Farmer’s Market Tomato Vegetable Bisque, from 52 Ways to Cook (recipe here)
Followed the recipe exactly for this one and it was lovely. A little bit messy when you get to the part where you pulse it through your food processor, but worth it. I like everything a little chunky, so mine was probably a lot less bisque-y and more stew-y when all was said and done. Garnishing it with sour cream and Parmesan was definitely the way to go.
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, from Nigella Lawson (recipe here)
I didn’t write down my notes from this one, so I’m trying to remember… I followed the recipe ALMOST perfectly, but when I went to open my tamarind paste, I discovered that its seal had already been breached. Big disappointment. I really *like* tamarind. I ended up using some lime juice in place of that, but the soup is probably better with the tamarind. The thin rice noodles were ok, but they are not my favorite thing, so if I were to make this again, I would try some other kind of noodle. I think Nigella’s looks better than mine turned out. Oh well.
Chicken Wild Rice, from Roti & Rice (recipe here)
Really enjoyed this one. The flour thickening technique is something I rarely do, but the flavor you get from it is really good. I used less flour than called for (1/4 cup instead of 3/4), and I added more chicken and mushrooms, and used spinach instead of parsley (the rabbits ate all the parsley, but they’re not huge fans of spinach, so that’s all mine). This is one I would make again. In a more recent recipe, I tried pureeing some cooked cauliflower to use as a thickening agent and that worked really well. Might also be good in this.
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup, from Lauren’s Latest (recipe here)
Looking back over my notes…it seems I have changed a bunch of things. So many things, that I just wrote down my own recipe. But, you should totally try Lauren’s, too. Here’s what I went with:
1 15.25 oz can of sweet corn
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 15 oz can of pinto beans
1 rotisserie chicken (I recommend removing the meat from the carcass and not just throwing the whole bird in the pot)
1 29 oz can of tomato puree
1 yellow squash (chop it up)
1 1/2 c chopped carrots
1 T cumin
2 t paprika
2 t garlic powder
2 t adobo sauce + 1 chopped chili
1 t ancho chili powder
2 t honey
1 t salt
4 cups chicken broth (you can make the broth from the rotisserie chicken carcass, if you like – that’s what I did)
Basically, I read through the original recipe and thought – oregano? Sounds too Italian! Smoked paprika? Never had it! Tomato sauce? Every single brand I looked at had added sugar or “natural” flavors. Forgot the chicken stock when I went to the store, so I had to make my own. Didn’t see the point of adding tortilla strips to the soup (even though it’s called a tortilla soup). Meh. Also, switched out the cannellini beans for a different variety, because I preferred the other.
Even after all of my changes it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I’d like a little more chunky tomato in a future edition, and also some red/green peppers.
Dal – From “Good & Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day,” by Leanne Brown
This recipe came from a book, so I encourage you to check it out at your local library – or, if you can’t get it there, you could either hound them to purchase it or buy a copy for yourself. I went the library path.
This was delicious and doesn’t have all that many ingredients, so it didn’t take long to make. The dal cooks really quickly, too, so not like reconstituting dried beans. I love you, lentils! I thought it made about 6 servings, though the recipe says 4. I did end up making a few changes – habanero pepper instead of jalapeño, powdered cumin instead of cumin seeds, and powdered ginger instead of fresh – because I didn’t have some of them, but I think it turned out just fine. I served it over some sauteed tofu (golden!), and it was wonderful. I would definitely make this one again AND I could eat it for an entire week.
Easy Crock Pot Beef Stew, from Gonna Want Seconds (recipe here)
According to the recipe, this makes 4 servings. I skipped the potatoes when I made it and was going to use cauliflower instead, but I could not fit everything in my little crock pot. Aaand, I think this makes more like 8-10 servings. Unless we’re talking Oberon-style servings, in which case, there were 2. (Just kidding.)
I ended up steaming the cauliflower separately and then pouring the stew over it when I put my lunches together in their little plastic containers.
I skipped the beef bouillon cubes entirely, because I read the ingredients on the package and was horrified (<– see what I mean about altering recipes? It’s like I physically just can’t not do it). So, to get some additional beefy flavor I added a little over a cup of beef broth and 1/3 cup of Marsala wine (which was lurking in my pantry from another recipe I’d tried). Also garlic. This recipe had no garlic. Whaaat?? I had the celery, but somehow forgot it (accidental change!). And, like I said, there was too much food for the pot, so I had to add half the mushrooms after the first contingent had cooked down a little bit.
I learned a new technique for browning meat with flour, and I was sneaking tastes of the beef all along the way. I would just eat the beef like this and skip the stewing of everything else. My recipe came out less thick (the photos on Gonna Want Seconds make this look AMAZING), and I did not want to eat it for a whole week. But I did. So, there.
Mexican Chicken Lime Soup – Rachael Ray (recipe here)
Looking at the recipe for this and looking at the results made me think that it would leave me hungry. But, there was a lot of chicken in it, so that wasn’t the case. It was also super easy to throw together. My notes say “I would make this again” mostly because of its simplicity, but I probably won’t make this again, because there are lots of other soups that I’d rather have again. Still, it had a nice spiciness to it and the lime juice brightened it up, too. I had plenty of avocado around the house when I made this, but I kept forgetting to add it to my lunches. (That would have bulked it up a bit!) I also left out the tortilla chips because I just eat whatever tortilla chips come into my house – forget the soup! When I picked this recipe out I was looking for a really hearty tortilla soup. So, if I made this again, or if I make something *like* this again, I will add beans and tomatoes and maybe some corn to it. AND avocado.