Comfort Soups & Stews

With being in my last year of my 20s, I have made it one of my missions to cook more. I have been buying cookbooks and watching so many cooking shows and taking as many tips as possible to learn to cook a variety of things.

When I first moved out and was on my own I became a taco/nacho lover. I called it Macho Nachos. I would make all the fixings for a great taco, mostly using ground beef, rice,  beans, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, tomatoes, chips, jalapeños and so much more. If they had it in the taco aisle at the grocery store I bought it. Then after a couple years I discovered how to make shredded chicken for tacos. I would put chicken breasts in the crock pot with cooking sauces and let that cook for hours. Needless to say tacos were my thing.

In the last year or two I have become obsessed with making all kinds of soups and stews. One of my favorites is beef stew. I make a mean beef stew, let me tell you. I have witnesses. 🙂 I have also been making soups. I started of course looking for recipes on Pinterest. Getting ideas of things to put in soups, other peoples recipes, what the main ingredients usually are, and realized what ingredients to always keep in the house when I want to make a quick soup. I am going to share two different recipes that I use for my favorites.

Before we get started with my “recipes”, I want to recommend to you, to get a dutch oven. They are seriously one of the best things ever. I cook all my soups/stews in dutch ovens. There are two different sizes. I have a 6 quart and 3 quart. They are a little pricey, but definitely worth the investment. The 3 quart dutch oven I recently purchased at Kohls was $60. Ask anyone who has one, they will tell you how amazing they are. You can find them anywhere from Bed Bath & Beyond to Kohl’s to Target or online as well.

First I will share with you the chicken wild rice corn soup I make pretty often. Now I would love to tell you I use measurements and the same exact amounts but I don’t. I am definitely a taste tester throughout the process of making it and alter it to my tastebuds. I usually have chicken in the freezer or fridge, but have found the best is rotisserie chicken from the store and just shred it! The rotisserie chicken already has that great taste and goes great with anything. Another thing I always try to keep on hand is chicken and vegetable and beef stock or broth. These are needed for any soup as well. I tend to start with the potatoes, dice them up and put them in the dutch oven with the stock/broths. I also add the celery and carrots right away too. Those ingredients tend take the longest to get softened up for the soup. I will then slowly add the rest of the ingredients to the dutch oven. Shred up that rotisserie chicken real good and add that in too whenever. You can add other seasonings to your taste as well. The good thing with the dutch oven is you can just add everything slowly as you go and it will still taste great. I also try to get the stock that has low sodium, that helps with the overall taste. Here is the ingredient list I used most recently:
– About 1/2 pound of chicken breast boiled then shredded
– Chicken Stock two 8oz containers
– Vegetable Stock one 8oz container
– Can of Corn
– 3 cups of baby carrots cut up
– Onion Powder
– Garlic Powder
– Goya All Purpose Seasoning
– Basil
– Two Red Potatoes diced

My other favorite thing to make, that I could literally make on a weekly basis is the Beef Stew. This stew just has a comfort to it that I feel I always love on a Sunday evening. The beef I tend to get from my local grocery store is the beef that is already cut up into stew chunks. I usually get find one about a pound in weight and will even cut it up more once I get home and the meat is rinsed. In a large ziplock bag, combine flour salt, pepper, onion powder and thyme with chunks of meat, shake until coated. Let the meat marinate for a few minutes until roux is made. Make a roux with flour and cooking oil. Constantly stirring the roux until golden brown. In the dutch oven add the meat and let brown. Then add the liquids such as broth and stock and sauces. Also add in the onions and garlic along with the potatoes. Add in all seasonings and rest of ingredients. Let it all cook together on medium heat and test taste along the way to see what other seasonings you may want to add. Here is a list of the ingredients I use:
– Beef Stew diced into quarter size chunks
– Sweet Potato diced up
– Red Potatoes diced up
– Can of Tomato Paste
– Beef Broth two 8 oz containers
– Vegetable Stock 2 8 oz containers
– Can of diced Tomatoes
– 3 cups of baby carrots cut up
– 1 stalk of celery diced
– 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
– 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
– 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
– 1 medium chopped onion
– Thyme
– Goya All Purpose Seasoning
– Onion Power
– Garlic Powder
– Black Pepper
– Sea Salt
– 1 Bay Leaf

I have found that soups and stews are some of the best things to make. You can make a soup that cleans out the cupboards or a specific type of soup. Soup and stew to me are just total comfort. When I need the extra TLC from a long weekend this soup and a good movie are perfect. I have a board on Pinterest specifically for all the soup ideas that I would like to make. Feel free to look through as see if you see anything that sparks your interest as well. I hope you enjoy these soups as much as I do. Questions or comments please let me know 🙂

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