Loaded Miso Soup

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I’ve been craving miso soup like crazy, but really wanted something that would provide a full meal. So why not make miso soup loaded with goodies to make a complete meal?

Done and delicious.

This makes a large pot with 4-6 bowl-sized servings. Great for lunch or dinner, and perfect for packing for work lunches. Enjoy!

Loaded Miso Soup
Author: Q&DK
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Somen, rice vermicelli, Soba, Udon or any other type of noodle
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced bok choy, stems and leaves
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (whites and greens)
  • 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 oz. diced tofu, drained
  • 6 cups water
  • About 5 tbsp. miso, to taste
  • Salt, optional
  • 2 cups baby spinach, or chopped spinach
  • Soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and reserve a tbsp. of pasta water. Drain and set noodles aside; toss with the pasta water to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large pot set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and then add the bok choy, scallions, ginger, and tofu. Cook until fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 5 cups of water to the pot – reserve the last cup and add the miso to that cup and whisk until smooth (this just makes it easier to dissolve the miso). Add the miso water to the pot, stir to combine.
  4. Bring the soup to a simmer and let cook about 10 minutes. Do not boil, just simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more miso, and/or salt if needed. Once the seasoning is adjusted, stir in the spinach and a splash of soy sauce. Remove from heat.
  5. Add noodles to each bowl and then ladle soup onto the noodles. Serve immediately. Store leftover noodles separately – if you store them in the soup they can soak up the broth and become soggy.
Notes
Miso comes in three types: red, yellow, or white. Any variety works in soup. I use a type called Mellow White Miso. I have to buy it at Wholefoods or Asian markets in a refrigerated area. Do not just get a miso soup mix – you want actual miso. Different types vary in the strength and sodium which is why I can’t put an exact tbsp. amount in the recipe. Start with a few and then taste. The Mellow White is mild and low in sodium so I use a good amount and add a bit of salt to taste.

 

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Slow Cooker: Smoky Braised Chicken with Fennel

braised smoky chicken

Smoked Paprika. I almost think I could eat it by the spoonful. It is by far my favorite spice, enriching everything it touches with a complex, smoky flavor. This recipe really lets the smoked paprika shine alongside tender, flavorful chicken and sweet fennel.

Recipe notes: If you don’t like fennel, you can substitute those for sweet onions. Also, for deeper flavor I give my chicken a nice brown before adding to a slow cooker. You can skip that step and just add the raw chicken to the slow cooker if you prefer.

Slow Cooker: Smoky Braised Chicken with Fennel
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Slightly adapted, Real Simple
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, cut into wedges, plus fennel fronds to garnish
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika (sweet, not hot)
  • 1/2 tsp. each S/P
Instructions
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken thighs on both sides, set aside. (You can skip this step, but I think chicken tastes better when browned before adding to a slow cooker – your call.)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken and fennel are tender, on low for 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  3. Serve hot and sprinkle with fennel fronds.
 
Notes
If you don’t like fennel, you can substitute those for sweet onions. Also, for deeper flavor I give my chicken a nice brown before adding to a slow cooker. You can skip that step and just add the raw chicken to the slow cooker if you prefer.

 

3-ingredient Shredded BBQ Chicken in the Crock-Pot

crockpot chicken

I’m not lying. Three ingredients + one Crock-Pot = super tender, flavorful BBQ chicken to use in sandwiches, in wraps, on salad, and in any other way you deem palatable! This recipe is so simple and makes a big batch so you can make several meals or use throughout the week as lunch. This also works well for large gatherings – you can use in a variety of appetizers like sliders or use as a main dish served with fun sides.

Our favorite way to use the chicken is piled high on onion rolls with grated sharp cheddar and butter pickles. Yum. If you make a batch, let me know how you use it!

3-ingredient Shredded BBQ Chicken in the Crock-Pot
 
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 5 hours
Total time: 5 hours
Serves: 8-10
*I always spray my crock-pot with nonstick spray and wipe down with a paper towel just to prevent major sticking at the top of the pot.
Ingredients
  • 12 skinless/boneless chicken thighs (rinsed and trimmed)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce (any variety – use your favorite)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to your crock-pot/slow cooker. Stir slowly just to combine. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours, or low for about 8 hours. Chicken should be cooked through and falling apart tender.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board. Shred the chicken and place in a large bowl. Spoon a generous amount of the sauce left in the cooker on the chicken and toss. You can use the chicken in soft tacos, wraps, sandwiches, stirred in soup, and placed atop salad.
  3. Store in the refrigerator. There will be a lot of sauce leftover, so you can discard this or save in another container. I store them separately and then pour a little sauce on the chicken each time I heat it up for a meal. Otherwise, the chicken tends to swim in the sauce if you store them together.
 

