Our family tries to schedule a warm weather break from the snow and cold every year. For a variety of reasons, that vitamin-D-laced trip did not happen this winter. I think most of the country will agree that, if there was ever a winter to hit the beach, THIS was it! So the arrival of daylight savings time – the harbinger of spring – is a tough sell for me. Yes, I love the extra hours of sunlight in the evening, but that’s just more time for me to stare at the feet of cold, wintry snow in my backyard. Fortunately there are signs of spring at the grocery store, including some gorgeous fresh leeks that I used to make this Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Homemade Croutons.
I had my first taste of French Onion Soup when I was 18. My parents drove me to college, helped me unpack, and then took me out to dinner before bidding me farewell. I didn’t know a soul at school, and my nerves got the better of me at dinner when I cried all over my meal. My poor parents. Definitely not the sendoff they were hoping for.
Fortunately I rallied and thrived in college. Likewise, I’ve tasted many bowls of French Onion Soup since that first memorable bite, and, I have to say, there are a lot of BAD versions out there: too salty, too cheesy (yes, there is such a thing), too many onions, not enough onions, poorly seasoned broth, giant, soggy hunks of bread….just not right. My favorite place to get French Onion Soup was a local French cafe that closed last year. They did it right. So I resolved to figure out how to make it myself. And I think it came out pretty darn good.
Soups warms the soul, right? At least that’s what I’m banking on today. Broccoli Cheese Soup to warm my soul…and every other part, too.The temps here in Minnesota are at record lows, the coldest it’s been in almost 20 years. The governor closed school today for the entire state, and, no, there isn’t any record snow. Just cold. As in -25 temps with a -50 windchill. Seriously, why do those temps even exist??? But we need to suck it up and make the best of it because there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the weather (except move, which has been brought up more than once by Kevin this weekend). So what do we do? Make soup. Broccoli Cheese Soup, to be exact. And I do it in the Crock Pot.
Loosen your belts, everyone; it’s time to get cooking for that big turkey meal! I hear a few groans out there, but can it ever be too early to start preparing for Thanksgiving? I vote no, especially if I want to enjoy the holiday with my guests rather than holed up in the kitchen. Everyone has their favorite tried and true Thanksgiving dishes (myself included), but here’s an idea to shake up your traditional offerings this year: why not begin the meal with a bowl of soup?
A few weeks ago, we enjoyed dinner on a picturesque restaurant patio in St. Paul. It was still warm as the sun went down and the twinkle lights came on – a gentle reminder that summer wasn’t finished with us yet. The restaurant’s menu showed hints of fall, though, including a carrot soup that I sampled as an appetizer. Holy cow, was I impressed! Even my veggie-averse son was nudging me for more spoonfuls. I don’t think I’d ever even had carrot soup before this evening, but that quickly changed when I returned home to recreate my memorable dish.
This Carrot Ginger Soup is such a simple, flavorful taste of fall.
Have you broken out the pumpkin yet? October first is right around the corner, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the pumpkin train. Now I’m not talking pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie. I’m talking Turkey Pumpkin Chili. Pumpkin in my chili? Turkey in my chili? Are you kidding me? Nope, I’m being straight with you. Just try it, and I bet you will be an instant fan, too. But make sure you use pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling. Otherwise you will be in for an unpleasant surprise. The smoky chipotle peppers, cumin and chili powder, along with the savory pumpkin, transform this dish into an amazing fall chili.