Thursday, December 27, 2012

Soup for a mini crowd

I had 11 people here at my house for a few days over Christmas and you know what that means-- long lists of stuff to do before they arrive! Clean the bathrooms, change bedding, hide the piles of papers, tidy up the forgotten corners of the house, drive all over town shopping for the last minute items and cook. I’m a big menu planner, even during a regular week, so coming up with meal ideas is never a problem for me. When you have a big crowd, though, the catch is to balance the big sit down dinners with easier and quicker lunches.

I recall in my early days of hosting Thanksgiving, making the mistake of cooking every last thing in the oven. You know,  hot appetizers, huge turkey, potato casserole, green bean casserole, squash halves and delicate last minute rolls….. all in the oven at the same time, competing for space. These days I’m famous for doing the potatoes in the crock pot in the garage and vegetables on the stovetop. I have even put my bird in my big roaster and plugged that in the garage also….and I ask you, why not?

Today I share two excellent recipes for soup – do them ahead and you’ll look like the queen of the clean kitchen.

Tortellini and Vegetable Soup (adapted from The Slow RoastedItalian)
Here’s what you need:
2 T olive oil
2 celery – diced
¼ lb baby carrots, diced
½ white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper (I used an orange one)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh basil, chopped
½ t red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 X  14.5 ounce cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes (super-secret ingredient! These add so much flavor)
4 C water
2 C vegetable broth
15 ounces cheese tortellini ( I actually think much less would be better)

Here’s what you do:
Sautee the celery, onions and carrots for a few minutes unit soft, but not brown. Add the pepper, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and those awesome cans of fire roasted tomatoes. Also the water and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.

Return to a boil and add the tortellini – cook according to package directions. 

(printable recipe) 

Carrot and Ginger Soup (from

Here’s what you need:
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ celery stalk, diced
¼ peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger root
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 C vegetable broth
1 ½ lb carrots, peeled, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Here’s what you do:
Sautee onion, celery and ginger in large pot until soft but not brown. Add the carrots and broth and simmer until the veggies are very tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor or blender. Season to taste. 

(printable recipe)


  1. Hi, Tracy

    Both recipes look great. Today, I'll be making a slow cooker pot of chicken soup but will have to plan to make some of your carrot soup next time!


  2. Both soups look wonderful. I love the fact that you can make them ahead of time.

  3. Oh I love a good bowl of soup and these look delicious. I have just made a batch of vegetable soup and now have lots in the freezer for future use.


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