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

In an earlier life I was not really a fan of soup in general, but over the years things have definitely changed. I tend to like vegetable-based soups and the more I learn about making soup at home, the more I’ve grown to love a good bowl (especially during the cold winter months). Some of my favorites are homemade ramen soup, french onion, creamy kale soup, and Mexican albondiga soup.

This recipe will definitely be a staple for me … it was easy to make and super tasty. (But to me honest, I HATE cutting butternut squash – that is now my husband’s job. This link is a good tutorial). Plus, I’m a huge sucker for recipes that have a short ingredient list. I made a batch and we ate it for several days. I plan on making this again soon and packing for lunches. I topped with fresh pomegranate and S/P almond slivers for some added texture. When visiting Ecuador we are often served soup topped with popcorn or pork rinds. I’ve adopted that habit and love trying different toppings on my soup.

If you also begin to discover the joys of making homemade soup, I highly recommend investing in an immersion blender. Instead of transferring hot ingredients to a blender or processor to mix, you can keep all the ingredients in the pot and mix with this. I also use immersion blenders to make sauces and homemade whipped cream because most come with a whisk attachment.

I have a very cheap (less than $20 model), but I want to upgrade to the beauty below (still affordable at under $35 on Amazon) to match the mini-processor I just bought in the same color. Multicolored kitchen tools are my thing. Why go with black & white when you can have all the colors of the rainbow? 🙂

 

Here’s the recipe – I hope you enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
 
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Adapted from Wine magazine (Publix)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 7 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith, for example) peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a dutch oven, or large pot, cook the onion in hot oil about 5 minutes until tender. Stir in ginger, curry, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the squash and apple. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 40 minutes or until squash is very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. If you have an immersion blender, use this to blend the soup in the Dutch oven until smooth. (Alternatively, work in batches and transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return the blended soup to the Dutch oven.) Stir in the coconut milk and bring back to a warm temperature. Serve immediately. Stays good for several days in the refrigerator.
 

 

Super-Healthy Vegan Ramen Noodle Soup

homemade ramen noodle soup

So, maybe the last time you had ramen noodle soup you were a poor college student and you sprinkled “flavor” (aka salt) on hard noodles, covered with water and zapped in the micro? I’m not judging – I definitely feel the love for pre-packaged ramen soup.

But, guess what? You can buy plain ol’ ramen noodles and create an extremely healthy meal with real vegetables and real flavorings. Yes. You. Can. And although I really hope you don’t get the flu or a cold this season, this soup is totally calling out for some cold season love – not just to make you feel better, but to prevent yucky colds in the first place. Garlic, lemongrass, and ginger are known to pack a punch against nasty colds and they give this soup some serious flavor. Two for one. 

Recipe notes:

You should be able to find the noodles in the Asian section of your grocer – sometimes called “Chinese noodles.”  Vegans can omit the fish sauce and add a bit more soy sauce in its place. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, sometimes the produce section has it in a tube and it’s a good substitute. Buying cubed tofu makes this recipe even quicker. Some tips for getting crispy, golden tofu: drain well and press dry (see this recipe for instructions), then cook in skillet that is not nonstick. Nonstick makes it much more difficult to get a good crust on anything. I swear by my cast-iron skillet.  Feel free to swap out the vegetables for your favorites and create all kinds of ramen soups. Let me know if you create something wonderful. 🙂

vegan ramen noodle soup

Super-healthy Homemade Ramen Noodle Soup
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained, patted (very) dry, and cubed
  • 2 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • S/P
  • 3 scallions, sliced, whites and green separated
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped lemongrass
  • 32 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, snow or snap peas
  • 1 8 oz. pkg. ramen noodles (sometimes called “Chinese noodles)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Lime wedges, optional to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large skillet and cook the tofu over medium-high. Season with S/P and turn occasionally until a golden crust forms, about 10 minutes. Set aside off heat.
  2. Heat the remaining tbsp. of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook about 2-3 minutes until fragrant and tender. Add the broth, fish sauce, soy sauce, and Mirin and bring to a low boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles to the pot with 2 cups water. Cook until the noodles are tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Divide the soup among bowls, add the cooked tofu and tomato, and serve with lime wedges.