Soup-er Sunday: Turkey Barley Soup

I made this soup after Christmas. We had turkey leftovers I didn’t want to go to waste. This is easily my favorite recipe. Leftovers were even better than the day it cooked. It freezes great. And it made enough to share with my parents and Christian’s mom.

Go make a turkey. And then make this soup!

Turkey Barley Soup


  • 11-12 cups turkey stock
  • 3 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 8-9 medium carrots, shredded (about 4 cups total)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and shredded
  • 2-4 cups cooked turkey
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper
  • fresh sage, chopped*
  • fresh rosemary, chopped*
  • fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  1. Add the turkey stock, celery, onions, and thyme to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low and simmer covered for about a half hour, or until the celery is tender.
  2. Use a food processor or cheese grater to shred the carrots and potato. Add to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, covered for another half hour, or until the carrots are tender.
  3. Add the turkey (however much you want) and the rinsed barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low. Simmer for another 45-60 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (How much you need will really depend on how salty your stock is.)
  5. Just before serving, stir in chopped sage and rosemary. (look for the photo below to see how much I used.)

A slow cooker version of the recipe can be found on The Food Charlatan as well.

Horrible photo! Really great soup!

Horrible photo! Really great soup!

Soup-er Sunday: White bean, Chicken and Corn Chowder

It’s the last weekend in our household that the entire family will be together for Christmas. Cole is taking a road trip to New York City for a few days before Christmas, so I felt the pressure to get festive. All the things I keep putting off, some really important things like getting a Christmas tree, needed to happen. True to everything I do, I over plan the weekend and then abandoned 90% of it when I start to get overwhelmed. All the important stuff still happened: Santa was visited, a Christmas tree was bought, the house is decorated (as decorated as it is going to get with a hurricane for a (almost) 3-year-old living in our house), shopping started (yes! started!), and Christmas movies watched. To accompany the festive spirit, soup was a must.

Let me introduce you to my new favorite food blog and my new favorite comfort food: White bean, chicken and corn chowder by Cooking and Beer.

I highly encourage you to add this soup to your holiday routine. There is even enough left over to feed me lunch this week.

White bean, chicken and corn chowder


  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels, divided
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 14.5 ounces canned creamed corn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups boneless and skinless chicken breast, cooked through and shredded
  • 14.5 ounces canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups half and half
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
  • micro greens, for garnish


  • Add two cups of the frozen corn kernels to a blender. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the chicken broth over medium heat until warm. Add the chicken broth to the blender with the corn and blend until smooth and creamy. Be careful when blending as the mixture is hot. Cover the top of the blender with a dish towel as you blend. Set aside.
  • In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add the butter. Melt it over medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion until translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the flour. Continue stirring and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the flour turns a golden color. Add the blended chicken broth and corn mixture to the pot and whisk as you add it. Continue whisking as you turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the creamed corn and continue to whisk. If you find that the soup is too thick, you may add water or additional chicken broth until you reach a consistency you desire.
  • Add the bay leaves, celery salt, a dash of salt and pepper and the potatoes to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the chicken breast, beans, remaining 1 cup of frozen corn, and half and half and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaves from the pot and adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve the soup topped with bacon crumbles and micro greens. Enjoy!

The only modification I made was to add cheese and avocado on top.


Soup-er Sunday: Quinoa and Black Bean Chili

I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe. I’ve made my fair share of quinoa chili recipes. There is a chili battle in our household. My boys love chili, but I have an extreme dislike of ground meat. It’s a terrible combination. I’ve tried so many vegetarian recipes. Some have been good. Some have been quickly forgotten.

In order to fill my need for a fall adventure, me and my boys headed to Colonial Williamsburg today. Before we left, I quickly tossed all the ingredients in the crock pot, set it to low, and we ventured out. After a fun-filled day, we got home to a prepared dinner.

And this chili…it’s a winner (hence why I’m posting it!). Both Christian and I were happy.

Recipe modified from Jessica in the Kitchen:

  • 2¼ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • ½ container 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup corn kernels


Add vegetable broth, quinoa, black beans and crushed tomatoes to slow cooker. Stir. Add peppers, onion, carrots, and garlic. Stir. Add seasoning and corn. Stir. Cook on low for approximately six hours.

We topped our chili with cheese, avocado and fritos.


Soup-er Sunday: Kale & Quinoa Minestrone

A few weeks ago I walked in our front door exhausted after a long day at work (and an equally long week). It was a Wednesday, and the couch was calling my name. When I walked in I was greeted by my boys and my mother-in-law. She was there to babysit and insisted Christian and I go out to dinner. After finding my fourth wind for the day, we had to our favorite date spot Lubo. After a delicious glass of wine, I ate the best soup I have ever tried: Super Soup. It included tons of super foods: veggies, kale, quinoa, etc.  I have searched and searched for a recipe similar with no luck. This soup was as close as I could find to the soup I now crave weekly.

Kale and Quinoa Minestrone

(Thank you Cooking Classy for getting close to my favorite!)


