Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: soup

Beef Barley Soup

Do you love soup as much as I do?  I could eat soup three times a day, everyday for a month and never be sick of it.

My husband has another opinion.  He likes soup, but for him it’s a lunch item accompanied by a sandwich.  For me, it’s a meal.  For my children it means grilled cheese, because soup for dinner has to be shared with grilled cheese sandwiches or they won’t eat it.  My family is fickle and they make me crazy sometimes.

If you checked out my Smothered Roast Beef recipe from the other day, I hinted that the leftovers from that dish would be used in another recipe.  This is that recipe. 

And before any of you balk at this I’m going to tell you upfront that some of the gravy from that roast beef is used as the base of this soup.  Don’t go thinking that is weird, gravy in soup, because if you remember that gravy was made with a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup.  So really, it’s only fitting for it to be in this soup.  And it works.  Very well, I might add.

I make this in the slow cooker and it works out perfectly fine.


  • 1 1/2 Cups Diced Leftover Roast Beef
  • 4 Cups Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 Cup Leftover Gravy
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3/4 Cup Small Pearl Barley
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in the slower cook leaving out the barley.

Stir well, season accordingly, cover and set to low.  Allow to cook on low for 4 hours.  At the end of 4 hours, stir in the barley and cover.  Allow to continue cooking for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until barley is tender.

Serve up with some grilled cheese. 



Mini Meatball & Alphabet Soup

This is enjoyed by both kids and adults and you hear nothing but slurping when I serve it up.  In fact, I haven’t made this in a while and making it the other night brought comments from my four-year old daughter like, “Mom, this is the best dinner ever.”  Wouldn’t it be great if you got to hear that every night? 

The original recipe for this soup was inspired by the traditional Stracciatella soup.  Stracciatella in Italian means “torn rags”.  The soup got that name for the egg that is swirled through the soup and breaks up to look like torn rags.  If you don’t know it by now, I hate eggs. I cook and bake with them yes, but you won’t ever see me eat an egg in its natural state.  I cannot and will not and that’s just the way it is.  So I certainly have no intention of ever adding an egg to this recipe.  Okay, I did add it to the meatball mixture, but that’s different.

Also, in a typical Stracciatella soup you would add some shredded spinach, which to me would have been perfect.  However, my children have an aversion to anything green and it took awhile just to talk them around the parsley that was flecked in the meatballs.  Sometimes I will split up the batch of soup and add the spinach to half and leave it out of the other half.  And since spinach cooks up quick enough, you can always add it to your own dish before serving. 

Whichever version you choose, with our without spinach, this is a simple but delicious soup.  The recipe I’m providing below is a double batch since I always serve up one batch and then freeze the second batch for a later day.  You can cut the recipe in half if you want to just make it for a single family meal.  I serve this with some grilled cheese sandwiches and call it a night.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 quarts chicken broth (use low sodium or homemade if possible)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup dry tiny pasta such as alphabet, orzo, or other
  • few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Begin my filling a large stock pot with the chicken broth and water.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

While waiting for the broth to boil, mix up the meat, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, onions, parsley, salt and pepper.  Roll the meatball mixture into tiny meatballs about 1/2″ in size. 

Once the broth is boiling, add the meatballs carefully to the broth along with the pasta.  Turn heat to low and allow the pasta and meatballs to fully cook.  The meatballs will float at first, but will eventually sink to the bottom.   Season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Once done, serve up immediately with some extra parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top. 


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Mexican Chicken & Lime Soup

I’ve been looking at this recipe for a while and salivating over it.  I saw it in Everyday by Rachael Ray’s magazine,  October 2009 issue and have wanted to make it ever since.  Finally, I did. 

If Chicken Soup is considered Jewish Penicillin, than this soup should be considered Mexican Oxycodone!  If you have the least bit of a cold or congestion, this soup will pretty much blow a hole right through it and then some.

What intrigued me about this recipe was that it has some of my most favorite things.  Cilantro, lime, tortilla chips and avocado.  And the flavors work well together.  The creaminess of the avocado does help to tone down the spiciness of the chipotle chiles.  Not to mention the corn chips that just make it for me.

It was simple and took minutes to throw together.  My husband has been feeling a little under the weather lately.  I have a feeling after a bowl of this, he will be feeling back to normal in no time. 

I pretty much followed the recipe, but did up a couple of the ingredients.  I’ll give you the original version of the recipe and note at the end what I changed up a bit.


Recipe from: Everyday with Rachael Ray October 2009 issue

Serves 6

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Small onion, finely chopped
  • 6 Cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce.
  • 6 Cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Haas avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces
  • Crushed Tortilla Chips

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the temperature to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes.

Increase the heat to high, push the onion and garlic to the side of the pan and add the chicken and cook, stirring  until golden, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the chipotle chilis and adobo sauce, then stir in the chicken brother.

Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming of any foam.  Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with the salt and pepper.

Place 2 avocado slices in each of 6 soup bowls and pour in the soup.  Top with the tortilla chips.

Now here are the changes that I made.  I added the onion first, and when it was halfway done, I added the garlic (which I chopped instead of sliced).  Once I had both the onion and garlic done, I removed it from the pan and then added the chicken.  Garlic burns too quickly and I wasn’t going to take that chance.  After the chicken was done, I added the onion and garlic mixture back to the pan.

