The Ultimate Bacon Creamy Bowl of Happiness

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This is the ultimate creation of creamy, bacon, curry happiness. Unlike the rest of the nation, I haven’t given in to the bacon craze. I enjoy it, but can live without it. However this is one of the recipes that always makes me whistle a different tune. All it took was one taste and I was sold. For those of you who are already bacon fans, be prepared to enter a state of bliss.

My husband introduced me to this recipe when we were dating. I had managed to catch a whopper of a cold and was stuck on the couch feeling miserable. He came over to my apartment with juice, medicine and the ingredients for Bonfire Warmer Soup. I absolutely loved it. Now whenever it’s gloomy outside, one of us gets sick or we can think of any other excuse, we make this recipe. It’s the best comfort food you could ask for. Serve it with a roll of crunchy bread and you’ll be converted as well.

I always double the recipe, but somehow never get a chance to freeze any of the leftovers. The soup disappears from the fridge too quickly. I’ve made it with turkey bacon and haven’t noticed a difference in flavor. It’s still delightfully savory.

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Bonfire Warmer Soup

Ingredients
1 carrot, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 Tablespoons plain flour
2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons milk
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Directions
1.) Gently sauté the carrot, onion and bacon in the butter for 10 minutes until softened.
2.) Stir in the curry powder and flour, cook for 2 minutes.
3.) Gradually add the milk and stock stirring continuously until the soup thickens and boils.
4.) Serve with crusty bread.

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Homemade Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin soup

Everyone has their Halloween traditions. Some people fill their evenings with candy, scary tales or simply sit by candlelight sipping apple cider. I prefer to be somewhere in the middle. I like to watch a scary movie by candlelight and eat something that reminds me of Fall. In the past, my recipes have been limited to a creepy crawly dessert. This year I wanted to try something I little different.

I am a sucker for Pinterest. I know, the reality of what you can create vs. what is advertised are always two separate things. But, they had this adorable image of homemade pumpkin soup that I couldn’t resist. (As seen above) I managed to find baking pumpkins in South Florida, which is a miracle unto itself, and took it as a sign that this pumpkin soup was meant to be.

I stayed true to my bad habits and didn’t read through the recipe before starting. I had baked my beautiful pumpkins and then realized I was supposed to fill them with the apple, onion and chicken broth so the ingredients could cook at the same time. Whoops! I adjusted the recipe a little bit and combined everything on the stove top. It tasted good, but it had the consistency of custard, not soup. I thought about adding some more chicken broth, but was afraid it would take away from the flavor.

My husband and I tried the pumpkin soup the first night. It was ok. Definitely not worth the hassle and precious goat cheese. The only problem, we had a lot of leftovers with very little desire to consume any of it. I looked online for recipes to salvage the soup. The best I could find was pumpkin mac and cheese. My only problem, I’d have to use even more cheese and precious ingredients with only a slight hope of improvement. My husband, being the brilliant man that he is, had another solution. He recommended that we mix the soup with Campbell’s tomato soup. This way it stops being a custard and blends with the tomato flavors. It was delicious! The pumpkin was a nice subtle flavor that made the soup very filling and healthy. From my leftovers, I had enough to make three cans worth of tomato soup.

If I had to make it again, I’d cut the recipe in half and serve it with the tomato soup. It’s a great way to hide the healthy ingredients from your little ones and add a hint of fall to a classic meal. So here’s my take on pumpkin soup with my many adjustments.

Pumpkin tomato soup

Pumpkin Soup with a Creative Campbell Spin

  • 1 small sugar pie pumpkin
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 small green apple chopped
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans Campbell’s tomato soup
  • Milk

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice pumpkin in half. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, scrape out the seeds. Brush the pumpkin innards with 1 Tbs of oil. Place on a baking dish in the oven for 30-45 hour. Test pumpkin by poking with a fork or knife. If it’s soft, then set your pumpkin aside and let cool.

Fill a medium pot with the onion, garlic, apple, butter, chicken broth, half and half, salt and pepper and turn heat to medium low. Don’t let it boil. Once onions are soft, turn on low.

