Archive for the ‘Soups/Stews’ Category

In Texas, we love to to coordinate. When the first day of Fall hits, we are all usually ready to put away the swimsuits and pull out our Autumn garb. It’s not like we’re pulling out mittens, sweaters, or exactly throwing out our flip-flops. It’s Texas, y’all. It’s still H-O-T. However, the first day of Fall, this year, turned out to be pretty wonderful. Low to mid 70s. SHUT UP!

I decided to run into my closet and pull out my 70s orange blouse and go all out!



Whenever the weather first gets that little crisp feeling, every single Texan has ONE thing on their mind. Chili! So, why go against the norm? Wait… why not go against the norm?

Time to do a new spin on chili, people! Get a little healthy…. add some bold flavors… get adventurous!

So, after going through my refrigerator, I decided to use up some kale, a poblano, zucchini, red onion, and some vibrant red bell peppers.

Roughly diced, charbroiled for a few minutes with a little garlic and EVOO…. YUMMY!



Hello, semi-burned, roasty, sweet, yumminess!

I seriously could eat that tray all day, everyday. *Hint* This combo of veggies, minus the poblano, also go into my Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing… I haven’t shared that yet…and that is coming 🙂

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes! Let’s keep going with this chili. So, I go ahead and brown some lean ground beef with plenty of salt, pepper, a little garlic, and a little red pepper flake. I like to add a little splash of chicken stock to the pot in order to get those stuck little brown bits… those bits are sacred! FLAVOR!

Those charred veggies go into the pot and then I add my tomatoes (diced and tomato sauce), a pinch of sugar (cuts down acidity), chili seasoning (chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper) and my beans. I love black beans. So, here I added about three cups of prepared black beans.


In the picture, see that cute little cup and saucer. I found a set of these at a cute antique store in Mobile. Sadly, I lost 6/8 of the plates during our move…. *sigh*. But I have two left and they are pretty! I do have all of the cups though. Perfect for healthy portions of this yummy chili!

You may start to wonder what’s in that measuring cup…. we’ll it’s time to tell you! I placed 2 cups of chicken broth into a blender and added a jalapeno and a whole bunch of cilantro. I blended that and it’s about to go into the pot to add a fresh pop of flavor. Makes a HUGE difference to this chili! Everyone always asks “What is that?!” and I get a huge sneaky smile on my face. Cilantro is a wonderful thing.

So, then I add the rest of my chicken stock and toss in a few handfuls of kale to the mix and allow that to simmer for hours until everything marries together.


So, while that simmers… I made some yummy Texas cornbread to go with my chili. I was going to do some jalapeno cornbread, but decided to use up some green onions I had instead. Don’t want to kill people with spice…we love it, but I think the less-spicy version of the cornbread would be appreciated here. Not sharing that recipe…gotta keep some secrets. It is gluten-free though, by default. That’s all I will say there and I will post a picture….


See what I did there? Literal Texas cornbread.

Grab a piece, throw into your chili bowl, ladle on that delicious chili, add about a pound of cheese, and you’re golden.

Charbroiled Chili with Kale

2 pounds of ground beef (I like to use venison too)
3 cups of black beans, prepared
16 oz of diced tomatoes
10 oz of tomato sauce
3 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of chicken stock
1 zucchini diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 poblano pepper diced
1/2 red onion diced
1 jalapeno
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups kale
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
Pinch of red chili flake (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. On a baking sheet, arrange diced veggies, drizzle EVOO, and sprinkle a tsp of garlic powder and salt and pepper. Place under broiler until veggies char nicely, but do not burn.
2. In a pot, add ground beef and brown with a little salt and pepper. Add your minced garlic, veggies, and splash about 1/4 cup of your chicken stock to deglaze the pan.
3. Add the remainder of the seasoning, and add tomatoes. Adjust seasonings to your taste.
4. In a blender, add 2 cups of chicken broth, cilantro, and jalapeno. Blend until smooth. Add to the pot.
5. Add beans, kale, and remaining liquid. Simmer until ready to serve.


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So, I was all set to make Taco Soup yesterday….. until I realized that I didn’t have corn or ranch style beans. So, I had to scrap it and try something different. I had a can of adobe chipotle peppers and a can of my favorite enchilada sauce sitting there all lonely and desiring to be used. So, I tried something new…. and boy did it hit the spot! This is REALLY spicy…. so diner beware!



