Tag Archives: soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

The new year brought sore throats and stuffy noses to the TJOC household, and as everyone knows, a steaming hot bowl of soup is the best medicine around.  Luckily, this month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge was to find the ultimate chicken noodle soup, and I already had a recipe all ready and waiting to be made.


This Chicken Gnocchi Soup is courtesy of my friend Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking.  If you’re not familiar with her blog (you should be, she makes awesome food), you may know her as the mastermind behind the Recipe Swaps that I participate in.  So when Sarah said that this soup was damn good, I trusted her judgment and she didn’t let me down.

I did make some adjustments to the soup in an effort to try to lighten it a bit.  I only used 1 cup of half and half and subbed the other cup with some 0% Greek yogurt.    I also upped the amount of garlic and veggies and reduced the amount of butter used.  Even with all of these changes, it didn’t sacrifice any of the flavor or creaminess.

And while we sickies have since recovered (due much in part to the soup and a day curled up watching movies on the couch, I’m sure), I’m so glad that I still have a big container of soup waiting in the fridge for me for lunch this week (and a couple of servings in the freezer for when we inevitably are under the weather again).

Chicken Gnocchi Soup – slightly adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking

  • 1 Lb. Mini Gnocchi (or Gnocchi, cut in half, or 1 Cup Short Cut Pasta)
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Shallots, finely diced
  • 4 Ribs Celery, finely diced
  • 4 Carrots, peeled and finely diced or shredded
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Cup 2% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Cups Skim Milk
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
  • 14 oz. Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Drop gnocchi into a pot of boiling water.  Cook until gnocchi begin to float, about 2 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, celery, carrots and garlic and saute until the shallots become translucent and the vegetables begin to soften, about 5-8 minutes.  Add the flour, stir and cook for one minute.  Add the half and half, yogurt and milk.  Bring to a simmer, then add the chicken.

Once the mixture has thickened, add the chicken broth and return to a simmer.  It will thicken again, then stir in the cooked gnocchi, spinach, thyme and parsley and simmer until the soup is heated throughout.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving.

Be sure to check out the other Chicken Noodle Soup entries below!

French Onion Soup.

Uh, so yeah.  I’ve seriously been slacking on my Eleven in ’11 list.  This french onion soup marks only the fourth item conquered from my list, and with only ten days left of 2011, it looks as though I’m going to have to spend the rest of this year in the kitchen if I want to complete my goal.  Eek!

French onion soup is one of my all time favorite foods.  I have to order it whenever it’s listed on a menu, no matter how hot it might be outside.  As simple as it is, there’s something so comforting about a big bowl of steamy hot soup topped with a crouton and smothered in cheese.

As much as I love it, I’d been dreading making it at home.  Not because it seemed difficult to do (it’s quite easy, actually), but more so because it’s incredibly time consuming.  It took at least twice as long to complete each step than what was stated in the original recipe (but luckily, I had read through a bunch of the comments which also reflected that, so I was prepared).  With a five star rating and over 400 reviews, I knew it would be good.  I upped the number of onions called for since I wanted to make sure they were the focus of the soup, and I kept the bay leaves in until the soup was ready to be served.  The end result was so incredibly delicious, it was worth every second spent making it.  The only change I’d make next time (because yes, there will be a next time!) is to buy more cheese so that it oozes over the sides of the bowl.  That’s the best part!!

French Onion Soup – slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 6 Yellow Onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 Fresh Bay Leaves
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Cup Pinot Noir (or your favorite red wine)
  • 3 Heaping Tbsp. Flour
  • 2 Quarts Beef Broth
  • 1 Baguette, sliced and toasted
  • 1/2 Lb. Gruyere, grated

Heat a large pot over medium and melt the butter.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized and turn golden brown in color, about 45 minutes.

Add the wine, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 10 minutes.  Remove the thyme sprigs from the pot and scrape the leaves back onto the onions.  Add the flour and stir until the onions are covered.  Cook for 10 minutes, then add the beef broth.  Return to a simmer then partially cover the pot and allow to simmer 1-2 hours.  Remove bay leaves.

Turn on the broiler.  To serve, ladle soup into individual oven safe bowls placed on a baking sheet.  Add a toasted baguette slice to each bowl then top with a mound of gruyere.  Keeping a watchful eye, broil 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted, brown and bubbly.

Reader Request: Cream of Condensed Soup Substitute.

When I posted the Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Casserole the other day, I received a ton of requests for my recipe for cream of canned soup substitute.

Casseroles are food for the soul, and most of them involve using a can of condensed cream soup.  Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the label of the can?  Most of them are unpronounceable, and that can’t be very good for your soul, can it?  On the cooking board I frequent, it’s even lovingly referred to as “Cream of Crap.”

I came across the recipe for this substitute on Pinterest (follow me!) and I’ve been using it ever since.  It’s a great base for all of your condensed cream soup  needs –

Want cream of chicken?  Just stir in cooked, diced chicken to your soup substitute.

Cream of vegetable (celery/mushroom/broccoli etc.)?  Cook your chopped vegetable of choice in 2 Tbsp. of Butter over medium heat for 4-5 minutes before adding the substitute.

Cheese?  Melt some shredded cheese into the substitute (it would probably make a great sauce for mac and cheese too!)

All you have to do is add water to the mix and there you have it.  Can’t really get much easier than that!  I made a double batch and keep it in an airtight container in my pantry to use whenever a recipe calls for cream of soup.  I also taped the recipe to the container so when I’m running low, I can whip up a new batch, pronto.

Cream of Condensed Soup Substitute – adapted from One Orange Giraffe

  • 1 Cup Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
  • 3/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1/4 Cup Bouillon
  • 4 Tbsp. Dried Minced Onions
  • 1 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine ingredients and mix well.  Store in an airtight container.

To make the equivalent of one can of condensed soup, combine 1/3 Cup of the substitute with 1 1/4 Cups Water.  Stir and cook over medium heat until thickened.

Pasta E Fagioli.

When Sarah announced that this week’s swap theme was Soup/Stew, I was really excited because there’s little I love more than a steamy bowl of soup on a cold day.  And when I realized that I only have two soup recipes posted here, I was eager to add another to the blog.

I love making big pots of soup during the cold months and eating the leftovers all week long.  My soups always end up turning out more like stews because, for some reason, I possess the inability to achieve a brothy soup.  Maybe the simmer function on my stove is too high or maybe I just don’t ever add enough water/stock, but my soups always, without fail, eat up all the broth.

That being said, my pasta e fagioli ended up being more like the literal translation: pasta and beans.  Wonderfully delicious but lacking any sort of resemblance to a soup, which in my kitchen, is exactly what I’m used to.  I topped my interpretation with a drizzle of olive oil like Melissa suggests and then added some freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Yum!

Pasta E Fagioli – slightly adapted from I Was Born to Cook

  • 1 16 oz Bag Great Northern Beans
  • 2 Smoked Ham Hocks
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Cup Marinara Sauce
  • Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • 2 Cups Ditalini Pasta, cooked al dente
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Parmesan Cheese, for sprinkling

Sift through the dry beans then add to a stock pot.  Cover with a water to a few inches over the beans.  Bring to a boil, then turn the stove off and let stand for about an hour to soften.  Drain the water then refill with fresh water over the beans by a few inches again.  Add the ham hocks, garlic cloves and oregano and simmer for 45 minutes.

Mix in tomato sauce and red pepper flakes and cook another 30 minutes, until beans are tender.  Remove from heat and add the cooked pasta and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.