Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Italian Wedding Soup -

My friend Maureen has been making this soup on a regular basis for years. I’ve made it a few times too, and am happy to finally be sharing it. This soup is super delicious, healthy, and . . . there’s wine in it! It also makes some beautiful leftovers.

I highly recommend using a great chicken stock, preferably a homemade one.

It comes from the Whitewater Cooks Cookbook. The main change I made was to use turkey rather than beef for the meatballs. Turkey it s bit lighter, more heart healthy, and my main eater doesn’t eat beef. The only other change I made was to substitute the type of pasta, from Acini de Pepe to orzo (because that’s what I had in my cupboard), and to cook it separately. There are two reasons for cooking the pasta separately: everybody can add as much as they want to their soup (I prefer it light on the pasta), and I don’t like the leftovers as much when there is pasta in it because I think it gets too gludgy. Oh, one more change: I used fresh basil because I think dried basil tastes nothing like fresh. I keep fresh basil in my freezer for occasions like this.

Hope you love it too!

What you need for the meatballs:

  •  450 grams (1 pound) ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 egg

What you need for the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or less if you prefer, as I do)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (I will add more next time)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 3 litres (12 cups) homemade  chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup orzo (or small pasta of your choice)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F before making the meatballs. Prepare a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands. Form bite-sized meatballs with your hands and place them on the baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the onions, carrots and garlic. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then turn to medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
  4. In another pot cook the orzo.
  5. Add some salt and pepper to the soup, then add the meatballs. Allow the soup to cook for a few minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through. 
  6. Add the lemon juice, red wine and the chopped spinach and let it cook for a few minutes.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls with some orzo. Grate some Parmesan cheese on top before serving.
  8. Enjoy!



Turkey Barley Soup

turkey barley soup -

This soup made the perfect meal on a cold winter evening, and paired well with Savoury Cheddar Muffins.

As with most soups, the broth you use is so important to bring a fullness of flavour. I had some homemade chicken broth in the freezer, but turkey broth would also be perfect here. If you don’t have a homemade broth it might be wise to splash out a bit on a better quality broth like the one made by Pacific.

I bought some raw turkey breasts for this recipe, but left-over roast turkey or chicken would also be great.

What you need:

  • olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise and then sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3-4 carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 turkey breasts (or leftover turkey or chicken meat)
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of sage
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup pot barley
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Chop the veggies.
  2. Heat a small glug of olive oil in a large pot. Add the veggies and cook, stirring from time to time, until they soften a bit.
  3. Push the veggies to the sides of the pot (or remove them from the pot if you want) and place the turkey breasts in the pot. (Unless you are using leftover meat which you will add with the broth). Cook the turkey breasts for a minute or two on each side; it doesn’t need to cook through yet, as it will continue to cook when you add the broth.
  4. Add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, broth and barley. Bring to a light boil and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is cooked but not too soft.
  5. Remove the turkey breasts from the soup and shred them, using two forks or your hands. Put the turkey meat back in the pot.
  6. I like to keep the salt and pepper until the very last moment, as the flavours of the soup develop as it cooks, and you may over-season if you add it sooner. Also I think the salt makes the veggies a bit mushier. So add salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

Chicken and Black Bean Chowder

black bean and chicken chowder - trustinkim

Soups, stews and chowders are the perfect winter food, although I love them all year round. Here’s an easy chowder recipe that I’ve been using as a main dish. It’s hearty enough to leave you satisfied on its own, but you could always add a slice of bread, or the tortillas that the recipe mentions.

I found the recipe on the Jamie Oliver website. The only changes I made were to use canned corn, to rinse the black beans before adding them, and serving with a dollop of yogurt. A number of people commented on the Jamie Oliver website that their soup was grey, so I think rinsing the beans first helped to avoid that.

This made quite a large batch, which was excellent for leftover lunches for several days.

