9 Worthy Winter Soups

It’s the perfect time for winter soups starting with one of my favorite recipes for Lentil Soup. All of these recipes have have something special about them from the use of kale to quinoa to a five ingredient chili. Soups are so healthy and hearty and are the ideal comfort food for January. Let me know which is your favorite!

Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup via Tartlette

Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili via My Recipes

Kale Soup via Just One Cookbook

Curried Zucchini Soup via Martha Stewart

Organic Broccoli Soup via Deliciously Organized

Chipotle Vegetarian Chili via Ingredients, Inc.

Vegetable Quinoa Soup via Two Peas and Their Pod

Sausage, Kale and Black Eyed Pea Soup via Bev Cooks

Tortilla Soup with Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

If you have any leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I have a great recipe idea. This Tortilla Soup recipe is my newest favorite, and it’s a perfect way to use up your turkey leftovers. I served it tonight, and I couldn’t stop eating it. If you don’t have any turkey leftovers, feel free to use cooked chicken (or a rotisserie chicken is perfect if you’re in a hurry). You can also make this a vegetarian recipe by substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth, omitting the turkey and using an entire can of black beans. My 3 kids loved this soup, and they told me it is the best tortilla soup they have ever tried. I took this as a sincere compliment and good endorsement! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday! It was so nice to be with my family and catch up on some rest. I ran a 10K “Turkey Run” on Thursday, and I placed 5th in my age division. I’ll take it! Here is to a great week ahead!

Weekend Inspiration: Recipes, Decor, Yoga

Happy First weekend of March everyone! I thought I would share some awesome inspirational favorites I saw this week via the web. But first, I thought I wanted to share (again) one of my favorite recipes for Breakfast Almond and Raspberry Quinoa which has been so highly requested. Look for big, big news on my site next week. Thanks for everyone’s continued support! Have a great weekend, Alison

Fabulous beyond words via Pinterest

Incredible Laundry Inspiration via Houzz

 Amazing Yoga Inspiration

Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup via Gourmande in the Kitchen

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting via Bakers Royale

Healthy Soup Recipes & 6th Annual Acoustic Soup Event

I have been on a soup kick this month, and I am so excited to judge this year’s Acoustic Soup in Birmingham, Alabama at Workplay on January 26th. This event will feature soup from talented Birmingham chef’s and restaurants benefitting VSA Alabama, which serves children and adults with chronic disabilities through the arts. Please come and bring your families for great food and a wonderful cause. Here are some of my favorite soup recipes such as my Chipotle Vegetarian Chili (pictured above) and others from my favorite magazines and blogs such as this Tortilla Soup from Sunset Magazine and My Recipes (pictured below).

Beef and Barley Soup from Better Homes and Gardens 

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Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup from A Spicy Perspective

Healthy Warm Lentil Soup from Ingredients, Inc

 Rustic Roasted Tomato Soup from Family Fresh Cooking

Beef, Potato and Quinoa Soup from Skinny Taste

Chipotle Vegetarian Chili Recipe

It’s the time of year when I like to make a lot of soups, and chili, of course. This Chipotle Vegetarian Chili recipe is one of my newest favorites filled with black beans, corn, fresh vegetables, and chipotle peppers. I used the canned chipotle peppers, and they are great. Just don’t go overboard and add too many. You can always add more, so start with one or two and a little bit of the sauce. The peppers and a little beer add a wonderful spicy and smokiness to this chili, but this recipe is still very healthy and low in fat. It’s perfect for an easy weeknight dinner or for casual entertaining.

Simple Southwestern Tortilla Soup


It has been so cold in Alabama the past 2 months, so my family has been living on soup galore. It has finally warmed up thank goodness, but this Southwestern Soup is one of my kid’s favorites. My friend, Nancy, worked hard helping me to perfect the recipe. Many thanks to a wonderful friend. I used rotisserie chicken which saves a lot of time and effort. I love the touch of the homemade tortilla strips. I make this soup even in the summertime, but it’s always fabulous to serve this time of year.

