Potato-Broccoli-Bacon Soup

This is a thick, hearty soup that can fill up in no time; especially, when you serve it with hard crusted bread. Personally, I like to let is sit in the fridge covered overnight. It makes for a creamier thick soup when you reheat  the next day.

Prep & Cook Time: 40 minutes
Serves: An army, just kidding. It will generously serve 8 people.

Potato-Broccoli-Bacon SoupHere’s what you need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes (you can use baby reds if you like), sliced into bit size pieces. No need to peel them.
  • 1 cup roughly chopped broccoli heads
  • 1/2 regular package uncooked bacon
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 cups milk
  • 3 cups water, 1 cup of water used to cook potatoes
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolve in the one cup potato water then return to the pot.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup salted butterCubed potatoes
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 bunch freshly chopped parsley
  • Chopped green onions for garnish


Boil potatoes and broccoli in a large pot of water for 10-12 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of potato water. Return potatoes and broccoli to pan and set aside.

Dissolve chicken bouillon in reserved potato water and return to pan.

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Drain fat from the pan. Add onion and Broccoli added to soup mixturecelery to the bacon pan and cook over medium-high heat until celery is tender, about 5 minutes.

To the potato pan, add milk, 3 cups water, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is very hot, but not boiling. About 8 minutes, stirring often.

While the potato mixture is cooking, prepare the roux. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and mix well. Heat until the mixture bubbles, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add roux to potato mixture until soup is

Making the roux

Making the roux

thick and cream. (Optional) I used a handheld potato masher to break down the potatoes so the soup was not so chunky. It’s just a personal preference.

Crumble the cooked bacon and add to soup along 3/4 cup of cheese. Stir soup until cheese has melted. Add parsley. Serve hot and garnish onions.

Don’t ask for a calorie count on this one. With all that butter, cheese and bacon just know it’s vein-thickening and packed with calories. But, yummy ones!


Creamy Butternut-Applesauce-Cheese Soup

Creamy Butternut-Applesauce-Cheese Soup

Nothing screams FALL more than squash and apples. The squash is falling off the vines and apples are dropping from the trees. In Michigan, we’ve had an overabundance this year and everyone is looking for ways to use up the excess. This recipe is a perfect fit.

This soup is ideal for soup sliders at tail-gating parties or when hosting sporting events. Keep it warm in a crock pot and serve up in small Dixie cups that you ‘slurp’ down like a Jell-O-shot.


  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 5 T butter or margarine
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 small apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh butternut squash, peeled and cubed (Costco offers a tub that is user-ready)
  • 2 T white flour
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used fresh, homemade applesauce. Jar applesauce will also work.)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth, low sodium (I use the broth in a box)
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • Chopped chives for garnish (optional)
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (1 cup sharp and 1 cup mild)
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced and diced

Creamy Butternut-Applesauce-Cheese Soup
How To

Melt 4 T butter in a large pot. Add onion, apples, potato and diced squash. Cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes. Add seasonings, flour and applesauce. Stir until thickened.


Creamy Butternut-Applesauce-Cheese SoupAdd the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Continue to cook until the squash, apples and potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).

While the soup is simmering, heat 1 T butter in a skillet. Over medium-high heat, cook the diced prosciutto until crisp (like bacon). Remove from  heat and set aside.

Creamy Butternut-Applesauce-Cheese Soup

Add the cheese to the soup mixture and heat until the cheese is thoroughly incorporated. Remove the soup from stovetop.



Using a stick blender, mix the soup mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Taste to determine if any additional seasoning is needed.



Garnish the soup with crispy prosciutto and chopped chives.

This recipe makes eight 1-cup servings. Calories are in the neighborhood of 265 calories per serving.





Creamy Tomato Basil Zucchini Soup

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

There is always an element of sadness when the last few basil leaves are picked from the garden. It signals the ends of the summer season. I was committed to making a pot of tomato basil soup to finish off the last crop of tomatoes and basil. Actually, it was more of a challenge. My husband didn’t think I would follow through on making the soup. He not only lost the challenge, but this soup topped the flavor list with garlic, onion, roasted tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil. Heck, what’s not to like?


 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, roasted
1/3 cup olive oil
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 teas. ground black pepper
1/3 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 quart chicken stock
3 cups fresh basil, packed, then finely chopped
1/2 teas. dried thyme or 1 teas. fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1  24-ounce jar organic crushed tomatoes (Kirkland brand from Costco)
– 1 small zucchini, shredded


Place 2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Let simmer until the skins begin to fall off. Immediately rinse tomatoes with cold water. When cool enough to touch, remove and discard the skins. Roughly chop tomatoes and place  on a cookie sheet. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil over top. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

Creamy tomato basil soup

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onions in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup olive oil. When the onions start to brown, add the jar of organic tomatoes, chicken stock, shredded zucchini basil and thyme. Add the oven roasted tomatoes and any residual juices. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the milk, then using a stick blender, mix until the soup is smooth and creamy.
Serve hot or cold. Make 6-8 servings. In the neighborhood of 155 calories per serving.

Creamy tomato basil soup

IMG_6382Add some crunch and texture by toasting baguette slices topped with cheddar cheese. Bake or broil in oven until cheese has melted.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut the baguette slices into crouton size shapes. Use to garnish the soup.



Roasted Red Pepper Soup and Chick Peas

I’ve had this recipe on my ‘to do’ list since last week but was missing the fire roasted tomatoes. The wine guy picked up a can of the tomaters so I’m back in the soup making business.

I would have preferred roasting the peppers on the grill. But, Michigan’s mid-thirties temp forced me to go with plan B. The oven. Roasting the peppers is easy. Removing the skin, pulp and seeds is the messy part. Thank you Wine Guy for doing that part for me.

