As much as I wanted to make more than two soups this week, I’m glad I restrained myself so I could enjoy the two I made – and their leftovers! As it is, my freezer will be well stocked with soup for awhile!
Both soups I chose this week were from Half Baked Harvest. I like to add my own twist, sometimes intentional, sometimes not! I like to make sure my soup has protein, and if there isn’t a ton of veggies, I serve one, or a salad, on the side. The beauty of a soup recipe is that they are forgiving – you can make them however you want, adding your own favorite seasonings, toppings, proteins, etc.
SALSA VERDE & BROWN RICE CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Tortilla soup, or variations of it, are a favorite in this house, so I knew this would be good. What set this recipe apart from others was the combination of both red and green enchilada sauce, and the brown rice. The best part? This is a super simple crockpot recipe – I used my new smaller (3 quart) crockpot to make roughly a 1/2 batch of the original recipe from my Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook. Of course I modified a few other things, because that’s what I do. The result – a 3 star recipe that I’ll definitely be making again.
Prep time – very little, cooking time – 6 hours. Serves 4-6.
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 very large boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt & pepper
- 10 oz Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde
- 18 oz Trader Joe’s Enchilada sauce (in a jar)
- 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 can drained black beans
- Layer the onion, chicken and seasonings on the bottom of the crock pot. Add the sauces plus 12 ounces water. Stir in rice. Cook on low 4 hours, then add black beans and cook 2 more hours.
- Remove chicken from the soup and shred; add back to soup.
- Serve with chopped mango & avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips – my favorite are Trader Joe’s Elotes corn chips. You could add shredded cheese & sour cream as well.
FRENCH ONION FRENCH DIP SOUP
The second soup I chose was French Onion Soup, also from the same Half Baked Harvest Super Simple cookbook. This recipe was a lot of firsts for me. I have never eaten French Onion Soup. I’ve never made it. And I’ve never used an Instant Pot until this recipe. I have avoided French Onion soup my entire life, fearing “chunks” of onion. Little did I realize what I was missing!
I had a feeling the Instant Pot wasn’t going to be as instant as I needed, so I prepped this the night before I wanted it for dinner and then added the accessories in time to eat. I did not modify the original recipe, but did modify the toppings! Instead of just the big hunk of bread & cheese on top, I decided to add roast beef. Kind of making this a combo French Onion soup & French Dip sandwich. The result? Tender, warm hunks of roast beef and cheese in every bite. We rated this soup 3 stars – my husband said, I never even considered just 2 stars! I froze several containers so we’ll see how it holds up.
Prep time – very little, cooking time – 1 hours. Serves 8.
- 6 TBSP butter
- 3 yellow onions – sliced in food processor
- 2 shallots – sliced in food processor
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1 cup red wine – I used Pinot Noir
- 2 quarts (2 big boxes) of beef broth
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper
- 8 slices sturdy white bread
- 8 slices Gruyere cheese
- 1 lb (or more) sliced roast beef
- Add the butter, onions, shallot & honey to the instant pot, and cook manually for 20 minutes. Release pressure.
- Change to saute function, and add the thyme, sage, and flour. Cook for 5-10 minutes before adding the wine, broth, bay leaves, and Worcestershire sauce. Add copious amounts of salt & pepper, then set on manual for 10 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and add more salt & pepper if needed.
- Set oven to broil.
- Chop deli roast beef into bite-size pieces. Layer bread, meat, then the cheese.
- Divide soup into oven safe bowls or mugs. Leave enough room for the open faced sandwich, so that the bread will touch the soup.
- Smush the open sandwich on top of the soup, slightly submerging as needed and covering the bread edges with cheese. Place under over broiler until cheese is bubbling & brown. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. In my oven this took about 5-7 minutes.
- Recipe could also be made in the crock pot; complete step 1, cooking for 4-6 hours on low. Then add ingredients from step 2 and cook another 2-4 hours on low.
WHAT ELSE IS COOKING?
I made a few other Half Baked Harvest recipes this week, beyond soup!
Special K Bars – made with corn flakes, not Special K, these no-bake bars combine cereal, honey, maple syrup and peanut butter, and then are topped with chocolate. I loved them; the kids I shared them with did not necessarily agree.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Noodles with Black Beans – this accidentally became roasted sweet potato chunks with black beans. And I added chicken. Also included a mix of chopped peppers, corn, chipotle, honey, and pumpkin seeds. This is my kind of make ahead meal for lunches.
Chocolate Chunk Banana Chai Muffins – made in one bowl. Coconut oil & honey instead of the usual butter/oil and sugar usually included in muffins. The chai seasoning is subtle, and the chocolate is really what makes these muffins fantastic (as with anything). Served with salted honey butter.
Cheesy Chiles Rellenos Farro Bake – a healthier alternative to traditional chile rellenos. Peppers stuffed with farro, corn, beans, cheese, and chicken (my addition). Baked in an egg & cheese batter. Hearty & delicious. I had extra filling and ate it on top of a sweet potato for lunch one day.
Next week is shaping up to be another busy week, so I’ve already prepped both of my soups and a few other recipes! I always like just a little time in the kitchen after work, but not so much time that dinner isn’t on the table until really late. Have I made one of your favorite soups yet?