Category Archives: Soups

DIY Shrimp Broth – super easy and much cheaper than store-bought

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I hate to let things go to waste… so when we are shucking prawn shells for a meal, I like to save the shells to make a shrimp broth. I place the shells in a Ziploc freezer bag, and store them in the freezer until I have enough to make up a few batches of broth.

Easy DIY Shrimp Broth - what else are you going to do with those leftover prawn shells?

Easy DIY Shrimp Broth – what else are you going to do with those leftover prawn shells?

This easy shrimp broth recipe was the base of flavour for my recent experiment in making my Shrimp-Flavoured Quinoa Pilaf which I will post tomorrow.

In making any type of broth, you can pretty much do a fridge-cleaning on whatever vegetables you have hanging around. In this version I used asparagus ends, onion chunks and long celery spears. Then I flavoured the broth with 1 tsp. of sea salt, 1 tsp. of peppercorns, and chunks of fresh garlic.

1. Throw your prawn shells (frozen or thawed) into a large soup pot,
add veggies and spices of your choice.

2. Cover everything with hot tap water. Put on your stove on
High to boil the mixture, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Allow the flavours to meld for a couple of hours (or more).

3. Place a large bowl or measuring cup under your colander to catch the broth
(something I always forget to do – almost), and pour the contents of your pot into the
colander to strain off the prawn shells and veggies.

Use this broth for Asian-inspired soups, seafood stews, mussels, or to flavour your favourite rice dishes. This broth also freezes well in handy-sized 1 cup Ziploc containers for future use.

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What types of homemade broth do you make?

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Creamy Flank Steak Stoup: When Supper Transforms and Becomes Lunch

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One of my newly found, favourite recipes from last summer was Miles Thatcher’s Guinness & Honey Marinated Hanger Steak (I use flank steak) from the June 2012 issue of Flavours Magazine. I’ve made this recipe about 4 or 5 times since discovering it’s yumminess, and usually one flank steak is way more than enough for the two of us. And a great accompaniment to this recipe are my Spicy Marinated Mushrooms.

Guinness Beer

BUT… neither my husband nor I are big fans of Guinness‘ darkness… Nothing against the brand, but I just don’t drink beer. Initially I was leery of trying this recipe because I was worried that the strong taste of this Stout would be pronounced in the final result. But it’s not, this is an incredible BBQ recipe that you will want to add to your repertoire – forever.

Here’s a great tip… when I want to make this flank steak, I try not to waste the leftover 3/4’s of the can of beer… so I actually make a quadruple batch of the marinade, and freeze the extra three portions for later use.

So when you make this flank steak recipe, and if you have leftovers that you don’t want to use for sandwiches, fajitas, steak & eggs breakfasts or… whatever, please consider giving my soup a try for lunch the next day.

Just a lil' something I threw together

Just a lil’ something I threw together that was a big hit

Originally, I wasn’t going to blog about this soup because I’ve been including a lot of soup recipes lately. Plus, I’ve been making these soups up off the top of my head. It’s been very cold here in Winnipeg this past week, so soup has, of course, been top of mind.

After grocery shopping and picking up some fresh mushrooms and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup to have for an easy (i.e. discrete and not blogged about) lunch I found myself inspired to try yet another LunchFor1 soup recipe.

I had also picked up a couple Tetra Paks of Beef Broth because my freezer’s stash of broth was getting low, and it’s always a good idea to have some broth either in the cupboard, in the fridge, or in the freezer at all times for quick soups, sauces and stews.

So it was with these ingredients on hand that inspiration struck! Plus I had to do something with the leftover flank steak… and thankfully it all worked out – and we loved it!

Creamy Flank Steak Stoup

(Stoup is a word I first heard used by Rachael Ray, it’s Stew+Soup)

Leftover BBQ Flank Steak, diced

1L Campbell’s Beef Broth

1 Ready to Serve Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

20 Baby Carrots, chopped

3 Celery Stalks, chopped

3 cloves Fresh Garlic

1/4 Onion, diced

1/4 cup Pot Barley

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 tablespoon Canola Oil

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1. Heat oil in large pot.

2. Add vegetables, and saute for 5 minutes.

3. Add diced beef and beef broth, and bring your soup to a boil.

4. Add uncooked barley to the pot, and turn down your stove to Medium-High. Cook for 30 minutes.

5. Stir in cream of mushroom soup just prior to serving, and warm the soup through for 5 minutes. NOTE: Overcooking this step may cause your soup to “break” or separated, so be careful.

