Soups and Stews – Five Family Favorites

OKC moms blog soups stews family favorites

It’s the time of year for pulling off a kitchen miracle – chunking some water, meat, and veggies in a big pot, simmer for a bit, and voila! It’s soup!

Here are a few of my family’s favorite soups and stews. Some are easy, some take a little longer, but they are all hot and delicious on a cold winter’s night.

Some tips for maximum flavor fast:

  • prep chopped onion/celery/carrot (mirepoix) the evening before (or use frozen chopped onion)
  • use chicken or beef stock concentrate or canned stock, not bouillon cubes
  • use leftover cooked pasta of any shape in the minestrone for quicker finish

Kale soup

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 lb. beef smoked sausage, sliced 1/4″
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 2 cans chicken stock
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 lg. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • one bunch of kale, cleaned, spine/stem removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 TBS. vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown the smoked sausage in the oil in a 5-qt saucepan, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until the onion softens. Add the chicken stock, water, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, then add the kale and cook 15 minutes more. Add vinegar, and check for salt and pepper seasoning.

Classic Beef Stew

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 3 TBS. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 3 TBS. flour
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • 6 c. water, divided
  • *1 c. pearl onions (found in frozen foods, jarred vegetables, or cocktail section of store)
  • 1 c. baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBS. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 lb. small red potatoes, cleaned and halved

Heat the oil in a 5-qt saucepan; brown the stew meat on all sides. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine; cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits. Add 4 c. water, onions, carrots, herbs and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook 1 hr. Add the remaining 2 c. water, the peas, and potatoes, cover and cook for 30 minutes more or until meat is tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed. *If you can’t find pearl onions, use 1 med. onion, chopped 1/2″.

Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 lg. cans (12.5 oz each) white chunk chicken
  • 2 cans chicken stock
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 TBS dried onion
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 1 c. celery, sliced 1/8″
  • 1 c. carrots, sliced 1/8″
  • 1 1/2 TBS butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. wide egg noodles (3/4 of 16 oz. bag)

In a 5-qt saucepan, combine all except the noodles. Bring to a boil, then add the noodles, and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check salt and pepper seasoning.

Taco Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 lb. ground beef (*see note if using lean)
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 can (16 oz) chili beans, pinto beans, or black beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn, undrained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed

Brown the ground beef and onion in a 5-qt saucepan; drain fat. Add the taco seasoning, and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the canned goods and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to low and add the Velveeta, stirring occasionally until the cheese melts. *If you use lean ground beef, you will need to add at least 1 TBS. vegetable oil to the browning step.

Meatless Minestrone*

Makes 8 servings

  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 can (16 oz) Italian tomatoes
  • 2 cans (10 oz) vegetable stock
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 can (16 oz) white kidney beans, drained
  • 3/4 c. dried elbow macaroni

In a 5-qt saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic powder, salt/pepper, and herbs; cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and tomatoes, cook for 1 minute, then add the stock, water, and kidney beans. Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes; add macaroni and simmer 15 more minutes. Check salt and pepper seasoning. (*Can add pepperoni or Italian sausage if desired)

A note on kitchen equipment

The 5-qt saucepan, or Dutch Oven as it is sometimes called, is the workhorse of the kitchen, and is usually what is called for in soup recipes. A new soup pot, including some tried-and-true recipes like these, would make a great gift idea for newly-marrieds or people moving to their first apartment or home.

What are your family’s favorite soups and stews? Do you have any cooking secrets to making a great soup?

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2 Responses to Soups and Stews – Five Family Favorites

  1. Lacey
    Lacey December 15, 2017 at 7:19 am #

    Pinning this! We are big soup eaters at our house. Thanks for the recipes 🙂

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