Every year I have a hard time giving summer up to fall. It's usually about the end of October, when the leaves are in full color and the sweaters and boots are out in full force, that I finally give in and embrace the season. And the fall cooking doesn't hurt, either: pumpkin bread, apple crisp, hot soup with warm homemade bread. Last weekend we spent some time at the most darling apple orchard, picking out pumpkins and sampling freshly made apple turnovers and pumpkin doughnuts. Oh fall, I do love you!
Fall soups are not only warm and comforting on crisp, cool nights, but they're usually a pretty easy, no-fuss dinner option. That's why we eat a LOT of soup around here. Soup is the new casserole. The only problem? Many of the best ones are made with loads of butter and cream--not so good for keeping the weight off during the winter months. I've been on a quest to find some healthier recipes so I don't gain 100 pounds with this baby. Here's a sampling of what I've been cooking lately, all three healthy and sans cream, in case you need a few new fall and winter soup ideas!
Creamy Tomato-Pesto Soup
This soup tastes like something you'd find in a fancy restaurant, but it's easy (and cheap) enough to make for a huge crowd! In fact, we had this at a church women's conference a couple of years ago and it was much more deluxe than anything you'd expect on a budget! Adjust your ingredients easily for larger groups--this is how I make a small batch to pair with grilled cheese sandwiches on a Saturday night.
1 can Campbell's Tomato Soup
1 can of milk (I use skim)
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp pesto (make your own or buy it in the fresh pasta section at the grocery store or Costco)
Freshly grated (shredded) Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat soup with 1 can of milk and diced tomatoes and heat according to directions on can. Stir in pesto. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and croutons. Delish!
Black Bean Soup
This next soup is sooo yummy, and totally healthy! No cream or butter, but this Black Bean soup with it's Mexican flavor is creamy and delicious. There are even vegetables hidden in it! I could eat it every day (I make a double batch just for the leftovers!) I was worried my kids would turn their noses up at it, but I got this from my 8-year-old: "This soup ROCKS!" Amen. I found it in the Our Best Bites cookbook (one of my favorite cookbooks ever!), but they also have it online here. You have to try it!
Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili
Another favorite food blogger of mine is Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about her from me in the near future--I love everything she puts out. This Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili is another great healthy option (my kids though the barley was just beans!) and it's super delicious. We made this for our church Trunk-or-Treat potluck and it was gone in the first few minutes! (Lucky for my husband I saved him a monster bowl at home since I knew he'd be late.) And it's quick and easy to make, too! Check out the recipe here.
Here's to a warm, comforting, but not-diet-busting fall!
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