Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in soup (5)


Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup + Zombie 5K

Well helloooo! How are you on this Monday? I'm not going to lie, Monday came much too fast for me :) I had a great weekend though! On Friday we went out for our good friend's birthday, Saturday I had a girls day and sleepover with my sisters and Sunday was Shaun's cousin's birthday party.

Whew! Can you tell why I'm exhausted?!

So I was reading an article on CNN about the Run For Your Lives 5K. Have you heard of this? It's a 5K in which people dressed up as zombies chase you while you are running, not to mention various spooky obstacles throughout the course. How's that for motivation?! I think this idea is so fun and kind of hilarious. It hasn't come to New York or New Jersey yet, but the next one coming up will be in Massachussetts.

You know I love zombies, so I'd be all about it.

Would you run the zombie chase 5K?


Meanwhile, it's supposed to be a chilly one in the northeast today and so I thought it was about time to share some soup. I realized that I never told you about this delicious cheesy chicken tortilla soup from a few weeks back.

I love this soup. It's a little high in points, but perfect for an indulgent dinner when you are still trying to keep close to your diet. It's so warm, so comforting and I'm really wish that I had a batch waiting for me today.

It's filled with cheese, chicken, bell peppers and onions and topped with a few crumbled tortilla chips and sour cream. Yum

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 6; about 1 1/2 C per serving

9 WW Points+ per serving

1 tsp olive oil
1 bell pepper, diced
1 onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp margarine
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C fat-free milk
3 C fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp half-and-half
1 1/2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
14 oz can diced tomatoes with chiles
2 1/2 C reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
kosher salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
tortilla chips, for topping
sour cream, for topping

In the bottom of a stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the peppers and onions. Saute until soft.

Next, add the margarine and melt. Whisk in the flour until combined. Cook for about a minute, but don't let it burn.

Whisk in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a light boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Once simmering, lower the heat stir in the cheese and half and half. Stir until completely melted and combined.

Pour in the chicken and diced tomatoes and mix. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder. Adjust any spices as you'd like. If you like it spicy, add some cayenne pepper.


Serve in bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and 2-3 crushed tortilla chips.

So what do you think?

Do you like hearty soups like this?

Would you ever run the zombie 5K

How did you spend your weekend?


psst...I'm going on about my new nail polish finds on The Peach & The Pit so hop on over to check it out!


Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup

Don't forget to enter our blogoversary giveaway! You have until 6pm EST tonight! Enter to win a copy of Rocco DiSpirito's Now Eat This! cookbook, one of my personal favorites. And it has nothing to do with the many photos of an attractive-looking Rocco strewn throughout the book.

Shaun and I are still going strong with our meat-free eating. I’ve been downing lots of fruits, veggies and Chobani yogurt, not to mention very lightly salted fresh popcorn for snack. On the morning of day 4, I’m starting to realize a few things:

1. Today I’m heading to Philly for a business trip and was initially wishing for a Philly cheesesteak. I know Shaun is secretly hoping I’d bring some home for us.

2. I don’t really miss meat. You know, aside from the above.

3. I’m very hungry. I had zumba and pilates on Tuesday night (which rocked my world) but yesterday I was ready to chop up my desk and start downing it, Cookie Monster-style.

4. I have significantly less energy. Though I think this is caused by the overall lack of protein, aside from some beans and Greek yogurt. Whew! I knew I made a mistake by not accounting for the lack of protein I’d be getting, but I swear, getting out of bed yesterday I thought my legs were filled with lead.

5. I’m kind of into the less meat thing and once I get some of the kinks worked out (like wanting to nap all day long), I feel confident that this might actually work.

So that aside, I’m excited to share another delectable recipe that I got from my Food Network Magazine. It was chock full of great stuff this month!

I had been wanting to experiment with kale so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. It’s kind of like spinach but...different. Leafier. But tasty. I also love black-eyed peas (not to be confused with my hatred for actual peas). I whipped up this soup on Monday evening so that the man and I would have lunch for a couple of days. And guess what? It was good! And filling! And meatless! We all win! Hurrah!

Black-Eyed Pea + Kale Soup
*Adapted from Food Network Magazine
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped with ribs & seeds removed
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
2 14 oz cans low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound kale, ribs/stems removed and roughly chopped
1 can black-eyed peas
Parmesean cheese, for serving if desired
Brown rice, for serving if desired

In a large pot (I used my big stockpot, though an oversized saucepan would work too), heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the flour and mix until combined and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, celery garlic, 3 tbsp water, ¼ tsp kosher salt and few hits of black pepper.

