Super Quick Pasta E-Fagioli Soup

Inspired by the Olive Garden's soup that my kids
gobbled up on a recent visit.  Made it the other
night in one pot!  Yummy, quick, hearty enough for
a dinner, and enough for two nights!  

Ingredients:

garlicky you like it- I used 2)
  • 1 med. onion (use 1/2 or whole, up to you- I
    used 1/2)
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
    whatever vegetables you have on hand (I
    only used carrots the other night, but
    zucchini and celery would be great
  • 1 can of whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 tetra pack of sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 package of lean ground beef
  • Soba noodles (or whatever pasta you like,
    small shells are good too)
  • 1 can of bean medley- unseasoned (or you
    could open up individual cans of chick peas,
    kidney beans, white beans, romano beans)
  • Italian seasoning or basil and oregano
  • optional: parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Heat up a soup pot on the stove with a table spoon
or two of olive oil in it, once heated, saute chopped
garlic cloves, onion, carrots and celery.   Once
garlic and onions are browned a bit, add in ground
beef (1/2 was more than enough!) and cook until
no pink can be seen.  Drain off fat.

In the same pot, add in can of tomatoes, can of
beans and about 2/3 of the chicken stock.  You
may want to add another half can of beans if you
want the soup to be hearty enough for two nights.  
(I just used one and it was fine.) Simmer until the
soup is bubbling gently, add Soba noodles.  The
noodles are long like spaghetti, just break them up
into smaller lengths about the size half your baby
finger.  Continue to simmer until carrots are tender
and noodles are cooked (about 5 minutes).  Taste
test- add some water if too salty.  Simmer for a few
minutes if you added water.  Use the left over stock
to add to the soup the next day (it always thickens
the next day).  

Serve with a salad and some fresh bread and voila,
dinner is done!
Mostly Homemade Chicken
Noodle Soup

Canned soup is okay in a pinch, but nothing is
better than homemade chicken noodle soup.  
This basic recipe is delish and doesn't require a
chicken carcass, and doesn't take all day to
make.  Best of all, you can control the salt and fat
content.  

Ingredients:

  • couple tablespoons of olive oil or cooking
    spray
  • Rib or two of celery, more if you like lots of
    veggies
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small cooking onion or more if you like
    onions- I do!  
  • 2 or 3 pre-cooked chicken breasts (grill
    them on the George Foreman- trust me,
    it's worth the investment!)
  • 1 tetra pack of chicken broth, reduced fat
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley flakes
  • package of soba noodles (Japanese
    Buckwheat- very good for you, taste good,
    look kind of ugly though) or whatever
    pasta you like

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat a pot on medium-high with a
    tablespoon or two of olive oil (enough to
    coat the bottom likghtly) or cooking spray.
  2. Chop the onions, celery and carrots into
    bite sized pieces and saute for a 5-10
    minutes until the veggies become tender.  
    Once tender, pour in the chicken stock
    and simmer on medium heat.  
  3. While the soup is simmering, pull bits of
    chicken off of the chicken breast (you can
    cut it into cubes if you want, but the meat
    becomes more tender if you pull it apart)
    and put them in the soup to simmer.  
  4. Add a tablespoon or two of dried parsley
    flakes and allow the soup to continue
    simmering on low-medium heat.
  5. If using noodles other than soba, cook in a
    separate pot, do not overcook the pasta,
    put it in the soup al dente (a bit firm).  In
    my opinion, use the sobas, faster, one less
    pot and better for you!
  6. Add salt and pepper to you liking, taste
    test for saltiness, add 1-2 cups of water if
    the soup is still too salty for you (last time I
    did this the soup wasn't salty enough, but
    that's okay, you can always add it at the
    table).
  7. If using soba noodles, add once you have
    finished seasoning the soup.  Just drop
    them in and they will cook in the hot soup
    very quickly.  I would suggest breaking the
    noodles in half or smaller if you are
    feeding this to young children, otherwise
    it's like eating spaghetti soup and it gets a
    bit messy!
  8. Serve with a piece or two of yummy fresh
    bread.  Cut bread into quarters for easy
    dunking!
Easy Peasy Apple Butternut
Squash Soup

Enough with all the fancy shmancy recipes, this one
is basic, quick and just plain yummy!  The apples
really give the soup a sweet touch.  This recipe
makes enough to feed 4-6 adults and freezes well if
you have left overs.   

Ingredients:
  • 1 large tetra pack of chicken broth, reduced
    sodium optional
  • 1 small cooking onion or half to 3/4 of a
    medium onion depending on how much you
    like onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 peeled apples, whatever you have on hand
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1% milk (or whatever you have, or opt out of
    the milk for a thicker soup)

Instructions:

1.  Microwave the squash on a plate until you are
able to cut it, probably 5-10 minutes depending on
the size of the squash and your microwave's power-
don't forget to pierce the squash with a fork or knife
in several places so you don't have a squashy
explosion!  Cut the squash in to quarters or in half
and continue cooking if necessary (sometimes the
bulbous part cooks more quickly then the dense
upper portion).

2.  While the squash is cooking, chop the onions,
garlic and apples.  Apples should be cut to about 2
cm cubes.  Pour a table spoon or two of olive oil
into the bottom of a soup pot, heat then saute
onions and garlic.  Turn heat down and add apples
for a few minutes.  Add entire tetra pack of chicken
broth and allow the mixture to simmer.  

3.  When the squash is done, remove it carefully
from the microwave, allow it to cool a bit.  Remove
the seeds with a spoon.  Scoop or cut out the
squash flesh leaving the skin behind and put in the
soup pot with the stuff you already added.  Don't
worry if you have a few firm bits of squash, they will
cook up in the stock.  Allow the ingredients to
simmer for about 5-10 minutes, or at least until the
apple chunks are softened.  Cool the soup a bit,
then transfer to a blender and puree.

4.  Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and add
seasoning, pepper to taste, and a couple of
pinches of nutmeg.  Thin the soup with some milk if
desired, approximately a cup or two depending on
how thick you like your soup!

Voila- easy peasy squash soup with nothing
unnecessary added, low in fat, high in flavour and
vitamins!