6. This recipe made 4 hearty servings, with a side dish. Try my Chevre Grilled Cheese Sandwich or my Feta Dip and crackers as an accompaniment – those posts will follow later this week.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

Soul warming, hearty goodness made quick and easy for a yummy supper or lunch.

What recipe do YOU make for supper one night, and then turn around the next day and create an amazing lunch from?
I’d love to hear about it in the Comments section below.

Hubby’s Home Sick Today Soup

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So my dear husband, who never ever calls in sick… is home sick today with a bad head cold. Our pups, who wanted to be featured today are so accommodating and work great as “nurses”! We just have to call “nap time” and they are right there to cuddle.

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses - Toby & Mitzie

Jeff in bed with his Dog Nurses – Toby & Mitzie

I was feeling bad for my hubby last night when he went to bed at 830pm, so I prepped some homemade soup and tucked it away – just in case.

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

My interpretation of Italian Wedding Soup

1/2 Spicy Italian Sausage, raw

12 Baby Carrots, chopped

1 Celery Stalk, chopped

3 cups Broth (any kind)

2 tablespoons Pasta Stars

1 tablespoon Minced Onion, dried

3 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Lime Juice

1 teaspoon Veggie Spice Blend

Salt & Pepper to taste

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1. Bring the broth to a boil.

2. Add vegetables, and cook for 5-10 minutes.

3. Remove the sausage’s casing and pinch off 1/2 inch ‘meatballs’, adding them to the boiling broth as you go. Cook for another 5-10 minutes.

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball

Aim for a very small, bite-size meatball as it will cook better and faster for you

4. Add pasta stars and cook another 5-10 minutes. Squeeze in some lime juice at the end to finish.
NOTE: This time I didn’t cook them separately, and the stars got very large and plump overnight. Thankfully, I didn’t lose too much broth liquid.

5. Cool to room temperature, and place in fridge overnight to amaze someone the next day with a quick to reheat lunch.

6. Serve with a great slice of artisan bread. This one I slathered with my tummy-tempting, homemade chevre cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

Italian Wedding Soup with Flax Artisan Bread spread with Sun-dried Tomato Chevre Cheese

And for dessert… Deb’s Whipped Shortbread cookies. I had one, and Mr. Sicko had THREE! But more about all our cookie options following yesterday’s Cookie Monster Christmas Cookie Exchange on another LunchFor1 Post.

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie - Whipped Shortbread

Our #1 favourite Christmas Cookie – Whipped Shortbread

Jeff was VERY patient in waiting for me to photograph his LunchFor1 today! Thanks honey – feel better soon.

What do you like to eat when you’re feeling under the weather?
Please feel free to share your ideal comfort food in the Comments section.

Simple Soup for One

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I arrived home famished after volunteering at Koats for Kids Winnipeg this morning.

Faux Minestrone-a Simple Soup for 1

Having no plan for lunch (ergo nothing to blog about) I saw that I had some stock defrosted in the fridge from supper last night. And after grabbing a few veggies from the crisper, I was able to quickly whip up this very delicious “Minestrone” soup on the fly.

Simple Soup for One Ingredients

Whatever you have on hand is fine

Whatever you have on hand is fine

2-3 cups Broth
1 Carrot, chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped

1/8 Onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Lemon zest

1 tbsp. Sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp. Dill, dried

2 tbsp. Pasta, cooked

1 tsp. Salt

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

Tiny Pasta Stars are a quick and easy addition to any soup

TIP: When I buy a grocery store rotisserie chicken for our Chicken Taco night, I use all the meat I want from the bird, and then put the bones in a small pot of boiling water with 1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper and dried parsley. I boil it for about an hour while my husband and I eat dinner. And once it’s cooled, I put it in a storage container, and freeze it for days like today. No more buying expensive, sodium-heavy, pre-made chicken stock!

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1. I boiled the broth in one pot, and cooked the pasta in another. Once the pasta was done, I ran it under cold water and kept it in my strainer. I find that adding grains or pasta to soups makes them thicken up very quickly from the starch content.

You do not need a lot of broth, about 2 cups is good.

2. Add whatever vegetables you’ve got in the fridge to the broth, and pick one or two “wow” ingredients like lemon zest or sun-dried tomatoes. Whatever you have on hand is fine – black beans, peppers, potatoes, etc., even quinoa or rice in place of the pasta.

3. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies reach your preferred tenderness. And voila! You have an easy homemade soup for one. Or up-size this idea to feed a crowd at any time of the day.

4. Serve in a pretty bowl to warm your day! And feel good about this healthy, low-calorie, but filling lunch choice.

A spoonful of goodness!

A spoonful of goodness!

