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I’ve never had Hot and Sour Soup at a Chinese restaurant, so I don’t even know if I normally like it. But I did not like this recipe! The combination of flavors was way too much for me, and it was a little too spicy for my taste.

But it did get very good reviews on MyRecipes.com, so if you normally like Hot and Sour Soup from a Chinese restaurant, then I suggest trying this (and please let me know how it turned out!)

(Want to try a Chinese soup recipe that I really liked? Try my Egg Drop Soup!)

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp
adapted from Cooking Light, October 2006

1 1/2 cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 – 1/2  cup  pre-sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons  low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 of an 8-ounce can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
1/2  teaspoon  white pepper
3/4  pounds  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4  ounces  reduced-fat firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2  teaspoons cornstarch
1  tablespoons  water
1  large egg white, beaten
1/8  teaspoon  chili oil
1 tablespoons  chopped green onions

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Add juice, pepper, shrimp, and tofu to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are almost done.

Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly drizzle egg white into pan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chili oil and onions.

serves 2

1 serving = 5 Weight Watchers Points

Calories: 233
Fat: 4.7g
Protein: 38g
Carbohydrate: 9.4g
Fiber: 2.3g

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Another soup, and another Martha recipe 🙂

I found this recipe a little over a month ago, and I’ve made it twice since then – that should give you an idea of how simple and tasty it is. Start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes – unheard of for soup!

The first thing that makes this recipe so quick is that it uses already-cooked turkey. Ideally, you’d use leftovers from Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did not, so I used Butterball Oven Roasted Turkey Breast Strips.

The second thing that makes the recipe quick is that it uses already-made stock. The original recipe calls for stock that you made yourself ahead of time (it is a Martha Stewart recipe, afterall). But I’ve never had great luck with homemade stocks – they take forever and they never seem to taste as good as the store-bought stuff! So I used “Better Than Bullion” Turkey Base.  It was my first time using it, and I’m a big big fan!

(I modified the recipe a bit – I added a potato and omitted a sprig of rosemary.)

Turkey Noodle Soup
adapted from Everyday Food, (month unknown) 2009

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, diced medium
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 medium white onion, diced medium
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 cups turkey stock (if using Better Than Bullion: 3 tablespoons turkey base + 8 cups water)
1 large potato, cut into dice-sized pieces
2 cups wide egg noodles
3/4 pound shredded cooked turkey

1. In a 6-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion softens and slightly browns, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add stock and bring to a rapid simmer. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes. Add noodles, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer until noodles are tender, 10-12 minutes. Turn off heat and add turkey to heat through.

Serves 6

winter is soup season

1 serving = 5 Weight Watchers points

calories: 257
fat: 6.8g (2.3g saturated)
carbs: 24.6g (fiber: 3.0g)
protein:22.9g



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I love creamy soups – but I very rarely eat them, because they’re often loaded with heavy cream (helloooooo calories!). But I was pleasantly surprised to flip through the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living and see this recipe – no cream!

And what’s better than a warm, “creamy” soup on a cold fall or winter day?! You could eat a large bowl of it as your main meal, or have a small bowl with a sandwich (maybe a warm panini – yum!).

(To be honest, I made this back in October – but was just too damn busy to blog about it!)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Martha Stewart Living, October 2009
3 2/4 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded (you could also use a sugar pumpkin)
1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
2 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Cut squash into 2-inch pieces. Combine squash, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer. Roast until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins.

2. Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Serves 4.

I served mine in my pumpkin-shaped soup tureen – isn’t it cute?! It’s from Crate & Barrel:

my pumpkin-shaped tureen

dig in!

The magazine doesn’t provide nutritional information, but I used a recipe analyzer and estimate that each serving is around 232 calories or 4 Weight Watchers points.

Calories: 232
Fat: 7.2g
Carbs: 44.2g (7.5 g fiber, 9.3g sugar)
Protein: 4g

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My mom makes the *best* seafood stew. She got the recipe from an old coworker and passed it town to me a year or so ago. But I confess that I’ve never actually used that recipe. It’s a recipe that you need to really shop for (lots of ingredients that you don’t normally have on hand) – and I always forget about it when I’m making my weekly grocery list. The other downside to her recipe is that it’s time-consuming.

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I found a recipe that takes care of both. Sure, I still had to go out and buy some ingredients- like the fresh seafood and clam juice- but not enough to rack up a huge grocery bill. As for time? This cioppino only took about 30 minutes to make! And it was delicious!

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My mom’s seafood stew still reigns supreme, but my new quick cioppino is almost as good and is a great substitute when I’m short on time and money!

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Quick Cioppino
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2003

2  teaspoons  olive oil
1/2  to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4  garlic cloves, finely chopped
3  cups  clam juice
1  cup  water
1/2  cup  finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2  teaspoon  dried basil
1/4  teaspoon  dried thyme
1  (24-ounce) bottle tomato-and-basil pasta sauce (such as Bertolli)
16  littleneck clams
1/2  cup  dry white wine
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
1  pound  cod or other lean whitefish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2  pound  medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2  cups  torn spinach

(optional: mussels, scallops)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add crushed red pepper and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

Stir in clam juice and next 5 ingredients (clam juice through pasta sauce.)

Add clams. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until shells open. (Discard any unopened shells.)

Add wine and next 4 ingredients (wine through shrimp); simmer 5 minutes or until fish and shrimp are done.

