From Scratch Turkey Taco Soup

This soup is perfect for those chilly spring days when you want a fun and festive meal. The weather may not be warm enough to grill fajitas, but you can serve up a pitcher of margaritas and invite your friends over for a bowl of my From Scratch Turkey Taco Soup. Don’t let the “from scratch” or long ingredient list make you think this recipe is hard to make. It’s super simple, but instead of using a ranch seasoning packet, you create the flavor with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. Turkey and black beans are great lean protein choices for this dish and no-salt added tomatoes and frozen corn make this a low-sodium, heart healthy dish. If you have farm-fresh canned tomatoes or tomato juice on hand, this is a great use for those gems!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups of tomato juice
3 cups water
shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
light sour cream, for serving
scallions, sliced for serving

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.
  2. Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a spatula. Add bell pepper and jalapeños and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and continue cooking for another minute.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato juice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with cheese, sour cream and scallions as toppings.

Servings: 6

Seafood and Bean Stew with Pesto

Fish, shrimp, beans and pesto make the most delectable combination in this heavenly bowl of soup that will have you reaching for leftovers. Go ahead, it is comfort food with a conscience packed with three types of lean protein and juicy tomatoes. When basil is in season and my CSA box is full of this aromatic green goodness, I make batches of pesto and freeze tablespoon-size portions using mini-muffin tins. I store them in a freezer-safe container and enjoy during winter months in recipes like this. Don’t have fresh pesto on hand? Store-bought pesto will also work well and taste delicious in this dish.

Ingredients:
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons pesto
8 ounces any firm white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into bite-size cubes
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added cannellini beans
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pesto

Directions:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta with a slotted spatula and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add onion to the stock pot and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.\
  3. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth to the stock pot and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the fish and seafood to the soup. Cover and simmer for about five minutes.
  5. Remove lid and add beans, pancetta, salt, pepper and pesto to the soup, stirring to combine. Cook for two to three additional minutes and serve.

Servings: 4

Italian Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Cold winter nights call for warm bowls of soup and this one is packed with vegetables and lentils and a dash of crispy, salty pancetta. Cooked with a Parmesan rind, this soup captures the sharp and nutty flavors of the cheese in every bite. If you are planning the perfect cozy night at home, enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup with your family and end the night with a mug of hot cocoa and good book by the fire. Cheers to nutritious comfort food and warm evenings at home this winter.

Ingredients:
4 ounces pancetta
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 cup lentils (any color)
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 Parmesan rind (cut from a wedge of cheese)
5 ounces baby spinach or 1 bunch spinach, chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, cook pancetta until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Drain all but about 2 teaspoons of grease from the pot.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrots and celery to the stock pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth to the mixture and sauté until tender and browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add lentils, tomatoes with their juices, the remaining vegetable broth, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese rind to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  5. Add spinach and pancetta to the soup and cook for another minute or two, stirring until spinach is wilted. Serve in bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 4

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Frozen corn from last season’s harvest is a special treat to enjoy this time of year. It shines in my Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which also features delicate squash. A perfect blend of winter and summer produce to enjoy this time of year when drastic weather changes leave you sporting flip-flops one day and snow boots the next. This colorful bowl of produce will surely brighten your day regardless of the weather you are experiencing.

The ingredient list may look long, but the recipe is easy to prepare and is mostly hands-off. Topping your bowl with oven-baked tortilla strips elevates this simple bowl of soup to restaurant quality, but without extra the calories of fried tortillas.

Soup Ingredients:
1½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped, leaving the skin on
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¾ teaspoon salt
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups frozen yellow corn, defrosted
1 lime


Tortilla Strip Ingredients:
4 corn tortillas
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Diced avocado
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker and top with delicate squash, onion, jalapeño, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and salt. Add tomatoes with their juice and chicken broth. Cover with lid and cook on high for one hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for five hours.
  2. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Place shredded chicken back in the slow cooker and add corn and lime juice. Stir to combine and continue cooking on low while you prepare the tortilla strips.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush both sides of each tortilla with olive oil and cut into ¼-inch thin strips. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.
  4. Serve soup topped with tortilla strips and optional toppings of choice.

Servings: 6

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Soup

Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book.

I call for one large butternut squash below, but you will actually only need half of the squash. I like to bake more than I need and reserve the rest for later use. You can also freeze the other half, after scooping out the flesh, and use it to make a quick version of this soup the next time around.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
  4. Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
  5. Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings: 4

 

Farm-Fresh Vegetable Beef Stew

My Farm-Fresh Vegetable Beef Stew is a bowl of comfort food that is good for your heart, body and soul. Use rainbow Swiss chard or substitute any dark leafy green. You can’t go wrong with any of these nutrient-dense choices. Dark leafy greens are low in calorie while high in several vitamins and minerals that support healthy blood pressure, vision and immune system.

This colorful bowl of vegetables may even brighten your mood on a grey and chilly day. Leftovers are delicious, so make this meal on the weekend for a quick weeknight supper, and grab a book to read by the fire while your stew simmers.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound beef stew meat
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, ribs removed and chopped, leaves roughly chopped
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced
1½ cups frozen corn
32 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot and add stew meat. Cook until brown on all sides, stirring occasionally. Remove beef and set aside.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery and swiss chard ribs to the stock pot. Sauté until vegetables are tender, about five minutes.
  3. Return the beef to the pot and add potatoes, corn, vegetable broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Add swiss chard leaves and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Servings: 6

 

Butternut Squash Chicken Chili

Nothing says fall like a bowl of chili, especially one with seasonal squash. Fresh pumpkin or acorn squash would also work well in this recipe. In less than 30 minutes, you can serve a warm bowl of comfort food to your family. Leftovers taste just as good, if not better. If you do not eat all the leftovers, this meal freezes well in a tightly sealed container or zip-top bag.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 (15.5 ounce) cans low-sodium Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot chili sauce, plus more for serving
1 lime, sliced into 6 wedges
cilantro, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt. Break up chicken with a spatula and cook until it begins to brown, about five minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, beans, chicken broth and Sriracha hot chili sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Ladle chili into six bowls and squeeze a lime wedge over each serving. Top with cilantro, cojita cheese and additional Sriracha hot chili sauce if desired.

Servings: 6