favorite soup recipes

I don’t know about you, but around here the weather has been quite gray and dreary lately. The kind of weather that makes you want to cuddle up under a blanket with coffee and a good book or movie. (and also makes you feel completely unmotivated to accomplish things like cleaning, laundry, and other such tasks…or is that just me?) I’m not really a fan of cold weather, personally. I much prefer the mild temperatures of spring and fall or the sunny days of summer. One of the few “good” things about this weather is the chance to make soup! A hearty, warm bowl of soup seems to bring comfort to the dark and dreary days of winter.

When I first got married, the idea of making soup kind of overwhelmed me. I had never tried it before and every recipe seemed complicated with a very long list of ingredients. But when I finally gave it a try, I was surprised to find that making soup is quite easy. And my favorite part is that while the soup is simmering on the stove or in the crockpot, you can do the dishes so that there’s virtually no clean up after dinner! That’s a big win in my book. Pair with some garlic grilled cheese or homemade rolls and you’re done.

So today, I bring you some of my favorite soup recipes. I’ve tried each of these out (with a few tweaks that I’ve included below) and love them all. Pick one out for dinner this week!

1. Slow Cooker Sweet Tomato Basil Soup

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This recipe from 365 Days of Crockpot is one my favorites because it’s SO easy to throw in the crockpot in the morning or afternoon. I’m actually making this recipe for dinner tonight! I pair it with garlic grilled cheese (a bit of garlic powder and oregano sprinkled onto the buttered bread before you grill it) instead of croutons. I use dried spices and often leave out the fresh parsley since I don’t always have it on hand.

2. Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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This recipe from Savor the Senses is packed full of veggies and has incredible flavor. Since it also has sausage and tortellini, this soup is really a meal all by itself! I’ve made it both with and without the red wine and it tasted great both ways. I usually buy carrot sticks to save some time chopping veggies and I usually only use one or two zucchini chopped into small chunks. You can also substitute a 1/2-1 tablespoon of dried basil and parsley if you don’t have fresh on hand.

2. Stuffed Pepper Soup

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This stuffed pepper soup from cooking classy is hearty, filling, and seriously delicious. This is probably my favorite soup recipe. It might seem like a long list of ingredients but don’t be overwhelmed! You simply throw them all together and let it simmer. I don’t typically make any changes to this recipe. I always add the rice to individual bowls rather than the pot of soup. Otherwise, the leftovers would be thick and mushy. (and this soup makes a great lunch the next day!)

4. Corn and Cheese Chowder

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This recipe from Pioneer Woman (seriously, who doesn’t love the pioneer woman?!) is SO good and super easy and quick, too! I made this in the summer with fresh corn on the cob. We loved it but my husband thought I was crazy serving hot soup in the summertime. So now I just make it with some fresh corn we froze at the end of the summer. You can make it with frozen sweet corn from the store, also. I’ve never served it in bread bowls but I’m sure it would be delicious!

5. Loaded Baked Potato Soup 

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What soup recipe list would be complete without a good potato soup? Well, here’s some news for you: my husband hates potatoes in his soup. Such sad news for this soup-loving girl. But this recipe from The Recipe Critic is very good and quite similar to what my mom made when I was growing up. You can’t go wrong with a soup loaded with potatoes, bacon, and cheese! It’s the perfect comfort food. Now I just have to make it for lunch when my hubby is at work.

 

I hope these recipes give you a little winter meal planning inspiration! I promise, you can’t go wrong with these 5 favorites of mine! What are your favorite winter meal recipes? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wednesday!

mini strawberry & blueberry pies

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Happy 4th of July!

Oh, how I love the 4th of July. The best colors, food, weather, and an excuse to hang out with family & friends. I love trying a new red, white, and blue themed dessert every year. So many choices! Luckily, there’s lots of fruit this time of year that fit the color scheme. I decided to try out some mini blueberry and strawberry pies because 1) who doesn’t love something miniature? You can try one of each without feeling guilty! 2) blueberries & strawberries are in season and are pretty much my favorite 3) I wanted to try to create something new 4) pie is the perfect summertime treat.

You start with some pie crust (the recipe follows although it would be perfectly acceptable to get some pre made dough if you’re trying to save some time) and cut out circles using a round cookie cutter or drinking glass. Fit them into muffin tins and fill with delicious blueberry and strawberry filling! I topped mine with a stabilized whipped cream. It’s like a homemade version of cool whip. Ice cream would be equally delicious!

Sorry there’s so few pictures, I underestimated the time it would take to make these while also trying to entertain a baby who decided he’d boycott his naps for the day. Don’t forget to follow my blog via e-mail if you want to see more recipes, fun ideas, and my ramblings!

Printable Version Here

MINI STRAWBERRY & BLUEBERRY PIES

Makes 24 mini pies

PIE CRUST 

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup cold butter (cut into cubes)

10 tablespoons ice water

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix with a fork or pastry cutter while adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is formed. I just combine all the ingredients in my blender and mix until a ball forms. Either way!

Coat two muffin tins with cooking spray. Roll out the dough and use a circle cookie cutter or drinking glass to create circles. Fit your circles into the muffin tins and make sure the dough goes at least halfway up the sides. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Once you’ve created 24 little pie crusts, throw the muffin tins in the fridge.

BLUEBERRY PIE FILLING

3 cups fresh blueberries

1 tbsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 + 1/8 cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle blueberries with lemon juice and set aside. Combine the next 4 ingredients- sugar through cinnamon. Combine dry ingredients with blueberries until well incorporated. Add vanilla. Divide the blueberry mixture into 12 of your mini pie crusts. Cut butter into small squares and dot each pie with a few butter pieces.

Place your mini blueberry pies and the remaining pan of empty pie crusts in the oven. Bake the empty crusts for 15 minutes and the blueberry pies for 25 minutes or until bubbly. The blueberry pie filling will leak out the sides but don’t worry! Just pop the pies out of the tin a few minutes after they’re finished cooking or they’ll get stuck.

STRAWBERRY PIE FILLING

1/2 cup mashed strawberries

6 tbsp. water

6 tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup sliced strawberries

Combine mashed strawberries and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain juice from strawberries and add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt in the empty saucepan and then stir in the strawberry juice. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until thick. Set aside to cool slightly.

Remove your remaining 12 pie crusts from the muffin tin. Layer sliced strawberries in the bottom of your baked pie crusts. You can fill them nearly all the way to the top. Pour strawberry mixture over the sliced strawberries until full. Cool in fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

STABILIZED WHIPPED CREAM

1/3 cup confectioners sugar

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pint (1 cup) heavy cream

Combine first three ingredients until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in cream cheese mixture. Beat the mixture again until thick and creamy.

I used a cupcake decorating tool to create a swirl of whipped cream on top of my pies. Go ahead and just spoon a dollop on top or serve it on the side so people can have as little or as much as they want. (I can just hear my husband saying “Would you like a side of pie with your whipped cream?” But it’s just that good!)

That’s it! If you try the recipe, please let me know what you think.

Happy 4th!

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