Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rustic Vegetable Soup

I know, three weeks of recipes in a row.  But I have found these soup recipes to be a great addition to our meal repertoire. Although I will admit that when Silent Sam looks at me on Saturday morning (pre-grocery shopping) and asks what I am going to make for Sunday soup night, I feel a bit snarly. (What? Try something new AGAIN?

Truth be told, I really hate making something and having it not work out.  I really bugs me.  So this whole try out new soup recipes thing is a bit hard for me.  Maybe that is why I am such a bad cook.  Maybe if I tried more, I would learn what would work and what does not work.  It is a good thought but I don’t think it is going to happen.

Today’s recipe is from the Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes cookbook.  This cookbook has crock pot recipes and it touts that every recipe is 350 calories or less.  If you would like a copy, you can click on the picture above and it will take you directly to Amazon.  You might find it a good investment for $3.90. (plus shipping)

Completely off subject, I did want you to know that the Crock Pot is 75 years old.  That is right, brides have been getting crock pots for that long.  The venerable appliance is enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days. Apparently, you can even buy them with NFL logos on the sides.  They appear to be very expensive though…
seahawks crock pot
Rustic Vegetable Soup
Serves 8


1 jar (16 oz) Picante Sauce
1 package (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
1 package (10 oz) frozen cut green beans
1 can (about 10 oz.) condensed beef broth, undiluted
1-2 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 in. pieces
1 medium green pepper chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

We used mild picante sauce and think that was just fine.  Also, the original recipe calls for the vegetables to be thawed.  I am not sure why but I did not thaw them.  I did use the Birds Eye Steamfresh mix that has carrots, corn, and asparagus.  The asparagus did not come out well in this soup.  (I used it last week with no problem but it came out stiff in this recipe.) So you might want to not use that particular blend. 

Also, we could not find condensed beef broth.  I used regular beef broth and it worked out well. In contrast to some soup recipes, this one does not have a lot of fluid; it is not real “soupy”.  It is a lot of vegetables, potatoes, and peppers with some broth. 

Although the recipe calls for eight servings, we only had four servings. 

Take all the ingredients EXCEPT the parsley and put them in the crock pot.  I mixed them up a bit.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. 

Stir in the parsley just before serving. 

I did not use the parsley.  I sprinkled on some Parmesan cheese over the top.  Okay,since the soup is so low in calories, I was willing to add a few calories. 

Nutritional Information
Calories – 80, Total fat – 0 g., Saturated Fat - 0 g., Protein – 3 g., Carbohydrate – 16g., Cholesterol – 0 mg., Fiber – 4 g., Sodium 540 mg.

I hope that you enjoy these soup recipes as much as we have.  It has been a nice change for our Sunday night suppers.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup


I hope you are doing well. I made another new Sunday night soup this week and I am dying to share the recipe with you. We really loved this one.

Do you have problems with crock pot recipes not having enough taste? We seem to run into that frequently. I am beginning to think that part of the solution is to stay away from recipes that say that “kids love it” because those recipes seem pretty bland. I am not sure that I have found the exact reason why some work and some don’t. For example, I made a recipe a few weeks ago that called for a tablespoon each of basil, oregano, and parsley. I thought that was enough spice to make it work but I was wrong. The soup just ddidn'thave much taste.

So, when I started to make this week’s soup, I decided to not just follow the recipe but think about what I knew had worked in the past. For example, the original recipe called for using 2 cups of cooked chicken. I took out three chicken breasts and started to cook them. While I was doing that I started thinking. The recipe called to cook the mixture for almost 5 hours on high. That is a long time for cooked chicken to be in a crock pot. So, I stopped cooking the chicken breasts – they were slightly browned on each side – and put them into the pot slightly cooked. (next time I would not cook them at all)  

Also, as you will see, the recipe calls for two cans of condensed soup. That can be a lot of sodium. The original recipe also called for using seasoned salt and salt and pepper. Instead of doing that, I used Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. I also added a tablespoon of pesto to the recipe. I thought it might be a good addition and add some taste to the recipe.

The soup turned out great. It was creamy and flavorful. It was also good for lunch the next couple of days.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
6 servings

 Inspired by recipe from Six Sisters Blog -


1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
5 cups skim milk
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables. I used the Birds Eye Steamfresh with carrots, asparagus, corn, and beans
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb
1 tablespoon of pesto
2 cups of uncooked egg noodles


1.       Put the soups, milk, Mrs. Dash, and pesto in the crock pot and mix using a whisk.
2.       Add the chicken and vegetables and stir.
3.       Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours
4.       Add the noodles and cook for an additional ½ to 1 hour.

