Soup Recipes

Old Fashioned Homemade Ham and Bean Soup

Growing up, my mom made ham and bean soup with cornbread on a weekly basis. She was the Queen of stretching a dollar, as she was a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids trying to feed 6 people on one income.

She would prepare a bone-in ham for Sunday dinner and use the leftovers for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and ham and bean soup.

Mom made everything from scratch and insisted that the only way to avoid bland and boring ham and bean soup was to use dry beans (never canned!) and include the ham bone during the cooking process.

Nowadays, it's just my husband and me, so rather than purchase a bone-in ham, I usually buy a small boneless ham and a ham hock. Feel free to use whichever method works best for your family.

011 (2)


Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bean Soak Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 3 hours


1 lb package dry White Beans
1/2 large White Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, diced
2-3 medium stalks Celery, diced
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 lb pre-cooked Ham, cut into bite-size chunks (Hickory, Smoked & Honey Ham are great choices)
3-4 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning
1 teaspoon fine Pink Himalayan Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Bay leaves
1 medium Ham Hock


  1. In a colander, wash and drain beans and check for any residue or rocks.
  2. In a large stock pot, add beans and cover with water, about 2-inches above beans.
  3. Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.
  5. Drain beans, place in a container and set aside.
  6. Add 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable broth to stock pot and heat over medium high for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes; until onion becomes translucent.
  8. Add vegetable broth and remaining ingredients and stir.
  9. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours; until beans are soft and tender.
  10. Remove ham hock from soup and scrape meat from bone, if desired.
  11. Transfer to individual soup bowls or mugs and serve immediately.

This recipe pairs well with Buttermilk Jalapeno Cornbread.


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Close to Restaurant-Style Pho Soup Recipe

A few years ago, an Asian restaurant opened nearby and everyone was raving about the Pho. Since I had never had it, I couldn't tell if it was authentic or not, but the flavor was something I never forgot.

I began researching Pho recipes and they all called for oxtail or bone marrow bones with very long cooking times.  They also included spice mixtures of anise & fresh ginger, along with cilantro, bean sprouts, chile-garlic sauce, Thai Basil, and green onions for garnish. 

Being married to a picky-eater who doesn't like (or won't try) half of the ingredients, I had to come up with a recipe that he would enjoy without sacrificing the taste. I also wanted a recipe that didn't take hours of simmering; something I could make on the fly without sacrificing taste.

After a few tries, I came up with what I refer to as 'Faux Pho'. While there's nothing fake about it, the process takes less than 30 minutes and the taste is pretty close to the restaurant at a fraction of the cost. 

Faux Pho Restaurant Style Soup

FAUX PHO Close to Restaurant-Style Pho Soup Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 large bowls or 6 medium bowls


1/3-pound Filet Mignon, Skirt Steak or Sirloin, slightly frozen and sliced paper-thin across the grain (set aside to rest at room temp)

1/2 medium White or Yellow Onion, sliced thinly

3-inches fresh Ginger, peeled and grated

3-4 medium Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 medium Jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped

4 medium Baby Portobello Mushrooms, thinly sliced

Juice of one Lime

2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 Quart Beef Broth (I prefer Kitchen Basics for the rich broth)

1/2-package of wide rice sticks, soaked, cooked & drained (or substitute with Fettuccine noodles)

Toppings can include: Bean Sprouts, chopped Cilantro, chopped Thai Basil, and/or Scallions cut into thin slices


  1. Slice beef and set aside. 
  2. Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of Beef Broth, onions, ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and beef broth. Stir ingredients until well incorporated. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While soup is simmering, prepare noodles according to package directions. Noodles should be al dente at most, to avoid over cooking after adding to the broth.
  5. Drain and add to broth. Cook on low for 3-4 minutes to return noodles to temp. 
  6. Add raw beef to soup bowls and carefully ladle soup over the meat. The meat will cook in the soup due to the thin slices.
  7. Top with your favorite additions and enjoy!



