Broccoli & Cheese Soup

A good recipe for a soup that doesn’t take all day to make is a real lifesaver. Especially one as hearty and filling as this broccoli & cheese version. It takes only a few short minutes to throw together, and the flavors are just out of this world.

It’s rich and hearty, but still doesn’t weigh you down the way many dairy-based soups do. The addition of fresh broccoli really adds a freshness to the flavor, and you can never go wrong adding plenty of cheddar cheese to anything in my book.

My girlfriend came over for lunch about a month ago or so, and I made this served with some crusty bread and a salad. We both loved it, and I’ve been thinking about making it again ever since. It reheats great as well, which is always a plus. Would also be great for a last minute, easy dinner!

Source: slightly adapted from Yammie’s Noshery

Southwest Potato & Corn Chowder

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this soup since I made it two weeks ago. I thought a potato corn chowder sounded great, and remembered  a poblano potato soup my friend Katie had posted. I didn’t have any poblanos on hand, but I did have a couple bell peppers. So I went with that, added a little bit more corn, and topped with some cilantro before serving for a Southwestern twist.

I used bacon this time around, but I’m thinking that chorizo might be a nice addition and spice it up even more – so I’m looking forward to trying that rendition next time. The tender potatoes and sweet corn, along with the colorful peppers made for a perfect marriage of flavor. And the cilantro on top was just the bright, fresh kick that it needed.

It was reminiscent of my favorite Loaded Baked Potato Soup – but much lighter in flavor without the addition of a bunch of sour cream. We all went back for seconds the first night I made it, and Andrew even went back for a third bowl. I enjoyed leftovers for lunch the majority of the rest of the week – and it was one of those things that I was very sad when it was finally gone. It’s definitely going to be making an appearance on our menu again very soon!

Source: adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup

Gosh, it’s cold here. And I know our 10 degrees is nothing compared to some of my friends up north, who have been fairing in the negative temperatures this week. In this kind of weather, there’s nothing that’s better than a big pot of soup bubbling away on the stove.

Soups was one of the things I found hardest to “get right” in the kitchen when I was just learning how to cook. My mom made THE BEST vegetable beef soup, and for something that seemed so simple – the hell if I could ever get it right. I finally figured out I was being too fussy with it, it really does come down to simplicity. And time. Time is key too. Unlike chicken soups, beef soups don’t take all day. With the aid of a good store-bough beef stock (I personally love the Campbell’s brand found in the condensed soup aisle) a delicious, hearty, and filling soup can be on your dinner table in just a couple hours.

We usually reserve this meal for when I’ve cooked a roast of beef – either a big fancy prime rib roast, or a more affordable cut like an eye-of-the-round. In fact, I think we all might look forward to the second meal of soup than the first meal of roast beef! Well, I do at least. I can’t speak for the 3 other carnivores in my house. Did I tell you guys we found out Baby #3 is ANOTHER BOY?! It’s a good thing I love to cook, as I’m going to have quite a few bottomless pits to feed in a few years with three growing boys in the house! Big pots of soup will be my savior, and this one is my absolute favorite!

Don’t be afraid to play around with veggie combinations either. This is just usually what I have on hand in the pantry, and in the freezer – so I go with that. But I love to add chopped cabbage if I have that hanging around, or any other veggies that are hanging out in the fridge at the time. You can’t really go wrong with anything in here. I hope it becomes a favorite in your home too!

Crab and Corn Chowder

A couple of weeks ago we played tourist on our little island of Chincoteague, left the boys with my mom and dad, and walked down to Main Street…which, is just literally at the end of my parent’s street. There aren’t many shops – a small bakery, a little wine and cheese shop, some tacky beach t-shirt shops, and a few really fun and funky boutiques. We ventured in The Flying Fish Gallery, and amongst all the fun things they had in the store – my ceramics honing sense immediately zeroed in on these gorgeous oversized mugs. I thought how pretty would these be with a cream of crab soup or chowder in them? I couldn’t wait to get them home and fill them up with something!

Seems like everything is in season right now here on our beautiful Eastern Shore. Crabs are running great, thought they got a late start. Dad got a bushel in his 2 pots he has off the dock in just 4 days last week. That’s a lot of crabs for very little work, folks! We went and had steamed crabs for lunch, and he sent me home with the leftovers to pick.

Corn is in season everywhere right now, and this chowder really showcases the sweet, fresh flavor it lends. Let me just say that this soup was nothing short of phenomenal. All the flavors married so well, and I loved that you could taste the individual ingredients. The crab, the corn, the onion, the garlic, the potatoes…all off them working together in perfect harmony, but one not overpowering the other. Will be making this one again and again! The epitome of a Maryland Eastern Shore summer.