Category Archives: soup

Leftover meatloaf & potatoes with mushroom soup

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Soup with Mushrooms

This is another use-up-the-leftovers innovation otherwise known as everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup in our house.

A few weeks ago, I made meatloaf. I love meatloaf! Especially when it is paired with mashed potatoes, gravy and green peas! It is comfort food for me, taking me back to school days and cafeteria lunches. Yes, I  actually didn’t mind them! My children, on the other hand,  will not eat in any of their school’s cafeterias. Go figure!

Their dad also has his own particular quirks when it comes to food. He hates meatloaf! He loves a good burger, even meatballs. But meatloaf? His memories of meatloaf from his childhood is not as pleasant as mine.

So needless to say, after I had indulged in one of my favorite comforting meals, we still had some leftover meatloaf that kept finding its way to the very back of the fridge despite my repeated efforts to keep it front and center so it could be eaten up.

Before half a loaf gets tossed to the bin, I decided to give it a make over and this is it. I started pulling things out of the fridge and came up with about 4 slices of meatloaf, some leftover mashed potatoes and gravy and a pack of mushrooms that needed to be used up. I know I won’t always have these same set of leftovers, but they loved this soup so much, I had to write it down so I can duplicate it or at least come close to it next time.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes Soup with Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
This soup, paired with toasted bread and a salad, can be a complete meal in itself.
Ingredients
  • 1-2 lbs. Ground Beef or leftover meatloaf or burgers chopped into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 16 oz. Mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 cup Gravy
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cream of Celery soup
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley + reserve extra for garnish
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 cups Macaroni pasta, cooked
  • 6-8 cups Water or chicken Broth
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large enough pot, melt the butter and add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until they start turning brown.
  2. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are transparent.
  3. Add the left over meatloaf or hamburger meat, parsley and thyme.
  4. Add the mashed potatoes and gravy, and the soups. Rinse out the cans with water and add to the pot.
  5. Add the remaining amount of water or broth and simmer for 15-20 minutes until it is thick and bubbly.
  6. Add the cooked macaroni and simmer until warmed through or until it is thoroughly cooked if you happened to only cook the pasta part way.
  7. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper if necessary.

 

Mushrooms, garlic and onions

Brown the mushrooms then add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions soften.

 

Add the meatloaf, mashed potatoes and other ingredients.

 

Let the soup simmer to blend the flavors before adding the macaroni

NOTES:

  • Keep in mind that when you are using leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes, they are already seasoned and the same thing with the canned soups. So make sure to taste before adding anymore salt.
  • My family liked this soup so much that I cooked it again from scratch instead of leftovers. I used ground beef as the meat. When you use fresh meat instead of cooked meat, alter the process a bit by browning the meat first and taking out any excess grease (you’ll also omit the butter since the beef will render enough oil to sautee’ the other ingredients). After the meat has cooked, add the mushrooms and continue with the recipe as above.
  • In subsequent versions of this recipe, I have also added other vegetables such as carrots, celery, green beans, peas and even zucchini and yellow squash, depending on what I have on hand. Don’t hesitate to change or add to any recipe. Sometimes my family loves me for it, sometimes they hate it. But that’s the fun of cooking 🙂
  • Also note that you may have to adjust the amount of water or broth that you use, depending on whether you like your soup to be on the creamy or soupy side. For added richness, you can also add milk and cream just before finishing cooking.
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Aug20100

Nilaga: Oxtail Soup with Potatoes and Vegetables

Although it was scorching hot and humid outside, we couldn’t resist having one of our favorite soups, oxtail soup. The weather has never been a hindrance to our enjoyment of soups. Why whenever we are in Las Vegas, we must have our dose of Oxtail Soup at the California and you know how hot it gets over there!

The last time we were in Las Vegas was last summer. It had been several years since we were last there, but since my mother decided to retire and moved there, we decided to go check out her new house and also get re-acquainted with the town. My, have things changed! When we used to go there as kids, there was little for us to do aside from hanging out at Circus Circus. Nowadays though, even with six kids in tow there was plenty of things to do in Vegas. The girls were not bored for one second, and it was painful for them when it came time to leave.

Of course while we were there, we had to work in a midnight run to the California hotel just to have their oxtail soup which they don’t start serving until 11 p.m. for the night owls, the gamblers, the hung over and the plain obsessed like us. The late night service is one reason my daughters have yet to sample the oxtail soup at the California. My mom, my sisters and I don’t mind the late hour, we actually like it better because as anyone knows, it’s hard enough getting around Vegas much less downtown Vegas during the day. Late night traffic is much more manageable.

