Beka To Basics

Real Food Cooking

Archive for the category “Soup”

You are my pumpkin

Sometimes, you get home after 8. It’s dark and has been for the past few hours. Work was stressful, traffic sucked, it’s cold and all those things on your to do list have taken a back seat to the fact that it’s after 8 and you are hungry.  Really hungry. Anything in fridge to reheat? No, of course not, because you didn’t think that far ahead this morning.

Pumpkin to the rescue.

I made this in less than 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 can or 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 or 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk, cream, or coconut milk (optional, but oh, so delicious)
  • 1 or 2 tsp salt, depending on how salty the broth is
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp thyme

Add it all to a pot and let simmer. Pair with grilled cheese and avocado sandwiches and you have a 10 minute, very comforting meal. IMG_0194


Using Other People’s Recipes

We all do it.  You can’t be amazing and original every night of the week.  😉

Recently, I’ve been trying a bunch of new recipes by other people.  The first one was French Onion Soup.  For some reason, when I was shopping, I had sherry stuck in my head for this soup, instead of the vermouth that it calls for.  So, I came home with sherry.  I also used three types of onions.  If I had to do it over, and I will, I would leave out the sweet onions and try it with vermouth.  It was really sweet.  Really good, but a bit too sweet for me.  It was awesome with baguette and gruyere melted on top though.

I used to try all new recipes exactly as written and then adjust it the next time I made it.  What I found out was that I didn’t actually re-make anything if I didn’t like it the first time.  So, I try to make changes the first time if I think it will suit my tastes better.

Like these Teriyaki Meatballs by Budget Bytes.  Don’t get me wrong, these look amazing as written, I just didn’t have green onions.  So, I shredded some red onion instead.  It was awesome and I think I’ll keep it.  The Teriyaki Sauce recipe is an awesome recipe to have.  I don’t think I will ever buy it again, this was so easy!

I also found this Healthy Living EBook Collection, many of which I’ve been thinking about buying anyways.  Now, I got a great deal!  I expect all the recipes in these books will be keeping my busy for a while.  That and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Carnita Soup

I’m not even sure Carnita is a word. I know Carnitas is, but Carnita?  If it’s not, I guess we can just call it Sopa de Carnitas? Maybe?

You’re going to like this one, its so easy. And perfect for a cold day. Like today.

This one seriously takes so little work and is ready when you get home because its made in… you guessed it, the slow cooker. 🙂 Have I mentioned how much I love my slow cooker?

Carnita Soup

  • 2 or 3 lb Pork Loin
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 pepper (red, yellow, green, it doesn’t matter)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • 3 or so cups of black beans
  • stock or water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp taco seasoning

Chop up the pepper, onion and garlic.  Put everything in the slow cooker and add enough liquid to cover it and cook it on low for about 8 hours.  The pork will shred when its cooked through and ready to eat.

Cooking with a Pumpkin

And I mean a real pumpkin. Not from a can, but from the ground grown on a vine and picked then put into my oven, pumpkin.

Yep.  It was my first time.

I’ve cooked with squash before and pumpkins are basically big squashes, yes?

What I’ve learned is that cooking pumpkins and carving pumpkins are different.  I kind of knew that already, but hadn’t really tested the theory.  I’ll tell you what, it’s been tested now and I would never want to cook a carving pumpkin.  They don’t have enough ‘meat’ to them, it’s all string and seeds.  Cooking pumpkins have a lot more of the squashy part to them than the carving ones.  Which is good, because that’s the yummy part.

It’s actually quite easy.  You cut the top off the pumpkin and then cut it in half and put it in a baking dish, cut side down and roast it for about 40 minutes until you can put a fork through it easily.  Take it out, let it cool and scoop all the squashy parts out and either mash with a potato masher or a food processor.  I had a small pumpkin, but I ended up with 2 pints of punkin goo and a bunch of seeds to roast. 🙂

So, what to do with all that Pumpkin?  Well, I decided to try this Coconut-Pumpkin Soup. I made very few changes, like I sauteed the veggies in butter because let’s face it, everything is better in butter.  I also thought I had gotten coconut milk at the store, but I had actually picked up coconut cream.  Since it’s slightly sweet, I left out the brown sugar and just added about a tbsp of molasses to make up for the missing flavor.

This soup is so good. I cannot even tell you in words how much I enjoyed it, so I fully expect everyone to make it as soon as possible so you can experience it yourself.  I’m including a picture, but I have to admit, it doesn’t do it justice at all!  Believe me, it looks and tastes so good!

Featured in What’s in the Box?

I plan to use the rest of the pumpkin puree for pumpkin pancakes this weekend. 🙂

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

I need to confess, I ordered pizza this weekend instead of making it. (Oh, the horror, the horror)

I want to see if anyone else does what I do when I order pizza.  Instant regret.  It comes, I eat it.  Then, I start to think about how much I paid for dough, sauce, cheese and toppings.  I have everything I need to make a pizza in my cupboards and fridge and it would have been a lot cheaper.  But making it would have involved work, so it’s a trade off.  Still, every time, I go through the same thing.

And what do you think I did AFTER I ate the pizza?  Yeah, you’re right.  I cooked.  Kind of ironic, huh?  Or maybe not.
Anyways, this soup didn’t take long at all and it fed right into my laziness since I put corn on the cob right into the soup to cook. instead of cooking it and then de-kernelling it (have we determined the correct word for that yet?).

Lazy Potato Leek Corn Soup

  • 2 leeks, chopped and washed well
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and broken into pieces
  • 3 pints of stock – veggie stock makes this a wonderful vegetarian soup!
  • salt and pepper

Melt the butter and cook the leeks and onion for a few minutes.  While this is cooking, I cut the potatoes and shucked the corn.  By the time I was finished, the leeks and onions were soft so I added the flour to make yet another roux.  I’ve been in love with this method the past few weeks, can you tell?  I added the stock and let it come to a simmer, then added the potatoes and corn and let it all cook for about 20 minutes.

The worst part of this soup?  Just how good it smells, and I’m not hungry anymore!

The best part?  The PURPLE POTATOES!!! Did you know they came in all purple? And all red? And there are so many other types of potatoes besides the few that I knew about.  They aren’t typically in the grocery store, although I have seen the purple ones recently.  I was so silly excited when I picked up these purples from my farmer that he gave me a mini potato lesson.  I’m totally on a search for all types of potatoes now.

This is why my soup has a purplish hue! 🙂

Batch Cooking for Refrigerator Food

I know when people talk about batch cooking, they are usually talking about putting it in the freezer to have a fully cooked meal ready.  Well, I’m not quite ready for that step.  I do A LOT of cooking from my freezer, but I freeze the pieces of a meal and the cook it.  Like, potatoes, chicken, stock and random veggies.  It’s great because everything is already prepped and ready to use, but it’s no where near the amazing batch cooking of freezer food you can find people talking about.  Part of the reason is that I love cooking.  It’s part of my unwind from the day ritual almost every night.  Get off work, drive home, cook dinner, eat.

There are some nights that I wish I had something that I could pull out of the freezer though.  Or a large meal I make doesn’t end up being so large and runs out before I’ve made something else, leaving me with the never ending now what do I eat question.  Freezer cooking would answer that question easily.  Even though I don’t think I will cook all of my meals for the freezer, I do want to have some options.  So, here’s my first step towards freezer cooking.

I cooked Sunday morning, Monday evening and a little bit on Tuesday.  Sunday I made refrigerator dough, a few buns, boiled and dekernelled (is that a word?) corn for chowder, tomato sauce and Bombay Sloppy Joes.  Monday I made corn chowder and tacos.  Tuesday all I had to do was make guacamole and heat up shells and tacos were ready to eat.  So far, I’ve had dinner and lunches all ready for the week.  It just takes a few minutes to heat everything up and you have dinner. 🙂  And dinner that’s way better than running out to the nearest fast food restaurant.  Plus it’s left me time for my newest project.  Anyone need a baby blanket? It’s handmade! 🙂

Since everyone has their own personal perfect guacamole recipe, I’ll spare you mine.  Just know that its amazing and I’ll share if you really want. 😉  Tacos we’ve talked about before and the sloppy joe recipe isn’t mine.  I will say that it is so awesome and you should make it as soon as possible because you won’t regret it. Promise.  It’s even better with homemade buns fresh out of the oven.

Corn Chowder

  • 6 ears of corn (why are they ears?!) boiled and kernels cut off
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup stock
  • rosemary and basil – I’ve also seen recipes with tarragon that look really tasty!
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheese
  • 1 clove garlic

Melt the butter and add onions.  Saute until they are soft, then add the garlic and saute for a minute or so.  Add the flour to make a roux.  Add the stock and milk and bring to an almost simmer.  Let it thicken just a bit and then melt the cheese into the mixture.  Add the seasonings and corn kernels.

Because this is a milk based soup, I try to make sure it gets eaten within three days because I’m not sure that it would hold up longer than that.  I had it for lunch for three days and breakfast one day.

Is soup ok for breakfast?

Stretching Food and my Three Year Blanket

So, I found this sage pork sausage that I love.  The problem?  It’s expensive.  The other problem?  It’s so delicious.

Hmmm, how to solve the problems?

Like my tennis coach used to say, “Let’s stretch it out.” (I knew his advice would come in handy at some point in my life)

With 1 lb of sage pork sausage, I made 10 meals.  Squash and Pork Hash and Sage Pork Soup


I cooked the pork in my stock pot, removed it, added chopped squash, zucchini, onions, green peppers, garlic and tomatoes and sauteed them all.  I added about half of the pork back in and had dinner for two for two nights, plus lunch for one more.

