Loaded Minestrone Soup (Slow Cooker and Stove Top versions)


This time of year, soup is one of our dinners a couple of times a week.  Especially when the weather is cold and snowy outside.  No that it has been this winter but it is supposed to be a high of 1° this weekend, so this recipe will come in handy.  This minestrone is definitely one of my favorites!  A classic, hearty Italian soup with tomatoes, white beans, fresh vegetables and pasta. You can use Swiss chard or kale instead of spinach if you wish and you can omit the pasta if you don’t want the carbs.  It’s still yummy without it.

One of the best things about this soup is the rind of Parmesan that I like to throw in as it cooks.  It gives the soup a wonderful flavor.  I keep them in my freezer.  If you do not have a rind, simply toss in some fresh grated Parmesan as it cooks.

This can be made in both the slow cooker or on the stove.  Either way turns out great.  Serve with a nice loaf of crusty bread or small sandwiches and you have yourself an easy, delicious meal!




Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups

Loaded Minestrone Soup (Slow cooker and stove top versions)

10 minPrep Time:

40 minCook Time:

50 minTotal Time:

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  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (Vegetable for vegetarian)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh (or frozen defrosted) spinach
  • 2 cups COOKED small pasta such as ditalini
  • extra parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


  1. Crock Pot Version:
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, about 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to the crock pot along with the broth, tomatoes, beans, parmesan cheese rind, salt, pepper, rosemary, basil and parsley,
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  6. Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add zucchini and spinach.
  7. Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
  8. Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  9. Ladle 1-1/4 cups soup into bowls with 1/4 cup pasta
  10. Top with extra parmesan cheese if desired.
  11. Stove Top Version:
  12. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  13. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, about 15 minutes.
  14. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, parmesan cheese rind, salt and pepper.
  15. Add the rosemary, basil and parsley,
  16. Cover and cook on low 40 minutes.
  17. Add the zucchini and spinach, cover and simmer until the zucchini is tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  18. Remove the bay leaves, rosemary sprig, parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  19. Ladle 1-1/4 cups soup into bowls with 1/4 cup pasta in each
  20. Top with extra parmesan cheese if desired.


21 Day Fix: 1G, 1/2 R (beans) 1Y, 1/2 B (if adding cheese)


Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup


I love getting requests for recipes.  I have had three requests for this particular one so…Chicken Enchilada Soup is here!  Made in the slow cooker so you can just throw everything in that morning and off to work you go!  Usually a comforting food for this time of year BUT it’s currently 64° here in upstate New York.  Very odd for us.  Still easy and very delicious even if it is not soup weather outside.

Normally I make this with chicken breast that I just throw in the slow cooker along with everything else but all I had was ground chicken so I browned that in a skillet first then threw it in the slow cooker.  This was the first time I have tried it this way and it was still delicious.  I think I like the shredded chicken breast better but that’s because I do not have to stand and brown the meat.  I can just throw it all in and go.

I also cheated and used jarred enchilada sauce.  You can certainly make your own if you have a recipe you like.  I usually try to avoid canned or jarred things but I love this one.  Also, the recipe calls for black beans.  The ones I used, I previously soaked, cooked and froze for later use.  I put them in the slow cooker still frozen and it turned out fine.  Same with the corn.  Instead of canned, I used frozen organic sweet corn.

Pair this soup with some warm cornbread or tortilla chips and you have yourself a warm, cozy, easy meal as soon as you walk in the door!tacosoup1

Yield: 6 Servings

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

10 minutes of prep time and you have a warm, comforting soup!

10 minPrep Time:

8 hrCook Time:

8 hr, 10 Total Time:

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  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cup enchilada sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained or dried beans that have been soaked and cooked
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 large can whole-kernel corn, drained or frozen corn
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, optional
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Optional garnishes: avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/chips, olives


  1. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, and stir to combine.
  2. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
  4. Serve warm with garnishes


21 Day Fix: 1 R, 2 Y


Healthy and Creamy Baked Potato Soup


Ahh, its that lovely time of year in western New York where the weather goes from warm sunny 80° to cold and rainy 40° quite literally overnight.  As a result, the majority of us have some type of cold.  And I don’t just mean my family.  I mean the the majority of western NY.