What is your favourite soup?

Please let me know in the comments section below what your “wow” ingredients were when you tried this recipe.

Hamburger Soup & Roasted Garlic Buns

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For lunch a couple of days ago, I pulled this soup out of my freezer for a quickie meal with a girlfriend who was dropping by, just in case she needed some sustenance on her Errand-Running Day. But it ended up being LunchFor1, and I had a blessed bowl of comfort after a busy, and somewhat stressful, morning. This recipe makes a nice, hearty soup that is perfect for enjoying with a big group, or to make ahead and freeze for future use. This was my #1 Choice as the go-to soup that my husband and I made a couple months ago in the days following my surgery. And it froze so wonderfully!

It’s been such a chilly week here in the middle of Canada, but it’s supposed to warm up for the weekend – YEAH!

A Spoonful of Comfort – Hearty Hamburger Soup

I REMEMBER…

I first had this soup about 30 years ago, and you’d think because I can remember exactly who made, when, and why, that I would have been making it every Winter for the past 30 years – NOPE. I only recently tracked it down again thanks to an old friend of mine (Thanks Shelley). And now that I’ve adapted it, I would like to share it with you, because it’s also inspiring my newly created blog – LunchFor1.com. Follow me on Twitter @LunchFor1 for easy meals that are good eats any time of the day!

But, back to the story…

There I was a 10-year old figure skater on test day, both nervous and hungry, and in need of a little, quick comfort. The nice lady at the rink’s canteen, Eleanor, had made a batch of Homemade Hamburger Soup for all of the hungry, little tikes to eat while we waited our turn before the judges.

All these years later, I still remember the heartiness and the smoothness of this soup, as well as the yummy chewiness of the barley. The key to this soup is spending the time to cut the veggies up into a fairly small pieces – 1/4″ to 1/2″ dice. The soup was a like a hug, and it’s stuck with my taste buds for these past three decades!

And for a great side-dish to this meal…

It’s a smart idea, at this or any time of the year, to keep a few Roasted Garlic heads in your fridge for these “lunch emergencies”. It was super easy for me to pull out the pre-roasted garlic head from the fridge, pop the cloves out, and quickly mash them up in order to dress up my lunch selection with an upscale spread.

Better than butter is this Roasted Garlic Spread made from mashed roasted garlic cloves - much healthier too!

This Roasted Garlic Spread is better than butter, and much healthier too!

From time-to-time, when you’ve got the oven roasting something, simply take a whole head of garlic, chop off the top portion, and place it on a piece of tin foil. Then I pour 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil on the garlic, add a pinch of sea salt, and grind some fresh pepper over it. Then I wrap it up in the tin-foil, and set it in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Then let it cool and slide it (tin foil and all) into a storage baggie, and place it at the back of your fridge for future use.

Or, for creating a big-batch of Roasted Garlic check out my Stove-Top Roasted Garlic post from March 2012.

But back to the star of this post – the soup… here’s the recipe…

Anna’s Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef
(or 700g of any ground meat of your choice)
1 Yellow Onion, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1  can Diced Tomatoes (28 oz./840mL)
2 cups Hot Water
3 cans Beef Consomme or Broth (30 oz./ 900mL)
1 can Tomato Soup (10 oz./ 300mL)
4 Carrots, 1/4″ dice
1 Bay Leaf
3 stalks Celery, diced
2 tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Pot Barley

1. Boil water in a small pot. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup Pot Barley. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain and add to soup.

TIP: I prefer to cook my barley separate from my soups so that my soups
do not get overly thick from the barley’s starch.

2. Dice all the vegetables.

TIP: However, I like to mince my onions and garlic in my food processor so that
it becomes very fine – it’s much faster and easier that way.

3. Brown the beef, onions and garlic in large stock pot.

4. Add the liquids and tomatoes, and bring it all to boil.

5. Add all of the vegetables, and spices.

6. Cook for another 1/2 hour (or more), and serve with Mashed Roasted Garlic Spread and fresh buns.

It’s SOOOO good that you should probably plan to make a double batch,
and freeze some for an easy lunch on another chilly day!

What is your favourite soup to use for comfort on a cold day? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Taking an old favourite 'upscale' with a fancied-up dinner roll.

Taking an old favourite ‘upscale’ with a fancied-up dinner roll.

This soup isn’t your ‘cup of tea’?
Check out the other soup ideas that I’ve Pinned on Pinterest.

Watch for my next post on Homemade Chevre Cheese!

It takes SO little to make your own Chevre cheese at home.
An expensive indulgence for much less than you would think!
STAY TUNED THIS WEEKEND!