These recipes originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
These three bowls of comfort are sure to take care of you through the spring.
A few weeks back, my daughter, Elise, and I received a text on a shared thread from my cousin, Kim — the most efficient and organized person I know. I love that we’re on the same thread together because it’s reminiscent of growing up — sitting around the dining room table with my family, sharing cooking tips. The three of us live in different states, and yet there’s a certain sameness to our virtual conversation. In the thread, Kim mentions she’s picked up a life hack during the confines of COVID. I’m all perked and ready for the tip because Kim was the inspiration to my linen closet reorganization project following a visit to her home. The rows of shampoo, mouthwash, and toilet paper flanking her neatly stacked snow-white folded towels did the trick.
Here’s the thing about experiencing this level of order — it gives me hope that it can happen in my home too. Kim’s revealing of life hacks are nothing new. On a visit to her home years ago, I spied a well-planned 30-day menu taped inside her kitchen cupboard, and upon returning home immediately adopted her menu-planning routine as my own.
Back to the thread, Kim tells me that smarter folks than she have been doing this next hack for ages — chopping veggies to organize and freeze before they spoil. My phone dings as a picture of four freezer bags of onions, celery, peppers, and carrots neatly aligned and labeled in her familiar handwriting appears. She goes on jesting, “I have enough holy trinity and mirepoix to last through soup season and beyond.” Holy trinity is a mixuture of one-part onion, one-part celery, and one-part green pepper. Mirepoix is a mixture of two-parts onion, one-part celery, and one-part carrot.
Kim continues: “Saves time for busy mommies! I always buy the big bags of produce … now I’m not pitching rotten veggies. When you use half an onion, chop and freeze the rest. Some I dice, and some I slice for stir fry.”
Elise hearts the comment and replies back with a picture of a massive bag of carrots having just returned from a wholesale grocer, then adds, “I need more soup recipes!”
Immediately, we receive Kim’s favorite soup recipe, Corn Chowder.
I’m loving these texts on so many levels and comforted by the intimate familial exchange. We may not live around the corner from each other, but we’re sharing everyday life, albeit virtually, and still passing down the tips like many years before. Privately, I’m tickled to learn my daughter has entered the season of life that warrants the big bag of carrots. And true to form, Kim’s done it again as I find myself reaching for my favorite soup pot, because guess what’s for dinner tonight?
“All of these recipes can easily be made a few days in advance for that perfect family dinner night.” – Laura Schupp, Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering & Creating Traditions
Tortilla Soup ▶ Makes 6 servings
1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp. oil
salt & pepper
3 chicken breasts
1 c. diced onion
8 whole corn tortilla shells (diced)
4 cloves minced garlic
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
32 oz. chicken broth
5 oz. V-8 tomato juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can whole corn (rinsed and drained)
1 avocado (diced for garnish)
1 c. cheddar cheese (shredded for garnish)
1 c. sour cream (for garnish)
In a large pot over medium to high heat, add three tablespoons of oil. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sear chicken on both sides until just done. Remove from pan to a plate and allow to cool. Once cool, dice chicken into bite size pieces. In the same pot over medium to high heat, add remaining oil. Sauté onion with diced tortilla shells and garlic until browned. Turn down heat and add cilantro, broth, tomato juice, spices, beans, and corn. Stir together and cook for 10 more minutes. Add diced chicken, then serve immediately with garnish of avocado, cheese, and sour cream.
Minestrone di Romagna ▶Makes 6 servings
1/2 c. olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. diced celery
2 c. peeled and diced potatoes
2 c. diced zucchini
1 c. cut green beans
3 c. chopped cabbage
6 c. broth
2/3 c. stewed tomato
1 can Cannellini beans (rinsed and drained)
Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and melt the butter. Add onion and carrots, sautéing for two to three minutes. Continue adding one vegetable at a time, sautéing each for two to three minutes. Add cabbage and sauté for six minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, then salt according to taste. Cook on low for three hours. Fifteen minutes before serving add beans. Pour into bowls and garnish with cheese.
Corn Chowder ▶Makes 6 servings
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
4 minced garlic cloves
1 c. chopped onion
1 seeded and chopped jalapeño
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
4 c. vegetable broth
1-1/2 c. heavy cream
4 c. fresh sweet corn kernels
1 Russet potato (diced)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 diced plum tomatoes
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro (chopped)
In a large pot over medium heat, add butter and melt. Sauté peppers, garlic, and onion for about three to four minutes. Add flour and stir until paste forms. Stir in broth, cream, corn, potato, and seasonings. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir in tomatoes, lime juice, wine vinegar, and cilantro. Simmer for five more minutes and serve immediately.
“I find myself reaching for my favorite soup pot, because guess what’s for dinner tonight?”
Laura Schupp is the author of Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering & Creating Traditions. Learn more about Laura at OurNewlywedKitchen.com.