Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup

Condensed cream of mushroom soup

Here is the recipe for condensed cream of mushroom soup.  This is so much more flavorful that anything you will find in a can.  You can use it right away in any recipe that calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.  I have tried freezing it, and the flavor was still there but I thought it was just a little thin after thawing.

1 1/3 cup vegetable stock or broth (Have a recipe for this on this site)

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms – use fresh

1/2 tsp. salt

1 clove garlic – finely grated

1/2 tsp. onion – finely grated

1/8 tsp. dried thyme

Bring the stock to a boil over medium high heat.  In a bowl whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is well incorporated.  Slowly pour in the flour/milk mixture into the boiling broth, whisking the whole time.  Stir in the mushrooms and the seasonings.  Reduce to medium heat and bring mixture back to a low boil, stirring constantly or the bottom will burn.  Boil for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thickened.  Remove pan from heat.  Pour into containers.  You can use it at this time in a recipe or store in the refrigerator.


Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley soup

I love soup in the fall and winter.  There is just something wonderful about a bowl of soup and fresh hot bread on a chilly evening.  This is one of my favorite beef soup recipes.  It is so filling and satisfying.  It keeps well so you can have it for dinner and take some for your lunch the next day and it will taste just as good as it did the night before(or two nights before).  It does take some time, but is well worth the effort.

3 1/2 lbs. short ribs

3 carrots, scrubbed

3 ribs of celery with the leaves on

2 onions, whole and studded with 2 cloves

4 cloves of garlic

6 cups of water

4 cups of beef broth (you can use store bought, but homemade is so much better)

4 large springs of parsley

3 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices

3 ribs celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 cup peas (frozen or fresh)

1 cup green beans (you can use canned or frozen)

1 cup cooked pearl barley

salt and pepper to taste

2 tab. parsley, chopped

Place ribs with whole carrots, whole celery with leaves, onions and garlic into a stock pot.  Add water and 2 cups of broth.  Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 1 hour.  Skim off foam.  Add parsley sprigs and simmer for another hour.  Remove meat and remove bones and fat.  Cut up meat and strain broth.  Discard carrots, celery, onions and garlic cloves.  Chill broth and then skim off fat on top.  Return to pot and add sliced carrots, celery, peas and green beans and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add the meat, chopped parsley and barley.  Simmer for another 10 minutes, then serve.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla soup is a staple in Texas.  Everyone has their own recipe.  Some recipes are complicated, right down to cutting the tortillas into strips and frying them.  This is one of my easy recipes.  Not many ingredients and very easy to make.  As for the tortillas, yes when I have time, I will slice tortillas into strips and fry them myself.  But this recipe, you can just use the smaller pieces of tortilla chips from your bag of store-bought chips.

4 quarts of chicken broth(this is the one place I do not cut corners.  I use my homemade broth, but you can use store-bought if you prefer)

6 chicken breasts (you can use a mixture of white and dark.  I just prefer white meat in this soup)

3 cans Rotel Chilies and Tomatoes

2 cups chopped onions

3 tablespoon chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons cumin

3 tablespoons garlic powder

In a pot place chicken breast and cover with chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about one hour.  Chicken should be pretty tender.  Add Rotel tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder.  Cook for an additional hour.  Shred chicken.  Serve with crumbled tortilla chips, green onions, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, Avocado pieces, sour cream and lime wedges.

Tomato Basil Soup

tomato basil soup

Lately the weather has been kind of strange for Texas.  Usually in May, it is hot and we are looking for something cool to eat.  This year, we have had several cool spells, in fact it has been downright chilly several different times recently.  Chilly days always have me wanting soup.  I like this one because it is simple, has great flavor and is easy to make.

1 quart tomatoes

1/2 medium onion, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

dash pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

1/4 cup. butter

1/4 cups flour

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 quart milk

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Simmer tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, sugar, bay leaf, basil and garlic for about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf Use an immersion blender to blend slightly, you still want to have small bits of tomato.  Melt butter and blend in flour, slowly add milk, stirring until thick, about 10 minutes. Add to tomato mixure.  Stir in cheese.  Stir to blend and heat for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve with fresh basil on top.

Black Bean and Bacon Soup


This is a soup that is very substantial for those times when it is rainy or cold outside.  It takes a while to prepare it, but it is worth the time invested.

1 pound black beans

1 quart beef stock

1 pound bacon

1 clove garlic, minced

1 med onion, chopped

1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 tsp. red wine

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. chili powder

Soak beans for about 3-4 hours in 4 cups cold water.  Drain.  In a stockpot, combine beans and stock.  Head to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.  Fry bacon and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease.  Discard rest of grease and then in the skillet add garlic, onion, and jalapeno pepper.  Saute until onions are tender.  Remove 2 cups cooked beans from the pot.  Mash beans and then mix back into the beans and stock.  Add sautéed vegetables, wine,  and chili powder. Chop bacon into pieces and add to soup. Simmer about 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Beef Stock

Beef stock

I like to know what goes into my food.  Canned stock is just not an option.  Not only is homemade stock more flavorful, but you control the amount of salt and you can add what you want, or keep out what you don’t.  Just like my chicken stock, I try to keep this in the freezer for when I need a good beef stock.  It’s pretty easy.  Good to have on the back burner while you are cleaning house or making cookies or bread.  Makes your house smell wonderful.

4 pounds of meaty beef bones, including the marrow.  Shinbones or knuckle bones are the best.

2 onions, thickly sliced

2 large carrots, thickly sliced

2 stalks of celery, with leaves, thickly sliced

6 sprigs of fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh thyme

10 black peppercorns

1 tab. salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Put the bones, onions and carrots into a roasting pan and roast until the bones turn a rich brown.  This will take about 30-45 min.  Transfer the mixture to a stock pot.  Add a little water to the roasting pan and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the bits are loosened.  Pour this into the stockpot and add rest of the ingredients and enough water to cover (about 5 quarts).  Place the stockpot over med high heat and slowly bring to a boil.  Skim off and discard any scum or fat that rises to the top.  Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 4 hours.

Line a fine sieve with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl.  Slowly pour contents of pot into the sieve. Discard the solids.  Let the stock cool to room temperature.  Pour into containers and cover, label and date.  Store stock in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Makes about 3 quarts.

Potato Soup


Most of you have lots of ham left over from Easter dinner.  One of my favorite ways to use leftover ham is to make potato soup. This is one of the easiest soups to make and is rich and creamy, with bits of potatoes with chunks of ham throughout the soup.  I usually serve it with a choice of garnishes; shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon bits and green onions.  My kids love this soup and ask for it often.


Potato Soup


8-10 med sized potatoes, sliced thinly

1 med onion, diced

1 quart of chicken stock

1 1/2 cup cubed ham

2 tsp. celery seed

1 quart cream

1 stick butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes and ham into stock pot and cover with stock.  Add water, if needed,  to slightly cover potatoes.  Add onion, celery seed and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to simmer.  Simmer potatoes until  they are fork tender.  Stir to slightly break up potatoes.  Pour in heavy cream and add more salt and pepper if needed.  Once soup begins to simmer again, add stick of butter.  Stir soup until butter is melted and begins to thicken.  Serve hot with choice of garnish.  Serves about 6 with second helpings.