Remove pumpkin from shell with a spoon. Scrape into the pot and add the goat cheese and thyme. Use an immersion blender or food processor to combine the ingredients and make it the same consistency. Set aside.

In a separate pan make Campbell’s tomato soup with milk instead of water. Once the soup is ready, add a ladle full of the pumpkin soup. Taste. Add more and adjust as needed.

Enjoy!

My Favorite Budget Friendly Italian Soup

tuscan soup

Yes, it is winter which means that we’re all pulling out our favorite soup and chili recipes in hopes of staying warm. I normally stick to my Panera Bread soups or throw some red bean chili over cornbread and call it a year. I decided to give this recipe a try after watching the cooking show Money Saving Meals. The tv show passes along tips and recipes for all variety of meals. This is one of the recipes that I wrote down and kept in my To Be Made List. I was very glad that I finally got around to making it.

Now, before I tell you the recipe, there’s one very important detail I have to share with you. My husband, who I love very dearly, has one requirement for dinner: it has to include a meat. It doesn’t matter what kind I use, it has to be there otherwise he’s still hungry an hour later. I didn’t have chicken immediately on hand and since I was exhausted after a long day at work, I gave up and made it as is without any meat. I served it with some quick and easy focaccia bread and hoped for the best.

My husband loved it! We were very full after one small bowl and had a ton of leftovers. This recipe makes quite a large pot of food. It tasted delicious and was a huge success. I will definitely be making it again. The best part is that because there isn’t any meat included, you really do save a lot of money. Definitely give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

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Tuscan Soup with Tortellini

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee 2009

  • Prep Time: 8 min
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Level: Easy
  • Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can less sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen Italian vegetable blend
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen cheese tortellini

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the beef broth and 3 cups of water. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the tortellini. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tortellini and simmer until the tortellini are cooked, another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle into serving bowls and serve with Herb Focaccia, if desired.

Herbed Focaccia

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee 2009

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 28 min
  • Level: Easy
  • Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) bag refrigerator pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Coat a 13 by 9-inch sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread out the pizza dough to fit the sheet pan.

In a small bowl mix together the Italian seasoning and remaining olive oil. Brush the seasoned oil all over the top of the dough, making sure to reserve about 2 teaspoons. Using your fingers punch dimples about halfway down into the dough. Bake in the hot oven for about 8 minutes.

Remove the focaccia from the oven, top with tomato slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and bush with remaining 2 teaspoons of the oil mixture. Return to the oven and bake until the focaccia is gold brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm with Tuscan Soup with Tortellini.

Focaccia bread

Easy Panera Bread Soups

It’s that time of the year when all you want to do is snuggle up under a blanket and savor a warm bowl of soup. Some of the best soups I’ve had came from Panera Bread. Sadly, the price is more than I can afford on a regular basis. So, I did my research and have added these two recipes as my household staples: Panera Bread’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup and Creamy Potato Soup.

They’re simple, they’re easy and they’re delicious. They also don’t cost a lot to purchase the ingredients and I can promise you that there won’t be unwanted leftovers. Another wonderful part is that you can easily adjust some of the ingredients to cut some of the calories.

For instance:

  • In the Cheddar Broccoli Soup, use fat free half and half.
  • In the Creamy Potato Soup, use low fat cream cheese.
  • In the Creamy Potato Soup, use turkey bacon.

Make a loaf of french bread and I promise you’ll have an amazing meal!

Panera Bread’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup

by CDKitchen.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Panera Bread’s Creamy Potato Soup

By AmyZoe on January 01, 2011

Ingredients  

    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • 8 ounces cream cheese ( cut into chunks, at room temperature)
    • 4 slices bacon ( cooked and crumbled)

Directions

  1. Combine broth, potatoes, and spices.
  2. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender.
  3. Smash a few potatoes to release the starch for thickening.
  4. If you like it chunky just smash a small amount of potato, but if you want it smooth smash more potatoes.
  5. Reduce to low heat and add cream cheese.
  6. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.
  7. Ladle into bowls.
  8. Sprinkle a little bacon over each bowl of soup.