This was the last bowl I had at the California. See all the grated ginger and chopped cilantro floating about? It’s making me hungry just looking at it again.

 The way my sisters and I talk about the soup, it’s no wonder my daughters have been hankering for a taste too. So a couple of weeks ago when we chanced upon some good-looking oxtails at the grocery store, my daughter immediately requested for soup.

This time though, I didn’t put the usual aromatics that normally flavors the Hawaiian style soup served at the California. I made this one Nilaga style. Nilaga is the Pilipino term for boiled and is a general term applied to a lot of boiled soups in the Philippines. What sets it apart from the Hawaiian version is that it doesn’t use as many spices as the Hawaiian version, depending instead on the strong beef flavor that oxtails impart. It is a much lighter broth but also very good at highlighting whatever vegetables you choose to have with it instead.

Nilaga: Oxtail Soup with Potatoes and Vegetables
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5-6
 
This soup is good enough and hearty enough for a main meal but the broth is also flavorful enough for a starter soup with any meal.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs Oxtails, cut into 1-2 inch slices
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 large Onion, sliced
  • 2 inch fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 small Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Bok Choy, cut into serving pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons Patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns
  • Salt, to taste
  • 10 cups Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
Instructions
  1. Heat up oil and quickly sear the oxtail slices. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
  2. Into the remaining oil in the pot, add the garlic, onions and ginger and stirfry for a few minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the fish sauce and the oxtails and stir a few times.
  4. Add the water, cover and let it come to a boil. Once it been boiling for 10 minutes, lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the oxtails are falling off the bone tender.
  5. Once the meat is tender, adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
  6. Add the potatoes and let them cook for ten minutes.
  7. Add the vegetables, Bok Choy in this case, and let it cook only until it turns bright green and wilted but still has plenty of crispness. Don't overcook.
  8. Turn off the heat, and serve.
Notes
You can use any vegetables you want in this soup. Some suggestions: Cabbage Carrots Celery Green Peppers Green Beans Turnip Roots or any green, leafy vegetables (turnip and mustard greens work well too) You can also use other cuts of beef instead if oxtails is not your thing. I have used beef shortribs for this recipe and traditionally beef shanks is used for Nilaga. The main thing when making this soup is to use meat on the bone. All the good beefy flavor comes from the bones.

 

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Dec4007

Mung Beans with Pepper Leaves Soup

Mongo with Pepper Leaves

I am surprised how many people do not realize that the leaves of most pepper plants are also edible. I had mentioned to someone that I was having this soup with pepper leaves and they were genuinely surprised. Well, they are quite good, actually, and very mild sort of green unlike what you might expect it being the producer of such fiery fruits.

Well I had forgotten about these poor pepper leaves and I just recently found them in the depths of my freezer. They are several months old, from last summer, or even spring, I think; but they were still surprisingly ok in this soup! No freezer burn taste at all! So all’s well that ends well.

When I made the first version posted on this blog, I used whole mung beans for this version, I used hulled and cracked beans. You can see the difference in the texture and thickness of the soup. I think I like this version better which is why I am reposting this recipe. I would also normally just give you the link to the old recipe, but since I am now also using the EasyRecipe plugin to conform to the new microformat for recipes, I might as well re-post the recipe here again.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Mung Beans with Pepper Leaves Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup, Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is a Filipino recipe that could be a soup or a main dish.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried mung beans or mungo beans
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth or water
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 pork chop, cut into small cubes
  • Pepper leaves (or Bittermelon leaves)
  • Fish Sauce, to taste
Instructions
  1. First wash the mung beans as you would any dried beans and remove any beans that float and anything else that floats up. Drain and pour into double the amount of boiling water. This means for every portion of beans, put twice as much water to boil. In this case, since I am only cooking a cup of beans, I boiled two cups of water and dropped in the beans. Let boil for a few minutes until the beans are soft and some of the water has evaporated. Turn the heat down to low and let the beans simmer until almost all the water has evaporated and it is well cooked. If it is still hard, just add a bit more water and cook longer. (It's like cooking rice)
  2. In the meantime, while the beans are cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients.
  3. When all is in place, heat up about a tablespoon of oil in a pot and saute’ the garlic, ginger and onions until fragrant.
  4. Add the pork and tomatoes and saute’ a little longer, until it starts to dry up and sizzle again.
  5. Add a tablespoon of fish sauce, stir in the cooked mung beans, and add four cups of broth or water.
  6. Bring to a boil and turn the heat down to simmer for about twenty minutes for the flavors to infuse.
  7. When the soup is almost ready, taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the pepper/bittermelon leaves and let it cook for another five minutes or so, just until the leaves wilt. Turn off the heat, and serve.
Notes
This will probably serve only two. I made a small batch since I am the only one who likes mung bean soup in our house. Especially so when it has bitter melon leaves, which is what makes this dish for me. Normally, shrimps is also added to this recipe as in the older version but this time, I opted to do without the shrimps.