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Super Easy Chicken Sausage and Bean Soup

I love hearty soups that can be served as a meal. This chicken sausage and bean soup offers robust flavor that will fill you up and leave you satisfied. It pairs well with a garden salad and homemade yeast rolls.

What's great about this sausage and bean soup is you can make it with just about any type of sausage. Mild or spicy Italian pork sausage, Chorizo, chicken or turkey sausage, or even breakfast sausage works well. The same holds true for the beans. I like to use 1 can each of dark red kidney and white cannellini, but have also used pinto, navy, and even butter beans. Have fun creating your own unique flavor profile. 

Chicken Sausage and Bean Soup
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 to 1-1/2 hours


1 (32 oz) container chicken broth or 4 cups homemade stock
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
4-5 chicken sausage links, halved and cut in thin slices
*I used chicken sausage stuffed with mozzarella cheese which added a nice flavor
1 (15 oz) can EACH red kidney beans and cannellini beans, or 2 cans of one kind
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


1. In a stock pan, add 1/4 cup chicken broth and bring to boil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onion becomes translucent; about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken sausage and stir to combine ingredients.


2. Drain juice from one can of beans. Add remaining juice and both cans of beans, along with herbs. Stir to incorporate ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

3. Ladle into soup bowls, top with grated cheese, and serve immediately.


Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup

If you're looking for soup with substance you'll love this Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup. Not only is it packed with a tremendous amount of flavor, it's incredibly easy to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

The following Italian Sausage Pasta e Fagioli Soup was adapted from a copycat recipe I found for Olive Garden's soup. I tweaked the ingredients to make it more suitable for our palates. I added Italian sausage and used a combination of white and red kidney beans. Feel free to adapt it for your tastebuds!


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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 pound ground Italian Sausage
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 white Onion, chopped
2 medium Tomatoes, diced
2 cups organic Chicken Broth
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 can (15-ounce) Red Kidney Beans (undrained)
1 can (15-ounce) Cannellini (White Kidney) Beans (undrained)
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
8 ounces Ditalini Pasta
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
6 cups water, plus 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil (for pasta)


1. In a large saucepan, heat Italian Sausage over medium-high heat until cooked, about 7 minutes.

2. Add garlic and onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, oregano, pepper and salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add kidney beans with brine, and parsley. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. In a medium-size saucepan, add 6 cups of water, 1 teaspoon salt and a teaspoon of olive oil and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just barely tender, about 9 minutes. Drain and add to soup. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

6. Transfer to serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese.



Incredibly Flavorful Slow Cooked Chicken Tortilla Soup

Years ago, I had the most scrumptious chicken tortilla soup on the planet. It was made by a sous chef at a private country club where I worked as a line cook/prep chef. This soup had a rich broth that erupted into a smoky-sweet heat at the back of the throat from the jalapeno and poblano peppers.

Chef Grady's chicken tortilla soup had a flavor unmatched by any other. He never relinquished the recipe and I spent years trying to recreate it. Nearly a decade later, I believe I've finally mastered the flavor profile.

Although there are quite a few ingredients this soup is pretty easy to make. It takes about 30 minutes to put together and can be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. I like to add homemade tortilla strips, but this soup can also be served with tortilla chips, rolls, bread and butter, or bread and dipping oil. It's also amazing all by itself!

I'm excited to share this chicken tortilla soup recipe with you and hope that you and your family and friends enjoy it as much as we do. From my house to yours!


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Servings: (4) 8-ounce bowls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 to 4 hours



1 pound boneless skinless Chicken Breasts, cooked and diced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small Red Onion, diced
2 medium Jalapeno peppers, diced, seeds removed
1 large Poblano pepper, roasted and diced with seeds
3 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
8 cups homemade Chicken Broth, or store bought organic broth
2 (15 ounce) cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
3 large Tomatoes, diced
2 Limes, juice only
4 ounces shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 (10-inch) Flour Tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch strips


1. Set stove burner to medium heat and add oil to skillet. Sauté chicken until meat is thoroughly cooked; about 6 to 8 minutes. 

