I don’t know where the itch came from, but as soon as winter started we decided we were going to get into making soup. I know that I haven’t shared much about cooking here and that’s intentional – before we moved in together neither of us cooked. If you’ve ever lived in New York you’ll understand.
I’m sure some of you guys are scratching your head like, so.. what do you eat? The answer is that pretty much everywhere delivers anytime, almost anywhere. It’s another level of convenience and personally one of my favorite things about living in New York.
That being said we are getting married next year and both of us want to do a better job of saving money this year and an easy place to start is with food. We’re both very much beginners when it comes to cooking, but we both really enjoy learning and doing it together. One thing I’ll say to anyone trying to cook more is to not let anyone discourage you – it took us a year of making simple pasta and chicken dishes with side salads to just get in the routine and have the desire (or energy after work) to try anything else more than that. Cooking takes a lot of time and prep and our schedules often don’t allow for us to really do it during the week.
So, soups! They sound challenging, but they’re actually fairly easy. There are so many soups that we are both partial to, but there are 5 that we’ve tried at this point and I’m happy to say successfully executed.
1. Pasta e Fagioli // recipe
I feel like this is a safe space to admit that I’m a huge Olive Garden fan–especially their soups. I think it was partially due to the number of times we had to go there for soccer tournaments and the night before games growing up, but I love it. Pasta e fagioli was always my favorite and I really wanted to find a recipe to recreate it at home.
This was the first one that we tried and I actually hit it out of the park (MG’s words, not mine).
TIP: If you use spicy sausage it adds a lot of flavor and I recommend not draining the juices that come out before adding the other ingredients. If you leave it in, it’ll add so much flavor to the soup!
2. Lasagna Soup // recipe
I’m laughing a little as I write this because yes, our first two soup attempts were basically pasta in tomato sauce (which is kind of our life). When I told MG I was going to make lasagna soup he looked at me like I was crazy and asked me to explain what that meant. I found the recipe on Pinterest (more great ones here!) and it’s another easy one. You really can’t go wrong with anything tomato based with noodles and sausage. It’s a little more filling than a lot of other soups and easy to save if you have extras!
TIP: This one also calls for italian sausage and I didn’t go spicy to let the other flavors shine. Definitely get the fire roasted tomatoes for additional flavor! I wanted my soup to look like lasagna so ended up buying regular lasagna noodles and breaking them into pieces for the soup. I did end up cooking them separately for a few minutes just because they were larger. I would recommend breaking them into even smaller pieces than you think because otherwise they’ll take up tons of space in your pot.
3. Tortilla Soup // recipe (most similar to the one we used)
I actually got my tortilla soup recipe from one of my best friends (hi Kay!) because she’s much more talented in the kitchen than I am and has years of practice on me. This was the first soup I made where I didn’t have tomato sauce broth to lean on (lol) and really had to figure out how you flavor the broth. At one point I thought I was really overdoing it on the herbs and spices, but she assured me that that’s what makes all of the difference in a delicious broth. We made ours spicy and it was SO good. I’d highly recommend serving with a little sour cream, cheese and avocado on top. Oh, and of course tortilla strips!
4. Chili // recipe
Chili was one of my favorite things that my mom used to make growing up – I know the exact flavor and the exact taste of a bite of it with some fritos, sour cream and cheese on top. It’s definitely a meal for a cozy winter night. This is the closest recipe I’ve found that mimics my mom’s, but I would sub in the chili kit that she has always used because it’s the exact right amount of spices. The first time I tried to make my own homemade chili the ratios of spices were slightly off and it just wasn’t the same. You can order it on Amazon here!
5. Italian Wedding Soup // recipe
This was the most recent one that I made and for something a little lighter, it really hits the spot. I decided to make my meatballs with beef and pork so that we could re-use them for pasta and other meals for the week. I really enjoyed my first meatball making attempt – I added lots of fresh parsley and some other dried herbs to my mix and did use italian breadcrumbs instead of homemade ones and we thought they turned out great. For the soup itself I went light on the spinach and heavier on veggies and meatballs. My soups have always been ingredient heavy, but that’s ok by me!
What soups have you been making this winter?