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Category Archives: soups

Chili with Ground Beef

Chili Served Over Pasta & Topped with Cheese

Craig Claiborne wrote The New York Times Cookbook in 1975. It is a collection of the best recipes from The New York Times food pages from the previous decade. This recipe comes from that book. He called it Chili con Carne with Ground Meat.

My cousin Donna Rountree introduced me to this book in 1978 when I visited she and her family at their apartment in San Juan Puerto Rico where she lived with her husband Dekle and daughter Jodie. Donna did a lot of entertaining and she loved this cookbook!

I substitute olive or vegetable oil for the bacon fat and use 2-28 ounce cans tomatoes instead of 1 can with water. I find the best results with a very lean ground beef that’s at least 90% lean such as Laura’s brand. I also serve it over pasta and top with grated cheese. I’m also flexible with quantities of onion, green pepper, garlic and seasonings. Use your own judgement

Let me know what you think. It’s a very meaty chili and has no beans!! Be careful with the heat of the chili powder you choose. Some are extremely hot. I use a mild heat chili powder. Everyone can add more heat to their own bowls!

When you serve each bowl of chili over pasta, everyone can each add their own chopped raw tomato, chopped lettuce, avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro and/or hot pepper flakes.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped green pepper
  • 3 pounds 90-93% lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic, optional
  • Serve with chopped raw tomatoes, chopped lettuce, sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, hot pepper flakes, avocado if desired
  • Serve over small pieces cooked pasta


  1. Pour oil into a hot large deep cooking pot. Add onion and green pepper and cook over medium to low heat until onion is wilted
  2. Add meat. Using a heavy metal spoon cook and chop up beef to break up lumps
  3. Add garlic and black pepper and stir to blend
  4. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin and celery salt. Stir and add vinegar
  5. Add tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add chili paste if desired. I usually don’t
  6. Heat to a boil while stirring. Cover and lower heat to a simmer for 30 minutes
  7. Voila! Serve over pasta. Add some fresh toppings too!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cheesy Creamy Broccoli Soup

Tieghan has another delish recipe I love! She’s at Half Baked Harvest and this is hers! I added potato instead of flour and bumped up the spices! She calls it Lighter Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This reminds me of the Canadian Cheese Soup I have made. Sautéed veggies, broth thickened up and cheese added at the end! Comfort food!

Check out Tieghan’s blog! She is a powerhouse of talent!

A stick or immersion blender is essential to making this. Using a standard blender or food processor also works but is more tedious

Tender cauliflower, carrots, broccoli stems ready to purée
Broccoli florets and spices added to purée
Shredded Gouda and White Cheddar
Left some tender broccoli whole after 2nd purée


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or 2 tablespoons fresh
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cups broth
  • 1 head cauliflower, not too big, chopped
  • 4 cups broccoli florets and their chopped crown stems. Don’t use the long stalks
  • 2 bay leaves (Morton & Bassett is my favorite)
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups hard cheddar like cheese, shredded plus more for serving. I like the sharp cheddar and also aged Gouda is super here too! Use a mix of cheeses if you have them


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven heat oil and butter. Add onion, thyme and carrots and sauté till tender
  2. Add potatoes, broth, broccoli STEMS and cauliflower. Cover and simmer. When tender remove from heat. Purée with stick blender till smooth
  3. Return soup to heat and add broccoli florets, bay leaves, cayenne, and smoky paprika. Simmer until broccoli is tender. Remove bay leaves and remove from heat. Use the stick blender to slightly mash up. Make sure to leave much of the broccoli in whole pieces
  4. Return soup to heat. Add coconut milk and cheese; stir till melted. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
  5. Top each bowl of soup with additional cheese and thyme
  6. This is a very forgiving recipe. The quantities of ingredients don’t have to be exact. But I do love these seasonings! I’ve been using a fresher version of bay leaves rather than the brittle dry style and enjoy their taste and fragrance. Smoky paprika and cayenne are a must!! Add more broth if needed. I like Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base to make broth. Combine no more than 1 teaspoon base per cup of water
  7. Voila!