  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 cup each of dried black, red, and kidney beans
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of hot rotel tomatoes
  • 1 package of hot taco seasoning (or 2 tbsp each of chili powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, and cayenne)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers with adobe
  • 1 small can of your favorite enchilada sauce (Mine is Old El Paso)
  • 2 cup of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

– First, you need to prepare the beans. Clean, place in a pot of 4 quarts of water, season with salt, and boil for 10 mins. Turn off, let sit overnight, and drain. Set aside.
– Using a small blender or food processor. Mix a half cup of the diced tomatoes and the chipotle peppers until smooth.
– In your pot, add the beef and onions. Brown the meat, add the spices and garlic. Add the rotel and enchilada sauce. Add the beans, chipotle/tomato mix, and tomatoes. Add the water, stir and add whatever spices you believe needs to be added for taste.
– Allow to simmer for hours for best results. Add homemade flour tortilla chips, cheese, guacamole, or any other condiment you desire.



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Here’s another bean recipe for you, my fellow subscribers. We love black beans and beans are really just so healthy!




  • 5 cups of black beans
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 pound of jalapeno smoked sausage (removed from casing)
  • 1 carton of chicken stock plus 1 cup of water
  • 1 can of rotel
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp of cumin
  • 2 tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of salt (plus 1 tbs for cooking beans)
  • 2 tbsp of pepper

1. Rinse beans, place into a large stock pot, cover with water, add 1 tbsp of salt, and boil for 5 mins. Turn off heat and let sit covered for 30 mins.

2. In a pan, cook the sausage as if it was hamburger. Add onions. Cook till soft. Do not drain.

3. Add beans, meat, add stock, water and all other ingredients.

4. Cook on low to medium heat for 3-4 hours.

Serve with cheese, sour cream, or any other ingredients you desire.




Beans: $2.00
Sausage: $2.50
Stock: $1.99
Rotel: $0.69
Onion: $0.30
Sauce: $0.60
Others: $0.50

Total: $8.58/ 12 servings = $0.72 per serving

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So, I decided to try to make this without a recipe last night. It turned out pretty good. A little watery (which I will fix in the recipe) but really flavorful and yummy! I hope you enjoy my version! My hubby said he was skeptical at first, thinking that it wouldn’t be satisfying without meat. However, he said it was really yummy and would have been content with eating it with a straw like a shake! haha. He’s goofy but I’m glad he liked it! I hope you do too!


  • 3 entire Leek stalks chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 6 cups of potatoes diced (I like to use new potatoes)
  • 6 slices of bacon diced
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 1/2 cartons of beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste (be generous with the pepper)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves of garlic

– In a large pot, cook the bacon until crispy.
– Add the leeks, onions and butter. Saute until softened.
– Add the potatoes, garlic, broth, and other ingredients.
– Simmer for about 2 hours.
– Allow to cool before you blend (if you don’t wait, the blender will EXPLODE soup! So, please be careful). If you have a hand blender, then it would work much better. Blend until smooth.
– Serve with cheddar cheese (and more crumbled bacon to be extra bad, hehe)

Leeks: $2
Onion: $0.30
Potatoes: $2
Bacon: $0.30
Broth: $2
Seasonings: $0.50

Total: $7.10 / 8 servings= $0.89 per serving!

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Taco Soup

I know this isn’t something a cook should really say… but the other night I ruined 12 quarts of Taco Soup! Somehow, I managed to burn soup! Which is why there will be no picture for this recipe. How did I manage to burn soup, you may ask? Well, I put my beans in the pot, covered with water, left the house…. and was gone longer than I thought we’d be gone. *face palm* I came home to the pot still hot and NO WATER! *gasp* The smell of burned beans (think scorched coffee) permeated the entire house. I was so upset! I had even promised a few people they could have some. I felt like such a failure. But, every chef has a bad day right? I know mine was the other day! But, oh well. This recipe, when done right, really hits the spot and is really delicious. I hope that you learn by my mistake and watch your beans! lol.

Taco Soup

  • 5 cups of dry beans (I use kidney, black, and red beans)
  • 2 cans of Ranch Style Beans
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of Rotel
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 packet of McCormick taco seasoning (Or just use chili powder, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper)
  • water to cover the beans, plus 3 inches
  • 1 extra cup of water

– First, you need to cook your beans. Wash and make sure that there aren’t any foreign bodies in those beans! Place into a large 12 quart stock pot, cover with water (plus 3 inches), add 2 tbsp each of Chili Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Cumin, Salt and pepper) Let simmer on medium for about 3 hours.
– In another pot, brown the meat and soften the onions. Add the McCormick taco seasoning or one tbsp each of  Chili Powder, Paprika, Cayenne, Cumin, Salt and pepper).
– Add mixture to the pot of beans and then add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Simmer for about an hour.
-Serve with grated cheese, chips or whatever else you desire!


