Crockpot Tomato Soup

white bowl of red tomato soup
Crockpot Tomato Soup

With two adjustments (using vegetable broth instead of beef and omitting anchovy paste) makes this a satisfying vegetarian soup, so whatever your lifestyle, this hits the mark.

2 tablespoon olive oil (for browning the onions)
½ cup diced yellow onion, browned
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
½ teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
Salt
black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced (none if making this for kids)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cans (14.5 oz.) diced, stewed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato puree
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

First, brown onions in olive oil and then put in crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients, set crockpot to low and cook (3-4 hours). If you start this in early afternoon, it will be ready for supper. Before serving, blend lightly with a few pulses (don’t do this when soup is hot, it will blow out of the blender, trust me). In our house, we don’t want a fine puree, only medium, but do what your family likes. You can omit this step and simply serve the soup chunky.

Garnish with one or more of these: fresh croutons. Basil leaves, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Meaty, No-Bean Chili

chili in a pottery bowl with tortilla chips on the side
Meaty, No-Bean Chili

My husband doesn’t like beans. No problem with this chili recipe:

1 pound lean, coarse ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small rib celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 small can (4.5 oz.) green chilis
2 T tomato paste (opt)
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro

1. Cook ground beef loosely in skillet until browned. Pour off excess fat if there is any. While the ground beef is cooking, Heat your chili pot or soup kettle over medium high heat, add olive oil, and saute’ the chopped onion and celery, adding the garlic last.
2. Simmer, then add cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion flakes and dried oregano. Add beef broth, stewed tomatoes and green chilis.
3. Add ground beef and simmer 20 minutes. Simmer another 30-40 minutes.
4. Add the chopped cilantro about 10 minutes before serving to keep the flavor fresh.

Family-Style Chili

yellow bowl of chili
Family-Style Chili

FAMILY-STYLE CHILI
1 pound lean, coarse ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small rib celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
1 14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
1 small can (4.5 oz.) green chilis
1 14.5 oz. can beans (kidney)
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook ground beef loosely in skillet until browned. Pour off excess fat if there is any. While the ground beef is cooking, Heat your chili pot or soup kettle over medium high heat, add olive oil, and saute’ the chopped onion and celery, adding the garlic last.

2. Simmer, then add cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion flakes and dried oregano. Add beef broth, stewed tomatoes, green chilis and half the can of beans (reserve the other half to mash and add later).
3. Add ground beef and simmer 20 minutes. Then add the smashed 2nd half of the can of beans. Simmer another 30-40 minutes. . (can be cooked in a slow-cooker).

4. Add the chopped cilantro about 10 minutes before serving to keep the flavor fresh. Makes 6 cups.

Bean Soup Tuscan-Style

blue bowl of bean soup
Bean Soup Tuscan-Style

BEAN SOUP TUSCAN-STYLE

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1/3 c. carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 quart of chicken broth
2 cups water
2 (15 oz.) cans white beans (Great Northern, navy, or cannellini)
2 dry bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
4 cups finely chopped kale
½ tsp black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to garnish individual bowls when serving)

In a medium soup pot, simmer ham bone in the chicken broth and water for 30-minutes or until meat is falling off bone. Remove bone and pick off meat, adding that back to the liquid in pot.

While the ham bone is simmering, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomato and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly about 1 minute. Set aside until broth is ready.

Add the onion, carrot and celery mixture to the soup pot. Then add beans and their liquid, oregano, and bay leaves. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer, add kale, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with a grating of Parmesan cheese, and serve with crusty bread.

Oyster Stew

blue bowl of oyster stew
Oyster Stew for New Year’s Eve Supper

OYSTER STEW
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pint half-and-half cream
1 can (8 ounce) whole oysters (fresh oysters even better)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the celery and onion until onion is tender. Pour half-and-half into a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in the butter, celery, and shallot mixture. Stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. When the oysters curl the stew is finished cooking; turn off the heat and serve. Makes 4 cups

 

Butternut Squash Soup

yellow soup in a pumpkin shaped bowl
Butternut Squash Soup

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
3/4 c. onions, chopped
5 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
1 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1, 14 oz. can chicken broth
1/2 c. water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Sriracha sauce
1 T olive oil

In a large, high-sided pot, saute onions in 1 T olive oil until translucent. Add diced squash, onion flakes, diced apple, then chicken or vegetable broth and water. Cover and cook over medium heat about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat, add 1/2 cup cold water to bring temperature down slightly. Puree soup directly in the pot with a mixing wand (or you can do this with a blender). It’s then ready to serve. About 90 calories per cup.

Ratatouille

a vegetable stew in a tomato base
Ratatouille

RATATOUILLE

My Aunt Frances calls this “peperonata” but it is the same dish. She adds eggplant and potato where I use bok choy. In this summer vegetable stew, you can get creative and use what you find in the garden.

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup coarsely chopped bok choy
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper (or fresh
green beans)
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped Swiss chard or kale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan or high-sided pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and carrots to the pan, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes, then add garlic. Add the bok choy and green and red peppers. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, oregano, Swiss chard, salt and pepper and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Variation: substitute ¼ c tomato paste and 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth for the chopped tomatoes.