No Sear Lamb or Beef and Chickpea Stew

This is an easy one pot stew for lamb or beef. I chose lamb and was not disappointed! Add the greens at the very end just before serving. Serve with an earthy flavored yogurt such as Organic Valley Grassmilk Plain Yogurt

This delish lamb stew recipe comes from the cookbook Taste of Persia by Naomi DuGuid. She was featured on Christopher KimballsMilkStreetRadio where she shared this recipe. You can find it at: 


Beet Soup

Borscht is an Eastern European soup and comes in many variations. My family is from the Minsk area in Belarus. This version is my recipe adapted from my grandmother’s who was born there. She immigrated to the US in 1911 when she was 16 years old.

Above is a beet soup made with grated beets and no greens and below is a beet soup with julienne sliced beets and the greens. Same recipe, but different beet preparation.

I have made many variations of beet soup, also known as borsht. Borsht is a soup mixture of vegetables including beets, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes and possibly other veggies. The bright color of beets gets muted when cooked with other vegetables, so I like to make this beet soup with only beets, tomatoes and some onion in a vegetable broth with added spices. It’s really so simple. 

And the big surprise is that my beet soup tastes delish hot or cold! Cold soup in the summer is so refreshing! 

We had dinner in Chicago at the Russian Tea Time Restaurant. It’s much more than a tea room. Their menu is full of hearty Eastern European fare! Their borsht was a beautiful red of grated beets and carrots which inspired me to develop this recipe for Beet Soup! 

Here are your ingredients

Beet stems, leaves and beets

Beet greens can be added to the soup, quickly sautéed or made into a salad. My Beet Green Salad recipe link is below


If you add the stems and leaves, double the seasonings! If you add the stems and leaves you’ll make about 8 quarts. If you don’t it will be closer to 5 quarts

Wrap the coriander and allspice seeds in a small piece of cheesecloth if you want to prevent biting into one!

8 medium to large beets

8-16 cups vegetable or chicken stock, low salt if possible if using store bought stock. Stock is better than broth! Better Than Bouillon is good too. Use 8 cups to make a thicker heartier soup. Use 16 cups makes a lighter soup.

2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice, not sauce!

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

5 large bay leaves

8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

10 whole allspice or more

10 whole coriander seeds or more

1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes. This adds a fair amount of heat. Use less if you don’t want it hot.

1/4 cup sugar or more

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 small bunch fresh dill, it’s about 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed

Salt as needed. If you use a salty stock or bouillon you probably won’t need much salt if any


  • Trim off stems and leaves from beets. Reserve the stems. Use the leaves in this soup or to make a Beet Salad. Cut the greens in 1-2 inch strips or squares and add to the soup at the very end.
  • Wash the stems and cut them into 2 inch lengths. Set aside.

  • Soak beets in water and scrub clean.
  • Peel beets with a vegetable peeler. Grate them with a food processor or Kitchen Aid attachment or slice and then cut into julienne strips. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a large 12 quart stock pot, heat the stock. 
  • Add onion and tomatoes to the stock.
  • Add bay leaves, garlic, allspice, coriander, and hot pepper flakes. Tie the coriander and allspice up in a piece of cheesecloth if you want. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 
  • Add the beets and stems to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Here is the beet soup made with julienne strips of beets and the greens

  • Add sugar, red wine vinegar, and dill. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. 
  • Add more seasoning to taste
  • Add greens if you like. 
  • Remove the bag of spices.
  • Cool and store in the frig for a full 24 hours so the flavors meld. 
  • Remove the bay leaves before serving if possible
  • Float sour cream or plain yogurt on each bowl if you like. But you’ll lose some of the bright red color! This is traditional, but not necessarily always used.
  • Or serve it ice cold in the summer!
  • Voila!

This beet soup is made with julienne strips of beets and the greens.

Empty bowls of beet soup offer a beautiful color that’s even pleasing to look at!

I store my Beet Soup and many other leftovers in quart and pint size canning jars. It’s easy to see what’s in them and they’re reusable for decades! Aren’t they pretty?


Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup

This is a recipe I found at The Mediterranean Dish! It’s similar to pumpkin or squash soup, but for those who don’t like pumpkin or squash, it’s super! Very easy with a food processor or stick blender.

Roasted carrots get a caramelized glow

Puree the carrots with grated ginger and minced garlic, adding some of the stock.

Pureed mix is quite thick at this point 

Ground coriander and allspice ready to be added to the pot

The puree is poured into a cooking pot. Then more stock is added with the allspice, coriander and finally the half and half.

A bit of chopped parsley or mint is layered on the bowl of soup. Voila!

  • On a large baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil. Then place 4 pounds peeled whole carrots and drizzle with more olive oil. 
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Roast at 425 degrees. Turn the carrots after 20 minutes. Bake another 20-30 minutes or until carrots are browning and fork tender.
  • Cut into 1/3s and place in the food processor, scraping the oil from the baking sheet
  • Add

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 cups warm chicken, turkey or vegetable stock

  • Puree until silky smooth
  • Scrape into a medium saucepan
  • Add

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2-3 cups stock

  • Whisk together and bring to a simmer
  • Add slowly

1-2 cups half and half 

  • I give the range of stock and half and half. If you want a stronger carrot flavor add less liquid.
  • This makes about 8 cups. 

Isn’t it pretty in my Ball canning jars! I love to store food in these containers.

Butternut Squash Soup with Hot Honey


Butternut squash has a pale exterior and a deep orange flesh. I find it is a great substitute for European pumpkin.

This soup has a sweet and spicy taste that’s a nice surprise. I found it at Food52. Here’s my adaption

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground dried ginger or more

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds or so, peeled, seeded and cut in medium pieces

3 cups chicken broth or more

2 tablespoons honey

1-2 teaspoons crushed dried red pepper flakes and seeds

1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • In a medium saucepan heat oil. Add onion and Saute until tender.
  • Add garlic, ginger and cumin. Stir quickly for 30 seconds only
  • Add squash and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer until very tender.
  • Remove from heat.Puree with a stick blender.
  • Add honey and hot pepper flakes. Simmer covered 5 minutes.
  • Stir in cream. If it’s too thick, add more broth and cream.
  • Add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Garnish with a drizzle of cream or a spoon of sour cream

This should be spicy! Add more red pepper flakes, ginger or honey as you like!

Chicken or Turkey Soup with Vegetables

This soup is guaranteed to be delish, it does not take a lot of work, but you need to plan for a 2-3 day process. The chickens or turkey need roasting and the pan drippings and broth both need to be chilled overnight to allow all the fat to rise to the top so it can be removed and discarded.

 If you don’t have the time, pour the drippings from the roasting into a fat separator or a clear measuring cup. Allow to sit 20 minutes so the fat can rise to the top. Then pour the fat away or open the bottom of the fat separator so the good drippings can be dropped into a container or poured into the stock.

I use all organic chickens and produce for the best flavor!

Barbara Kafka’s book, Soup a Way of Life, was used for guidance in developing this recipe.

Stage 1Roasting the Chickens or Turkey

An easy alternative is to buy 3 deli roasted chickens which are smaller than the 5 pounders I roast, but then you won’t get the pan drippings to enrich your stock!

In a large roasting pan with a flat or V-shaped turkey rack in the bottom, place two 5-pound organic roasting chickens that have been rinsed well and dried with toweling.

Sprinkle chickens generously with kosher salt. The turkey should be brined or salted overnight first. More info below.

Place roaster on the bottom rack of a preheated 425 degree F oven

Brush skin with melted butter

Roast chickens 25 minutes and then rotate pan front to back. Brush skin with butter. Roast another 25 minutes and rotate again. Brush skin with butter. Add 1/2 cup water to pan. Add more water as needed. You should end up with at least 1 and 1/2 cups of pan drippings.

Roast another 25 minutes or until thickest part of breast reads 160 and the thigh reads 170 degrees on an instant read thermometer

Let chickens rest on the stove top 15 minutes. Serve or debone completely. Reserve all bones.

The turkey roasting 

                                             We call this TURKZILLA!

