It’s that time of year again. The kids are going back to school, the Halloween and Christmas decorations are asserting themselves in our stores, and the hurricanes are bearing down upon us, threatening to sink my coastal home under the ocean.
Fall. Autumn. Harvest. Pumpkin Spice Latte Season.
It’s my favorite time of year. I would be permanently happy if the trees were always bedecked in yellows, oranges, and reds, and I could walk around in warm boots, cute scarves, and comfy sweaters. Some of my best memories are from wandering in corn mazes, eating apple cider donuts at an orchard, or decorating pumpkins. And perhaps my favorite fall activity to indulge in is making a big pot of soup.
Not that I wait until the fall to make soup; soup makes a regular occurrence in our household because it’s so easy to make in my slow cooker or Instant Pot and because most of my favorite recipes are low carb and therefore, I can indulgently add cheese to them without feeling too guilty. However, if I had my way this season, Ryan and I would live on chili, stew, and soup for every single meal. I do try to restrain myself only making half our meals so liquidly inclined, but there are no promises.
And so, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite soup, chili, and stew recipes that I’ve gathered over the past 6 years. I cannot take credit for creating any of these, and if I have a link, it’ll be here for you to peruse the original.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite soups to make, and it just so happens that it’s only about 100-200 calories per bowl depending on what kind and how much rice you use. I found this soup on the Skinnyish Dish website (when it was still called Daily Dose of Pepper) and made me a believer that Star’s recipes were most likely Weight Watchers sorcery. If you click on the other links, you’ll realize just how often I come to her for inspiration for healthyish eating. This soup convinced me that I need to put a little bit of Frank’s hot sauce in basically anything I cook, which only leads me astray when baking. You can eat multiple bowls of this (as Ryan and I usually do) without any guilt. You can add anything you want to doctor it up, though I usually stick with sour cream because I am obsessed.
While I prefer this soup in the crockpot, I love that I can also make it in the Instant Pot if I’m short on time. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious and is incredibly easy to make. I had also never used chipotle chilis in adobo sauce before making this soup, and I always add more than the recipe calls for because we like the extra kick that it gives. This soup is best served with cheese, sour cream, and a comfy blanket wrapped around you while you watch Netflix during a hurricane.
Another Skinnyish Dish recipe that speaks to me because cream cheese is my love language. However, make sure you read the recipe carefully and grab 2 cans of Great Northern Beans and 2 cans of green chilis because I always seem to forget to do that and am sad when I have to go to the store again or only make half as much. Neither are fun prospects, particularly when the sky looks as gray and menacing as it does today.
4. Beef Stew
I know I’m supposed to be eating more low carb, but you have to pair this stew with homemade mashed potatoes. Unless you are a monster and don’t like to taste nice things. I could probably eat this crockpot meal from Skinnyish Dish every single day and be fat and happy.
5. Crockpot Turkey Chili
I got this particular recipe from @byebye_thighs on Instagram, but I don’t have a link for it. It’s incredibly simple though. First, you brown 1 pound of ground turkey. Once that’s done, you add 1 chopped green pepper and 1 chopped onion and cook it in the skillet until they are soft. Add the turkey mixture to the slow cooker. Then add 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles, 16 oz of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons of cumin, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 can drained and rinsed black beans, and 1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans to the crockpot. Mix it together and then slow cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. It’s absolutely addictive!
If you’re watching your sodium, this soup may not be the one to try. I’m working on modifying it to reduce the sodium, but it does exceptionally good so I’m sharing with you all today. I happened upon this recipe when scouring Google and Pinterest for lentil recipes because those legumes are an excellent source of plant protein, folate, dietary fiber, and iron among other things. And for us old people like Ryan and I who get up at 5 AM and yell at loud kids in our front yard, these are important things to consider. And joy of joys, I can make it in my Instant Pot and yet it tastes like it’s been cooking all day. However, it actually takes less than an hour from meal prep to eating.
Because I’m slowly weaning myself from gluten-y substances like the beautiful pasta called tortellini, I haven’t made this recipe in awhile. However, this soup combines all the things I love into one amazing dish: pasta, cream cheese, and tomatoes. It feels like you are being indulgent eating this yummy soup, yet Emily (the blogger who created this masterpiece) says that it only contains 270 calories per serving. Miracles sometimes come in cheese-filled packages.
