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French Lentil Soup

photo by photobunny

I make homemade soup for my husband every week.  He takes a mason jar off to work each day, filled with a healthful portion of vegetable goodness.  He would be happy eating the same soup, every day, every week– but that is WAY too boring for me.  I love finding new easy, healthy soup recipes, and this one from Zakka Life caught my eye as just that!  I made it, and it is a keeper, one I will make often!

Lentils are a super food.  They are inexpensive and high in protein, iron, calcium, and fiber.
The fiber in lentils helps lower cholesterol levels.  They are also beneficial in managing blood sugar because it is a low glycemic food.  The great mix of fiber and protein will fill you up and keep you full, even an hour later.


French Lentil Soup
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (I used 1/2 cup)
1 cup chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 cups chicken stock (homemade makes a world of difference!) or vegetable stock
11/4 cups dried lentils, rinsed and drained
14 oz can diced tomatoes plus juice
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
(I also added a bit of thyme and rosemary, about 1/2 tsp thyme, and 1/4 tsp rosemary)

1. In a large pot, saute onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil for about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add lentils, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 35 minutes.
3. When lentils are tender, add balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Here are more of my healthy soup recipes:

Chicken Tortilla Crockpot Soup

Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup


Creamy Potato and Corn Chowder

I loved the “oh mom, yum” and the “I love eating my vegetables like this, mom” that came from my kids mouths tonight at the dinner table. I am doing the “Eat From Your Pantry” Challenge, so I was very excited that I had all the ingredients on hand to make this Creamy Potato and Corn Chowder recipe.

I had homemade chicken stock, in mason jars, in the freezer, (read about the amazing nutrition homemade chicken bone stock has, here) and 1/2 a carton of heavy cream, leftover from a Christmas quiche that I made. I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables instead of the corn for added nutrients.

It really, really was good. I can’t stress enough the amazing flavor homemade chicken stock adds to soups! It just makes for a deeper, richer flavor. Try it!

For the soup recipe, click here.



Acorn Squash And Sweet Potato Soup

I’m sitting here eating a bowl of soup, taking occasional bites of an apple, and feeling quite proud of myself!  I just created a recipe that is…da bomb!  Well, ok, sort of created a recipe.

I wanted to try an Acorn and Sweet Potato Soup recipe that sounded and looked so good, but I had been warned by my friend Katie that the original recipe was a bit bland.  She suggested a few additions to make it better, I used some of them but forgot what she had told me while at the store, so I ended up adding different ingredients.  So, I guess you could say I created a third of a recipe, but hey, that counts for something, right?  I’m still proud because it is goooood!

*the ingredients I added to the original recipe are highlighted

Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup
1 large sweet potato
1 medium acorn squash
2 tbls olive oil
6 cloves garlic
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. light cream (I used whole milk)
1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika  (if you have not tried smoked paprika, you must!)
1 1/2 tbls. pure maple syrup (adjust depending on how sweet your potato is)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used whole nutmeg, ran it over my microplane about 4 times-ish)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pat of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut sweet potato and squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out squash seeds and brush cut sides with oil.  Place squash and sweet potato halves cut-side down in a shallow roasting pan.  Add unpeeled garlic cloves around the vegetables after tossing them in a bit of the oil.  Roast for 40 minutes until tender.

(I baked a couple of extra potatoes for my lunch.  Had not added the garlic cloves, yet:))
When cool, scoop out insides of the squash and sweet potato, leaving the skins behind.  Peel garlic and add soft insides and scooped squash/sweet potato to a large saucepan.  Add chicken broth and shallot and season with salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients, except for the milk and pat of butter.  Process with the hand blender until smooth (if you do not have a hand blender, cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or blender, working in batches as to not overflow machine.

Return soup to pan and stir in milk and butter.  Check seasoning.  Adjust salt, pepper and cayenne as desired.

It is not as complicated as it sounds.  You could roast your veggies earlier in the day, scoop and set in refrigerator until dinner time.  Throwing together the rest of the soup is a breeze.  I recommend either eating it with apple slices, cooked apples as a side, or with a mug of apple cider.  I did both apple slices and apple cider, and it really complimented the soup.  Maybe some diced apple as a garnish to add texture and crunch to the soup?

In a jar, ready for my husband to take to work for lunch.

I wanted my soup to have a sweet and savory taste to it with a kick, and that is what I got.  My friend Katie added roasted red peppers, Italian seasoning,  smoked paprika and a pat of butter and said her husband loved it.  Her version sounds great, too- it would be more of a smokey, savory soup.  I will for sure have to try it her way for a change.  She is a vegetarian and told me that she uses smoked paprika in lieu of ham or bacon in recipes.  I love that tip, you get the smokiness, but not the calories or the cost of the meat.  She mentioned a vegetarian quiche recipe that uses smoked paprika instead of bacon..yum.  Sounds like a recipe I need to blog about, so I will get it from her or maybe she could do a guest post!!:)

Happy Fall!


Homemade Chicken Soup

I made Chicken Soup today and it is GOOD!  It is amazing what a good stock can do to a soup, homemade stock has such deep flavor compared to stock from a can.  You can read more about the benefits of stock and how to make it here.

We woke up to the smell of chicken due to the chicken bone stock that had been getting happy all night in my crock pot.  This morning, I strained the stock, this time I threw away all the veggies and bones, but I have read that you can make stock from the same chicken bones 2-3 times, so I will try that next time. The veggies were very spent and I was too lazy to pick through the bones to rescue them (sometimes I do, then I use my hand blender to blend them into the stock) so they got dumped with the bones.

I started my soup with a bit of olive oil and a pat of butter in the bottom of a soup pot.  Adding the butter along with the olive oil gives the soup another layer of flavor, and also allows you to turn up the heat for sauteing the veggies.  If you were to use just olive oil, you would have to keep the heat at medium due to the low smoking point of olive oil.  Adding butter solves this problem. (a tip I leaned from good ol’ Rachel Ray)

I threw in some chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves.  I let the onions get nice and soft over med-high heat, about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, I chopped 3 carrots and 2 stalks celery, and then added them to the pot.

I let them cook a bit to draw out their flavors, about 5 minutes, while I chopped 5 potatoes (1 too many, use 4 instead).

Added potatoes and  11/2 cups cooked chicken to the pot.  You can read here how I cooked my chicken.

Added chicken stock (about 6 cups), 11/2-2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.  If the soup is too thick, add more stock.

Stir and simmer 40-60 minutes, stirring every once in awhile.  Could add all to crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hrs or on high for 2-3 hrs.

Sometimes I substitute whole wheat pasta for the potato, depending what I have on hand. My kids prefer the pasta, but will eat both.  I also usually add some frozen peas or corn.  Enjoy!