2. While chicken is cooking, roast Poblano pepper either on a gas stovetop burner or under the broiler. The pepper skin needs to be charred until it's very dark and almost blackened. Place cooked pepper on a plate and let cool, then dice.

3. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add onion and jalapeno to skillet and cook until soft; about 5 minutes.

4. Place chicken, peppers, and onion into slow cooker. Add chili powder, cumin, and salt and mix well.

5. Pour in chicken stock and add black beans, tomatoes, and lime juice. Mix ingredients together. Cook on high setting for one hour, than reduce to low setting for 3-4 hours.

6. Prepare tortilla strips about 15 minutes prior to serving. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place tortillas on top of one another and slice in half. Cut crosswise into ½-inch strips and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake until light golden brown; turning halfway through. Total bake time is 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

7. Ladle soup into bowls and top with 1 ounce shredded Cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of fresh Cilantro, and baked tortilla strips.


Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup Recipe

One of my favorite soups is roasted red bell pepper soup. Years ago, while working as a prep chef for a country club, we served this soup for special occasions. There rarely was ever any leftover and the Executive Chef refused to share his recipe so I could make it at home. 

I recently discovered a roasted red bell pepper soup recipe at which sounded similar to the one made at the country club. I made a few minor changes and attempted to go from memory. I'm happy to report the soup turned out magnificently. In fact, my husband, who isn't too fond of red bell peppers, enjoyed the soup so much he went back for seconds!

To make roasted red bell pepper soup, you need to roast the peppers. This can be accomplished by broiling them in the oven or roasting on a grill. I chose the oven method, but need to let you know that roasting peppers in the oven generates substantial smoke, so be certain to turn on the exhaust fan.


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Peppers can be roasted whole, but I cut them in half and remove the seeds. I find this method to be more efficient and less messy. Roast the peppers prior to making the soup. The entire process takes less than 20 minutes. The roasted red bell pepper soup recipe uses 4 whole peppers.

1. Turn oven to broil.
2. Wash and dry peppers. Slice in half and remove stems and seeds.
3. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat pepper halves with vegetable oil. It's important to use vegetable oil because of its high smoke point.
4. Arrange peppers on a baking sheet, skin side up.

5. Place on the highest rack in the oven and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until skin starts to bubble and turn brown.

6. Remove peppers and transfer to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making certain it is sealed all the way around. This provides steam which makes it easier to remove the skins. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. When peppers are cool, gently remove skins and chop peppers into bite-sized pieces.


Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes


1 stick Unsalted Butter
1 small Vidalia Onion, chopped
2 medium Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks Celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Red Bell Peppers, roasted, skin and seeds removed and loosely chopped
2 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Heavy Cream, warmed
8 fresh Basil leaves for garnish, thinly sliced (optional)


1. In a medium size pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until soft.

 2. Lower heat to medium. Add garlic and cook until vegetables are completely softened; approximately 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

3. Add the roasted red bell peppers and cook for another 10 minutes.

 4. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 

5. Puree vegetables using a hand blender, food processor, or blender. Return to cooking pot and remove from heat.

 6. Heat heavy cream in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, or until warm to the touch. 

7. Add cream to soup and stir until incorporated.

8. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with basil leaves and cracked black pepper. Serve with rustic bread, if desired.


Homemade Vegetable Stock Recipe

The following homemade vegetable stock recipe is super easy to make. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen up to 3 months. Homemade vegetable stock makes a great soup base and is perfect for cooking rice, quinoa or millet or as a substitute for chicken broth. It adds an earthy flavor to Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings!


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Serves 10
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Ready in: 2 hours, 15 minutes


1 Onion, yellow (skin on)
3 cloves Garlic (skin on)
3 Celery stalks (with leaves)
2 Carrots, large (unpeeled)
1 bunch Spinach, fresh
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon each sage, thyme, marjoram, turmeric, parsley
2 Bay leaves
6 Black peppercorns, whole
pinch of nutmeg and ginger
10 cups Water


1. Wash and rinse vegetables, leaving skin intact.
2. Sauté whole veggies in olive oil for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
3. Add seasonings and cook an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add 10 cups water. Bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 1-2 hours. If the taste isn't strong enough, simmer for an additional 1/2 hour.
5. Strain through a cheesecloth squeezing veggies to extract any juice.
6. Freeze or use within 5 days.

