Dinner, Uncategorized

Great Northern Bean and Kielbasa Soup

Where I live, spring is full of chilly days that are asking for a bowl of soup and a cozy blanket. This is a soup that I turn to regularly for dinner when I don’t have time (Or don’t want to cook!). It has a few simple ingredients that make a hearty, and dairy-free, soup.

I highly reccomend using homemade chicken broth to up the deliciousness, but boullion works in a pinch. If you need some more ideas for improving your soup recipes, you can find more ideas here.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 4 Cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 Package of kielbasa sausage
  • 2 Cans of great northern beans
  • 1 Can of tomatoes (diced, whole, etc, whatever you like)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1 to 2 Teaspoons of salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups of water or bone broth broth (I just used one of the bean cans to measure)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  3. When the pan is hot enough, add the onion and garlic. Stir occasionally until they are fragrant.
  4. Slice the kielbasa sausage into rounds or half-rounds.
  5. Add the kielbasa to the pan and continue to stir it until the onions are transparent and the sausage has gotten crispy and golden brown on the edges.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium, then add the cans of beans and tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and broth. Add pepper to taste.
  7. Stir it occassionally and bring to a boil. Let it boil for five to ten minutes.
  8. Serve with buttered bread or crackers.

I love using beans in soup- it adds protein, vitamins, and texture. They are so cheap too! I like to cook dry beans in my crock pot or Instantpot and then freeze any leftovers. It makes the next time I cook soup even easier! I used cans of beans in this receipe because it’s what I had on hand. Either option works great!

However, if beans aren’t your thing, you could add some noodles instead to increase the satiety factor. I would boil the noodles in the soup itself so the noodles soak up all that flavor, then add another cup of water or broth if needed.

If you try out this recipe, let me know how it turned out for you! I would love to hear any comments you have about the recipe.

Dinner, Uncategorized

How to Take Your Soups to the Next Level

Soups are a staple for me during the autumn and winter seasons. I particularly love hearty and chunky soups.

When I want a bowl of soup on a snowy day, canned soup just doesn’t cut it. If you feel the same way, you might appreciate this list of tips to take your homemade soup to the next level. Soup can seem deceptively easy to make- which they can be- but hard to master. (I am no master myself!)

Without further ado, here are a few tips to make your next bowl of soup delicious.

1. Make and use homemade broth. I know, I know- this is a time consuming step. But I swear it makes the biggest difference. I always have a Snapware full of bones, chicken skin, and leftover pieces of veggies in my freezer to turn into broth. It’s super easy to make! Just toss your bones, veggies pieces, basically whatever you want to use, into your crock pot, instant pot, or pot on the stove. Cover it with water and add whatever seasonings you want. I like salt, bay leaves, and thyme. For the crock pot: I like to leave it running on low for at least 12 hours. Add a cup or two of water as needed so it always covers the bones/veggies. For the instant pot: I run it on manual for 3-6 hours depending on how long I have. For the pot on the stove: let it boil for a few hours and add water as needed.

When there is a nice layer of oil floating on top of the broth, you know it’s done. Strain it and pour into whatever container you plan to use. Of course you can use it right away to make soup, but I made large batches at a time, so I usually put it into glass jars and freeze it. (Make sure to leave plenty of room at the top of the jar, or else they will crack… I have lost too many glass jars that way.)

2. Use homemade noodles or dumplings for the coziest soup ever! There are so many recipes out there for homemade noodles or dumplings. They usually consist mainly of flour and eggs and can be whipped up in 5 minutes. Don’t worry, my egg noodle recipe is coming soon!

3. Never underestimate the power of onions and garlic. These are ingredients that are used very frequently- and for good reason! If you don’t have fresh onions, tossing a teaspoon or two of dried onions will work just fine. It adds that extra level of flavor that makes soups so satisfying.

4. Use more beans. There are so many kinds of beans out there. Beans are such a great source of protein and vitamins. I grew up eating a lot of beans, so they have a special place in my heart, err, stomach.

They are super cheap, especially if you buy dry beans. If you are worried about the possible *ahem* digestive effects of beans, I recommend soaking them overnight and then cooking them for at least 12 hours on high in a crock pot or a couple hours on manual in an instant pot. The more you cook beans, the fewer issues you will have. And of course, canned beans are an easy way to make a 15-minute soup.

If the texture of beans isn’t your favorite, you can add them to your soup and then blend them up to make a thick and creamy soup!

5. Use coconut milk (or your favorite Dairy-free milk) to add creaminess to any soup. The nice thing with soup is that the meat and veggies in the soup are the highlight. My husband isn’t a huge fan of dairy alternatives, but he usually can’t tell when I use them in soup.

I hope you feel inspired to make a warm pot of soup now! If you have any tips to add, let me know in the comments!