 

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Dec28 013

Hot & Sour Soup

Hot & Sour Soup

Another cold night and another request for soup. So we went to MY choice of soups this time, and decided to have something on the spicy side.As usual though, since this was another spontaneous craving, I didn’t have all the ingredients that we usually like to have in this soup. So this one is lacking tofu and bamboo shoots, and we used fresh button mushrooms instead of dried shitakes, even so, this soup still hit the spot.

And the more you cook this soup, you will find how flexible it really is. You can improvise on pretty much all the ingredients aside from the broth. Why in a pinch, we had even added some frozen mixed vegetables to this and it actually worked out great for making it more hearty!

Here is the basic recipe, but don’t be afraid to experiment!

Hot & Sour Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An easy, fast and flexible soup for whenever the craving hits.
Ingredients
  • 6 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms (in this case) OR dried mushrooms (ideal)
  • 8-10 dried lily buds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-3 spring onions, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried pepper flakes
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Cornstarch (dissolved in enough water to make a slurry)
Instructions
  1. Reconstitued lily buds (and dried mushrooms if you're using them) by soaking them in hot water until they are soft.
  2. Bring broth to a boil.
  3. Add lily buds and mushrooms, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper flakes and sugar. Let it cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  5. Lower the heat and add the cornstarch slurry. Stir soup until it is slightly thickened.
  6. Turn off the heat and slowl drizzle in the beaten egg while gently stirring.
  7. Serve soup with chopped spring onions on top.
Notes
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS that I normally would add if I had them on hand: tofu, pork, bamboo shoots, more mushrooms, chili oil

 

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Oct29 017

Starry Tomato Soup with Meatballs

Starry Tomato Soup with Meatballs

My daughter loves soup. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably figured this out already based on the number of soup recipes. She particularly loves pastas and not too long ago, she wanted spaghetti and meatballs. Homemade meatballs, she specified.

I figured if I’m going to make meatballs, might as well make some extra and freeze them for later use. So when she had a hankering for some soup, we luckily still had some meatballs handy. This recipe came about, again, based on what we had in hand and what SHE LIKES. So tomato soup with pasta and meatballs it is.

She saw this bag of star pasta at the grocery store and we figured it would be perfect for a soup like this. She was right!
star pasta

Starry Tomato Soup with Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb 12 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 6 cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh Oregano & Parsley stems
  • 1½ cups Stars pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Meatballs (about 8-10 or however much you want)
Instructions
  1. Heat Olive Oil, saute' Garlic & Onions for 5 minutes until they are fragrant and tender.
  2. Add tomatoes and bell peppers, cook for 10 minutes until bubbling.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree or if you don't have one, just mash roughly. It doesn't have to be pureed fine.
  4. Add broth, sugar and tomato paste and bring back to a boil.
  5. Add the meatballs stars pasta (or any mini pasta of your choice) and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked and meatballs are heated through. Add more broth if it seems too thick.
  6. Season with salt if necessary.
  7. Garnish with chopped parsley leaves when serving.
Notes
One of the ingredients, Parsley Stems, just means the bottom half of Italian flat leaf parsley. Use the top, leafy parts for garnish before serving. You can use pre-made, store-bought meatballs, but of course, it's always better with homemade.

 

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Sep3 035

Easy French Onion Soup for One

French Onion Soup is really one of the easiest soups to make but you almost always end up with a big batch and as good as it is, it’s really not that popular in our house. Only my youngest daughter and I really crave this. So most of the time, we order it when we’re eating out. Sometimes though, the French Onion soups you order out tend to be a little salty. I don’t know why that is. So whenever we can, we like to make it at home and I can control the saltiness a bit better.

So here’s our recipe for French Onion Soup, which if you are a regular reader, you should already expect to be not so authentic like your French grandma used to make it. I don’t have a French grandma. Anyway, you’ll find out as you play with the recipe that it’s actually quite flexible. You don’t have to use Swiss or Gruyere cheese all the time, for instance. For one, it’s hard to find where I live, it’s costly, and I don’t always have it in my fridge for the times when you just have to have soup right now and don’t want to run to the grocery store.

