Hearty Vegetarian Chili…..

I don’ know about you but I am trying to cut back on the amount of meat my family is consuming on a weekly basis.  Try this alternative to any meat chili.  This thick and hearty chili is loaded with healthy vegetables and is extremely flavourful.  Do not be deterred by the zucchini and the yellow squash, it is undetectable after simmering and it adds body to the chili.  Garnish with extra sharp cheddar cheese and sour cream if you wish.   The recipe is large enough for freezing.  Be sure to label and date everything you put into the freezer.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
5 large cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow squash, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons chili powder
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juices
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with juices
2 28 ounce cans of water
2 14 ounce cans black beans, drained
2 14 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained
2 14 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
Sour cream and shredded cheddar for garnish (optional)

1) Heat a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onions, green pepper, and celery. Cook for 7 minutes. Add garlic cook one minute.
2) Add shredded zucchini and yellow squash. Cook for 10 minutes.
3) Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, tomato paste, chipotle, salt, and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes stirring often. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, sugar, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
4) Add all drained beans. Simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and green onions if desired. Makes 20 1 ½ cup servings.

*you can easily cut this recipe in half.  Freeze any leftover tomato paste.  Use one small yellow squash.

Vegetable and Mini Ravioli Soup…..

I am in love with this vegetable soup that has an Italian twist.  It is loaded with fresh vegetables and flavorful cheese filled mini raviolis.  The recipe goes together pretty quick too.  I used homemade chicken stock I pulled out of my freezer but feel free to use store bought.  If you want to freeze, don’t add the pasta directly to the soup.  Make enough to add to what you’ll be eating and freeze the soup without the pasta, you can easily add later.  Enjoy with crusty Italian bread or grilled cheese.  Delish!

Vegetable Soup with Mini Cheese Ravioli

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions, about 2 medium
6 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½” pieces
5 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices
8 cups or 2 quarts chicken stock-homemade or store bought
2 14 oz. cans cannelli beans, drained
½ lb. mini ravioli, cooked according to package directions
Chopped parsley for garnish
Parmesan cheese

1) Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onions, zucchini, and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute. Add tomato paste to pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often.
2) Add diced tomatoes with juices, chicken stock, and cannelli beans. Allow to come to a low simmer.
3) While soup is heating up, cook the ravioli. It takes about 15 minutes or so. Add a couple of cups of the pasta water to the soup pot. Drain pasta and add to the pot. Taste, you may have to add additional seasoning. Top each bowl with parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.  Makes about 20 one cup servings.
Great with crusty bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.

**You can find mini ravioli at Trader Joe’s.

Turkey Stock & Soup…..

Making your own stock will make an amazing soup.  If the turkey carcass is frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Stock Recipe:

One turkey carcass  
One bunch fresh parsley
One medium onion, quartered
2 large carrots, halved
2 large stalks of celery, halved

Place carcass into a large stock pot and cover with water & add vegetables.  Simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 -3 hours, you do not want the liquid to boil.  You will notice that you do not add salt or any other seasoning at this point, you want a simple, flavorful stock.  You do this so that whatever you will be making will not be over seasoned.

Remove the bones and vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon, discard.  I like to carefully strain the broth through a fine sieve over a very large bowl.  You then have a beautiful, pure stock.  If  If using the same pot for the soup, wash thoroughly and add the stock back to the pan.  (you want to remove any foam debris from the pot to keep your soup stock clear)  You can also allow it to cool, stirring often, and freeze.

Simple Turkey Vegetable Noodle Soup

Soup stock
Leftover turkey meat, torn into bite size pieces
2 16 oz. packages of mixed frozen vegetables
1 l6 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach (not the block)
1 12-16 oz. package of whole wheat soup noodles, cooked & drained
1 bunch of rinsed, chopped fresh parsley

This will take only a few minutes to make.  Over medium heat, bring the stock with the turkey meat to a simmer, add the vegetables and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the cooked pasta.

NOW season with salt, pepper, & fresh parsley.   If you’re going to top your soup with fresh parmesan cheese,  keep that in mind when seasoning, the cheese has a high sodium content.


Quick Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese & tomato soup are really the definition of comfort to me! This recipe is so quick and delicious, add this to your rotation of favorite dinners. Your kids will applaud you!


1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried oregano
1 T. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1-28 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 T. sugar
2 t. kosher salt
½ t. ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh basil, rinsed

In large soup pot over medium heat add oil and onion, cook until translucent. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, & oregano. Sauté one minute. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, sugar, salt, & pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Roll basil leaves and slice thinly. Add to soup just before serving. Serve with grilled cheese. I love to use brie with apple slices on sour dough or sharp cheddar & smoked ham on whole wheat as an alternative. Brush with olive oil and grill until golden brown. Deeeeelish!! **if you don’t have the bouillon base, you can simply substitute 2 cups of chicken stock** Yields about 12 cups of soup. Why not double this recipe and freeze for a another hectic night?