  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups diced, fresh zucchini (from about 2 small)
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (32 oz) carton unsalted or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained and rinsed (aka garbanzo beans)
  • 2 (heaping) cups chopped fresh kale, thick ribs removed
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Shredded parmesan cheese, for garnish (omit or use vegan parmesan if making vegan)


  • In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, carrots and celery and saute about 5 minutes, until softened. Add in zucchini, green beans, red bell pepper and saute 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add in vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, water, parsley, rosemary, thyme, granulated sugar, season with salt and pepper to taste and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and allow soup to gently boil, uncovered for about 20 minutes.
  • Add in dry quinoa then cover and cook 15 – 20 minutes longer.
  • Add cannellini beans, chick peas, kale and lemon juice and cook, uncovered, until kale has wilted, about 5 minutes. Serve warm garnished with parmesan cheese.


The recipe makes more than enough to share (make sure you are using a large soup pan). And it got a thumbs up from everyone in our house.

Soup-er Sunday: Corn Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chowder

Soup-er Sunday is back. Today’s gorgeous fall weather was the perfect day to try a new recipe that was shared with me from Karen at Fancy Little Feet. Per Karen’s recommendation, I modified tonight’s recipe from The Pretty Bee.

Corn Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chowder

1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 very large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 32 ounce container of vegetable broth
⅔ cup quinoa
1 cup water 1 cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 cup frozen corn
cilantro for garnish
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil and chopped onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, cup of water cup of coconut milk, and spices and continue cooking until quinoa is tender (you will see the little ring around the edge of the quinoa loosen), about 15 more minutes. If too much of the water has evaporated, add a bit more. It should be a thick soup, but you should still see broth.
  4. Add the corn and cook until corn is heated through, about five minutes.
  5. Serve topped with cilantro if desired.

(I doubled this recipe to have enough for lunch left overs this week.)

Served with a side of corn bread, tonight’s dinner was delicious! I stuffed in as much as I could, and I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.


Sunday Salad: Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad

Every now and then I get a glimpse of what life looks like without a crazy toddler begging for every second of my attention. Cole is in Florida on a mini vacation with my parents, and Christian was working a beer festival all day, so Chet was my shadow all day. Normally he can be demanding and my day is spent according to his schedule. Today I felt like he become a partner in my schedule. It’s amazing how different that can feel.

Today started off with a run with Heidi while Chet navigated from his stroller. The afternoon was filled with lazy play, and then I got to spend some time in the kitchen with my little sous chef.  We made peach baked oatmeal for an easy breakfast option this week. Dinner was our next task. Tonight we enjoyed Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad by Eat Live Run. Such a wonderful combinations of foods that I already had in our house thanks to our CSA box from Cullipher Farm. Dinner was delish, and there is plenty for lunch this week!


for salad —

1 small spaghetti squash

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 orange or red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 bunch cilantro, minced

2 cups shredded green cabbage

2 cups thinly sliced cooked chicken breast (I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker with a jar of salsa and then shredded)

1 cup chopped jicama {optional}

avocado for serving

for zesty buttermilk dressing—

1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used plain yogurt)

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a greased sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes, until very tender. Let squash cool before using a fork to scoop out “spaghetti” and place in a bowl. You can do this step up to three days before you prepare the salad.

Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the salad, place the cooled spaghetti squash in a large serving bowl. Top with black beans, chicken, bell pepper, shredded green cabbage, cilantro and jicama, if using. Toss all ingredients together well. Drizzle dressing over salad {you may not want/need to use all the dressing}.

Serve salad on plates topped with sliced avocado.

**Assembled salad will stay fresh, without dressing and avocado, for up to four days covered in the fridge. Dressing will stay fresh for up to a week and is also great served as a dip with raw veggies


Find my entire collection of salads here.

Sunday Salad: Crab Pasta Casserole

Hurricane Arthur put a damper on fourth of July plans here in Virginia Beach. While the morning of the fourth was a wash out, the rest of the weekend has been beautiful. Pool parties and fireworks were rescheduled. This all worked out great for our family because Cole came home Saturday afternoon. He made it home from fireworks on the beach, and a cookout with our favorite family friends.

Our entire family sat poolside this afternoon enjoying low humidity and gorgeous summertime weather. My contribution to the cookout was a no brainer. My family requests this dish several times a year:

Crab Pasta Casserole

8 ounces uncooked pasta
2 large onions chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (mushrooms omitted for preference reasons)
1/2 cup green red and orange bell peppers, chopped (color changed for visual appeal)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup butter
16 ounces crab meat, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

**I also added a bunch of asparagus, chopped, to the veggie mix

Cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile in a skillet, saute onion, garlic, mushrooms and green pepper in butter until crisp tender. Remove from the heat. Drain pasta; add to vegetable mixture. Stir in crab, sour cream, basil and salt.

Transfer to 2 greased 8-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. If you don’t wish to cook both, at this point you can cover and freeze one casserole for up to 1 month.

Cover and bake the second one for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Notes: I used one box of pasta (about 14 ounces) and doubled up on the veggies and other ingredients to make a huge family size portion with leftovers for lunch.


This recipes will always be connected to summer family cookouts. I hope you enjoy it too!

(Read all my Sunday Salad recipes here)