The turkey takes longer.  Roast breast side down on a foil covered rack that’s been punctured with many knife slits, 45 minutes at 425 degrees then turn breast side up. Roast 1 -1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees or until internal breast temperature reaches 160 degrees. Maintain 1 cup or more of water in the pan while roasting.

For more specifics go to and look up Roasted Salted Turkey

Add more water to the roasting pan and heat on the stove top if the drippings stick to the pan. Pour into a container. Refrigerate overnight and then remove the fat layer on top. To cut corners pour drippings into a clear container and let sit 20 minutes. Use a fat separator if you have one.

This fat separator opens at the bottom so the handle can be squeezed and the drippings only are dropped out of the bottom.

Stage 2The Broth or Stock

                                                                    The Perfect Stock Pot!

In a large pot place all the bones of 2 large roasting chickens or 1 turkey and cover with water by an inch.

Add the reserved drippings. Cover stock and bring to a boil.

Allow broth to barely simmer so bubbles are just breaking the surface of the liquid, with the lid slightly ajar, 4-5 hours. Add water if the level falls below the bones.

Remove from the heat and cool 15 minutes.

Strain broth through a colander and a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a large pot or bowl. Pour strained broth into storage containers. I use quart size canning jars. This makes about 3-4 quarts.

Refrigerate stock overnight to allow fat to rise to the surface and solidify. Discard fat before using broth.

Stage 3Making the Soup

In a large pot melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat

Stir in 1 large shallot, chopped and 2 leeks, washed well and sliced (white and light green parts) or 2 onions, peeled and cut in wedges

Sauté until translucent. Add 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced and sauté 10 seconds. Don’t brown the garlic!

Add 8-12 cups roast chicken broth and bring to a boil

Add 1 fennel bulb, sliced horizontally or 8 stalks celery, sliced

1 turnip, peeled and diced, optional

1 pound thin carrots, peeled and sliced into coins or a fun squash like delicata, seeded, cut in 1/4s and sliced

Simmer with a cover 5 minutes

Add 3-4 small zucchini (the striped zucchini variety is attractive). You can also add yellow summer squash. Simmer with a cover 5 minutes

Voila! Your soup is finished! This is a very fresh tasting soup so don’t overlook the vegetables. They should hold their shape. Reheating will cook the vegetables further.

Cold Beet Soup

This is a soup my Russian grandmother used to make. It’s all vegetables, no meat and served ice cold! It’s the Russian version of Spanish gazpacho and salamorejo!

You can add more of the ingredients you prefer. It’s slightly sweet sour, but you can add more of the vinegar and sugar if you want. Garlic, green onion and dill are other strong flavors you can increase. If you want a chunkier soup, add more beets and cukes!

No sour cream in this recipe!


The cold borsht above has the leaves and stems. The borsht below does not have them.  



6 beets with stems and greens (you can omit the greens and stems and use 8 beets)

3 cucumbers, not too thick because those are seedy

8 green onions

1 bunch dill fronds, left whole

2 very large cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar


1. Trim the beet stems and leaves from the beet root. Wash all thoroughly in a sink of cold water. Scrub the beet roots with a brush. 

2. In a very large pot, place the whole scrubbed beet roots and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until a fork can just slightly be inserted. Don’t over cook. They should be slightly crisp.

3. Lift the beets out of the beet water with a large spoon and place in a colander to cool. Keep the beet water for the soup!

4. Place a mesh strainer lined with a paper towel or coffee filter over a large bowl. Pour the beet water over the filter into the bowl. Reserve strained beet water and cool.  This is the broth. There should be about 8 cups or so.

To make a filter, fold a paper towel in half crosswise and in half again.

5. Cut up the beet stems into 3 inch lengths. Cut the larger greens in 1/2 or 1/4s. Place stems and greens in a medium pot. Add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Simmer only a minute or so. Strain the liquid through the paper toweling and reserve the greens and stems in a bowl to cool.

6. Peel the beets with a paring knife. Cut in 1/2, then slice and then cut into julienne strips or small cubes. Reserve in a bowl.