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Cauliflower Medley Soup Recipe

Cauliflower Medley Soup is a filling, yet light-flavored soup that is great year-round. Two cups of soup is a mere 62 calories and packed with vitamins and minerals. This cauliflower soup recipe can be made with water, vegetable or chicken broth. Personally, I prefer the added flavor of chicken broth.


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes


2 Celery stalks, chopped
1 Onion (white or yellow), chopped
2 Carrots, shredded
1 head Cauliflower, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10-12 each Spinach leaves, freshly chopped
6 cups Water (or vegetable broth)
Sea salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste


1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté celery, onion and carrot in water for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Steam cauliflower in a colander over boiling water or in a vegetable steamer until tender. Drain water and mash cauliflower with a fork.
3. Add the mashed cauliflower to the vegetable mixture, return to stove and cook over medium heat. Add the water or vegetable broth.
4. Add spinach leaves and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until soup is heated thoroughly.

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Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

One of our family favorite meals is homemade chicken and dumplings. Unfortunately, making chicken and dumplings from scratch can be a time-consuming process; making it a difficult dish to serve during the work week. I recently discovered a few tricks which reduce the cooking time by half without compromising the flavor.

Last week I made the following quick and easy homemade chicken and dumplings using my new Emeril Lagasse cookware. I love cooking even more now that I have a high-quality set of pots and pans! It's hard to believe what a difference there is. Everything cooks faster and clean up is a breeze!

Before sharing the homemade chicken and dumplings recipe, I'd also like to share a money-saving tip. When my husband and I became empty nesters, I began making my chicken and dumplings using chicken breasts. However, I was robbing us of the flavor infused from the bones and skin of the bird. This time, I purchased a whole cut-up chicken because it was on sale, but I received three extra bonuses.

First, I didn't have to cut-up the chicken. Second, I was able to use both dark and white meat and obtain the flavor from the bones. Third, there was enough leftover chicken that we were able to enjoy two meals! Using one breast, one leg, one thigh, one wing and the chicken back, I was able to achieve the robust flavor I desired.

Additionally, I normally cook the chicken first to create the chicken broth for the dumplings. After the chicken is cooked, I remove it from the broth and allow it to cool while the dumplings are cooking. I was running short on time and decided to cook the dumplings in salted water, while the chicken cooked in boxed chicken broth.

This technique cut the cooking time in half. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Using this method allows everyone to enjoy a good old fashioned bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings throughout the busy work week. I hope you enjoy the recipe!


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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes


1 whole cut-up chicken divided into 1 breast, 1 leg, 1 thigh, 1 wing and chicken back. Freeze remaining parts for another meal.
1 32-ounce box Chicken Broth
½ white or yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Celery stalks, diced
1 Carrot, diced or shredded
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
¼ package Mary B's Dumplings Open Kettle


1. Wash and pat dry chicken parts.

2. Add chicken broth to a large stockpot and warm over medium-high heat.

3. Add chicken pieces, onion, garlic, celery and carrots to broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 25 minutes.


4. In a large sauce pan, add 8 cups water and Adobo seasoning. Bring to a boil.

5. Cut Mary B's dumplings into six slices per strip.

6. Add dumplings, one at a time, to boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Stir frequently and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until tender.


7. Remove chicken pieces from chicken broth and transfer to a cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

8. Once chicken is cool to touch, remove skin and pull chicken meat from the bones. Shred or chop into bite size pieces. Do not use the meat from the chicken back. This piece is used for flavoring purposes only.

9. Place chicken meat in the broth.

10. Drain water from dumplings using a colander.

11. Add dumplings to chicken broth and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

12. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately. 



Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Brad's Bodacious Beef, Bean and Sausage Chili Recipe

Today, I'd like to share Brad's Bodacious Beef, Bean and Sausage Chili recipe; a creation made by my culinary-exploring husband. I am constantly amazed at how far his cooking skills have improved in the eleven years we have been together. When we first met, he was strictly a meat-and-potatoes-guy who was not very enthusiastic about changing his dietary habits.

After creating his Bodacious Beef, Bean and Sausage Chili recipe, I decided it was time to officially crown him The Mini Cheap Gourmet! He took our family chili recipe to an entirely new level with this tasty and hardy rendition. It is by far the best chili I have ever tasted and I am thrilled to share his recipe with you. 


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Serves: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour


1-1/2 pounds lean Ground Beef
2 Johnsonville New Orleans Brand Andouille Recipe Spicy Smoked Sausage links
1 package Carroll Shelby Chili Mix
½ medium White or Yellow Onion, chopped
2-3 medium Garlic cloves, minced
½ medium Green Pepper, chopped
1 small Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 64-ounce bottle Campbell's Tomato Juice
1 15-ounce can Bush's Seasoned Black Beans, drained
2 cups Bowtie Pasta or Elbow Macaroni, uncooked
Shredded Cheddar Cheese, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Crackers or corn chips, optional


1. Add ground beef to heavy stockpot over medium heat. Break into pieces and cook for 10-12 minutes or until meat is browned.
2. Place cooked hamburger in a colander and rinse with warm water to remove excess grease. Return to stock pot.
3. Cut Johnsonville sausage links half then cut each half in half. Cut slices into half-inch pieces. Add to cooked hamburger.
4. Add Carroll Shelby Chili Mix, except for masa flour. Use half of the cayenne pepper packet unless you like exceptionally spicy chili.
5. Add onion, garlic, green pepper and jalapeno. Pour in the entire bottle of tomato juice, add the black beans and mix ingredients together.
6. Add pasta. If the tomato juice does not cover the pasta, fill the tomato juice bottle about half-way full of water and add to chili mixture.
7. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.

8. Transfer to serving bowls. Top with cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately. 


We like to add corn chips to our chili to provide a little extra crunch. Frito's scoop corn chips are my personal favorite because I can scoop up small amounts of the chili when it is too hot to eat. We often use leftover chili to make nachos, taco salads and as a topping for baked potatoes.

If you enjoy Brad's Bodacious Beef, Bean and Sausage Chili please stop back and leave a comment. Doing so will make my husband a very happy man!

Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Homemade Potato Soup Recipe

Homemade potato soup is one of my favorite soups because it conjures up childhood memories. Over the years, our family potato soup recipe has changed to make it healthier, but the original recipe is still my favorite. It includes an entire stick of butter - YUM!

What I love about homemade potato soup is the endless possibilities. It can be made with all types of potatoes - Idaho, Yukon Gold, Russet, Yellow, White or Red. Whole milk can be replaced with Soy, Rice or Almond milk. The broth can be made with canned Cream of Mushroom Soup or Cheddar Cheese Soup. A variety of spices and shredded cheeses can be added. Real butter can be exchanged for soy butter, rice oil butter or margarine. A variety of onions can be used, as well as shallots or leeks. In other words, potato soup begs for experimentation!

Below is the basic Homemade Potato Soup recipe that originated with my grandmother. When my mother was in hospice she craved this soup and I made it for her on a weekly basis. She was very happy that I had mastered the family recipe and asked me to pass it along to others so they could enjoy it too! I hope our family potato soup becomes a favorite for your family.


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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes


6 large Russet Potatoes; diced into bite-size pieces.
1 medium White Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 quart whole Milk
1 stick Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Place potatoes, onions and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, if desired.
2. Cook over medium-high heat until potatoes are fork tender; about 10 minutes.
3. Drain potatoes in colander and return to pan.
4. Add milk and butter.
5. Heat ingredients over medium-low heat until butter is melted; about 5 minutes.
6. Transfer to serving bowls. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

This recipe is further enhanced by adding an ounce of shredded Cheddar Cheese and bacon bits.

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January is National Soup Month!