What you need:

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro stems
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 250 g cooked chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 400 g tin of black beans, rinsed
  • 750 ml organic chicken stock  (or water and chicken bouillon)
  • 1 fresh corn on the cob or 1 can Peaches and Cream corn
  • 1 bay leaf

For serving:

  • cilantro greens
  • Plain yogurt (optional)
  • 2 corn tortillas (optional)
  • 1 lemon

What you do:

  1. If you need to cook the chicken breast, flatten it a bit first by pounding it with a mallet, rolling pin or heavy frying pan. This will help it to cook uniformly, and you won’t have dried out or raw bits. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, then add the salted chicken breast, sprinkling on a little chili powder if you want. Let it cook a few minutes per side until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pick the cilantro leaves and set aside for garnishing. Finely slice the stalks. Peel and  chop the onion and garlic, slice the celery finely.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and cilantro stalks, then sauté for about 10 minutes. The vegetables should soften but not brown.
  4. Add the cumin and cayenne to the pan and fry for about a minute. Add the black beans, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut or shred the chicken breast and add it to the pot. Cut the corn kernels from the cob or use the corn from the can along with its liquid, and stir into the chowder. Allow to simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon juice. Serve with optional tortillas and a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with the cilantro leaves.

Turkey and Chocolate Chili with loads of vegetables

Turkey and Chocolate Chili - trustinkim

With this chili recipe I was looking to keep it healthy (lots of veg and lean ground turkey), while giving it fabulous flavour – and I succeeded! There are many layers of flavour – multiple types of peppers, spices, and a hint of  chocolate and lime. I’ve actually made a chili similar to this many times, but I’ve always forgotten to write down what I put in it. I’m so glad I wrote it down this time, because I think this is one of my best. I’ve made a similar recipe to this in a vegetarian version, exactly the same but without the turkey of course.

The recipe makes a large quantity, so you can halve it if you don’t want as much, or throw some in the freezer for a quick meal down the road.

If you can plan ahead, make it a day ahead of time – chili always tastes best the next day. There are a lot of ingredients, and a fair bit of chopping in this recipe, I know. But really worth it! This recipe turns out best if it is allowed a long cooking time.

I served mine with a garnish of x’nipek, a red onion salsa I learned to make in Mexico. It’s really easy to make, but totally optional.

Here’s a great little article about differentiating between chopping, dicing and mincing.

What you need:

  • 1 cup chicken, beef or vegetable stock
  • 2 dried guajillo or ancho peppers
  • 300-400 grams lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, medium chop
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped(remove the seeds if you don’t want much heat)
  • 1 serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 1 sweet red or banana pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 8-10 mushrooms, small chop
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-796mL/28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 -796mL/28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1-156mL/5.5oz can tomato paste
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Turn an element on the stove (works best with a gas stove, but you can throw them under the broiler if you don’t have one – watch carefully that they don’t burn!). Wave the dried guajillo peppers over the flame, turning to heat both sides. They will start to smell fragrant. Remove the stem and seeds and place in a small pot with the stock. Heat this up to a simmer, then let it sit off the heat for about half an hour. You can go about making the other parts of the chili while it sits. After the half hour, purée the pepper with the stock in a blender.
  2. Now heat a very large pot over a medium flame, then drizzle in a little olive oil. Cook the turkey until it is no longer pink, then remove it from the pot.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pot, then add the onions and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add all the peppers (except the soaking guajillo), zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots. Stir the veggies while they cook, until slightly softened.
  5. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne. Stir to coat the vegetables in the spices and cook for a minute or so.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and the puréed chili and stir it all together. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat to low. Let this cook for at least an hour, but preferably two or more. Give it a good stir from time to time, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  7. Add the chocolate and let it melt in as you stir. Stir in the lime.
  8. Enjoy!

Turkey, Cauliflower, Squash Soup with Buckwheat Groats

roasted cauliflower, squash, and turkey soup - trust in kim

I’ve already made this soup twice since Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago) because it is so delicious and an awesome one bowl meal. I’m a sucker for roasted cauliflower and butternut squash, and I often make it as a side dish. So I thought about how I could use the combination in a soup, along with leftover turkey, and this is what I invented . . .