I was first introduced to jalapeno poppers when I moved to Wisconsin, and our college had occasional dairy days in the college cafeteria which made my cheese-loving heart thrill. I knew I had finally found my people among the cheese heads. Jalapeno poppers became my favorite indulgence on these days, filled with cream cheese and spicy jalapenos and fried to perfection for my consumption. If I hadn’t been so concerned with looking like a piglet, I would have probably heaped my plate with those and cheese curds and called it a day. Oh for those days when my stomach could handle those choices with only slight indigestion! So when I stumbled upon Mel’s Kitchen Cafe at the recommendation of my friend Amanda and I discovered this chili, I determined in my heart that I would would make it as soon as possible. After all, my husband puts jalapenos on almost every food imaginable so he would be super supportive of a dish that contains them outright. Plus, it involves cream cheese and bacon. I don’t make it often because it’s not exactly healthy, but it is absolutely delectable.
9. Dad’s Vegetable Beef Soup
This soup is the first soup I remember eating, the one that most likely stirred in me the beginnings of my soup obsession. I remember my dad putting the largest stock pot on the stove, the smell of browning beef and sweet yet peppery tomato soup filling the air with such delicious smells that would make anyone’s stomach growl in anticipation. I remember watching him add vegetables, potatoes, and drop biscuits to the mixture. I can see him now, adding a little bit of sugar and then tasting the soup to make sure he was perfectly satisfied. It would simmer on the stove until he deemed that everything was cooked perfectly and ready to eat. It’s the only dish that I allow lima beans to be a part of because there is just something about this soup that makes everything taste a million times better than normal. It is best served with a slice of white bread, slathered with copious amounts of butter and then dunked into the juice zealously.
Now that your mouth is watering, I’ll share the recipe. My father tells me that the amount ingredients is difficult to determine and is dependent on how much you are making. I’ve found that I have to taste often and use my best judgment based on what I remember it looking like. You will need anywhere from 1-3 pounds of beef cubes or find a roast or steak on sale and cut it up into bite-sized cubes. Brown the beef in the pot you are using for the soup if you can or use a separate frying pan if you need to. Once the beef is ready, add water to the pot, leaving enough room for the remaining ingredients. Add 1 18-28 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 28 oz can of Veg-All, 2 or 3 pounds of raw potatoes, 1 small bag of corn, 1 small bag of lima beans, and 1 cup of chopped up cabbage (optional). Once all the other ingredients are added, take one can of biscuits and pinch off small pieces and then add them to the soup. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste and let cook until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked and the biscuits are the right consistency and then eat. Enjoy the nostalgia it brings and do not try to count its calories.
10. The Amazing Debbie Balding’s Chili
When Ryan and I were nearing our nuptials in 2012, I asked him if there were any of his mother’s recipes that he would like me to learn and try to recreate in our early wedded bliss. The first recipe he suggested was this chili recipe. I immediately recalled from when his mother made it for us on one of those bitterly cold Sunday afternoons between church services, remembering with fondness how it warmed our bodies and souls with its deliciousness. I hoped that it would not be too much for my extremely limited cooking experience, and I was not disappointed. It was one of the first recipes that I completely succeeded in making, managing somehow not to overcook anything or accidentally light any napkins on fire. It is one of those recipes that I pull out whenever I feel Ryan is feeling homesick or needs a little extra pick-me-up. I must never forget to pick up Saltine crackers because anything else ruins the experience. But I know it brings him such joy when I tell him that dinner will be that particular meal. I’ve thought of trying to lighten it up slightly for our healthier lifestyle, but as Ryan has noticed when I’ve tried to cut corners and purchased crushed tomatoes instead of pureeing whole tomatoes, I figure I should probably respect the sanctity of this meal and leave it as it is.
This recipe involves 2 pounds of ground beef, browned in a large pot. Then add one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes that you pureed in the blender, 2 15.5 oz cans of Bush’s medium chili beans, and 1 can of diced tomatoes to the ground beef and let cook for about 20 minutes or so until it’s bubbling and looks delicious. It really is that simple but tastes amazing. My mother-in-law is a genius!
I hope you have enjoyed reading these soup recipes as much as I have writing them down! Soup is basically the best food group ever. I was inspired to write this post on fall foods by Lorna over at Gin and Lemonade – check out her blog post here!! 🙂 I am super thrilled that she featured my previous blog post on my clumsy fall in her round-up post. She has a wonderful blogging community that has already made me feel so welcome. <3