7. Wash and peel and seed (if there’re a lot of big seeds) the cukes. Slice and julienne or cut into lengthwise quarters or eights and then slice into small bites. Reserve in a bowl.

8. Wash and slice the green onion. Reserve in a bowl.

9. Mince the very large clove of garlic. Add 1/2 tablespoon of the 2 tablespoons of salt and mince to a paste. Reserve.


10. In a very large bowl or saucepan with a lid combine all the ingredients with a spoon. Add more salt, sugar, vinegar, garlic, green onion to taste. Cover and chill overnight and serve ice cold with a whole grain European style bread. Leave the dill in the container. Don’t add it to the serving bowl.

This is so colorful and nice to look at I like to store it in clear glass quart size canning jars in the frig. Enjoy!


Cold Cucumber and Lettuce Soup

This refreshing summer soup seems new and trendy, but it really is my Russian Grandma Korzin’s recipe! My mom told me about this as I was preparing a pureed cucumber soup for a dinner party. I do remember eating this in my grandmother’s kitchen. It is the original “Ranch” dressing!

In a large ceramic or glass bowl combine:

4 cups cucumber, peeled, large seeds removed, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

4 green onions, sliced thin (this should be heavy on the onion)

Sprinkle heavily with Kosher salt and let sit 20 minutes

Add 1 head iceberg lettuce which has been sliced in 1 inch slices and then cut into 1 inch squares

In a small bowl whisk together:

2 cups sour cream and 4 cups buttermilk

Stir into vegetables. Serve immediately and make sure it is cold! 

The leftovers wilt as it sits in the frig. My grandmother preferred to serve her lettuce soup that way.

This is about 6-8 servings

Red Russian Soup/ Borsht


This is a blend of my grandmother, Donna Haluska Korzin’s recipe, and a recipe from the cookbook, Soup, A Way of Life, by Barbara Kafka, 1998Mrs. Kafka’s family and my grandmother were both from villages outside of Minsk, Belorussia.

Borsht is a soup made from a mixture of vegetables, often whatever is in your frig. There is a lot of cabbage in this soup, but the beets predominate because the color is so intense and the water the beets are cooked in is added to the soup.

This recipe makes about 5 and a half quarts. Cut the recipe in half if you’d like. I never do because it freezes well. 
The soup is a sweet sour style. My grandmother added sour salt or citric acid instead of the vinegar. Sometimes she would add sorrel or what she called “sour spinach” from her garden.

The natural sweetness of beets varies. Use less sugar to your taste.


Red Russian Soup/Borsht Red Russian Soup/Borsht


  • 3 pounds beef pot roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 4-6 inch chunks
  • 4 medium to large beets, (about 2-3 lbs) all but 2 inch of stems removed, reserve detached stems and leaves
  • 1-28 oz can chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into 1 ½ inch squares or strips (about 9 cups or less if you prefer less cabbage)
  • 4 carrots, (about 1/2 pound) peeled and cut across into ½ inch rounds
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 8 medium to large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled only
  • 3 bay leaves or more
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 handful fresh dill weed, coarsely chopped
  • 6 or more whole allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Serve with sour cream


  • Place meat in a large pot and cover with 10 cups cold water
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer very gently for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Wash the beets with a scrub brush and soak the leaves and stems in cold water
  • While the meat is cooking, in a medium stockpot, place beets in enough cold water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until beets can be pierced with a knife. Don’t over cook.
  • In a large bowl place a mesh strainer and a layer of cheesecloth or heavy duty paper toweling. Strain the beets into the colander and bowl. Reserve liquid
  • Trim beets and remove the skin. Cut into large matchstick strips and set aside.
  • To the beef broth add onions, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, garlic, allspice, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.  Cover and bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are almost tender.
  • Add beet strips to the soup and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Cut the beet stems and leaves in 2 inch lengths
  • Add the beet stems and leaves to the soup and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Stir in reserved beet liquid, vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow flavors to blend at least 1 hour or overnight.
  • Reheat soup. Float 1 tablespoon or more sour cream on top of each bowl of borsht if desired.