Note: Makes about 15 servings

Cost:              Beans (3 packages @ 1.19)= $3.57
Tomatoes= $1.09
Rotel= $.79
Corn= $.79
Ranch Style Beans= $1.29 x 2= $2.58
2 lbs ground beef= $1.89 x 2= $3.78
1 large yellow onion= $.40
1 packet of McCormick= $.79

Total: $13.79 / 15 servings = $0.92 per serving!


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I went to a bridal show 2 years ago and a catering company was giving out Tomato Basil Soup with Cognac samples. It was to die for! So spicy and so yummy! I have been having visions of remaking this since then.

Anyway, here is my version of the recipe for Spicy Tomato Basil Soup with Cognac  and to make it a “grilled cheese and tomato soup” combo, I came up with Grilled Chicken Pesto Paninis with Smoky Provolone. It’s super yummy, super filling and not too unhealthy! It was a hit in my home and I hope that it is for yours too!

Spicy Tomato Basil Soup

  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 15-20 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Salt to taste Pepper to taste
  • Cayenne (amount based on preference)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/8 cup of Cognac (optional)

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender till smooth. Simmer for about 30 mins

Grilled Chicken Pesto Paninis with Smoky Provolone

  • 4 thin chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp of dried Basil
  • 2 tbsp of dried Thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 8 slices of crusty Italian bread
  • Pesto
  • 8 slices of provolone cheese

Marinate all ingredients for at least 30 mins


Take 8 slices of crusty Italian bread and spread Pesto on both sides. Take 8 slices of provolone, cut in half, and evenly distribute the provolone among the bread.

Once chicken is done, sandwich the chicken between the bread slices and close the grill to allow the provolone to melt and the sandwich gets a smoky flavor.

Cut in half and serve with the Spicy Tomato Basil Soup! 



Tomatoes= $1.19 x 2 cans= $2.38
Basil= $2.50
Garlic= $0.10
Chicken= $2.50
Bread= $1.50
Seasonings= $0.50
Pesto= $2.00
Provolone= $2.00

Total: $13.48 / 4 servings= $3.37 per serving

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French Onion Beef Stew

As I sit here looking at the weather that is sweeping across the states, it’s really hard to fight against the urge to cook something that is hearty and will warm the stomach. This is where my famous (well, it is according to my husband and other family members) French Onion Beef Stew comes into play. It’s wholesome in a bowl and has come to be one of my favorite comfort foods. Watch out arctic blast! Here comes a contender!

French Onion Beef Stew

1 Stick of Butter

3 Large Yellow Onions

3 cartons of Beef Broth (Low sodium)

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 c sliced carrots

2 c of diced potatoes

Herbs de Provence seasoning (sage, thyme, marjoram, savory, fennel, basil, rosemary mix)

Bay Leaf

1-2 lbs of cut up stew meat (I actually use cubed venison steak… but do what you like)

salt and pepper to taste

Sliced up baguette

Provolone cheese

1. Heat up a large cooking pot and melt the butter
2. Cut your onion in half and slice them thinly
3. Add the onions to the pot and stir them so the butter covers the onions.
4. Let them brown nicely to where they’re almost to the point of burning
5. Add the garlic and the seasonings. Let simmer.
6. Add the meat and let brown and intake the flavor of the onions and butter.
7. Add the rest of the vegetables
8. Add the beef broth.
9. Let simmer for hours for ultimate flavor!

(Remember to remove the bay leaf before serving)

Cut up your baguette and toast in the oven.

Place the homemade croutons into your soup and add a slice of provolone cheese on top. Use a kitchen torch to melt the cheese (or just let the cheese melt naturally in the hot soup)


Note: Makes 12 servings

Butter: $0.40
Onions: $.90
Broth: $1.30 x 3= $3.90
Garlic: $.10
Stew Meat: $3.00
Potatoes: $0.50
Carrots: $0.25
Seasoning: $0.50
Baguette: $1.79
Provolone: $2.00

Total: $12.34 / 12 servings= $1.03 per serving


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