Soup is one of my favorite comfort foods, so I was thrilled to discover January is National Soup Month. I received a newsletter from Women's Bean Project inviting me to take advantage of their soup sale and wanted to share the deals with you.

Women's Bean Project is a wonderful organization with headquarters in Denver, Colorado. I was introduced to the company in 2005 while living in the Rocky Mountains. Women's Bean Project provides on-the-job training to women faced with chronic unemployment and poverty.

Founded by Jossy Eyre in 1989, Women's Bean Project began with $500 in beans and two women living in a homeless shelter. Today, their products are available in King Soopers grocery stores and via the Women's Project website.

The product line includes a selection of bean soups, chili, salsa mixes, spice rubs, coffee beans, baking mixes and gift baskets; all of which are very affordable!

In honor of National Soup Month, Women's Bean Project is selling all soups for a mere $5.00. I have purchased Marian's Black Bean Soup, Toni's Ten Bean Soup, 6 Bean Soup with Organic Beans and Spices, and Firehouse #10 Hot Chili. I also ordered two boxes of Cornbread Mix to accompany the chili. Yum!

I encourage you to support Women's Bean Project by ordering soups, baking mixes, spices, gift baskets, jelly beans or my all-time favorite - chocolate covered espresso beans. Click here to browse Women's Bean Project Products.

Below are some of my favorite homemade soup recipes. I'll be posting more soup recipes throughout the month, so take a moment to subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet newsletter by entering your email address in the "Get the Scoop" subscription box.

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Vegetable Beef Soup

White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan Cheese

Turkey with Rice Soup

Low-Carb Asiago Minestrone Soup

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Disclaimer: The Cheap Gourmet is not affiliated with Women's Bean Project and receives no compensation for reviews or product sales.

Low-Carb Asiago Minestrone Soup

One of my favorite soups is Minestrone. I love the combination of the vegetables, beans and pasta. However, like many Americans I'm attempting to reduce my intake of carbohydrates. I decided to experiment with my all-time favorite Minestrone Soup recipe. I wanted to create a soup that would be filling, satisfying and full of flavor.

The following Minestrone Soup recipe is a hearty soup, yet offers a light mouth-feel. I added Asiago cheese for a boost of flavor and to replace the substance of the pasta. One ounce of Asiago cheese contains a mere .67 grams of carbohydrates. In comparison, one ounce of macaroni pasta contains approximately 5 grams of carbs. Asiago is relatively low in fat content, with one-ounce containing 8.7 grams.

This recipe will serve four as a main course or six as an appetizer. If you want to further enhance the flavor, make the soup the day before you plan to serve it.

Asiago Minestrone Soup

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Serves 4 (main course) or 6 (appetizer)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes


1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large White or Yellow Onion, chopped
1 cup Baby Carrots, sliced diagonally
3 cups Chicken Broth (use low-sodium if desired)
1 cup Water (add White Wine for a boost in flavor)
1 can (15-ounce) Diced Tomatoes (or use 2 cups fresh, seeds removed)
3 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
1 medium Zucchini, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1/4 pound fresh Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (15-ounce) Cannellini Beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh Basil leaves, chopped
1 cup Asiago Cheese, shredded


  1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and carrots. Cook until onions are soft and translucent; about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, water (or white wine), tomatoes, garlic, Swiss chard, herbs and pepper.
  4. Bring to a low simmer and cook 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add zucchini, green beans and cannellini beans; stir to combine ingredients. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Add Swiss Chard and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender.
  7. Add basil leaves, remove from heat and stir well to incorporate ingredients.
  8. Ladle into serving bowls and top with  Asiago cheese.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Vegetable Beef Soup Recipe

The following Vegetable Beef Soup recipe has been served for three generations in my family. It began with my maternal Grandmother. Then my mom, who is the Queen of Cooking, added a few more ingredients to make it a bit heartier. It has since been passed to me and I have incorporated even more ingredients. So, over the course of 40 years it has gone from ordinary Vegetable Soup, to what I now refer to as "Everything But The Kitchen Sink Vegetable Beef Soup!"