After I stowed the leftover Hash in it’s refrigerator container, I added some olive oil to my pot, sauteed more onions and garlic.  Then I added stock, potatoes and green beans and simmered until they were all done.  I added the other half of the pork in and called it a night.  Five meals from the soup, plus five from the hash all from 1 lb of meat isn’t too shabby. 🙂

While we’re talking about stretching things out, I’ll admit why I’ve been slacking a little bit on my cooking.  I started crocheting myself a blanket.  Well, I started it three years ago and have been lugging the pieces and unfinished portion around with me.  I fondly call it my Three Year Blanket.  It was time to finish it.  I had stretched its creation as FAR as is would go.  No more stretching on that one!

The Three Year Blanket

Normally, it doesn’t take me three years to finish one.  Normally, there is a goal, like someone’s birthday, a baby being born (I know, same thing), or Christmas.  When I have a reason to finish, I do, but when it’s just for me, well… You know, it turns into a three year project.

Beef Stew

Well, the time has finally come. I know it’s here because it was below 50 degrees when I woke up this morning.  There was frost on the cars outside.  So, it’s time.  Time to bring in the herbs overnight.  Time to pull out the jeans and sweatshirts and make sure they are clean and ready to go.  Time to get heavy socks and long johns (yes, long johns).

Don’t get me wrong – I love the fall and I love the winter.  I love getting bundled up.  I love getting unbundled and cozy in a warm house.  I love waking up to frost and going to bed under a heavy blanket.  I love the still and the quiet than comes with the cold.  I love that it forces a pause to life before spring wakes.

I realize there will be summer like weather still, and I will fully enjoy being outside in the warm while I still can.  However, I am looking forward to cool weather, bonfires, coats and cozy nights while it snows outside and I’m inside eating a hearty stew.

Beef Stew

  • 1/2 lb leftover cooked chuck roast
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a large potato or a few small ones
  • a cup or so of green beans
  • 1 quart of stock
  • butter or olive oil
  • all green herbs you have that you think will taste good together  plus salt and pepper (seriously, this is how I decided what to season the stew with) If you want specifics, I used 2 Bay Leaves, thyme, sage, basil, tarragon, parsley and rosemary

Saute the onion and carrot in olive oil or butter until they are soft. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Follow with the green beans.  When they are bright green, add the chicken stock and bring it all to a simmer.  Add any herbs you like and the potatoes and let it simmer for 30 mins to an hr, depending on when you want to eat.  When you’re ready, add the chuck roast in and shred it as it warms.

While I wait for fall and winter to truly start, I’ll take my own pause and remember there are plenty of warm days left to enjoy…

And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~Robert Frost


On the fly soup

You know it’s been too long since I talked about soup. 😉

I made an awesome soup with random leftovers the other day, which means the four meals I got from it were basically free.  It’s really simple to do.  Just freeze all your extras.  Yes, even if you only have enough to fit one of those little itty bitty containers.  I know someone who is irritated by those little tiny containers that only have a couple bites in them (you know who you are 🙂 ).  While I understand the frustration of having these tiny things hanging out in your freezer, they really come in handy sometimes.  Like On the Fly Soup.

I had two little containers with beans (a mix of black, pinto and lentils), some CSA jalapenos and garlic, frozen sauteed onions and green peppers and chicken stock.  I just let everything thaw in the fridge while I was at work. I came home and chopped, then sauteed the jalapenos and garlic in a little butter, added the other veggies, the beans and the stock.  I seasoned it with some thyme, salt and pepper and let it simmer for about ten minutes.  Soup’s ON!!


Add a fresh baked bun and some brie and you have a very happy Beka!

Even the cat wants some!


Better Than Canned Tomato Soup

Yeah, you know which kind of canned soup I’m talking about, don’t you?

Creamy Tomato Soup with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Mmm

I love it, but something about the high fructose corn syrup and ‘flavorings’ on the label turn me off.

Then there’s the fact that I had all these tomatoes that needed to be used and honestly, what better way than to make soup? And besides, I need practice making soup for all the soup I’ll be making this winter 😉

This can be an easy recipe or a more involved one and it can be creamy or brothy, depending on what you want.  I made the more involved one since I had the time.

Tomato Soup

  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups of milk (Creamy) or stock/water (Brothy) or a combination of both

For Roasted Tomato Soup – chop the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the over for 30 minutes.  Let them cool and puree them.

If you are running short on time, or just don’t feel like it – skip the first step and just puree the tomatoes.

Chop up the onion and garlic.  Melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the veggies are soft.  Add the flour to make a roux.  Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes.  Add the liquid and bring it to a simmer. Stir until it starts to thicken.

If you want a less chunky soup (and have the time), let the tomato puree drain in a colander over a bowl.  You can help them drain by squishing them down into the colander.  If you don’t care about chunky soup, just use the puree.

Once your base has thickened, add the tomato juice/ puree and stir.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  I also added some Italian Seasoning, just because it’s good.

The best part about this recipe?  You can make it and freeze in canned size portions to use in all those recipes that call for canned tomato soup!

Linked up at Fight Back FridayWhat’s in the Box Link Party and Real Food Wednesday!

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