Warm Soup is Like a Hug in a Bowl
Slow Cooker Beef Stew, Chicken Noodle Soup, Creamy Tomato Soup with Pasta and Sweet Potato Chowder
When I was a kid, I groaned when my mom told me we were having stew for dinner.
I grew to tolerate it as an adult, and now two of my three kids really like it.
I understand why a classic beef stew appealed to my mom. It’s easy to make, and you don’t have to worry about making a vegetable to go with it. It’s a warm, comforting dinner in a bowl.
There’s no better time to appreciate soup or stew for dinner than in winter. A vegetable soup, potato chowder, chili or stew braces us from the cold and is easy to clean up on busy school nights.
Take 15 minutes to make this stew before you leave for the day, and you’ll be greeted with dinner once home from school and work.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- ¾ cup beef broth
- 2 pounds round steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound carrots, cut into pieces
- 1 pound small red potatoes, quartered
- 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup red wine (optional)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Whisk together tomato paste and beef broth in a small bowl. Combine remaining ingredients, along with the broth mixture, in a slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours.
Old-fashioned chicken soup is the very best when you’re sick or you have sick kiddos.
Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 ½ cups sliced carrots
- 1 cup sliced celery
- ½ cup minced onion
- 1 (16-ounce) package egg noodles, cooked according to package
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 teaspoons chicken base or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- In a large soup pot, place chicken in water just to cover. Boil until tender and fully cooked, about 1 ½ hours. Remove chicken and strain the broth, setting aside.
- Remove chicken from the bone and chop into small cubes.
- In the strained chicken broth, add carrots, celery and onion. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Add noodles followed by the cubed chicken, parsley, salt and pepper, sage, bay leaf and bouillon. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to simmer over low heat until ready to serve.
Kids like this creamy soup. It has a little bit of sweetness from the sugar, basil and cream. The pasta makes it extra fun for kids to eat.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 8 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup dried alphabet pasta
- In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, cooking until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, sautéing until fragrant, just a minute.
- Add tomatoes, chicken broth and sugar. Bring to a low simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring and allowing the mixture to slightly thicken. Add the heavy cream, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Use an immersion blender to puree soup until smooth. Stir in cheese. Keep warm on low heat.
- Boil pasta, then add to the soup.
Bacon adds great flavor to this sweet potato stew.
Sweet Potato Chowder
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Sauté bacon, onion, peppers and garlic in a Dutch oven. Add broth. Stir in potatoes and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Whisk in the milk, curry powder and pepper, warming until hot but not boiling. If you like a creamier chowder, you can scoop a third of the soup into a blender, blend, then return to the pot.
Natalie Mikles is a mom of three. She writes about food, sharing recipes for busy families and picky eaters. She has been recognized for her food columns as well as features on families and issues affecting local children. She loves pizza and movie nights with her family.