So here’s our version for one or two, using ingredients that were in our pantry and fridge at the time.

Easy French Onion Soup for One
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Easy French Onion soup for one or two.
Ingredients
  • 2 large Sweet Vidalia Onions, sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • ¼ cup Red Wine (Merlot)
  • 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Toppings: Cheese and Toast
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter and add the sliced onion.
  2. Add the garlic and let it soften for a few minutes.
  3. Add the wine and let it reduce until it starts to look thick.
  4. Add the vinegar, thyme, bay leaf and flour. Stir it a bit to incorporate the flour.
  5. Slowly add the broth, stirring to make sure the flour is blended in and not in lumps.
  6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the flavors meld and the broth is slightly thickened.
  7. Laddle the soup into oven proof bowls and top with toasted bread and cheese.
  8. Place bowls on a baking sheet and put under the oven broiler for a minute or two. Keep an eye on it. When the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges slightly browned, take it out.
Notes
NOTE: I didn't specify the type of cheese because, as I've said, we tend to use what we have. Most recipes say Gruyere or Swiss, and they're really good when you have them. Most of the time though, I have cheddar or jack or monterrey or a combination of those. Use whatever cheese you prefer. A little parmesan added to your melting cheese is also very good. A good, crusty French bread would be ideal for this soup. But in a pinch when all you have is plain ol' loaf bread, it would also do. Just toast it nicely. The crispy, buttery edges will mimic a crust.

 

 

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Nov6014

Corn & Egg Drop Soup

corn egg drop soup

This is the accompanying soup when I made the Chinese braised ribs last week when the Clone was sick. This was all she had of that meal which was a good thing because her dad just about devoured all the ribs!

Anyway, this is a very simple recipe and all you really need is a good, flavorful chicken broth. Luckily, I had plenty of homemade frozen chicken broth. Of course, a good canned broth will work too.

 

Corn & Egg Drop Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 can of Cream Corn
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 2 stalks Green Onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch, dissolved in water
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine chicken broth, cream corn and frozen corn and bring to a boil.
  2. Slowly pour in the cornstarch slurry until the soup starts to thicken. You don't have to put it all. If it seems thick enough for your liking, stop.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the beaten egg, stirring slowly while doing so to create nice ribbon like threads of egg.
  4. Adjust your seasonings and serve with a sprinkling of green onions on top.

 

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011

Pesang Isda – Fish in Ginger Soup

Pesang Tilapia

A friend cooked this for me once when the only Filipino fish soup I knew was sinigang. I thought she had forgotten the souring agent but I was wrong. For those who do not like the sourness of the ubiquitous Filipino sinigang, this is a nice, mild alternative. It is delicately spiced like your grandmother’s tinola (or chicken soup) and actually, it is exactly the same as chicken tinola except that you use fish instead.

When I saw the Pesa recipe on the Overseas Pinoy Cooking Blog, I was immediately intrigued not to mention hungry! I just had to make it and luckily, I had one leftover tilapia in the freezer. I felt a lunch time soup coming on. Yes, even when it’s ninety degrees and humid outside, I craved to have this soup.

Pesang Isda - Fish in Ginger Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium tilapia, cut in half
  • ½ cup of chopped Leeks
  • 1 inch of fresh Ginger root, sliced into medallions
  • ½ head of a small cabbage, sliced (or any green leafy vegetable you like)
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn
  • 6-8 cup water (the original recipe from OPC called for rice water or the water you used to rinse rice before cooking)
  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • Salt (to taste)
Instructions
  1. In a pot large enough to hold your soup, heat the cooking oil and sauté the ginger and leeks for a couple of minutes.
  2. Pour in the water or rice water and add the peppercorns.
  3. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors in the soup.
  4. Add the fish, cover and let it cook for another ten minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  5. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Add your vegetables and cook only until they are wilted. You don't want it overcooked.
  7. Turn off heat and serve.
Notes
I used cabbage for the vegetables in this instance because that's what I had in the refrigerator at the time. Any green leafy vegetables like bokchoy, napa cabbage, spinach or tender mustard greens will be perfect for this dish though. Also, in the original recipe, regular onions were also used in addition to the leeks. I happened to be out of onions too, so I used leeks that I pulled up from the garden instead.

BY THE WAY, if you look at the original recipe, it was recommended that this dish be served with a miso dipping sauce. That’s what’s in the smaller dish in the photo above. I must say, that ‘dip’ is perfection! Recipe for it will follow.

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