Parsnip-Potato Chowder

It’s the perfect time of year for soups, and why not try something a little different such as this Parsnip-Potato Chowder? When I taught a cooking class recently, very few people in the class had ever cooked or tried parsnips.  Parsnips are root vegetables, and they are related to the carrot family. Parsnips resemble carrots but are paler in color and have a slightly sweeter taste. Parsnips provide an excellent source of vitamin C, folic acid, B vitamins and fiber. Combine parsnips and potatoes with a touch of fresh dill, milk and vegetable broth to create a comforting and flavorful chowder. This soup tastes so rich without using any cream, and my kids even enjoyed it. For added flavor, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and fresh chopped dill.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Did you know butternut squash is technically a fruit? It’s a member of the gourd family along with pumpkin, cucumber and melon as they all have seeds. Its orange color adds to its power of nutrients known as carotenoids shown to protect against heart disease. Butternut Squash also has significant amounts of potassium and vitamin B6 and folate. It’s low in fat and is a good source of fiber. I love using it in soups and this Curried Butternut Squash Soup is so easy, flavorful and heart-warming. Serve with a salad and crusty bread, and that’s all you need.

Lightened-Up Seafood Gumbo

Happy New Year to everyone! We spent the past few days down at the beach, and yesterday we watched a lot of football and enjoyed this Seafood Gumbo recipe adapted from Cooking Light. With only 254 calories and 2 grams of fat, this hearty soup will fit into your New Years resolution plan to eat healthy and get lean. It’s so flavorful and comforting this time of year. Just serve with a salad and some crusty bread, and that is all you need. I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and I look forward to a fantastic 2011 on Ingredients, Inc.

Seafood Gumbo

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup  chopped green bell pepper

1/2  cup chopped celery

2  garlic cloves, minced

11/2 cups sliced okra

1 cup chopped tomato

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

4  (8-ounce) bottles clam juice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 pound skinned scamp or other firm white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces

11/4  pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2  teaspoon hot sauce

4 1/2  cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Directions

1. Place flour in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; cook over medium heat 20 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly with a whisk. (If flour browns too fast, remove it from heat, and stir until it cools down.) Remove from heat; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add okra, tomato and oregano; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 11/2 cups chicken broth, Cajun  Seasoning, clam juice, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Gradually add browned flour, stirring with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add scamp; cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp; cook 10 minutes or until seafood is done. Stir in hot sauce. Serve gumbo over rice.

Note: One (8-ounce) container select oysters, undrained, may be added.

Under 30 Minutes to Low-Fat Beef Chili

It has been so cool outside in Birmingham the past few days, so I made one of my kid’s favorites-Basic Low-Fat Chili recipes. With 260 calories and 4.4 grams of fat per serving, you can feel good about eating this heart-warming, simple chili, which my kids love.


My 10 Chili-Making Tips:

1. If your chili is too thick, use broth to dilute it.

2. If the chili is too thin, add tomato paste.

3. Use the best beef you can buy, and add it first.

4. Use fresh vegetables.

5. Cook the chili a day before you plan to eat it.

5. Use dried spices that are fresh.

6. Make a double batch for future meals.

7. Serve leftover chili in tacos, spaghetti, burritos or as a filling in omelets or quesadillas.

8. A touch of unsweetened cocoa powder or coffee give chili an earthy flavor.

9. Freeze leftover chili in an airtight container in individual servings for easy, quick heat-up.

10. Serve as a “Chili Bar” with accompaniments such as sour cream, Greek yogurt, shredded cheeses, onions, crushed blue corn tortilla chips, chopped cilantro and chopped tomatoes.

Note: If you don’t have time to make this recipe. Here’s an awesome shortcut. Purchase the Publix Brand Chili Seasoning Mix and combine with beef, tomato sauce and red kidney beans (as directed on the package), and it tastes like homemade.