Stir in spinach.

serves 8

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The original recipe called for mussels, but Shaw’s didn’t have any, so I used extra shrimp. You can use whatever seafood is fresh and available.

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Sausage and Vegetable Stew over Egg Noodles

I had a good Saturday! Stas and I got up early (9:30am), had breakfast, and then he left to go skydiving for the day. I spent some time researching bridal makeup on the internet (I think I found my look) and then went grocery shopping. I loooove grocery shopping (seriously), and I took my time today and fully enjoyed it. A bonus was that it wasn’t packed like it usually is, so I managed to leave with my good mood intact 🙂

After putting the groceries away, I decided to do some cooking. This recipe comes from the current issue of Food Network magazine. I got it for free – it was one of those “try our magazine for free” deals on the internet. The catch was that they secretly enrolled you in a full subscription – so sneaky!!! I cancelled it right away, but still got the free issue. (score!)

The magazine is full of recipes, but most of them aren’t very healthy. And most of the chefs on the food network really annoy me. The Food Network was awesome a few years ago, when they had a lot less Rachel Ray, Next Food Network Star and other reality-type shows, and a lot more Mario Batalli, Iron Chef, and Giada De Laurentiis.

Anyway, back to the recipe! It caught my eye as a great recipe to make for Stas – because he loves soups and stews, especially for weekend lunches.

It was very easy to make, and Stas really liked it – so it may be a keeper!

I served it over egg noodles for him because he had a long, exhausting day of skydiving (he got 4 jumps in today) and needed some carbs!

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Sausage and Vegetable Stew
adapted from Food Network Magazine, Feb/Mar 2009

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
Kosher salt
4 cups water
6 ounces kielbasa, cut into small chunks
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 medium-sized white potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
black pepper

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the paprika and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the oil turns deep red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook until just toasted, 30 more seconds. Immediately stir in 4 cups water. Add the kielbasa, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the broth has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with pepper, and more salt if necessary.

(optional: serve with sour cream, fresh chopped parsley, and a sprinkle of paprika)

Serves 4

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Look! A new post!!

I’ve been neglectful again.  I haven’t stopped cooking – I’ve been forgetting to take pictures. And without the pictures, what good is a cooking blog post?

I almost forgot to take pictures of this soup. And then the camera almost died on me (low battery). It’s a miracle that I actually have some material to work with here!

This recipe is from the March issue of Cooking Light, in the “Lunch to go” article. For the past couple of months, I’ve been packing lunch for Stas… sometimes it’s a wrap, sometimes some borscht, sometimes leftovers. I try to switch it up so he doesn’t get bored. (So I really hope he likes this soup!) I chose this recipe simply because I’ve never made a beef & barley soup before…

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Barley and Beef Soup
from Cooking Light, March 2009

cooking spray (I used sunflower oil)
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 pound chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped, peeled carrot (about 4)
1 cup chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked bearl barley
5 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray (or oil). Add chopped onions and beef; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender and beef is browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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chuck steak fillets

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beef & onions in dutch oven

Add chopped carrot and celery to dutch oven; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in barley and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and summer 40 minutes, or until the barley is done and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves.

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after adding carrots & celery

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barley

Serves 6 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)

This is the type of recipe that improves with time. So if you can, make it the day before you plan to eat it.

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enjoy!

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I loooooooove mushrooms!

Growing up, I actually hated them… I think the turning point came around the time I went vegetarian back in college (I was vegetarian for about 4 or 5 years, but not anymore). Once I learned that mushrooms were a good source of protein, and super-low in fat and calories, I just started making a lot of grilled portobello ‘burgers’ and stuffed mushrooms.

So that was when I started liking mushrooms. I started loving mushrooms in 2007, when I went to Ukraine for the first time. This was when I experienced the magic that is marinated mushrooms! Oh, I went crazy for them… I literally ate every last marinated mushroom in Stas’ parents’ house. When I came home, I bought a whole bunch of marinated mushrooms from the Russian stores in the neighborhood, but nothing compares to the ones I had in Ukraine 😦

Besides marinated mushrooms (yum!), I also love mushroom soups. I typically make mine with only dried porcini mushrooms – no fresh mushrooms. In Ukraine (and probably most of the former Soviet Union, although I can’t say for sure), porcini mushrooms are readily available, both fresh and dried. They’re called “white mushrooms” and are very affordable. Here in the States, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them fresh; they’re available dried, but are a little pricey. What we call “white mushrooms” here are really button mushrooms.

For this soup, I used dried porcini mushrooms and fresh “white” (button) mushrooms. It was gooooood – a mushroom lover’s dream!

One of these days, I’d love to try it with fresh porcinis…

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Porcini Mushroom Soup
from Gourmet, December 2008

3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms (1 cup)
6 cups warm water plus 2 cups hot water, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb fresh white (button) mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill


1. Soak dried porcinis in 2 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.
2. Heat a heavy medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add onions, butter, and salt; cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown. Add celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer porcinis to the pot. Strain the porcini soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a  separate bowl. Add the fresh white mushrooms to the pot, along with with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
4. Stir in tomatoes, remaining 6 cups water, and porcini-soaking liquid. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
5. Purée 1 cup of the vegetables and 1 cup of the liquid in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then return to the pot. Stir in parsley, dill, and salt to taste.
serves 8
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what a beautiful pot of mushrooms!

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