A really good soup really does depend on an excellent stock or broth, which is an awesome thing to make in a big batch and store in the freezer. I made a stock ahead of time with the turkey bones, a stalk of celery, a carrot, an onion, some peppercorns, bay leaf, a knob of ginger, and a star anise. No worries if you skip this step; you can use whatever stock you have on hand, chicken, turkey, or vegetable.

At work this week I enjoyed the leftovers for my lunches. Looking forward to a delicious lunch makes a stressful work day more interesting!

What you need:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 butternut squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • 6-7 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed, finely diced
  • leftover turkey or chicken, or a couple of skinless thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat the oven to 400F. Toss the cauliflower and squash in a little olive oil, then place it in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables have browned. Flip them halfway through the roasting.
  2. In a large pot on medium heat, drizzle in a little olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, jalapeño, garam masala and coriander – cook this, stirring, for about a minute. If you are using raw turkey or chicken, add it now. Add the chicken stock and bring to a low boil. Cook until the chicken or turkey has cooked all the way through. Remove the meat from the pot and chop it, then throw it back in. Add the buckwheat groats and cook for about 20 minutes, testing partway through to see if they are done.
  3. If you are using leftover meat, you can just add the buckwheat groats after you have cooked the garlic, jalapeño and spices. Cook the buckwheat for about 20 minutes, checking towards the end of the cooking time to see if it is done. Chop and add the meat.
  4. Whether you are using leftover meat not, at this point add the roasted cauliflower and squash. Cook until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have. Please send me a not to let me know what you think, whether you enjoyed it or not.

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho


Gazpacho is what I like to make in the summer, when I’ve got ripe tomatoes in my garden, especially when I want to eat something delicious and healthy. After overindulging on my recent trip to Italy, I came home and made a batch of this. It did the trick; I feel healthier after eating this for a few days.

Normally I add a little more olive oil, but because I was trying to lighten things up a lot, I only added a drizzle. Adding more olive oil would make it creamier, and it is a healthy oil, so add what you like. I’ve made this many times before with red tomatoes, but this time I happened to have a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes, so I used other light coloured vegetables to make it pretty.

Healthy, delicious, super easy, and great for leftovers – this one is definitely a winner!

What you need:

  • 1 small cucumber, peel removed
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • a few tablespoons medium sweet onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • a drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil (or a few tablespoons)
  • 1 slice of white bread (I used a whole wheat French bread)
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Soak the bread in water for a few minutes, then squeeze the water out.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add whatever you think you need to balance the flavours.
  3. Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
  4. Serve topped with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken noodle soup - trust in kim

This is the perfect recipe to make after you’ve roasted a chicken. Whether you’re feeling under the weather, or you’re perfectly healthy, a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup is sure to make you feel even better.

After the roasted chicken has been consumed you can cook up the broth, let it cool over night, and then it’s ready to make into this soup the next day. I often freeze the broth for later use, so all my soups can have that homemade goodness in them.

If you haven’t just roasted a chicken and you want to make a broth, there’s a recipe for you here.

What you need for the broth:

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few peppercorns
  • a chunk of fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot

What you need for the chicken noodle soup:

  • a stalk or two of celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot or two, sliced
  • optional: frozen peas
  • wide egg noodles
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Remove any leftover meat from the chicken carcass and refrigerate for use in the soup later.
  2. Place all the chicken broth ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat, so just a few little bubbles are coming to the surface. Leave on this very low simmer for 2-4 hours.
  3. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve; you can line the sieve with cheesecloth if you want a really clear broth. Discard the solids. Allow to cool, then refrigerate over night.
  4. By the time you make the soup the next day the fat should have hardened on the top of the broth. Scrape the fat off and pour the broth into a large pot on medium high heat.
  5. Add the leftover chicken meat, chopped, along with the celery and carrot, and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add a few handfuls of the egg noodles and cook them according to the package instructions. By this time the carrot should be softer, but not mushy. Add the optional frozen peas and cook for just long enough to heat them through.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper. I like to add only a little salt, and then people can add more if they need to – too much salt ruins a perfect chicken noodle soup.