While there are quite a few ingredients, this soup is relatively easy to make. At best estimate, it costs about $12.00 to make a huge stockpot full of this yummy goodness. Our family consists of three and this recipe yields about 12 servings.

I like to store four to six servings in individual containers and place them in the freezer for later use. It only takes a few hours for the soup to thaw, making this a great item to take to the office for a tasty and healthy lunch. Just reheat in the microwave for two to three minutes and serve with Saltine crackers or a slice of homemade cornbread.


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Serves 12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 hours


2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound Sirloin Steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 whole Bay Leaves
1 (46-ounce) can Tomato Juice
1/2 head green Cabbage, chopped
3 stalks Celery, sliced
2 medium Carrots, sliced
3 medium Potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (15-ounce) can Corn, drained
1 (15-ounce) can Peas, drained
1 (15-ounce) can Green Beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced Tomatoes
1 cup quick-cook Barley
Salt and Pepper to taste


Add Olive Oil to large stockpot. Set heat to medium and allow oil to heat for one minute.

Add Sirloin cubes to oil and cook thoroughly; about 4-5 minutes.


Add Onion and Garlic to meat. Saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add Bay Leaves and heat for 1 minute.


Add cabbage, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn, peas, green beans and tomatoes.



Add Tomato Juice.

Bring ingredients to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 3 hours; stir occasionally.

Add Barley, stir well and simmer for 30 minutes.


Remove bay leaves from soup and discard.

Transfer to soup bowls and serve immediately.


White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan Recipe

I enjoy all types of cooking; however my two favorite styles are baking and making soups. Maybe it's because my mom was such an amazing baker and maker of soups? I wonder if there is a specific gene that makes one good at cooking??

Last week, I helped my husband clean out our garage. My motivational factor was that I knew I had some old cookbooks and recipes cards stored out there. Imagine my surprise when I discovered two 3-inch notebooks filled with recipes I created (or helped create) at the health food store I worked for back in the early 90s.

That was by far my favorite food service job. My boss was Mother Earth. A total hippie with a love for health food. She had the ability to take any high-fat, calorie-rich recipe and turn it into something good for you. She could make a meatloaf out of tofu and no one could tell the difference. She made an amazing flour-less chocolate torte out of carob. Her healthy revisions always tasted as good as, if not better than, the original dish.

Growing up, my mom made the best Ham and Bean Soup and served it with cornbread. She slathered the top of the cornbread with a half stick of butter, then dipped pieces of it in the soup. Talk about heaven! She used the ham bone to season the soup and included generous chunks of ham. I vividly remember her saying, "It's not ham and bean soup without plenty of HAM!"

One day, Leslie (my boss) and I were talking about mom's bean soup. At the time I was practicing Vegetarianism, but had been craving ham and bean soup. It was a slow day, so we decided to do a little experimenting and develop a healthier version.

The following is the concoction we came up with. Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment with this soup; however, I highly recommend eliminating that half stick of butter. A teaspoon will do just fine or if you're adventurous try using organic coconut oil. It adds a wonderful sweet, coconut-y flavor. A crispy, French baguette or whole wheat dinner roll is another option.


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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours







1-1/2 cups dried small White (Navy) Beans
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion (yellow or white), finely chopped
1 medium Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk Celery, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, minced
7 cups Chicken or Vegetable stock (substitute with water, if desired)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Pick over and discard any damaged beans or stones. Place beans in colander and throughly rinse.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl, add enough water to cover and soak for about 3 hours.
  3. Drain beans and set aside. In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are soft; about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.
  4. Add garlic and rosemary and continue to saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add drained beans and the chicken or vegetable stock, or water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When beans are fork-tender, soup is done.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Place one-third of the bean mixture in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  8. Puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup back into soup pot and reheat gently.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer soup to individual bowls. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.


NOTE: You can use canned white beans, if desired. Doing so will reduce the cooking time to around 20-30 minutes. Feel free to substitute different types of beans such as cannellini (white kidney beans), Great Northern or Lima beans.

