Category Archives: Soup

Grandma Harper’s Wedding Soup

My Grandma makes wedding soup every year on Christmas. Honestly, it is not Christmas without this dish being served. She keeps it warm on the stovetop all day long for when family enters at all hours of the day.  When you walk in the door the aroma hits you and warms your heart. I have a photo copy of this recipe in my grandma’s penmanship, granted we did make some modifications. My grandma uses canned chicken and canned stock and garlic powder, etc. She also uses frozen spinach which works well instead of escarole. However my husband’s parents, when they make their wedding soup, they use escarole, so I guess we took a little bit of both worlds to make our own.




Stock Ingredients:

1 (4.5 #) Whole Chicken (My grandma uses canned chicken)

4 TB of Chicken Base

16 Cups of Water (1 Gallon)

2 Medium Carrots (will discard)

2 Celery Sticks (cut into 3 pieces) (will discard)

1/4 onion medium (quartered) (will discard)


Soup Ingredients:

Meat leftover from the chicken (shredded and bones removed)

Liquid from stock (all vegetables removed and discarded)

1 # Extra Small Meatballs (now you can make these by hand and Grandma does but we bought them at an Italian speciality store: however I will place grandma’s recipe below)

2 Tsp Pasta Sprinkle (Italian Seasoning)

3 -5 Garlic Cloves (We used 3 of our very strong homegrown)  (diced)

3 Medium Carrots (diced)

1 Head of Escarole (chopped) (or 4 packs of frozen spinch)

1/2 Medium Onion (diced)

Crutons to taste

Parmesan reggiano freshly grated to Taste

10 ounce Acini Di Pep Pasta

Salt and Fresh cracked Pepper to taste

Yields: 12 servings


1. Place all stock ingredients into a 12 quart stock pan (discard the giblets) with lid place on medium heat. Let go on medium heat for 90 minutes.


2. Turn heat to simmer. Discard vegetables. Debone, shred and cut meat to bite size pieces. Place meat and new vegetables, escarole, meatballs, Italian seasoning, garlic, into chicken stock. Allow to cook on simmer for 1 hour to 1 hour and a half.


3. Cook acini di pepe separately according to package and allow your guests to add to their soup as they wish.

4. Add croutons & parmesan reggiano on side as well to add separately.




Grandma’s Meatball recipe:

1 # ground beef (93/7)

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

4-6 TB Parmesan Cheese freshly grated

2 Egg

2 Tsp garlic powder

2 Tsp Pasta Sprinkle (or Italian seasoning)


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to incorporate but do not over mix. Form into thumbtack size.

Mom’s Chili


Nothing says winter Sunday like Mom’s chili. My mom graciously shared her recipe of chili one weekend when my husband and I moved a year and a half ago. Just this past weekend we had my family over for a visit and shared this warm hearty lunch. This recipe is perfect to start early in the day and let it simmer for 4 to 5 hours on low.


1 TB canola oil
1 pound 93 % lean ground beef
Onion-1 medium diced
garlic 3 really large cloves (diced)
Add salt pepper to taste
1pkg food club chili mix-season meat or one heaping TB of penzeys chili powder (I used penzeys chili powder this last time but my mom prefers food club or Mccormicks Chili packet)
1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
1box beef stock (32 oz)
One 32 oz V8 spicy or equivalent of 32 oz
1tb brown sugar
1 dark can of kidney beans drained & rinsed
1 light can of kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies such as rotel
1 large green pepper (diced)
1 tsp Berbere (penzeys seasoning)


Place canola oil in a large Dutch oven on medium heat. Add ground meat to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook meat until browned.



Add onion, garlic and peppers. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper, berbere, brown sugar, and high quality chili powder.


Cook until onions and peppers are tender about 6-8 minutes.


Add beans, tomatoes and stir.


Now add stock, & V8.


Bring to a boil and then reduce to lowest setting as let cook for 4 hours.


Enjoy with some reduced fat cheddar cheese!

Vegan Black & Pinto Bean Soup


One of my favorite soups is black bean. I love it with a little spice. Yesterday sure was a cold day, so this warm soup really hit the spot (even my 2 y/o nephew liked it).

My mom made this for me initially on a cold fall day when we were moving my sister. She always takes care of me being the vegetarian in the family and all. She made everyone else chili with meat and bean soup for me; which is a great source of protein by the way. I asked her for the recipe right away and have been eager to try to recreate it ever since. When I asked her for the recipe all she gave me was the ingredient list. As any good cook (wink wink ….mom) they tend to leave out all the portions because it’s “a pinch of this and that”. And like all recipes made by loved ones it’s the person making the recipe that make them so comforting and special to us. So naturally on my birthday I made this recipe!

This recipe yields 7 (1 cup servings) 3 WW plus points per serving

Ingredients :
3/4 cup carrots chopped
3 large cloves of garlic (minced)
1 cup of celery diced
1 cup of red onions diced
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes ( 15 cut in half)
1 (15 oz) can of black beans undrained (1 3/4 cups) (reduced sodium if able)
1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans (reduced sodium if possible (1 3/4 cup) undrained
1 tsp of ground cumin
32 oz water
2 tsp of high quality vegetable base ( Penzeys)
1/8 tsp chipotle seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Add some red pepper flake for extra heat adding 1/8 tsp at time
Canola Cooking oil spray
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Special note: if you do not have vegetable base you could always use low sodium vegetable broth instead of the water (preferably from a carton not a can) .

1. In a medium stock pot sauté onion, carrots, garlic, and celery with cooking spray. Add cumin, salt, pepper and chipotle. Sauté on medium high heat until onions become translucent.

2. Add water, soup base, tomatoes, cans of beans and bring to a boil.


3. Turn to lowest setting and cook covered for 4 hours.

Add a pinch of cilantro to each bowl for extra flavor if desired.