Split Pea Soup


Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook

published by Golden Press 1983


Easter week is the perfect time to make this soup.  The leftover ham (and bone if you have it) flavors split pea soup so wonderfully. However, if you do not have a ham bone,; smoked chops, kielbasa, smoked sausage, ham steak, or salt pork will all work just fine.  A crusty bread and some fresh fruit should round out the meal.  Enjoy!



20 oz. bag, dried split peas

1 large onion,chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

leftover ham, sausage, kielbasa, smoked chops,etc.

fresh ground pepper

water, approximately 3 times the amount of beans




1. Rinse peas, checking for rocks and clumps of dirt.

2. Put everything in the pot and bring to a boil.  If you like your carrots to be a little crunchy, put them in much later.  They tend to get very soft if you add them in now.

3. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours.  Check to see if peas are done.  At this point the soup will look quite watery.

4. Bring the pot back to a boil and reduce heat again so that it just boils gently for about 25 minutes. Stir it often and don’t allow the peas to stick to the bottom.  This is when the soup thickens up nicely and smoothes into a pea puree all by itself, just keep stirring.

5. Serve hot with some crusty bread.



Sunday Meeting Tomato Soup


Recipe courtesy of Stovetop Suppers

by Gooseberry Patch


1/2 cup butter, sliced

1 cup fresh basil, chopped (don’t skimp on the basil-it really makes this soup gourmet tasting)

2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart (4 cups) half & half

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: croutons, shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese



1. In a large saucepan or pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add basil; sauté for 2 minutes.


2. Add tomatoes with juice and garlic. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.


3. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer tomato mixture to a blender ( or food processor) and puree. Transfer back into saucepan and add half & half, mixing well.

4. Reheat soup over medium-low heat, being careful not to boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with croutons and shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese.

 This is such a simple, yet tasty soup.  The fresh basil really makes the difference here, so even though 1 cup seems like a lot of basil, add it all, you will not regret it.  I garnished my soup with fresh chives from my garden and shaved parmesan.  Enjoy!

Country Bread and Tomato Soup


Recipe is courtesy of The Panera Bread Cookbook

Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, New York


1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2-28 ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes

1 quart water or vegetable stock

1/4 cup dry red wine

1 small loaf Artisan white bread, cut or torn into bite-size pieces





1. With a mortar and pestle, mash the basil well with 1/2 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, this step can be done in a food processor.  To preserve the rustic taste and appearance of this infused oil, take care to pulse the ingredients very gently.  Set the mashed basil oil aside.


2. In an 8 quart stockpot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano just until the garlic begins to sizzle.


3. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the stockpot, including all juices that come from the tomatoes.


4. Add the water or stock, and red wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.


5. Stir in the bread and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, drizzling the hot soup liberally with the mashed basil oil.

6. If you do not plan on serving and eating the entire pot of soup in one sitting, I would suggest that you add the amount of bread you would like to the individual bowls of soup. I also added a little grated Parmesan cheese to my bowl of soup.


* To freeze for an easy meal later:

Allow the soup to cool, without adding the bread or basil oil.  Pour the soup into freezer containers, place the bread cubes in zip-top bags, and pour the basil oil into ice cube trays. After the basil oil is frozen, remove the cubes and place them in a zip-top bag in the freezer right next to the bread cubes and soup (to jog your memory 3 weeks from now). You now have an easy dinner with none of the work. Enjoy!

Sausage and Kale Soup


Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart.com


1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

5 waxy potatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (I used small red potatoes and I did not peel them)

3 cans (14 1/2 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth

1 bunch kale (about 12 ounces), stemmed and shredded

12 ounces smoked chicken sausage, cut into 1/2 inch half moons ( we like Hillshire Farms’ Turkey Smoked Sausage)



1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently.


2. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant; about 1 minute.


3. Add potatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.


4. In a blender (or using an immersion blender), puree half the soup. Return mixture to the pot. Add kale and sausage. Simmer until kale is wilted, about 10-15 minutes.


My favorite way to thicken soup is to remove some of it, puree it, then add it back into the pot ( or use an immersion blender in the pot).  This technique does not alter the flavor of the soup, and does not put additional fat in the soup.  A nice crusty bread tastes delicious with this quick, but hearty soup.  Enjoy!

Clam Chowder


Recipe adapted from My Best Clam Chowder by

Pioneer Girl @ All Recipes.com


3-6.5 ounce cans chopped clams

1 cup minced onion

1 cup diced celery

6 strips bacon

2 cups cubed potatoes

3 small bottles clam juice

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

1 quart half & half

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

ground black pepper, to taste




1. Cook bacon until crispy. Remove from grease and allow to drain on paper towels.


2. Place onions, potatoes, and celery in bacon fat.


3. Add enough clam juice to cover veggies (I used 3 bottles, but add more if necessary).  Cook on medium-high heat until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes.


4. In a large, deep skillet melt butter over a medium heat and add flour. Stir constantly so that it does not stick or burn, for about 5 minutes. It will eventually turn a light brown. This roux will form the base for your chowder.  Slowly whisk in the half & half, breaking up the clumps of flour and butter. Continue to whisk until it is smooth and thick. Add the clam juice-vegetable mixture and cook until heated, being careful not to boil the chowder. Add clams a few minutes before serving. If the clams cook too long, they will become tough, so just add them at the end.  Stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.


Serve with clam cakes, or a crusty baguette, and a nice green salad.  I made this chowdah, as my husband Mark’s New England family would say, in honor of our favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox.  Opening Day is almost here…Go Sox!  Enjoy!

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup is courtesy of “The Ultimate Soup Bible” by Anne Sheasby

published by Barnes & Noble


2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 potatoes, roughly chopped

12 oz. mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, portabello, and white, cleaned and roughly chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

2/3 cup white wine

5 cups chicken stock

fresh parsley, chopped

salt and fresh ground pepper

sour cream, to garnish

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion, turning it in the butter until well coated.  Stir in the potatoes.  Cover and sweat over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until softened, but not browned.

2. Add the mushrooms, garlic, white wine, and chicken stock.  Season, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until all the ingredients are tender.

3. Put the mixture through a food mill using the coarse blade, or blend. Be careful if using anything other than a food mill, not to blend too much.  The soup should have texture and color from the various ingredients, not be pureed into baby food.  I know this can happen because the first time I used my immersion blender, I could not stop myself.  It was so fun, fast and easy to use.  Before I realized it, I had liquified my dish into some sort of potato frappe that you could drink through a straw.

4. Return the blended soup to the pan and add some parsley. Bring back to a boil, season and serve with the sour cream and parsley garnish. This is a pretty quick soup to make and it freezes well.  A crusty french bread and a cucumber salad round out the meal nicely. Enjoy!