French Lentil Soup with Hot Turkey Sausage and Kale


Here’s a tasty and healthy recipe – perfect for the wet Vancouver weeks we’ve been having, or the cold weather anywhere else. Apparently this is a typical French soup. Since I have only visited France in the summer, I have never had a chance to try this, but it’s delicious!

I found the recipe here, and only changed it a little. I used a few cups of chicken broth along with the water, and about half the amount of sausage. I used less olive oil than the original recipe called for, and I discarded the fat from the sausages instead of adding it to the soup. I think it’s leaner, but still really tasty.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups French lentils
  • 300 grams hot Italian sausage (omit for a vegetarian soup)
  • 2-3 cups kale
  • 1 large leek, diced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs Thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-7 cups water (or 3 cups chicken broth, the rest water)
  • salt and pepper

What you do:

  1. Pick through the lentils to make sure there are no small stones hidden in them.
  2. Remove the stems from the kale and cut it into ribbons.
  3. Remove the casing from the sausage. Heat about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and sear the sausage on both sides, then break it apart. Remove the sausage and discard most of the fat.
  4. Add the red pepper flakes to the little bit of sausage fat, and then add the kale. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté the kale for about 2 minutes. Add it to the removed sausage.
  5. Pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into the pot and add the vegetables.  Sauté them for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables become soft and transparent.
  6. Add the thyme, bay leaves, lentils and 6 cups of water.  Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes, at which time the lentils should be done.
  7. Add the vinegar, kale, sausage, and any more water to achieve the thickness you want.  Cook for 5 more minutes to reheat the kale and sausage. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. You can serve it right away, but it also makes fantastic leftovers. The flavours are even more developed with next day!


gazpacho - trust in kim

Oh summer, I love you for so many reasons! One of them is homegrown, flavourful tomatoes. Also the gazpacho that I can make with them.

This is the taste of summer. This is one of the recipes that makes me do a happy dance.

I fell in love with gazpacho on a trip to Spain a few years ago, and managed to eat it almost every day of my two-week stay there. It is refreshing and full of flavour. There are many different types; here are some: green gazpacho, watermelon gazpacho, and another tomato gazpacho that is very similar to this one. All are awesome, but this one is the easiest, I think.

This is so easy to make, and quite healthy too. I made a batch and kept it in the fridge for a few days. The amounts are estimates; do what seems right to you. It’s hard to go wrong. You can always add more of something if you need to.

What you need:

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice of white bread (I used a whole wheat French bread)
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Soak the bread in water for a few minutes, then squeeze the water out.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add whatever you think you need.
  3. Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
  4. Serve topped with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or a drizzle of olive oil.

African-Inspired Chicken and Vegetable Stew

African Chicken Stew

This soup is one of the reasons I am glad we have real winters in Vancouver. (Sorry to the rest of Canada, I know we don’t have Real Winters like you do, but it seems cold enough to me.) I’m happy eat soup year round, but I know some people like to keep it to the colder months, so here’s one more for you, while we have this intermittent warm and cold Spring weather.

I know it might seem odd to add almond butter to soup, but trust me, it is awesome! It adds a creaminess in a way you cannot imagine until you eat it; it is creamy without any dairy. Plus there’s a little extra protein in it.

This recipe comes from this website. One thing I changed was adding 1/3 cup almond butter instead of 1/2 cup. I also changed the order of the cooking; I like to brown the chicken first, and the recipe called for adding it later with the broth and tomato.

Enjoy, because this is so good!

What you need:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato purée
  • 2 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes  peeled and cut into 2-3cm pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • one minced fresh chili or 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond butter

What you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and allow them to brown on each side.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, cooking for about 5 minutes, until softened. Now add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chill, then pour in the chicken stock and tomato purée. Cover the pot and bring it to a simmer; leaving it with the lid on for about 40 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Add the red peppers; take the lid off and cook for about 10 more minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces and take the meat off the bone. Use two forks pull the chicken apart, then put the chicken back into the soup.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the almond butter.
  7. Serve as is, or top it with a little cilantro.