5 Soups Your Family Will Love This Winter (& my best tip for building friendships this season!)

Happy December! 

As much as I LOVE providing great meals for my family, I don’t actually enjoy cooking all that much. Thats why I usually aim for meals that are homemade and delicious, but require minimal ingredients and time to prepare. Ideally, I like to make at least one meal a week that’s a favorite and requires a little more effort. Mainly because I grew up in a home with a mom who worked hard in an exceptional career and still prioritized providing meals that we always looked forward to. Now that I’m the mom, I know what planning, effort, and sacrifice that took and I so appreciate it. It set the stage for us to anticipate dinner time and look forward to sitting down and enjoying each other over great food. I could go on and on about how important I think dinner time is, but I wont because I’ve already done that and you can read about it here 😉  

If you’ve been following for a while, you know that I also recently shared my heart for hospitality and what God’s been teaching me about the community we were created for. You can read that again here if you want 🙂 This season I feel it all the more as I’m considering the holiday memories I want our family to look back on someday. It really is all about who we’re with! Especially now, my heart longs for connection and I’ve realized what a privilege and opportunity it is to be a catalyst for that in the lives of others. Inviting people to your table to share a meal together is a practical, but powerful way to create relationship. And thats what we all want! I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to lately that wish they had richer friendships, but are held back from initiating time together… Me too! If you want to create deeper relationship, dinner is a great icebreaker. It’s a built in “activity” and activity bonds people. It can also be simple. Everyone has to eat and feeding people blesses them! So I’ve made a goal for our family to host company for a meal once a week this month! This is kind of a big goal for homebody me, so hold me accountable! 😉 And to set myself up for success, I’ve already planned the meals – Soups! 

Something about soup for dinner just embodies the coziness of the holidays and it’s such a convenient meal to make for company this time of year! You can make a huge quantity, throw it in a pot, and there’s your main dish! I kicked off the month by hosting my grandparents last night and made my favorite soup of all time – Zuppa Toscana (an Olive Garden copy cat!) I thought I’d share the recipe I like to use and a few other family favorite soups I grew up with for you to try this month.

Throw a pot on the stove and invite someone over to enjoy it with you!

Zuppa Tuscana

Again – my favorite soup ever! I like that it’s lighter – not as heavily milk based – and it has the best flavor! 

What you’ll need:

1 pound of Italian sausage

1/2-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

3 large russet potatoes chunked (peeled or unpeeled – optional)

1 large onion diced

3 garlic close minced

3 cups of kale or Swiss chard chopped

2 32 ounce boxes of chicken broth 

2 cups of water

1 & 1/2 cups of heavy whipping ream

How to make it:

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a pot. Drain excess fat & set aside.

Sauté bacon, When about half way cooked, add the onions and garlic. 

Sauté for approximately 15 minutes or until the onions are soft.

Add the chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil.

Add potatoes and cook until soft (about 15-20 minutes).

Add heavy cream and the cooked sausage and cook until heated through.

Add kale just before serving.

Tonight I’ll be serving it with biscuits and on our salad – Olive Garden dressing of course!! Did you know you can buy this at the grocery store? It’s great motivation to eat more salad 😉 

Taco Soup

This soup is a good one to enjoy throughout the year. Hardy, a little spicy, and so fun to serve with quesadillas! 

What you’ll need:

1-2 pounds of hamburg

1 medium onion diced

1-2 cans of diced tomatoes

1-2 cans diced chilis

1-2 can of sliced olives

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 cup of taco seasoning (or to taste)

1-2 cans of corn

1-2 cans of each: kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans.

8 cups of water for small family serving/ 10-12 for larger serving.

How to make it:

Brown hamburger, rinse, and drain.  

Add onions and cook till transparent.

Add tomatoes, chilis, olives, and seasonings and sauté for 5 minutes.

Drain all beans and corn in a colander.

Add them and remaining ingredients and simmer.

Enjoy!

Greasy Spoon Chili

I’ll just warn you now, this ones a little spicy! My grandpa is famous for dabbing his head with his napkin and saying “there’s a three alarm fire going on!” When he eats it! But I don’t think it’s that spicy. 😉

What you’ll need:

2 pounds of ground beef

1 medium onion

1 cup o celery diced

1/2 green pepper chopped

1 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 16 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste

 2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of sugar

3 teaspoons of chili powder

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

2 cans of kidney beans

How to make it:

Cook ground beef, rinse, and drain.

Add back to skillet & add next 4 ingredients.

When veggies are transparent, add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least 1 hour. 

Easy as that!

Potato Soup

This one’s extra cozy! Think clam chowder, minus the clams! 

What you’ll need:

6-8 peeled and diced potatoes

(save thick peels of 1/2 the potatoes to be fried in 2 tbsps on oil and sprinkled on top of the soup)

1/2 -3/4 package of chopped and cooked bacon

1 cup of diced onion

1/2 cup of celery (about 2 stalks diced)

1-2 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons of flour

4 cups of chicken broth

4 cups of half & half

How to make it:

Cook chopped bacon in stock pot.

Add onion and celery and cook till transparent

Add garlic.

Add broth and cook till potatoes are soft. 

Add half & half.

Serve with grated cheese, potato peels, and bacon bits.

Home made chicken noodle

This isn’t an out of the box idea, but it’s the best chicken noodle I’ve ever had! And I don’t know if there’s a soup that feels more like a hug than this one 😉

What you’ll need:

2-3 cups of diced, cooked chicken

2 cups of thick sliced carrot rings

2 cups of sliced celery

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 diced medium onion

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of parsley

10 cups of water

Chicken bouillon (1 tsp or cube per cup of water)

1 box of rotini pasta

How to make it:

Sauté onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley in olive oil.

Once veggies are tender, add remaining ingredients (except the pasta.)

Cook pasta separately and add to soup before serving.

🙂

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Try any of my favorite soups? Let me know what you thought or send me one of your favorites! 🙂 

2 thoughts on “5 Soups Your Family Will Love This Winter (& my best tip for building friendships this season!)

  1. Yeahhhhh soup!!! Yum! You are a wonderful catalyst for all of us to cultivate hospitality! 🙂 I know I am learning and growing in this and it is encouraging to always remember we all desire deeper friendships! Now I am going to make a soup tonight bc that just sounds so yummy

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