Good times!  One of the draw backs of living here is the drastic weather changes but you can’t beat the beautiful colors and smells of Autumn in NY!


When the weather turns colder and the rain is pounding on the windows, we all reach for something warm and comforting.  For us, this past weekend, it was Baked Potato Soup.  Creamy, warm and delicious without all the extra fat and calories, it really hits the spot.  Now I had to serve mine with some sandwiches because the husband, “does not believe soup is a meal by itself.”  I have no issue with it but he is weird sometimes.


I have been a fan of potato soup for as  long as I can remember, especially when cheese is involved, and especially if lots of bacon is served on top and stirred in.  And yes, I eat bacon.  Not sure why I eat that and not ham or pork sausage (this is made with turkey bacon but I eat regular too).  Guess I am weird too.  With that being said, I hardly ever order potato soup out at restaurants because you can almost guarantee that they have thrown quarts full of heavy cream into the mix, which is completely unnecessary.


The good news is that you don’t need all of that cream to make an creamy, delicious potato soup.   Nor do you need a ton of time. This soup is ready to go in about 30 minutes or so, and also makes fantastic leftovers!

Yeah!  Think of it as a warm and cozy hug from me to you!

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Healthy and Creamy Baked Potato Soup

Classic baked potato soup without the heavy cream.

10 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

30 minTotal Time:

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  • 6 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups 1% milk, warmed
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon


  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced turkey bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, (turkey bacon will have very little grease of any so you can just leave any grease or crispy leftovers to give more flavor)
  4. Add Olive oil to the stockpot and heat through.
  5. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
  6. Sprinkle the flour on top of the onion, and stir until combined.
  7. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir in the chicken stock until combined.
  9. Stir in the milk, potatoes, and cooked bacon bits until combined.
  10. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, but is not boiling.
  11. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally every few minutes so that the bottom does not burn. (The smaller you dice your potatoes, the faster they will cook.)
  12. When the potatoes are soft, stir in the cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.
  13. Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with desired toppings.


For a short cut, use diced frozen potatoes.

21 Day Fix: 2 Y, 1B


Homemade Cream of ….. Condensed Soup


Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days!  I have been battling fall allergies and migraines and staring at a computer screen when you have a headache is painful.   Darn weeds!  I will be glad when it all goes away with the cooler weather.  Luckily, that cooler weather means my favorite season; Fall!  The colors, temps and smells are the best!  And of course with cooler weather comes the casseroles and with those casseroles comes the powerful “cream of” soups.  So…

On to today’s recipe!

Cream of (whatever) condensed soup!  It sounds like a time consuming process but it is actually really easy to do and so much better for you than that cream of crap you get from a can.  They have tons of preservatives,  ingredients you can’t pronounce,  processed everything.  Even an unbelievable amount of sodium.  I am trying to go by the rule, if i can’t can’t pronounce it, we’re not eating it.

Now a lot of you are going to say, “but it’s so much easier to open a can of soup and throw it in the casserole!”  Yes, that is easy but think about what you are actually putting in your food!  This only takes ten minutes to make, you control the ingredients and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  Make it over the weekend or a night you have a few minutes, let it cool, pour it on a jar and throw it in the frig!  It’s easy and tastes so much better than the canned stuff!


This recipe is the base for whichever “cream of” soup you need.  It is very easy to adapt.  Add small chunks of chicken for cream of chicken, celery seeds and small pieces of celery for cream of celery and chopped mushrooms for cream of mushroom.  Also, for the cream of celery or mushroom, I sometimes use a vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.  You don’t have to though.  All you need for this is FOUR ingredients!  Yes, you read that correct.  All that you really need to make condensed homemade cream of soup are four main ingredients: stock, milk (you can use any kind), thickener (flour), and a few seasonings.


To make the soup, whisk together your milk and flour until the flour is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Then bring your stock to a boil in a saucepan.  Slowly add in the milk mixture, whisking to combine.  Then whisk in your seasonings and let the mixture come to a low boil for a couple minutes or until it has thickened.  Then you stir in chicken, mushrooms or celery pieces if you’d like.

