Pasta E Fagioli Soup (Copy Cat of Olive Garden’s popular soup)

This soup is honestly one of the best soups I have ever made.  It is so easy to throw together and the flavors are so fresh.  If you dice your vegis while your meat is browning, you should be able to get this soup into the crockpot in less than fifteen minutes. 

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz.) container beef stock (or 3 cups)
1 jar (24 oz.) of Barilla Marinara Sauce
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or your favorite pasta shape)
Salt, to taste (about ½ tbsp. kosher salt)
1.  Brown hamburger
2.  While hamburger cooks, dice the onion, celery, and carrots
3.  Place all ingredients except pasta into a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours
4.  Add pasta for last 30 minutes

Black Bean Soup

I got this recipe off the back of a saltine cracker box many years ago. I’ve used this recipe so many times that the recipe card is so old and stained that I can hardly read it. I always keep black beans and chicken broth in my pantry so I can make this on nights when I don’t know what else to make. 

1/2 cup chopped onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbs ground cumin

2 tbs oilo

3 16 oz canned black beans, undrained

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

2 cups thick and chunky salsa  (any brand should work fine)

2 tbs fresh lime juice

3 Tbs of fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup sour cream

1.  In a 4 quart saucepot, over medium heat, cook onion, garlic, and cumin in oil until onion is tender (about 3 min).  Remove from heat

2.  In electric blender, puree 2 cans beans and their liquid in batches with chicken broth; add to pot.  Stir in remaining beans, salsa, and lime juice.

3.  Heat mixture to boil, reduce heat to low and then simmer for 30 minutes.

4.  During the last five minutes of cooking, add cilantro and stir well

5.  Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream


248 calories per cup, 5 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat


Crock Pot Beef Stew

The key to making a great stew is fresh vegetables!  Yes, it is a lot of work to chop up all these vegetables, but the results are worth it.  You might chop all the vegis on the weekend and have them ready in a ziploc bag to prepare on a weekday.  Or better yet, do like the Hugheys.  We prepare this stew on the weekend and then have it for lunches or busy nights when we need a quick dinner.  Also, don’t worry about the amounts too much on the veggies.  If you have one carrot left in your fridge and one stalk of celery, throw it in.  A stew is a great way to use up all your leftover vegis so they don’t go to waste.

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

Image via Wikipedia

3 Tbs oil (I use bacon grease for flavor)

2 Tbs Stew meat (to save money, I usually buy the cheapest roast I can find and cut it into bite size pieces)

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 whole carots, washed, unpeeled and diced into bite size pieces

2 cups of fresh green beans that have had their ends removed and then cut into 1 inch pieces

4 whole new potatoes, quartered

4 cups Beef Broth

1 cup red wine (could use 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar as a substitute)

1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbs Soy Sauce

1 28 oz can Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

1.  Brown meat in oil and then remove from pan

2.  Brown onion, garlic, carrots , and celery in the oil about 3-5 minutes

3.  While meat and vegis are browning, dump all the remaining ingredients in a large crock  pot.

4.  Add meat, onion, carrots, and celery to crock pot.

5.  Turn on high for 6 – 8 hours or all day while you are gone to work


Easy Minestrone Soup

This soup is sooo good.  Filled with tons of fresh vegis and Italian spices.  If you’ve never made soup before, you are missing out.  The key to making a good soup is fresh vegetables.  I never add anything canned to my soups except the tomatoes.  It takes a little extra work to chop up the fresh ingredients, but the difference is amazing.


2 Tbs oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup diced carrot

1/2 cup diced celery

3 cloves garlic

2 small zucchini, diced

1 – 2 cups fresh green beans (wash, snap ends of and then cut in about 1″ pieces)

1 28 oz can of Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup red wine

1 14 oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup of whole grain pasta (like shells or elbow macaroni)

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 tsp dried oregeno

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Freshly grated parmesan Cheese


1.  Heat oil in large stockpot.  Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery.  Cook for about 5 minutes.

2.  Add in zucchini, green beans, broth, wine, diced tomatoes, beans, macaroni, spinach and spices

3.  Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer 20 – 25  minutes until green beans are tender.

4.  Serve with freshly grated parmesan and some garlic bread

Green Chicken Chili

This soup is so easy!  While my chicken is cooking, I saute the onions and garlic while opening all the cans.  I dump everything into my soup pot, start some cornbread and then add the chicken for the last five minutes.  Dinner is served in 30 minutes!


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

1 jar of salsa verde

2 cans of Rotel Tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 ears fresh corn (if you can’t use fresh, use frozen, but don’t use canned!)

