Carrot Cayenne Soup with Sourdough Grilled Cheese

This Cozy Cayenne Carrot Soup is PERFECT for a chilly day!

For those of you who do not know me, my love language is quality time. Have you heard of “love languages”? It’s an amazing book that helps you speak love in a language that your partner best understands. Brilliant! Anyway, my husband has gotten a lot better at taking me out on dates, and I really really have enjoyed it! My parents recently sold their home in NC, and moved in with us while they look for land in the area here, near us. Since Papa and Grandma are HERE, and they TELL us to go out on dates… we certainly can’t say no, can we!? HA! So, the other night, we went to this cute local cafe and they had a spicy carrot soup on the menu… and my husband LOVED it. He told me that he just knew I could make it, and that the next week he wanted me to see if I could recreate it. So, this is my version of spicy carrot soup… AND, I paired it with a sourdough grilled cheese…because, why have grilled cheese if it isn’t on sourdough?

Ingredients:

2 TB olive oil
2 TB butter
1 sweet yellow onion
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 lb organic (doesn’t have to be, that’s what I used) carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
6 cups vegetable broth
1-2 tsp madras curry powder
dash of coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne (I am very weak when it comes to spice… add to your desired spiciness)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup half and half
You will also need an immersion blender, high powered blender like a vitamix that can handle hot soups, or a food processor for this recipe.
Sandwich Ingredients:

1 loaf of sourdough bread (I bought mine from Publix)
1 block of sharp cheddar cheese
Butter

Directions:

Drizzle the olive oil into a large soup pot, and heat over medium heat (5 out of 10 on my stove). Add the onions, and saute until translucent and then add the cut up carrots and minced garlic. Let the carrots and onions simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes and add all of the seasonings, and add the 2 TB of butter. Stir until nicely combine and let simmer for about 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes, add the vegetable broth and turn the heat to high until it comes to a boil. Once it’s’ at a boil, bring back down to medium of medium low (3 to 4) and let simmer about 15 minutes or so, or until the carrots are SOFT.
Now, I poured the whole pot into my Vitamix and put it on the hot soup setting, and blended it until it was the texture I liked. I only had to blend for about 25 seconds. A food processor would have it be a bit more textured, the Vitamix makes it very velvety and smooth. An immersion blender would be good as well, and then you wouldn’t have to transfer it back and forth.
Once the soup is blended, if you have to, transfer it back to your soup pot and put on low heat to bring back up to desired temperature and add the half and half** and stir.
While your soup is reheating, make your grilled cheese if you want to add it to this meal.
Slice your sourdough bread to the desired slice thickness. I made mine on the larger size, but you don’t have to. Slather some butter on the outside of each slice of sourdough, 2 slices per sandwich you are making. Slice your cheddar cheese, about 5 to 6 thin slices of cheese per sandwich. Heat your small skillet over medium heat on your stove. Put the first slice of bread down on the pan, butter side down. Place the slices of cheese on the plain side up and then top with the next slice of bread, butter side up. Cook on medium heat until golden brown, and flip… doing the same on the other side. Should take about 4 minutes per side or so, depending on your pan and stove top.

Once your sandwiches are done, and the soup is nice and warm, serve! I sprinkled a tiny bit of cayenne and fresh ground pepper on top of the soup and served. This was so delicious!!! Cozy and warm, and not too spicy at all.
**Fyi, the half and half is completely optional, and not at all necessary.

Enjoy!

Just cuz this song is awesome, and so is Kelly Clarkson.
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Tomato Paste… in a tube! (And other quick tips)

Ok, so in a few of my recipes, and recipes that I’ve seen, it will call for a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Then you’re usually left with a dilemma… what do you do with the rest of the tomato paste? Put it in the fridge usually. Then, you have to make sure you use it within 5-7 days or it starts to mold! Then, you’ve wasted food and money! I do not like do not like doing either of those! So, my tip for this is something that I saw on “The Chew” talk show, and then FOUND at Trader Joe’s (only one of my favorite stores EVER!)

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It’s in a reclosable tube! What?! Am I Right?! How exciting is this? Now, those of you who are chefs are probably thinking, “um, that’s been around forever”… but this is new to me and I’m ecstatic! This is gonna be great!
Also, did you know they have tubes of fresh herbs? They do! Basil, cilantro, parsley, etc. So, if you need a couple of months to use up herbs in things like guacamole and pasta,  try those! They are still fresh and taste fresh, but last so much longer! Sometimes my herbs are bad within 5 days!
Remember my tip about onions! Slice them, put them in a freezer bag and freeze the leftovers!
Canned condensed soups… don’t use them if you don’t have to! It’s soooo easy to make a creamy base! Butter, flour, milk or cream… and then chicken or veggie broth! Seriously! That’s it! I keep all of those in my pantry or fridge at all times! Then you just add mushrooms or chicken or whatever base you want! I’ll make it soon to post on the blog. Then, you have a natural and organic food base that you know where it all came from! Chicken broth is easy to make too! After Thanksgiving I make Turkey broth and saved it in glass jars in the freezer! I made some awesome soups with it!
Any questions or tips you want to know about? Ask! Send me an email or ask a question in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond and even possibly make a post out of it!