Turkey with Rice Soup Recipe

If you're like most Americans, you've got a boatload of leftover turkey in your fridge. The good news is turkey is perhaps one of the most versatile foods. You can make just about anything out of turkey -- turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey with rice casserole, turkey gumbo and just plain ole' reheated turkey.

Personally, I'm a big fan of turkey soup. Although I live in Florida now, I'm originally from the Midwest and during the winter months I always indulged in a variety of soups. With the warmer weather down here, I haven't eaten as much soup as I need so when I saw the mound of leftover turkey from our Christmas dinner, my first thought was "Yeah! I can make a big batch of turkey and rice soup!"

Below is one of my favorite Turkey with Rice Soup recipes. Unfortunately, I was out of carrots so the photo below is what I ended up with. I highly recommend adding carrots to this recipe. Not only does it add a hint of color to an otherwise drab looking soup, it also adds a rich flavor. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich for a filling and tasty lunch or dinner meal.



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Yields: 6 servings (large bowls)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Turkey_with_rice_soup INGREDIENTS:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Thyme
2-3 medium Carrots, diced
2 cups Turkey, chopped
2  (15-ounce) cans Vegetable Broth
4 cups Water
1-1/2 cups Rice, uncooked (I prefer Jasmine for it's nutty flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add olive oil to large stockpot and set burner to medium-low heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add carrots, turkey, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for one hour.
  • Remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately. (Jarden Consumer Solutions)

Announcing: The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

It's official. The holidays are rapidly approaching and it's time to start thinking about what we'll be serving for holiday meals, social gatherings and office parties. Since many of us are attempting to eat healthier foods, I wanted to share my collection of healthy holiday recipes. Best of all, it's free! ;-)

The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a 25-page report that includes a Holiday Menu Planner that is super easy to use. Simply select one recipe from each category, along with two side dishes and you'll be well on your way to creating a delectable, tasty holiday meal everyone will be talking about!

Categories include:

  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Entrees
  • Side Dishes
  • Beverages
  • Desserts

Recipes Include:

  • Artichoke and White Bean Dip
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • The Great Pumpkin Soup
  • Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes
  • Quinoa Apple Salad
  • Persimmon Mesculin Salad
  • Roasted Turkey
  • Baked Honey Ham
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa Stuffing
  • Asparagus with Lemon Butter
  • Pumpkin Dumplings
  • Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Homemade Whipped Cream
  • Orange Coconut Frost
  • Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
  • Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you can download it for free at

Click the underlined link below to download your free copy of
Download Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

Perfect Pumpkin Stew

October is the perfect month to make this fabulous pumpkin stew recipe. From start to finish, this hardy stew is ready in under an hour. It's rich flavor and creamy texture are delightful and will fill you up and keep you warm during the upcoming cold weather months.

Perfect Pumpkin Stew
Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes

Pumpkin_stew Ingredients:

2 large white or yellow Onions, chopped
3 cups Pumpkin, skin removed and diced
2 cups Sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup Parsnips, peeled and diced
6-8 cups Water
1 cup Carrots, sliced
1 cup Millet
1/2 teaspoon Cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon Coriander seed, ground
1/2 teaspoon Ginger, ground
2 each Bay leaves


1. Wash and rinse vegetables.
2. Remove skin from onion, remove core and chop loosely.
3. Remove skin and seeds from pumpkin. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
4. Peel and dice sweet potatoes and parsnips.
5. Add 2 tablespoons water to large pot and saute onions until golden brown.
6. Add the rest of the vegetables, millet, spices and water.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook covered for 1/2 hour or until pumpkin, vegetables, and grains are soft.
8. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup uses fresh ingredients which are available year-round. It's easy to prepare and makes a great pick-me lunch or light dinner.


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes



1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, minced
1 Garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Carrot, finely diced
1 cup Zucchini, diced
6 cups Vegetable broth, heated
2 cups green Cabbage, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Add hot broth and bring to boil. Cook 1 minute.
    4. Stir in cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until cabbage has softened, but still has a bit of crunch.
    5. Serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze into each portion.


The Diva DietMore recipes like this can be found in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet".