Slow-Cooker Hamburger Soup

There is something comforting about a nice, hot bowl of soup. Even better when it requires little prep time and can be ready & waiting for you at dinner. This hamburger soup is very hearty, and my version is pretty low carb (so my diabetic hubby can have a huge bowl – this is his favorite soup!) but feel free to add potatoes, corn, carrots, anything you like.

Crock Pot Hamburger Soup

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can use pre-cooked ground beef for a “hands off” meal, or you can add the hamburger raw, allowing it to cook in the broth, but you have to be available to stir and break up the beef as it cooks. You also need to use very lean ground beef for this method, or you will have greasy soup! I’ve made that mistake, so I’ve learned to start writing the fat content on my ground beef if I am freezing it raw. However, I prefer to cook large quantities of ground beef in the crock pot, then freeze in 2 pound portions so it’s ready for recipes like this.

Hamburger Soup


I sometimes add carrots, but as stated earlier, feel free to add any veggies you like. It’s also good with rice. I usually have Cornbread Muffins or Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread with it, because the kids and I still love our carbs! (This can also be made on the stove top, but it’s just so easy to let it simmer in the crock-pot all day!)
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Homemade Potato Soup

I know there has been a lot of soup going on around here, but this chick has been cold. This one is pure comfort food too…full of creamy potatoes, loaded with bacon…yep, it’s a stick to your ribs winter soup. And thankfully those ribs are covered with layers of sweaters, jackets and scarves right now because I ate a lot of this soup. Seriously, I can’t worry about swimsuit season until I can feel my fingers again.

This is a thick, creamy soup…but you can decide if you want yours super smooth, super chunky, or anywhere in between. I am a slightly chunky girl. And that can be taken quite literally at the moment. #wearingmyfatpants. If my kids don’t get back into a regular school schedule (my kids haven’t been to school more than a half day since Feb.13th! And today…a delay), and we don’t all get and stay well (we’ve had strep, multiple colds, ear infections, bronchitis, back issues…all going on since December!), I am going to lose my mind. LOSE IT I tell you! {maybe already gone?!}

Dress up your soup with cheese, green onions, red pepper flakes, sour cream…whatever you like. It’s ALL good.

Homemade Potato Soup

6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
8 cups chicken broth

6 whole small to medium sized Russet potatoes
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, to taste *start with 1/2 tsp and add if needed
ground black pepper, to taste

*Toppings: Shredded cheese, green onion, red pepper, sour cream, etc. (optional)

  • Cook bacon in large stock pot. Remove bacon pieces. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease. (or dump all the grease and add a little olive oil)
  • Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and saute until onions begin to soften and become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add broth to pot, bring to boil. Boil for approx 5 minutes. 
  • *This step is optional* Use an immersion blender to puree vegetables (or place in blender). Once blended, add potatoes, bacon (See Notes), salt and pepper to pot with pureed vegetables and stock. Bring back to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Whisk together flour and milk, add to soup, boil for additional 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to simmer, remove 1/2-2/3 of soup mixture (depending on desired texture of soup) and blend until smooth. Pour back into pot. Add additional salt and/or pepper if needed. Stir in cream and serve with desired toppings.
Notes: I pureed my carrots/onions/celery, but left some of my potatoes in chunks. This requires extra steps (I love my immersion blender) but my kids do not eat chunks of veggies in soup. It just depends on how you like things. If you want a completely smooth soup, you can puree everything together at the end. Also, if you want a lot of smoky, bacon flavor in your soup, add the bacon in when you add the potatoes; if you want less bacon flavor in the soup, leave it out until ready to serve and use it as a crispy garnish. I like it either way.

Recipe adapted from

You really can’t beat comfort food like this on really cold snowy days. However, I’m ready for Spring!! Maybe that will make me want to eat salads? Lordy, let’s hope so.

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) , , (Wednesday)  (Thursday)  (Friday) ,

Creamy Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup

I know I’ve been whining about the cold a lot…but it’s so dang COLD! My Southern blood just can’t handle it! Therefore, there has been a lot of soup and hot beverages going on around here. This soup has been a favorite. It’s makes you feel like you are eating a warm blanket. No…wait…that doesn’t sound very good. It’s warm and comforting like a warm blanket? Maybe that’s better. Maybe I should just shut up and post the recipe…

You could make this with rice or orzo. I actually made both, left them out of the soup, and let everyone choose…because one child likes orzo and hates rice, and the other loves rice…and it was just easier this way. Trust me. But you can totally choose. I bet dinner is easier at your house. *sigh*

Creamy Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped (I was out, so didn’t use in pictured soup)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
6 cups chicken broth
2/3 cups rice (I used Jasmine)
1 lemon (zest removed and juiced)
1 lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley (optional)
In a stock pot, saute onion, carrot and celery on medium heat in tablespoon of olive oil. Once onions are soft and translucent, add garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. At this point, you can blend your veggies and broth with an immersion blender or you can leave chunky. (Remember my picky kids? I love my immersion blender!) Add rice, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes or until rice is tender. Reduce heat to low, add chicken, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 15-20 mins. Remove from heat, add heavy cream, stir and serve. Top with dried parsley if desired.
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) , , (Wednesday)  (Thursday)  (Friday) ,

Spinach Tomato Orzo Soup

Probably not what most people are posting for St. Patrick’s Day…but hey, you can’t get much greener than spinach!

Okay, so that doesn’t look so hot. But the end result….
That’s a little more appetizing I hope. I love soup, so it looks pretty darn good to me. Especially since it continues to be cold and rainy and just plain gross weather wise.
As with most things I make, this is pretty easy to throw together, and even better, it’s healthy! I’m not sure why, but I love orzo in soup.
Of course, with all this healthiness going on, I’m the only one in my house that would eat it. If you are not a big veggie eater, soup is a good way to get more in your diet. Spinach works great in soup because of its mild flavor, and you can puree your other veggies if you don’t like the chunks. I do that a lot, because honestly, the only chunks I want are chocolate ones 🙂

Spinach Tomato Orzo Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb spinach
1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes 

1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup orzo pasta
4 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper, too taste
Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Place a large stock/soup pot on medium high heat. Add olive oil. 
  • Saute onions until tender. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Saute for about a minute 
  • Add canned tomatoes, spices, spinach, and chicken or vegetable stock. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add orzo pasta, cooking for 12 – 15 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. 
Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if desired. I love cheese in my soup!
                 (Recipe adapted from )
You could easily add meat to this soup, like chicken or chicken/turkey sausage. You could also use kale instead of spinach if you are a kale fan, as well as incorporating more veggies. That’s the great thing about soup, it’s pretty versatile. Now, if only my children’s taste buds would become more versatile…the only soup they will eat is chicken noodle. And then, only 2 out of 3 will eat it! Oh well, enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day!
I leave you with a little Irish Blessing –
May joy and peace surround you, 
contentment latch your door, 
and happiness be with you now
and bless you evermore!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) , , , , , , (Tuesday) , , , , ,, , (Wednesday) , , , , , , , (Thursday) ,, , , (Friday) , , , , , ,, ,, , , , , (Saturday) ,

Lighter Lasagna Soup

I hate to keep complaining about the weather, but….ughhhh, it’s soooo cold! Spring is on the way however, because I’ve already seen some ants and two spiders. *shiver* We’ve also got birds everywhere today. It’s nice and sunny (but still cold!). SO, as long as it’s going to be this cold, might as well continue enjoying some nice warm soup.

This soup was lightened up by Bobby Deen, son of the legendary Paula Deen. It’s warm, filling, comforting, and best of all….cheesy! I may have added a little more cheese than the recipe called for. As in, I did add more cheese, so I don’t know how much lighter this ended up being! But whatever, it was yummy.

Lighter Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth 
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (I used one with Italian seasonings)
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper *adjust according to desired heat
4 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces  
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I omitted since my basil plant is so very dead; used 1 tsp dried basil)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick pot. Add the sausage and onion and cook until sausage is browned and onions are translucent (approx 8-10 mins) – stirring frequently to break up sausage into crumbles. Add garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring to prevent burning. 
  • Add broth, cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. 
  • Bring to a boil. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. 
  • Add noodles and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the soup starts to thicken and noodles are tender, approx 10 – 12 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent noodles from sticking together.
  • Remove from heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and Parmesan.
And if you are like me, add  more cheese to your individual serving, because more cheese is better. So says me. The soup is also good with a nice hunk of toasted bread. Because carbs are good. (My thighs don’t agree.)
Recipe Source:
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday)  (Tuesday) ,,(Wednesday) (Thursday) , (Friday) ,,,(Saturday) 

Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana – Lightened Up!

Oh yes! The perfect cold weather comfort food. I mean seriously, this is the food version of a warm, fuzzy blanket in front of a blazing fire when it is snowing outside, with a cup of hot cocoa in hand.  Which almost describes my weekend, seeing as how our downstairs heating unit went out this week…so we spent a lot of time huddled up in the living room in front of the fireplace, b/c for whatever reason, it takes a week for the part to come in.  These heat people need to get with the program, I mean helloooo?  What about over night delivery?!  Anyway.  That’s a gripe for another day.  This soup is so warm and comforting, it will make you forget about the frigid temps.
Not only is it delicious, it’s also pretty good for you, thanks to reducing the cream and a good amount of the superfood, kale!  Yes, under all that cream and sausage, there has been a leafy green hiding.  Even better, these changes were made without sacrificing the flavor we know and love from this very popular soup.
I’ve had a few friends waiting patiently for me to get this recipe posted since I put a pic on FB the other day, so here goes!

Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana – lightened up!

 adapted from  
1 lb Italian Chicken Sausage (see notes)
3 medium baking potatoes, with skins (1/8 to 1/4 inch slices-see notes)
1 large chopped onion
1/8-1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 1/2 (packed) cups kale, stalks removed and chopped
16 oz. chicken broth
1 quart water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/4 cup skim milk
  • I used Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage b/c that is what I had on hand.  Hot Italian Chicken Sausage would be excellent however.
  • Slicing the potatoes in varying widths helps add texture to the soup. The very thinly sliced potatoes ‘dissolve’ into the broth, making it thicker and creamier.
  • I used a 1/2 cup heavy cream b/c I happened to have some leftover from another recipe, however, next time, I will only use half-and-half and milk. Cream is delicious, but not really necessary, and will reduce the fat even more by leaving it out.
Remove sausage from casings and cook in a large pot over medium high heat until done.
 Remove sausage, add onions, and cook on medium heat until translucent.
Add garlic to onions and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds or so).
Add sausage back to pot, then add broth and water.
Bring to a boil, and add potatoes.
Cook on medium high until potatoes are done.
Add bacon bits to soup if using.  I used about an 1/8 cup of Hormel Peppered Bacon Bits.
Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired.  I didn’t add any.
Turn heat to low, and add kale, cream (if using), half-and-half, and skim milk.
Heat through, and serve!

VERDICT – This soup was creamy, delicious, filling with a slightly spicy kick.  In my opinion, it tasted very much like the original, but I have only had it at Olive Garden once, a few months ago.  However, this is definitely on my list to make again very soon.


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