See!  How easy is that!?! You can even change up the spices to whichever ones you prefer!  The soup thickens more as it cools.  You can either use it right then or store it in the frig, after its cooled, in an air tight jar for up to 10 days.


I used my soup right then for my slow cooker chicken and dumplings.  Enjoy!

Yield: 2.5 cups or approx 2 (10oz) cans of soup

Homemade Cream of ….. Condensed Soup

5 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

15 minTotal Time:

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  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable if you are making celery or mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. celery seed (optional if making cream of celery)
  • 1/8 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup finely diced cooked chicken, mushrooms or celery


  1. Add chicken stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and flour until the flour is dissolved.
  3. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the boiling chicken stock, whisk to combine.
  4. Whisk in remaining seasonings.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and bring the mixture back to a low boil, stirring constantly so that the bottom of the pan does not burn.
  6. Let the mixture boil for about 2 minutes or until thickened.
  7. Then stir in the chicken, celery or mushrooms (if using), and remove pan from the heat.


Either use the condensed soup in a recipe immediately, or transfer it to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

***This recipe is NOT meant to be consumed as-is. It is a concentrated soup, which means that it either needs to be diluted to be eaten as a soup, or mixed into a recipe that calls for condensed soup.***



Homemade Chicken Stock



Many of you are probably saying or thinking, chicken stock?  She’s really posting a recipe for something that can easily be bought at the grocery store.  Why yes, yes I am.  Let me explain to you why I am and why I make my own.   The terms “stock” and “broth” are pretty interchangeable but typically, stock refers to the homemade version, while broth refers to purchased varieties.

First of all, it’s incredibly easy.  Really, any one can do it.  Second, nothing compares taste wise, to homemade stock.  There really is a huge difference. Things made with it just taste better. Third, the sodium.  I like to control the amount of salt that my family eats.  Even low sodium stock has quite a bit of salt in it.  For those who don’t know, salt works on your kidneys to make your body hold on to more water.  This extra stored water raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your kidneys, arteries, heart and brain.  That’s bad.  See a science lesson and recipe all in one!

The fourth reason is the cost.  Since we are eating healthier and buying more organic things, I like to make those grocery dollars stretch as far as possible.  I either buy a raw organic chicken or I get an organic rotisserie chicken already cooked.  I roast it (if it hasn’t been already) and serve it for dinner.  After dinner, I remove the rest of the chicken meat from the bones to use for future meals, then take the chicken bones and make homemade broth. You are literally using up every bit of that bird which is great because when you are paying per pound for whole cuts of meat, the bones are always included but often overlooked.

Some people like starting with raw chicken pieces to create the broth.  You certainly can do it that way.  I just don’t care for the boiled chicken afterwards and to throw it out means I am wasting a whole chicken.  I would rather enjoy mine roasted before hand.

Now, I am going to include in the recipe what I add to make my stock.  Please know that you do not have to stick to these.  You can add or take away anything you want.  Just try to avoid strong tasting vegetables like broccoli.  I like to add a combination of celery, carrots, onions, garlic and parsley.  I try to keep it as simple as possible and limited to what I always have on hand.


All you do is put the chicken carcass in the bottom of your largest pot. Add the vegetables you desire along with some peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Then add just enough water to cover the contents by one inch or so and cook on a low simmer for 3-4 hours. Strain the cooked stock through a fine-mesh strainer or colander set over a large bowl then discard the solids and let the stock cool.  When it’s cooled, skim the fat that’s risen off with a spoon and discard.  Use the broth immediately, jar it and put it in the refrigerator or put it in freezable containers and freeze for up to three months!

Yield: Approx 14 cups

Homemade Chicken Stock

5 minPrep Time:

4 hrCook Time:

4 hr, 5 Total Time:

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  • 1 (5-7pound) roasting chicken carcass
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 16 cups of water (4 quarts)


  1. Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic and seasonings in a large stockpot.
  2. Add 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer, uncovered on low, for 3-4 hours.
  4. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids.
  5. Chill the stock then remove the surface fat.
  6. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.