Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s no secret for me that blogging has become a scarcity in my life. You know, life happens sometimes and you get really busy drinking beer, petting puppies, and occasionally going to a specific location where collaborative fitness happens. Ya know? But, I don’t have to tell you that because YOU have a V (how kids are saying “very” these days; saves TONS of time) busy life too!  Thanks for understanding, girl!

This has become one of my favorite soups for the winter months. I’ve always loved it but decided to put my own spin on it. Plus, this easy, minimal-effort method leaves plenty of time for Netflixing in pajamas or whatever weird stuff you do in the winter months.

You. Do. You. Boo.

D's Green Chili-Chili

 I’m going to be honest with you here. And if you have any kind of sense about you, you’re probably going to be the opposite of shocked. Honestly, this is probably going to sound like a waste of my precious little finger-strength. But, just stick with me for a minute.

Food is huge to me. *Shocker* I have a handful of my very favorite recipes and each of these recipes has a special place in my heart, for whatever specific reason.

During the winter months, chili has always been my favorite. Even though my sister was possibly just a tiny bit spoiled and we ate more “chicken and dumplings” and “potato soup” than I would ever have preferred because it was her favorite…It’s no big deal and I’m completely healed from that. Chili was my favorite and it still is.

This is my grandpa’s recipe, as a lot of my favorites are. Following his life model, I’ve made a few changes and I’m not going to lead you astray: this chili will knock your soul right into alignment. I don’t want to make any promises, but if you think your life might be falling apart just a little bit, this chili might just fix it up a little bit. No promises. Don’t cancel any appointments with your therapist.

D’s Green Chili-Chili

1 Pound Cubed Stew Meat

1 Pound Italian Turkey Sausage

1 White or Yellow Onion, diced

2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 Poblano Pepper, roasted and skinned

1 Large Can Tomato Sauce

1 Large Can Stewed or Diced Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

1 Heaping Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

1 Can Red Kidney Beans, optional

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 Teaspoon Cumin & Paprika or Cayenne, approximately

If you are using a fresh poblano pepper, roast it so that you will have a developed flavor and can remove the tough, bitter skin. If you’ve never roasted peppers or have no idea what I speak of, click this video. If you feel in your soul that this is just too much for you, use green chilies in the can. If you go with the fresh poblano, be prepared for a seriously awesome flavor. The choice is yours. Live your truth.

Using a heavy stew pot, brown the turkey sausage and stew meat over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. When it is cooked through, transfer to a plate or dish covered in paper towels, to drain off any excess grease.

Next, throw the onion and garlic straight into the stew pot and cook until tender, stirring often. When the veggies are translucent, dice the poblano and mix it in. Stir in the browned meat and season the mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper (If you don’t like “spicy,” smoked paprika is a great substitute for cayenne). Follow your heart on measurements but make sure and go just a little bit heavy. Nothing is better than a “robust” chili when your insides are frozen from the devil of winter (also known as: snow) so don’t skimp on flavor!

Stir in the tomato sauce, paste and kidney beans. Before I throw in the beans, I like to give them a good drain and rinse. It reduces the amount of sodium you are adding to your food and maybe just makes you feel a little healthier. And really, that’s what it’s all about. How you feel.

And the fact that the phrase “how you feel” makes me want to start rapping Drake should really not be judged at this point.

Stir so that your chili is combined and add water as necessary. It’s really up to you on how “hearty” you want this to be. Stir in a heaping spoon of cocoa powder and let the chili simmer on low for about an hour, or until you’re ready to dive in.

If you’re not already aware of this trick, cocoa powder tenderizes meat and brings out all of its natural flavor. It is delicious and will not “alter” the flavor of the chili. So don’t be afraid, my little turtle dove.

Serve this chili over a slice of cornbread that’s as big as your face and think of me the whole time.

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

I really think we can collectively agree that winter should be over. I mean, she made a pretty stately debut for 2015 and it was good. Good job, girl. But we’re done with you. I literally have not heard one person say, “Gosh I love this weather!” No. Because you don’t.

You don’t love being locked up in your house, forced to cuddle your adorable dog, watch Netflix, and drink wine until you run out and have to go to the store again.

Wait. I kinda love that.

Just hold the snow.

However, if you’re locked in a house and need a delicious soup recipe to warm the cockles of your heart and soul (as much as they can be warmed, since it is still winter and your soul is dark), then this is it.

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

Minestrone Soup with Ground Turkey Sausage

1 Package Ground Italian Turkey Sausage

2 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

½ White Onion, diced

2-3 Stalks Celery, diced

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes

14.5 oz. Can Cannellini (White Kidney) Beans

1 Russet Potato, diced

1 Zucchini, diced

1 Bundle of Swiss Chard, roughly chopped

32 oz. Beef Broth

1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Sprig Rosemary

1 Bay Leaf

Start by browning the Turkey Sausage in a large stew pot. Depending on the fat content, you may want to add a little more EVOO than just 2 tbsp.

