Mom’s Beef Soup

Growing up, I doubt if a week went by without a pot of soup on the stove. My dad loved soup and mom loved making it. This was probably the favorite. It wasn’t really my favorite. I’m more of a broth girl, but I still love well cooked soup.

  • 2 quarts water
  • 12 ounces beef shank
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 rutabaga, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 small head cabbage, sliced

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Place beef shank in, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Let cool overnight. Lift meat out, trim off gristle and cut meat into medium sized pieces; set aside. Skim fat from surface of stock, or strain through a fine sieve.

  • Step 2

Return stock to heat, and bring to a boil. Add onions, carrots and rutabaga. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour. Add potatoes, and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the leeks, cabbage, parsley and reserved meat. Simmer 10 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

  • from the Recipe Box: My dad called this Irish soup, but I don’t know why

I like my veggies bigger. G likes his smaller. Needless to say, he’s wrong

and remember: MLK JR said: History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.  Big kiss, Lynn                                                                       

Chicken Sausage and Kale Soup

Hooray, it’s soup season. I’m not a huge kale person, but this one sounded pretty good. I’m really trying to branch out into new tastes. I really love vegetables, basically all vegetables, but I get really snarky about trends. Don’t even start me on gluten-free.

Did you ever read Clan of the Cave Bear? Have our bodies changed so much that we have turned into delicate flowers? They were just glad to have something to chew. I guess things have changed in 40,000 years.

Wow, another huge digression. I promise I’ll stick with the soup.

In a good soup kettle:

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, cut into thin half moons

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (8 ounce) package cooked chicken sausage, cut into bite-size pieces

4 to 5 small potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups torn kale leaves, washed with ribs and stems removed

1/4 cup milk or light coconut milk

2 cups packed fresh spinach leaves

Salt and fresh ground black pepper


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and chicken sausage then cook until the sausage begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes then add the kale and cook another 10 minutes until wilted and the potatoes are tender.

Turn heat to low then add the milk and stir in fresh spinach leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

* From the Recipe Box:
OMG:  This is probably the best picture I’ve taken so far;  feel free to be totally impressed.  It probably won’t happen again.
Walk away from anyone or anything who takes away from your joy.  Life is too short to put up with fools.
Big kiss, Lynn

White Bean and Rosemary Soup

We have been experiencing some major fires here in Washington.  I woke up the other morning thinking we were seeing some September fog only it turned out to be smoke.  The sky has been yellow and very disconcerting.  It makes it hard to breathe and see.  The weather has been very warm as well.  I hate to whine (no I don’t), but I’m ready for soup season.  Fall starts in 3 weeks and I have new soup recipes.  It was always this way when I was in school.  You prayed for sun all summer and then when school started, the temperature soared.  What to do, what to do!
I love bean soup.  My mom made it all the time when I was growing up.  I don’t remember rosemary being a key ingredient, but I love me my rosemary.  This one is creamy and satisfying.  I will definitely put it on my rotation.  The sous chef and I are making it again today.  It’s mom’s recipe with a few interesting additions.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, depending on preferred spice level

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

2 cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed or 3 cups home cooked beans

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons cream

Baguette, sliced and toasted for serving


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary then cook for 1 minute.

Add the beans, chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a low simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or use regular blender). Taste the soup and adjust with more salt and/or pepper. For a creamier soup, stir in a little cream or non-dairy milk.

* From the Recipe Box:
Sorry for the horrible picture quality.
If you can’t have summer, let’s have soup!
I love my immersion blender, but I don’t think I’d use it next time.  I like the beans.
Sous-chef has suddenly turned into a crushed red pepper freak.  The first picture is pre immersion blender.  The second picture is after we tried cooling it down with half and half and sour cream.  Cow-a-bunga it was spicy!  We’re going to add a little bacon just for shits and giggles.
and remember:  If my strength intimidates you, I hope you realize that’s a weakness of yours not mine.  Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Rice Soup

My favorite GKid, you know the one, goes to school out of state.  She was doing great until one of her roommates came back to campus and was tested positive for covid.  Unfortunately, their dorm was put on quarantine.  So far everything looks good for the GKid, but she thought chicken soup would fill the bill.  I was unable to figure out how to mail it, but in her honor, G and I had it for dinner tonight.
GPa couldn’t stand it though.  So, for the price of a thermos and overnight postage, our girl should have this in less than 24 hours.  Just think how long it used to take to send a letter a thousand miles.  Amazing.

2 tablespoons butter, chicken fat or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

Heaped tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme or use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (4 or 5 thighs) or rotisserie chicken

8 cups chicken stock or broth, low sodium

5 ounces egg noodles or rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Water or more stock, as needed


Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, while stirring the garlic around the pan, for about 1 minute.

Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Taste the soup then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on the stock used, you might need to add 1 or more teaspoons of salt.

If, during this time, the broth seems low, add a splash more stock or a bit of water. Turn the heat to medium-low.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Stir the rice into the soup and cook until done, 6 to 10 minutes.

While the rice cooks, shred the chicken into strips or dice into cubes. Slide the chicken back into the pot and then taste the soup once more for seasoning. Adjust with more salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.

* From the Recipe Box:
I love soup!
I cook the rice separately from the soup so it won’t suck up all the broth.
and remember:  Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your picture on it.  Big kiss, Lynn


Chicken Noodle Soup

I love brothy soup.  G went to the “Dark Side” yesterday to make a much needed visit to Costco.  He scored 2 rotisserie chickens, but still no toilet paper!  You can make a wonderful soup base with these chickens if you give them a chance.  G takes all the meat off the carcusses and we freeze it in individual freezer bags.

Since we both love soup, you can make quite a few variations using this basic broth.

4 to 6 cups chicken broth ( I cook the chicken carcusses in the broth for about 30 minutes or so, just to squeeze the last bit of flavor out of them) or if starting from scratch, I use about 6 quarts of water and my veggies and cook the chicken pieces for about an hour, then strip the meat off the bones when cooled.

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup sliced celery

1/2 onion diced

1/2 cup peas

1 teaspoon dried oregano

S & P to taste

4 to 6 ounces broken pasta (I usually use linguine)

Strain your broth to get the bones out.

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion, oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until vegetables have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onion and garlic is translucent and garlic scent has lessened slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles; cook 5 to 6 minutes. Gently stir in shredded chicken, peas and simmer until egg noodles are tender and chicken is heated through, 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Add the veggies.  Cook for 15 minutes or so.  Add the pasta and cook for an additional 10 minutes or so.

We like several variations:  1 teaspoon sesame oil adds a real Ramen flavor.  Add sliced green onions, a hard boiled egg, anything you would add to Ramen.

You can add dumplings or Matzo balls.

This is totally easy and quick.  Enjoy.


*  From the Recipe Box:

If you live on an island, the “Dark Side” is on the other side of the bay.  We live on a fairly large island and the best way off is by ferry.  G calls the other side the dark side because he never wants to be over there.  What can I say, we are such a Star Wars family.

I used large pasta shells, because that’s what I had and grocery shopping is becoming more and more interesting.  The soup is very flexible, but remember pasta soaks up a lot of broth so you might want to cook it separately.

and remember:  Stop global whining.  Big kiss, Lynn

Cauliflower and Potato Soup

My grocery shopping elves bought me the most beautiful cauliflower.  They know what I like without even asking, so I received a wonderful haul of vegetables.  Unfortunately, G does not feel the same way about veggies, so I ended up with a mini glut of the ones he particularly dislikes.  As a result, I decided it was time to make my mom’s potato soup.  But, what’s the fun of making soup if you can’t hide things in it?
I included a Potato, Cauliflower and Corn Chowder recipe in December, but this one is a bit different.
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1.5 lb. russet potatoes (I do not peel potatoes for anything)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken because that’s what I had)
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used regular ground paprika)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 4 oz. medium cheddar, shredded
  • 3 green onions, sliced


  • Dice the onion and add it to a soup pot along with the olive oil.  Sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  • Peel and dice the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Add the cubed potatoes and cauliflower florets to the soup pot along with the vegetable broth. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the pot up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and cauliflower are extremely soft.
  • Add the evaporated milk to the soup. Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture, or allow it to cool slightly, then transfer the soup in batches to a blender to purée. Blending hot liquids is extremely dangerous, so make sure to let it cool until warm first (adding the evaporated milk will help bring the temperature down), and drape a towel over the lid of the blender as added protection against unintended splatter.
  • Once the soup is puréed, season with smoked paprika, salt, and freshly cracked pepper. The amount of salt needed will vary, depending on the salt content of the broth used.
  • Place the soup back over medium heat and allow it to heat through. Once hot, begin stirring in the cheese, one handful at a time, until it has fully melted into the soup.
  • Serve the Cheesy Cauliflower and Potato Soup with sliced green onions on top.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The green onions really add a pop of flavor to each bowl, so I don’t suggest skipping them, but G is not a green onion fan so we added bacon to his.  I also added some crispy fried onions that were pretty nummy.
and remember:  When you see crazy coming, cross the street.  Big kiss, Lynn

Potato, Cauliflower and Corn Chowder

Long before it was trendy, we were a cauliflower eating family.  When G was going to college and working nights, C the MP and I would have cauliflower with melted cheese for dinner.  He was 3 and it’s what he always asked for.   I thought he had incredibly good taste.

My mom used to make potato soup on a regular rotation, so I’m not surprised how many potato/cauliflower soup recipes I found in her binders.  My dad loved potato soup.  Hello, he was born in Idaho.

  • 12 oz bacon sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 medium russet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2″ thick pieces
  • 1 medium head cauliflower cored and chopped into florets
  • 6 cups warm water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 2 to 3 cups corn kernels cooked from fresh or frozen
  • grated cheddar cheese for sprinkling

  1. Cook bacon in a 5 1/2 quart heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over med/high heat until browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper-towel-lined plate.
  2. Pour the bacon grease into a bowl. Spoon 3 tablespoons of bacon grease back into the pot and discard the rest. Add diced onion and sauté 5 min or until soft.
  3. Add chopped potatoes and cauliflower, 6 cups warm water along with 4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup cream, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are cooked through (about 15 min).
  4. Meanwhile cook your corn. Drain and cover to keep warm.
  5. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until completely smooth (making sure your blender has a little breathing hole at the top so you don’t create a suction vacuum from the hot liquid. Return soup to the pot and season to taste (for an adult soup, we add another 1/2 tsp cayenne). To serve, ladle into warm bowls and garnish generously with bacon bits, cooked corn kernels and fresh parsley.

*  From the Recipe Box:

Lazy butt time:  I used precooked bacon.   I put 3 tablespoons of butter in the pot instead of bacon grease to saute the onions.  I did not peel the potatoes, and I did use Yukon Gold.  I thawed frozen corn and dumped it in at the end.  I used the bags of cauliflower-ettes from Costco.  I did not use a stand blender; I used my immersion blender.  Are you seeing how much time I saved you?

and remember:  Life is so damn short, for god’s sake, just do what makes you happy.  Big kiss, Lynn

Mom’s French Onion Soup

You know by now how much my mom loved to entertain.  There were certain foods that announced company coming.  One of these was French Onion Soup.  I can still smell the rich beef broth.  She had special bowls she would bring out that framed the baguettes floating on top.  But, you also know by now how much I hate frou-frou and going to a lot of work for a simple meal.  I am not the party girl I used to be.

But, it is soup weather and it’s time to make mom’s onion soup.  I think most people assume it’s a lot of work.  I’m sure it can be, but it also can be streamlined and made easier.  The one step you can’t skip is caramelizing the onions.

1/2 cup butter

4 onions, sliced, about 2 pounds (I like a variety of onions)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine, dry, not sweet (I usually have Pinot Noir on hand so that’s what I use, but a Cabernet or a Merlot would be fine)

3 heaping tablespoons flour

2 quarts beef broth

1 baguette, sliced

1/2 pound Gruyere, grated

Melt the butter in a large 12″ pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.  Sprinkle the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for approximately 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls under the broiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese.  I could have broiled these longer, but we were hungry.

*  From the Recipe Box:

This is mom’s recipe.  She had the cutest bowls with lids that held about 2 cups, like the ones below, only hers were a solid brown.  This recipe would fill about 4 to 6 of them.  When I moved to the Island I lost track of them.

Gruyere is the most bestest (yes, that is a word) cheese for this soup.  It’s the nutty flavor.  You can never use too much cheese.  I usually divide the soup in half and eat half and freeze half.  Rich, intense flavor.

G doesn’t like baguette slices, he’d rather have croutons so he doesn’t have to try and cut the crusts.  Needless to say, it’s great both ways.

and remember:  If you don’t mean what you say, shut the hell up.  Big kiss, Lynn


Corn Chowder

Hooray, it’s time to enjoy the corn harvest in Western Washington.  Yes, we’ve been enjoying fresh corn for about a month, but this is different.  Today, it’s soup weather.  So, say it with me, HOORAY!  You all know how much I love soup and since we’ve been having some interesting weather, it seemed like the right time.  We had a thunder and lightning storm that was almost biblical in its intensity the other day.  Wow!  When your town makes CNN reporting for this kind of weather, you know it was impressive.

But, as usual, I digress.  All I really wanted to acknowledge was it’s time for soup.  I just found out corn chowder is a favorite for one of my favorite people, so it’s time to find the perfect recipe.  This is basically Ina Garten’s chowder recipe with a few additions.  She’s my hero, what can I say.  My favorite sous chef gave me a hand with all the chopping.  He’s turning into a soup fan as well.

4 slice bacon, chopped

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

6 cups chicken stock or broth

1 pound white potatoes, Yukon Gold for example, unpeeled and cubed to a 1/2 inch dice

5 cups of corn, approximately 5 ears fresh or a pound or so of frozen

1 cup half-and-half

1 heaping cup grated cheese, I use a combo of Jack and Cheddar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

*   From the Recipe Box:

G said it needed more bacon, so we used 8 slices.

The turmeric really added a yellow vibe to the chowder.

and remember:  Fake it until you make it.  Big kiss, Lynn