Changes I might try for next time –

Let me start by saying that we really liked the soup this way. While I hate to tinker with something that we like, there are a couple things I would try.

I think I would try low sodium soups. I would not say that the soup was salty but I just think it would be a good idea.

I would also try it with fresh vegetables rather than the frozen. You could also try frozen that did not have corn in it. It  would be a way to reduce the starch.

Nutritional Information –

I fed the recipe into one of those on-line sites that then tells you the nutritional information. I do not know how accurate it is but here is the information.

Calories – 410, Total fat – 13.2 g., Saturated fat – 3.4 g., Cholesterol – 87 mg., Sodium 850 mg., Total Carbohydrates 36.5 g., Dietary Fiber 2.7 g., Sugars 12.8 g., Protein 32.9 g.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sunday Night Soup

Several years ago, my neighbor was talking about the concept of  having soup for supper on Sunday nights during the winter.I actually talked about it for a couple of years but never quite started doing it until this year.

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I am a self-admitted terrible cook.  When I make a recipe, it has to be easy.The idea of Sunday night soups was  appealing but it meant that  I had to find recipes and then make them.

There are soup recipes everywhere. I discovered that some of them are more involved than others. I immediately discounted any recipe that called for cooking then putting everything in the food processor or blender and then doing more. Too messy! Too involved! I found some easy recipes and we stared having soup on Sunday nights.

I would say there are two problems with Sunday night soup.The first problem is that  having Sunday night soup just begs to have bread with the soup. For those of us who might have a tiny (HUGE) problem with portion control, this is an issue. We had gotten to the point where we just did not have bread in the house very often but with Sunday soups, we would buy a loaf at the grocery store each week. So, the advisory is to watch your portions with the bread.

The second problem is the sodium content in soup. Canned soup is infamous for its high sodium and if you are using that as a base in your soup, you are starting out with a lot of sodium. You need to  use low sodium broth as a base.  We have had a problem with soups tasting salty.  Here is where some of you "real" cooks might react - I never add salt when a recipe calls for it. For some reason, soup recipes will have these great phrases like "add salt to taste" or my absolute favorite "salt" with no instruction as to how much.  I just leave it out.

We have found several recipes that we really like.  Today, I am giving you my favorite so far.  This recipe is from Crock Pot: Diabetic Recipes.  (It is available from Amazon)

Italian Sausage Soup     Serves: 8

Sausage meatballs

1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2  cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt


4 cups hot fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup uncooked mini pasta shells*
1 bag (10 oz.) baby spinach
Grated Parmesan cheese
* or other tiny pasta

1. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into marble-size balls.

2. Combine broth, tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes in Crock-pot slow cooker. Add                    meatballs. Cover; cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.

3.  Add pasta 30 minutes before serving.  When pasta is tender, stir in spinach.  Sprinkle with                  Parmesan cheese: serve immediately.

Nutritional info:  Calories: 170, Total Fat: 6 g., Saturated Fat: 3 g., Protein: 14g., Carbohydrate; 15g., Cholesterol: 45 mg.,Fiber: 2 g., Sodium: 700 mg.

If you have looked at my recipes before, you know that I give you the recipe as it comes from the source and then I tell you how I changed/screwed it up.  So here it goes with this one.

1.  The first time I made this, I did not use low sodium broth. THAT IS A MISTAKE. The soup was still good but too salty.  You should not substitute regular broth.

2.  I used panko bread crumbs rather than regular.  This move might add a little more sodium but I wanted to make sure there was plenty of flavor.

3.  One bag a spinach in my grocery store is 5 oz.  So I used two bags.  (In case I have not said this before, I am a huge fan of adding spinach in recipes.)

4.  Instead of garlic salt, add just garlic powder.  Once again, just trying to cut back the sodium.

If you are looking for soup recipes, I suggest that you look at Pinterest. I have a board there where I have pinned "Sunday Night Soups" (and probably some things that don't apply..)  Here is a link to my Pinterest page.

I feel that I need to apologize to those of you who are nice enough to read this blog regularly.  It has been dark for a few weeks. Sometimes, it seems that life gets in the way.   But just think, it means that I have more recipes for you!

Thanks for reading!