When the turkey is just about done, mix in the celery, garlic, and onion and cook until tender, stirring often. Add tomatoes, beans, potato, zucchini, seasonings and beef broth and bring the soup to a steady boil. Season with Salt and Pepper and stir often for about 5 more minutes. Turn the heat down to a simmer and all those flavors will get good and robustly.

This is an excellent time to open a bottle of wine. Did I say excellent? I meant necessary. Silly auto-correct.

When you’re a few minutes away from dinner time, stir in the Swiss Chard and remove the bay leaf.

 If this soup doesn’t give you even the slightest bit of joy then I genuinely don’t know what else I can do for you.


Southwestern Chicken (Tortilla) Soup

Let’s get real: I don’t know where you’re at in life. However, knowing the luck I usually carry to casinos…I’m going to bet you’re reading this on your iPad from a beach somewhere, while someone named “Julio” brings you a fruity drink. And you might be slightly annoyed because “Jose” or whatever forgot you said “no sugar on the rim” and your sunglasses might be just slightly smudged from sand that’s so fine and soft that it blew up in your eyes when a gentle breeze blew by 5 minutes ago.

Well, I’m really sad for your first world problems. I really, really am. But if you’re in Texas, chances are, it is snowing heavily and people everywhere are driving like they got their licenses never.

So, join with me in your sorrow and do the only thing that will make your bitterness fade away (besides wine).

Soup with me.

(“Shoop” by Salt-N-Pepa begins to play but they’ve replaced “Shoop” with “Soup”)

Southwest Chicken (Tortilla) Soup

2 Large Chicken Breasts

1 Bouillon Cube

4 Cups Water

1 Bay Leaf

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 Medium White Onion, diced

1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

1 Jalapeño, diced and seeded

1 Can Diced (or Stewed) Tomatoes

1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Can Corn, drained and rinsed

1 Teaspoon Each: Salt, Pepper, Oregano

In a somewhat large pot, pour water over the chicken breasts and bouillon cube. Toss in the bay leaf and olive oil and bring to a boil until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. As much as possible, keep the pot covered because we are gonna want to use this delicious broth later.

In a separate stew pot, combine the onion, pepper and jalapeno with a little Olive Oil and begin to sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until tender. At this point, I like to toss in the seasonings as well. The heat slightly intensifies the flavor but that’s just me.

When the veggies are tender, pour in the tomatoes (with juice) and the rinsed beans and corn. I rinse them because canned vegetables always have a ton of sodium. Who needs that in their lives? Definitely not those prone to heart issues. And that’s the truth.

When the chicken is thoroughly cooked, shred that mamma-jamma. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you can do this in about 23.7 seconds by using the “paddle” attachment with your kitchen-aid mixer. If you don’t believe me, I really don’t care because I am smart (sometimes), I am kind (ish), and I am important (all the time).

Toss in the shredded chicken and add as much broth as you like (sans the bay leaf, cause yeah), until you reach the appropriate balance of “hearty” and “soupy.” Bring the soup to a boil and then let it simmer until you're ready to dive in head first. Except don't do that because you might burn your pretty little face.

This is excellent with or without tortilla strips. Either way you “soup” it, just trust me. You’ll be happy.

Chicken & Dumplings Florentine

Remember how I hate Chicken and Dumplings? Well, I do. I do not remember ever liking them. It’s a real thing. However, I really love me. So, when someone asks me to make Chicken and Dumplings, I am going to make it in a way that I know I will like.

It’s just more convenient that way. Everyone ends up happy. I know what people need.

And seriously, it’s the polar vortex. Or, snowpocalypse, if you prefer. And I do.

And, whenever it is the snowpocalypse, you just need soup. So, don’t object. Try this recipe and warm your soul.

Chicken and Dumplings Florentine

2 Chicken Breasts

Salt & Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Bay Leaf


Garlic Powder

2 Carrots, diced

2 Celery Stalks, diced

½ White or Yellow Onion, diced

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ Cup Flour

Chicken Broth

Italian Parsley

Fresh Spinach

Start by boiling the chicken along with the bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. This gives it a tremendous flavor. Especially when boiling chicken without bones, this makes for a really good broth. When the chicken is cooked through, chop it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Sauté the vegetables with the minced garlic and about 2 tablespoons Olive Oil until tender and translucent. Stir in the flour and allow it to thoroughly cook out. If not, your soup will be chalky and gross and you will be a failure. No one wants that.

After the flour is mixed in and cooked, gradually stir in the chicken broth. I personally like to gather as much of the left over seasoning on the side of the pot as possible but remove the bay leaf. Because, obviously. Stir well until you have your desired consistency. If you like it to be a little less thick, you can add a little water as well. Add the chicken and bring to a boil. Allow the soup to boil lightly for about 5-10 minutes while stirring every once in a while. If you like the dumplings cooked into the soup, use this recipe and add them in uncooked dollops at this point. If not, bake them in the oven like I did and pour your soup over them when you're ready to eat. It’s basically perfection.

Once the soup has been boiling for a bit, turn down to a simmer.

About 5 minutes before you are ready to eat, stir in a handful of fresh spinach and a bit of chopped Italian parsley. I like both a lot, do you.

This recipe is delicious and I hope you like it!