

2) Lower heat to medium and add: bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, mushrooms, chicken, and tofu; cook 10 minutes

3) Stir in cornstarch dissolved in water; cook 10 minutes

4) While gently stirring soup in a circular motion, slowly pour in beaten egg; cook 5 minutes

5) Scatter green onions and red pepper flakes over soup; remove from heat, serve, and slurp!

Serves: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

SLOW-COOKER BLACK-BEAN AND LIME CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP

Tortilla soup in all its various get ups is among my favorites, and this recipe is right up there with others that have found their way into a bowl with my name on it. In this instance, it’s the lime that stands out. In fact, next time I think I’ll add a wedge to the bowl rim for those who want to give it more punch. Sorry, no leftovers…

4 cups chicken broth

juice of one lime

2 tbsp taco seasoning

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh minced)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cups diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1/2 cup instant white rice

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, diced

Recommended toppings: sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, broken tortilla chips

1) Turn slow cooker on low heat and add all ingredients (excepting toppings, of course); stir to combine, cover, and cook 6-8 hours

2) To serve, ladle into bowls and, to make it extra special, pile on those toppings

Now wasn’t that easy?

Serves: 6-8

SLOW-COOKER CREAM-CHEESE CHICKEN CHILI

My guys went bowling and all I got was…slow-cooker chili that should have fed four. They got bowling alley food. Yeah, I fared well–would have even if the chili hadn’t turned out so good. And now I have leftovers that I may just keep to myself. So, only one thumbs up on this recipe, but it belongs to a professional…um, eater 🙂

1 lb chicken tenderloins, chopped

1 can Rotel tomatoes (mild diced tomatoes and green chiles)

1-1/2 cups corn (I used frozen)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-1/4 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup reduced-fat Ranch dressing

1 tsp cumin

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp sea salt

1-8 oz pkg reduced-fat cream cheese

Optional: shredded Monterey Jack cheese and parsley for topping

1) Set slow cooker to low heat; add  ingredients in order listed (except cream cheese); stir to combine; top with cream cheese

2) Cook 6-8 hours, stirring a few times to incorporate cream cheese; serve with optional cheese and parsley if you like

Serves: 4-6

MEXICAN TORTILLA SOUP: THE BEEF EDITION

This time I made this family favorite with ground beef rather than chicken or no meat at all, and it was every bit as tasty. Actually, Senior thought it was the best ever, and I was happy happy–until he likened it to goulash. Goulash? Really? Regardless, here’s another easy, mouth-pleasing, time-friendly recipe:

Mexican Tortilla Soup-The Beef Edition

1 lb lean ground beef

2 tbsp taco seasoning

1 cup diced onion

10 cups chicken broth

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1-10 oz can Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro

1-15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1-15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1-4 oz can diced green chile peppers

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

3 large flour tortillas cut into 2″ x 1/4″ pieces

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced thin

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook 6-8 minutes until browned; drain fat; reduce heat to medium, add taco seasoning, and stir to coat beef; add onions and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

2) Add chicken broth, both tomatoes, both beans, green chiles, and lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste; reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally

3) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees; spread flour tortilla strips on baking pan and toast in oven 8-10 minutes until crisp and golden; remove from oven and set aside while soup continues cooking

4) Serve soup with sides of: tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and avocado (coarsely chopped cilantro is also a great addition)

Serves: 6-8 dinner-sized portions

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 04/24/12

SIRLOIN BLACK BEAN SOUP

I do believe we are coming out of soup season here in Tennessee, though I won’t be surprised if we get another cold snap before we settle into spring. In the meantime, may I present Sirloin Black Bean Soup–a flavorful dish full of veggies, our favorite black beans, and leftover sirloin steak. Thumbs up!

Sirloin Black Bean Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 bell pepper (I used orange), cored, seeded, and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste

4 cups beef broth

1-12 oz beer (I used non-alcoholic O’Doul’s)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup chopped tomatoes

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups chopped grilled top sirloin steak (I used leftovers)

1 tbsp parsley

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add onion and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes; add bell pepper, celery, and carrots and cook 8 minutes, stirring often

2) Add cumin, paprika, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste; stirring continuously, cook 2 minutes; stir in beef broth, beer, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and black beans; cook 15 minutes

3) Stir in steak, cook a minute to warm meat through, and remove soup from heat; ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately

Servings: 4

HEARTY TACO SOUP

It’s no secret my guys like taco soup, and this one is especially hearty with its three beans and loads of veggies, so it was a pretty big hit and perfect for such cold weather. Enjoy!

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2 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1-1/4 lb lean ground beef

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

5 cups chicken broth

12 oz frozen corn

1-14.5 oz can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained

1-14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1-14.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp minced jalapeños

1-1 oz pkg dry ranch dressing mix

3 tbsp taco seasoning

Optional: sour cream, corn chips, grated cheddar cheese

1) Add olive oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high; add onion and red bell pepper and cook, stirring often, 7 minutes

2) Reduce heat to medium, add ground beef and, stirring often, cook 5 minutes until browned

3) Stir in salt, black pepper, chicken broth, corn, all three beans, tomatoes, jalapeños, ranch dressing mix, and taco seasoning; reduce heat to  low and cook 20 minutes; remove from heat and serve with optional ingredients, if you like; enjoy!

Servings: 4

ASIAN EGG NOODLE SOUP

Soup’s on–yes, again. But baby it’s cold outside and getting colder, and what better way to knock off a chill than to sit down to a big bowl of soup. And this one has the added bonus of being oh-so-tasty. Give it a try!Asian Egg Noodle Soup2 tbsp olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin into bite-sized pieces

8 cups chicken broth

6 oz dried egg noodles (I used spiral)

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped carrots

2 lightly beaten eggs

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach

1) To large soup pot, add olive oil and heat over medium-high; add chicken and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes until just done; transfer to bowl and set aside

2) Add broth to soup pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and add egg noodles, celery, and carrots; cook 8 minutes

3) Gently pour beaten egg into soup in circular pattern and cook 2 minutes; stir in chicken and spinach, cook 2 minutes, and remove from heat; serve

Servings: 4