1 pound diced, cooked chicken breast (about 2 fillets)

1 (15 ounce) can white beans

salt and pepper to taste


1.    Heat oil, and cook onion and garlic until soft.

2.  Stir in broth,salsa, tomatoes, chilies, and spices.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

3.   Add corn, chicken, and beans; simmer 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

I came across this soup recipe while searching the internet for a creative soup to enter into the annual crockpot competition we have amongst the faculty members at Canyon High School.  This recipe was originally supposed to be a “copycat” recipe for Chili’s famous Chicken Enchilada Soup. I have made quite a few changes to the original recipe and I think my version is better than Chilis.  It must be, because this soup won first place in that year’s competition!

12 servings (You can easily half this recipe if you don’t want this much soup)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I always use bacon grease for flavor)

1 – 1.5 lbs chicken breast (4 fillets)

1/2 cup diced onion

1 clove of garlic minced

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup masa harina

3 cups water

2 cups enchilada sauce

3 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (do not use pre-shredded)

1 tsp salt

2 Tbs Chili Powder

1 tsp cumin

1 container of pre-made pico de gallo (found in the produce section)

Garnish (all the following are optional toppings)

Shredded cheese


crushed tortilla chips

chopped green onions


  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large pot over medium heat.  (I have learned that using a good quality pot is necessary for this soup.  It burns very easily)
  2. Add chicken breasts to pot and brown for 4-5 minutes per side.
  3. Set chicken aside.
  4. Add onions and garlic to pot and sauté over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onions begin to become translucent.
  5. Add chicken broth.
  6. Combine masa harina with 2 cups of water in a medium bowl and whisk until blended.
  7. Add masa mixture to pot with onions, garlic and broth.
  8. Add remaining water, enchilada sauce, cheese and spices to pot and bring mixture to a boil.
  9. Shred the chicken into small, bite-size pieces and add it to the pot.
  10. Reduce heat and simmer soup for 30-40 minutes or until thick.
  11. Remove from heat and add the container of pico de gallo.  Stir until well blended

Garnish with your choice of toppings.  I use guacamole, cheese, and green onions


Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup

There are no words to describe this soup!  It is so creamy and rich.  One bowl will fill you up for hours.  I think most children will like this soup, but if they don’t like the sight of the broccoli, just blend it up in your blender before you serve it and call it “Cheese Soup”  They’ll never know about the 4 cups of broccoli you put in there!

4 cups chicken broth

1 small onion diced

1/2 cup flour

1 stick of butter

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

1 cup heavy cream or half-n-half

8 oz of shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese (do not use pre-shredded)

4 oz shredded swiss cheese

2 heads of broccoli (about 3-4 cups when cooked and chopped)

1.  In a small covered sauce pan, simmer the chicken broth and chopped onion for 15-20 minutes

2.  While broth is simmering, prepare broccoli by removing the heads and chopping into whatever bite size pieces you like.  I chop mine pretty small.  Place in a microwaveable container, cover and cook in microwave for 4-5 minutes until they are the desired tenderness.   There should be a small amount of “crunch” to them.

3.   While broth is simmering, melt butter in large stockpot.  Combine flour, salt and pepper and add to butter to make a rue.  Whisk constantly and cook for about 2 minutes.

4.  Whisk cream into rue mixture.

5.  Add warmed chicken broth mixture and continue to stir until well blended.  Add cheeses and stir.

6.  Add in steamed broccoli.  Add more salt and pepper to taste.  Add more milk if soup is too thick

Black Eyed Pea and Sausage Stew

Eating Black Eyed Peas for New Years is a southern tradition.  According to Southern Folklore, the first food eaten on New Year’s Day  should be black eyed peas for luck and prosperity.  My sister makes this recipe every New Years and we aren’t sure if it is a soup or a stew.  She doubles the recipe and cooks it in a crockpot.  I don’t normally like Black Eyed Peas, but I love this!

1 pkg Smoked Kielbasa Sausage, sliced

2 15 oz can green beans, drained

2 15 oz black eyed peas, drained

1/2 cup chopped onion

8 – 10  New Potatoes, cubed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 15 oz can beef broth

Combine all the ingredients in a crockpot.  Cook on high for several hours until the potatoes are tender and the soup/stew is thickened.

Chicken-Tortilla Soup

I found this recipe many years ago in Cooking Light.  I altered the recipe to make it my own, but it remains essentially the same.  I crave the spiciness of this soup every time I get sick. 

1 Tbs Bacon Grease (or olive oil)

1 c chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic minced

3 cups of shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1/4 c dry white wine

1 jalapeno pepper that has been seeded and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp chili powder

48 oz Chicken Broth

1 small can Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes

1 can black beans

1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips

1/2 c sour cream

handfull of chopped cilantro

1.  Heat grease in a Dutch oven over medium-hjigh heat.  Add onion and garlic; saute 2 minutes.

2.  Stir in chicken and next 9 ingredients

3.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer one hour.

4.  Ladle soup into bowls; top with chips, sour cream and cilantro