I toasted the tortilla chips in the oven for a few minutes on 350 and then crushed them and added them to the soup.  It really brings out the flavor of the chips.  Just watch you don’t burn them.

I served with a lime wedge for some extra zing. 

If you want to cut the heat, remove the seeds and membrane from the chilis before chopping them and adding them to the soup. 

I also added additional fresh cilantro to the bowl just before serving.

If I had some sour cream, I would have stirred in a teaspoon of that as well.  Next time!

Baked Potato Soup

On my quest to work through all the potatoes I now have, I’ve decided to do anything but serve mashed potatoes with them.  I love mashed potatoes, but I’m kinda done with them for a while after eating them through the holidays.

I love soup. I mean love soup to the point that I could eat it every day and never be sick of it!  This is why I make those huge pots of chicken broth every few months and then freeze it in gallon sized bags.  I just did this last month, and I’ve almost depleted my supply of  it. 

Up until now, I have posted recipes that have been either tried and true that I’ve made over the years, or new ones I have tweaked with that have worked well.  But, since life is never perfect, neither is every recipe.  This is one of my failures.  It wasn’t horrible.  But it was lacking.  And I’m not sure what it was lacking, but it was nothing exciting.  

I had some left over baked potatoes I had made and decided to just dice them up and throw them in a soup.  I’m not big on creamy soups.  Some I like, but I prefer a broth soup over a creamy one.  This may have worked better as a creamy soup.  In any event, this is how I made it.  We ate it.  It was OK, but I certainly wouldn’t write home about it.  Maybe someone out there has a better idea to revamp this and make it exciting.


  • 4 Medium Baked Potatoes with the skin removed
  • 1 Large Carrot, finely diced
  • 1 Shalot, finely diced
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 6 to 8 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Remove the skin from the baked potatoes and give them a rough chop.

In a medium-sized stock pot, set your burner to medium-high.  Throw in the butter, celery, carrot and shalots.  Saute until translucent.  Throw in the potatoes and give them a good stir. 

Pour in your chicken broth, and your dry spices and stir well. Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn the burner to simmer.  Cover and cook until the carrots and celery are soft and serve hot.

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Shortly before Christmas I received Paula Deen’s new family cookbook.  I love Paula Dean.  And so do my kids.  They love to yell for me when she comes on TV.  If you haven’t gotten her new book, check it out.  It’s becoming one of my favorites.  Here it is:

So the other day I was sitting on the couch looking through the book and enjoying the photos and stories about her family.  I came across her recipe – technically it’s her husbands recipe – for Navy Bean and Ham Hock Soup and I am surprised to see my recipe is almost identical to the one she had in the book.  With a few differences. 

For one, I don’t use ham hock’s.  Honestly, those things frighten me when I see them all wrapped up in the grocery store.  I have never touched a ham hock or cooked with one.   I usually either use a ham bone or some diced ham that I have left over.  She also uses Worcestershire sauce in her recipe.  I don’t.  She uses celery in her recipe, and I use celery salt.  She cooks hers in the slow cooker and I cook mine on the stove.  But, the oddest, most scary difference between our recipes was this.  She. Does. Not. Use. Butter!  What?  The “Queen of Butter” does not use some amount, no matter how small, of butter in her recipe?  I am shocked!

Okay, so maybe our recipes are not exactly alike, but they are very similar.  Since it’s been colder than a witches… well you know what around here lately, I decided to make a big pot of this.  I had everything I needed to make it so I set to work on it.  

I chose to stick with my recipe, but I did use a little bit of Paula’s.  Instead of just using the celery salt, I also chopped up some celery.  And instead of cooking it on the stove, I used her version and did it in the slow cooker.  The outcome was great.  I will be cooking this in the slow cooker from now on.  The slow cooker helped to keep more liquid in the soup, versus the stove version which tends to evaporate it off more quickly.

So if you have Paula’s book, you can always try her version.  But, I’ll give you my recipe and you can see what you think.  Honestly, they probably taste very similar, but still, get her book.  It’s worth the investment!


  • 1 lb. Bag of Navy Beans
  • 1 Thick Slice, or 2 Thin Slices of Ham, finely diced
  • 1 Carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Rib of Celery, finely diced
  • 8 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Celery Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder or 1 Clove Fresh Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter (*See Note)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

The night before you plan to make the soup, sort through the bag of beans and remove any stones or other foreign matter.  Rinse beans, then place in large bowl and cover with water.  Place them in the refrigerator and soak them overnight.

The next day drain the beans and set them to the side. Dice up the onions, ham, celery and carrots.  In a sauté pan set on medium heat, put in the butter and allow to melt.  Throw in the onions, celery, carrots and ham and cook for a few minutes, just to give them some color and flavor. 

In the slow cooker, add in your chicken broth, ham, carrots, onions, celery, and beans.  Add all the dry ingredients and give it a good stir.  Cover and set on low.  Cook for 5 to 6 hours and turn off the heat.   

If you think you need more salt, or spices go ahead and add it now.  I use the salts sparingly because the ham itself is salty, plus whatever amount of salt is already in the chicken broth.

*Note:  Use the unsalted butter when you are sautéing the vegetables before adding them to the soup.  There is already enough salt in the broth, ham, and the salts you added in.

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