Continue cooking on medium heat until the veggies are very tender, about 7-8 minutes. Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and paprika, stirring to combine. Add the 2 cans of vegetable broth and mix altogether, scraping up the brown bits of delicious on the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.

I used this opportunity to rinse and chop up the kale. I simply ran my knife along both sides of the stem to remove the leaves and then bundled it all up to give it a nice rough chop.

Add it to the soup along with a can of drained black-eyed peas. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with the lid slightly ajar so that steam can escape. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

To make the rice, I simply cooked it in some veggie broth and put a little scoop into the soup to serve. Shaun had the idea to put a few parmesean shavings on top.

So there it is a soup-er dish. Did I take it too far? It's not overly brothy, so if you want it that way, I recommend adding more vegetable broth during the cooking. In the shot above, most of the broth sunk down over the rice - but it was pretty fabulous this way. So what do you think? Have you ever tried kale? And any tips to share about getting more protein sans meat?


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Oh soup. That's really all I have to say.

But I guess you are looking for more than that, huh? Once the cool weather hits, it’s like a button is switched on and all I want is soup, soup and more soup. So comforting, so warming, it’s like a miracle cure for the blues, for a chill that you just can’t get rid of, or for an empty stomach just grumbling to be filled up. Suddenly my daily lunch of ham & cheese sandwich or homemade chef’s salad (complete with Shaun’s ham & cheese pinwheels that he often prepares for me...love ya honey!) just wasn’t cutting it. Soup it would need to be. So after a couple of weeks of picking up soup from local eateries, I realized that while it seemed like it was a small expense, it was adding up to around $5 per day (sometimes more like $7 at fancier places like Moomah). And since you know my feelings on spending mucho moola on food that I can easily DIY, I realized it was time to tackle the soup-for-lunch challenge. In the midst of post-dinner party clean up and game day relaxing, I got my soup on. And oh how happy I am that I did.

Since I had some nice tomatoes in the fridge and all of the other ingredients on hand, I decided that tomato soup it would be! And this version is low fat, filling and hearty to boot. Oh and did I mention that it gives my favorite tomato soup from ‘wichcraft a serious run for its money?

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp heavy cream
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh black pepper
1/2 C fresh basil leaves
parmesean cheese

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Roughly chop the tomatoes and onions. Spread out on a foil-covered sheet pan (this will make clean up a snap!), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast (this is the key to flavorful, delicious soup since roasting softens the veggies and brings out the yummy, carmelized flavors!).

Roast for about 25 minutes or until tomatoes and onions are soft, carmelized and smelling like heaven. Add them to a big stock pot or dutch oven. 

Pour in the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and whole peeled tomatoes (I always use Red Pack, unless grocer gives me another brand when I lazily order my groceries!). Stir in the bay leaves and butter. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, chop up the basil. I grabbed the last bit of leaves from our urban herb garden, which has recently been moved indoors. No word on how long that will last!


Add to the soup. After the 20-30 minutes has elapsed, it's time to blend the soup together. I use my handy immersion blender (a tool that I have come to obsess over) but using a blender or food processor to blend in batches should work as well.

Stir in the heavy cream (use as much as you'd like or omit altogether to keep it lower in fat). When serving, stir in a bit of parmesean cheese. Since I used up all of my basil, I garnished with a sprig of parsley that I had recently purchased for my upcoming Thanksgiving dinner (stay tuned for lots of Turkey Day recipes!)

So there you have it. A delicious and comforting bowl of soup. This recipe made a giant batch, which is perfect for a family, spreading over a week's time or even freezing to use throughout the winter! I also like my soup chunky so I didn't completely blend it through, though I'm sure it would be equally as delightful. Oh and to bring it to work, I simply load it up in an air tight container, keep it upright on my commute and heat in the microwave for lunch. Voila! Homemade, comforting soup! All that's missing is a giant, buttery grilled cheese sandwich...

So the question of the day is: What is your favorite food or beverage to warm you up on a cool day? Is it a bowl of soup? A hearty chili? A sweet mug of hot chocolate? Or maybe a simple chai tea?