Aunt Gin’s Vegetable Soup

My husband’s great aunt, Virginia Folds, used to make this for him in a pressure cooker. I’ve tweaked it a bit so I can make it in a crock-pot. Yes, there is sugar in the soup. It was Aunt Gin’s “secret ingredient.” She put it in everything. It just wouldn’t be her soup without it!

Aunt Gin’s Vegetable Soup

1 lb. stew meat, or chicken breast cut into cubes
2 potatoes; chopped
32 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1 can corn, with juice
1 can green beans, with juice
1 onion, chopped
2 cups chopped cabbage*
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup celery
salt and pepper to taste

Combine in large crock-pot. Cook on low at least 8-10 hours. You can use home canned or store bought vegetables.
I have found it best to freeze leftovers after 24 hours or the onion flavor really starts to get strong. If that doesn’t bother you, you can store it for several days in the refrigerator and reheat as needed.
*I use bagged of coleslaw mix.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Onions

Butternut squash used to be one of those pieces of produce that I shied away from in the grocery store. I mean, it just isn’t super intuitive as to how cook the darn thing! Then a friend from South Africa served us this amazing combination of roasted butternut squash, apples and onions. I was hooked! Some recipes call for added herbs or spices, like thyme or cinnamon, but we prefer it plain and simple. I recommend trying it this way, and then adding additional flavoring as suit your taste.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Onions

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled. cored and sliced
  • 1 sweet vedalia onion, peeled and sliced

Place all ingredients on a foil-lined baking pan. Spray with extra virgin olive oil, stirring to coat.  Roast at 425°F for about 30-40 minutes, stirring twice, until squash is soft.

It can be served as a meal in and of itself, or as a side dish for baked fish or chicken. I usually just add the fish on another foil-lined pan to the oven approximately 10-12 minutes before the squash is done, depending on thickness. It’s a super easy, healthy meal and cleanup requires just throwing the foil away!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

As an added bonus, you can make the leftovers into soup. Just place enough chicken broth to cover the ingredients in a pan and heat until warm. Use a submersion blender to puree until almost smooth. If you prefer a creamier soup, add a few tablespoons of milk or cream. Garnish with ground cinnamon, nutmeg or a few springs of herbs.

Ham and Bean Soup with Corn Bread

Soup is true comfort food. Finding one that is flavorful and yet super easy to make it even more comforting. One of the reasons I really like this recipe is because it is also so healthy. You mash some of the beans to make the thick broth rather than adding flour, corn starch or cream.

Healthy, easy and delicious?? Comforting indeed!

Ham and Bean Soup

3 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (rinsed & drained)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 (15 oz) can carrots, undrained
8-12 oz cooked ham, cubed or diced
1⁄4 teaspoon white pepper

Rinse and drain beans. Mash approximately one can of beans in a slow cooker or large soup pot.
Place chopped onion in water and microwave until tender. (Or you can saute the onion in a bit of oil.) Add the water and cooked onions to the mashed beans and stir gently to combine. Add the remaining beans and rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Adding more water if necessary to cover all the ingredients. Heat on low 4-6 hours in a slow cooker or heat thoroughly on the stove.

We love cornbread, but a lot of recipes are either too dry or too high in fat for my liking. I played around with one of our favorite recipes to try and come up with a balance between the two. My family likes this version better than the full-fat one!

Low-Fat Cornbread

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup light butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.
Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until light golden brown on top. Serve warm or cool.


Kielbasa Bean Soup – My favorite!

Until I was in my 30’s, the only soups I would eat were canned tomato and canned chicken noodle. It probably didn’t help that I hadn’t learned to like most vegetables or beans yet. Amazingly, when I forced myself to try them, I found out I actually *love* most beans and veggies! I now make a wide variety of soups, with this healthy and flavorful option being my absolute favorite.

The original recipe was from Weight Watchers. I have, as usual, tweaked it to better suit our taste and to make it more convenient to prepare. The original recipe had you use fresh carrots. They never seemed to be done though, so I switched to canned.

I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it could be prepared on the stove rather than in a slow cooker. I usually serve it with Beer Bread…recipe to follow!

Kielbasa-Bean Slow Cooker Soup
Servings: 6-8

3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
5 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups of water (about)
16 ounces low-fat smoked sausage (turkey kielbasa)
15 oz. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 15 oz. cans carrots, undrained
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained (sometimes I double it)

Chop the celery and onion and place in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup with the bouillon cubes and enough water to cover. (Or you can use chicken broth) Microwave on high for about 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Meanwhile slice the kielbasa in to bite-sized pieces. Place in the slow cooker.
Add beans and carrots and cooked celery and onions. Add enough water/broth just to cover all the ingredients. Sprinkle Italian seasoning in and top with tomatoes.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.