Good luck cookin’!

Easy Peasy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ok, this soup tasted really yummy… but it did not photograph well… it was very frustrating. Honestly? I don’t know how people always get good pics of their dishes. I don’t have the time to be quite honest. My pictures aren’t perfect, but my food is good!

I have another recipe for chicken tortilla soup, but this one is pretty dang easy! It’s a thinner soup as well, and went great with some chips that I had. Start to finish it took me less than 30 minutes! You could probably let this one simmer for a while too if you wanted.

Today it was 80 degrees here!!! My kids and I spent a majority of the day outside, which was awesome!!!! I wasn’t sure if a soup would go well on such a warm day, but it was honestly just perfect!

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I couldn’t get a good picture of the whole pot of soup, so I will show 2 separate pictures of the soup in a bowl. 🙂

  • 4 chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • end of jar of salsa – add 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth to jar, shake, and pour into skillet with the chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

For the Soup

  • 32 – 40 oz. of low sodium free range chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup medium restaurant style salsa
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 cup frozen sweet white corn
  • 1 can organic black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 TB fresh chopped cilantro

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Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil into skillet, and heat at medium high. Season the chicken tenderloins with the garlic powder, salt and pepper, and cumin. Place into the skillet. Add the salsa and chicken broth – use the end of a jar of salsa, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, shake and pour into the skillet with the chicken and the place the lid on. Reduce to medium low heat. simmer for 4-5 min per side until cooked thru. Remove the chicken and shred. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, combine the first five ingredients under “for soup”; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rinsed black beans and the corn, stir in the chicken that you previously set aside.
  4. Stir cilantro into soup. Top with tortilla chips, a bit of cheese and sour cream if you desire!. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Yield: 8 servings.

Ever wonder what to do with leftover soup??? This is what I do:

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I use leftover applesauce jars, pickle jars, etc… I fill it up with a couple of inches room at the top, and let them cool. Once cooled, I place them in the freezer. Then, my husband takes them to work for lunch!!! Perfect and quick lunches!

And now, for the quote of the day, I love C.S. Lewis!

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Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/fiesta-turkey-tortilla-soup#ixzz3TTDX9Wol

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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One of my absolute favorite soups from up in Minnesota was Byerly’s Wild Rice Soup… LOVE! This is my adaptation of it. I changed it up a bit, and don’t use ham or almonds in mine. Almonds, because I don’t keep nuts in my house since we have a food allergy in our home… and no ham because I wanted to keep the sodium and fat content a bit lower by using chicken instead.

This one is a “comfort” food… warm, creamy, thick…. eat it with bread or crackers… on a cold rainy/snowy day…  cuddle up by the fireplace and enjoy a bowl of this! My daughter gobbled this up! (So did my husband and I! 🙂 )

Ingredients

  • 3 TB butter
  • 1/4 onion minced
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (that’s about 1/4 cup of uncooked wild rice… follow cooking instructions on bag)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced chicken (I used 4 chicken tenderloins diced… you could also use leftover rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons dry cooking sherry, (optional)
  • snipped fresh parsley or chives
  • dash cayenne pepper

Creamychickenwildricesoup

Directions
In large saucepan, melt margarine; saute onion and carrots and garlic until tender.  Blend in flour; gradually add broth.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir in cooked rice, chicken, cayenne and salt; simmer about 5 minutes. Bring stove to LOW. Blend in half and half and sherry; heat to serving temperature. Garnish with snipped parsley or chives.

Amount: 4-5 cups.

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

donna-bell

Sausage and Potato Soup (OR Copy-Cat Zuppa Toscana!)

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So, we really like soup during the winter. One of my husbands favorites is to go to Olive Garden and have the “Soup, Salad, and breadsticks” for lunches or dinners. The problem is, you can’t do it too often because of 1-calories, 2-cost… you gotta tip too! So, I’ve been looking up recipes for some of the dishes… and soups were my first stop! Soups seem to be pretty easy for me to try and recreate. And… so far, are turning out AWESOME!

This is my take on the Copy-Cat Zuppa Toscana. The only change I could recommend, is to possibly use kale instead of spinach, especially if you are going to freeze and reheat, it will hold up MUCH better than baby spinach!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices cooked nitrite/nitrate free bacon, diced
  • 1/2 lb. all natural (no nitrites/nitrates!) Italian Sausage
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cups low sodium organic chicken broth
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach (roughly chopped w/out stems)
  • 1 cup half&half
  • shaved parmesan as a garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. (I cook my bacon in the microwave… if you don’t, cook it in this skillet first)
  • Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Bring to a LOW simmer and add the spices (cayenne, oregano, sage, salt and pepper to taste)
  • Stir in sausage and spinach until spinach begins to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half&half until heated through, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parmesan.

ENJOY!!! It’s a good one! This one had the saltiness and spice of the bacon and sausage combined with the creaminess of the half&half and the crunch of that baby spinach… mmmm!!!! If you put kale in as a substitute, that would add such a good texture as well! AMAZING! Saving this one for sure!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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