Tag Archives: soup

Easy Southwestern Chicken-Tomato Soup

Southwestern Soup


One of our favorite quick, “I don’t feel like cooking” meals is Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup. We like both the Pacific brand and the Trader Joe’s brand.


Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

I hadn’t ever thought to “enhance” the soup until the other day when I was shopping at Trader Joe’s.  The sample of the day was the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup with some corn and brown rice in it.  The woman handing out the samples was talking about all the ways she adds to the soup, and she told me about her “Mexican-inspired” version with corn, green chiles and chicken.  That sounded really good to me!

Saturday nights are often one of those nights where I’d like something quick to prepare for dinner.  I decided to create this “Mexican-inspired” soup while it was still fresh in my mind.  I definitely can’t take credit for the idea, but the proportions are all mine.

This is one of those dishes where you can keep all the ingredients on hand, so you can make the soup whenever you need something quick and easy to put on the table.  I poached a chicken breast, but this would be a great way to use up leftover chicken.

Easy Southwestern Chicken-Tomato Soup

Click here to print.

  • 32 oz. box Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 4 0z. can diced green chiles (my husband thought there were a few too many, so adjust to taste, if desired)
  • 1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • crushed tortilla chips, optional

Combine soup, corn and diced green chiles in a 3 quart saucepan.  Heat the soup on medium and bring to a simmer.  Add the chicken.  Reduce heat to low, and slowly stir in the shredded cheese to melt.  Serve with a sprinkling of crushed tortilla chips on top, if desired.

Serves 2 – 3

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Paris Mushroom Soup

For Christmas this year I received the cookbook Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  It’s a gorgeous book and so many of the recipes sound wonderful.  The problem is, it’s a vast book, and trying to decide what to make is difficult with so many good-sounding recipes to choose from.  I feel like there are whole chapters in the book that I have hardly even looked at yet.

To help myself get to know the cookbook, I have decided to participate in French Fridays with Dorie.  The idea is this: all participants cook a selected recipe each week and then post about it on Friday.  This week’s recipe was Paris Mushroom Soup (page 72, for those who have the book).

I really wanted to love this soup.  Dorie’s description makes it sound so good and I have always loved mushrooms.  I didn’t hate the soup, but it didn’t wow me and I doubt I’ll make it again.

Paris Mushroom Soup

Paris Mushroom Soup

For those who don’t have the cookbook, here is a bit about how the soup is made and served:  First of all, chopped onions, garlic and mushrooms are sauteed and then simmered in broth.  At the end, the whole thing is pureed to make a smooth soup.  To serve, a little salad is made with fresh mushrooms and some herbs.  The salad is placed in individual bowls and the hot soup is poured over it, slightly cooking the raw mushrooms.  The recipe suggests a dollop of creme fraiche on top.  While I didn’t do this, I think it would add a lot.

The first night we ate this I thought the problem was that between the raw mushrooms and my shallow soup bowls the soup cooled off too quickly.  I prefer my soup piping hot.  Also, I didn’t care for the contrast between the pureed soup and the mostly raw mushrooms.  The next night I made some adjustments: I sauteed some sliced mushrooms to replace the raw ones and I used different bowls.  It still didn’t do much for me.  I actually think I would like this soup a lot better served as a small portion at the beginning of a meal rather than as a main course.

So, this was a disappointing start to French Fridays, but I am looking forward to trying more!


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Beef-Barley Slow Cooker Soup


I’m a recipe cook:  I choose a recipe and follow it mostly to the letter.  I rarely venture out without a recipe.  There are a number of reasons why I stick to recipes.  First, and probably most significantly, my Mom is also a recipe cook so that is how I learned to cook.  I also think cooking from a recipe satisfies my engineering personality.  I like all those precise measurements.  Lastly, with so many good recipes out there, why not use them!

Every once in a while I get inspired to try something “freestyle”.  Usually something triggers my inspiration: a leftover ingredient, a bunch of veggies that need to get used up, or an idea that just sort of pops into my head.

My most successful freestyle adventures are soups made in my slow cooker.  This time, my inspiration was a package of grass-fed beef crosscut shanks in the freezer.  I also had some celery in the refrigerator that needed a use.  I pondered my soup for a week or so before I made it, thinking about what ingredients I should use and the techniques.

This soup was my most successful freestyle to date!  I am very glad I wrote it all down because I will certainly want to make it again some day.  The barley was a great addition – I really like the texture it provides.  My daughter ate with gusto, even using her bread to scoop the soup into her mouth.

Beef-Barley Soup

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  • 1¼ to 1½ lbs. beef crosscut shank (see note)
  • 1¼ cup chopped onion (one medium or ½ large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water

Preheat oven to 375°.  Place crosscut shanks on a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes, turning once after 2o minutes.

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute onions and celery until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Scrape into a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Add carrots, tomatoes with their juices, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, thyme and barley to the slow cooker.  Place the meat on top of the vegetables, scraping in any accumulated juices and browned bits.  Pour in the beef broth and water.  Cook on low heat until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, 7 to 9 hours.

When the meat is tender, remove it and the bones from the slow cooker.  Allow to cool slightly, then remove the meat from the bones and  chop into bite-sized pieces.  Make sure to get the marrow from the bones!

Remove the bay leaf and parsley sprigs from the soup.  Remove the garlic cloves if desired (or leave them in as a nice surprise for a garlic-lover in your family!).  Return the meat to the slow cooker.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note:  A pound of beef stew meat can be used in place of the crosscut shank.  Instead of roasting the meat, brown it in a little olive oil in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker.

Serves 4 – 6

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