Soups and Stews – Five Family Favorites

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OKC moms blog soups stews family favorites

It’s the time of year for pulling off a kitchen miracle – chunking some water, meat, and veggies in a big pot, simmer for a bit, and voila! It’s soup!

Here are a few of my family’s favorite soups and stews. Some are easy, some take a little longer, but they are all hot and delicious on a cold winter’s night.

Some tips for maximum flavor fast:

  • prep chopped onion/celery/carrot (mirepoix) the evening before (or use frozen chopped onion)
  • use chicken or beef stock concentrate or canned stock, not bouillon cubes
  • use leftover cooked pasta of any shape in the minestrone for quicker finish

Kale soup

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 lb. beef smoked sausage, sliced 1/4″
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 2 cans chicken stock
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 lg. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • one bunch of kale, cleaned, spine/stem removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 TBS. vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown the smoked sausage in the oil in a 5-qt saucepan, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until the onion softens. Add the chicken stock, water, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes, then add the kale and cook 15 minutes more. Add vinegar, and check for salt and pepper seasoning.


Classic Beef Stew

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 3 TBS. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 3 TBS. flour
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • 6 c. water, divided
  • *1 c. pearl onions (found in frozen foods, jarred vegetables, or cocktail section of store)
  • 1 c. baby carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 TBS. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1/2 lb. small red potatoes, cleaned and halved

Heat the oil in a 5-qt saucepan; brown the stew meat on all sides. Sprinkle with flour and stir to combine; cook 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits. Add 4 c. water, onions, carrots, herbs and seasonings. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook 1 hr. Add the remaining 2 c. water, the peas, and potatoes, cover and cook for 30 minutes more or until meat is tender. Add more salt and pepper if needed. *If you can’t find pearl onions, use 1 med. onion, chopped 1/2″.


Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 lg. cans (12.5 oz each) white chunk chicken
  • 2 cans chicken stock
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 TBS dried onion
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 1 c. celery, sliced 1/8″
  • 1 c. carrots, sliced 1/8″
  • 1 1/2 TBS butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. wide egg noodles (3/4 of 16 oz. bag)

In a 5-qt saucepan, combine all except the noodles. Bring to a boil, then add the noodles, and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check salt and pepper seasoning.


Taco Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 lb. ground beef (*see note if using lean)
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • 1 can (16 oz) chili beans, pinto beans, or black beans, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) corn, undrained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed

Brown the ground beef and onion in a 5-qt saucepan; drain fat. Add the taco seasoning, and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the canned goods and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down to low and add the Velveeta, stirring occasionally until the cheese melts. *If you use lean ground beef, you will need to add at least 1 TBS. vegetable oil to the browning step.


Meatless Minestrone*

Makes 8 servings

  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 can (16 oz) Italian tomatoes
  • 2 cans (10 oz) vegetable stock
  • 3 c. water
  • 1 can (16 oz) white kidney beans, drained
  • 3/4 c. dried elbow macaroni

In a 5-qt saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic powder, salt/pepper, and herbs; cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and tomatoes, cook for 1 minute, then add the stock, water, and kidney beans. Bring to a simmer for 30 minutes; add macaroni and simmer 15 more minutes. Check salt and pepper seasoning. (*Can add pepperoni or Italian sausage if desired)


A note on kitchen equipment

The 5-qt saucepan, or Dutch Oven as it is sometimes called, is the workhorse of the kitchen, and is usually what is called for in soup recipes. A new soup pot, including some tried-and-true recipes like these, would make a great gift idea for newly-marrieds or people moving to their first apartment or home.

What are your family’s favorite soups and stews? Do you have any cooking secrets to making a great soup?

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Kelly was born near Alva, and grew up in Enid and then near Miami, Oklahoma. She met her handsome husband Charles while they were both students at OSU in Stillwater. They were married in 1992 and have two daughters, ages 15 and 20. Kelly has been a happy stay-at-home- mom for nearly two decades, and has more hobbies than is probably healthy for one to have. When she is not outside tending to her flowers and shrubs, she may be making jewelry, sewing, painting, baking, or working on her blog. Volunteering for her children's schools and arts programs has been a pivotal experience for Kelly. Proud to be a Drama Mama and a Choir Booster, she has worked hard to support the fine arts in education because she has seen the positive impact these activities have on student lives. Kelly is very happy to be putting her BA in English to good use, by helping to teach ACT Test prep workshops, writing a fictionalized family memoir, and with OKCMomsBlog, making a contribution from the perspective of a mom to older kids.

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