Here’s what you need to make this kick-butt soup with just a hint of hot.

  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth  (no sodium)
  • 1 can crushed fires roasted tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (I used the kind in a jar)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • Chopped green onions and roasted chickpeas (for garnish)

Roast peppers in oven at a 450 degree setting. Cook until charred black. When peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skin, pulp and seeds. Do this over a bowl so you can reserve all the yummy juices for the soup stock.

Don’t get in a tizzy if a few stray seeds are left on the peppers. They add additional flavor to the soup.

Prep the onion, potatoes, and green onion and set aside. Add oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and yellow onion to a large soup pot. Cook onion over low heat until caramelized. (20 minutes, stirring often).

Add garlic, dried herbs, 1/2 teaspoon slat and pepper to the onion mixture. Stir until mixed, then add tomatoes, potatoes, vegetable stock and 1 medium size chipotle pepper. No need to dice the chipotle, it will be emulsified later. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Stirred peeled red peppers and juices into the soup stock and bring to a boil. Turn heat down until soap is simmering.

Remove soup from heat and blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Return pot to heat and simmer for 15 more minutes, until thicken. Taste test. If needed, add additional salt or pepper.

If you want to kick up the level of hotness a notch or two, add a few red pepper flakes. I tend to like a more medium level of spiciness, but if you’re game, go for the heartburn!

Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with green onion and roasted chickpeas. I used pre-roasted chick peas, but you can roast your own (see recipe).

Here’s the down and dirty about this soup’s calories. They’re low, like 88 calories per cup low, and packed with a powerful punch of vitamin C. This soup is also a good source of iron, dietary fiber and vitamin A, not to mention low in unsaturated fat and cholesterol.
Freeze in portions and thaw as needed. This recipe will serve up to 8 people

Chicken & Dumpling Soup

Last week my grandson, Carson, expressed to me his love of Cracker Barrel’s chicken & dumplings. He asked if I could make them. I said, “Not only can I make them, I can make them even better!” This was last night’s dinner and it scored big points with him.

After five bowls of soup (yes, five!!) and a slice of buttered bread, Carson affirmed with great certainty that this was his new, MOST favorite dish. That put a big smile on my face as I thought it was pretty awesome tasting too.

I was going to use a biscuit mix to make the dumplings, but as usual, I had none. The alternative was to make my own from flour which is a messy task. In the end, I’m glad I did. They were bite-size and more noodle-like in texture and taste.

Prep time took about 30 minutes and cook time 15 minutes. The finished soup yielded a rich, creamy base with just the right amount of seasoning.





  • 1 pound diced chicken meat, pre-cooked (I bought a roasted chicken from the grocery deli)
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 carrot , diced
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) low fat condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tablespoons “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 quart chicken stock (low-fat, low-sodium). I like the paper container from Swanson.
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas (optional)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ice water, about 3/4 cup

 How To

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat, adding oil, butter, veggies and bay leaf. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add flour to veggies and cook for 2 more minutes. Gradually add the broth, stir and bring to a boil.Once broth comes to a boil, add the pre-cooked chicken to the pot and stir. Add the canned soup to the pot and whisk until well blended in the stock.

Prepare Dumplings:

Dust a generous amount of flour onto a clean work area. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Gather into a mound and drizzle a tablespoon of ice water in the center of the mound. Using your fingers, knead the dough mixture up against the sides of the bowl. Gradually incorporate all of the ice water. Continue to knead dough and shape into a ball.

Roll out dough on flour work area until it is 1/8″ thick. Allow dough to set for a minute or so before cutting into dumplings.

Cut dough into one-inch wide strips. Tear off 1/2 inch pieces and drop into the simmering soup stock. Make sure the dumplings are totally submerged in the stock. Do not stir the stock. Use the tip of a spoon to push any rebellious dumpling down into the soup.

Reduce heat to medium low. Cover pot tightly and cook dumplings until they float and are no longer doughy (about 5-6 minutes).

Remove cover and add peas and remove pan from heat.Stir chicken and dumplings to thicken sauce and serve in warm shallow bowls with a side of hard-crusted bread for dipping.

Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s 90 degrees in Michigan and I’m making soup. That’s insane, but it’s what the grand kids requested for dinner this week. They wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, but there was no tomato soup in Blimpy Girl’s pantry. OK, now what?

For those following my blog, you know, a pantry scavenger hunt is in order. In this case, I needed soup stuff. After searching for ingredients, I opted for a Sicilian Style Chicken Noodle Soup.

Add pineapple chunks to the soup.

It took less than 35 minutes to prepare the soup. I added grilled cheese sandwiches cut into fun cookie cutter shapes. The grand kids loved dunking the sandwich shapes into the soup bowls. Pineapple chunks add a subtle sweetness to the soup (a healthy sweet!).


  • 1 package Alessi Sicilian Chicken Noodle Soup Mix, dry mix
  • 1 package Roasted Chicken Ramen Noodles w/flavoring
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup Ditalini Pasta (very Short Macaroni-type Pasta Noodles)
  • 3/4 cup DaVinci Ravioletti pasta noodles
  • 1/2 cup medium size egg noodles
  • Add all the water listed on the soup mix packages, PLUS 2 cups additional water or broth.

How To

Prepare the Alessia Soup Mix as directed on the package. Add any additional pasta. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 12 minutes.

Add pineapple, ramen noodle packet (including any flavoring sauce) and additional water/broth. One-half cup of pineapple juice can be substitued in place of 1/2 cup water.

Simmer soup (uncovered) until pasta/noodles are softened. Salt and pepper to taste and serve while hot.

OPTIONS: Add 1 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast to soup. Shred cooked chicken with fork prongs. This will add 28 calories per serving.

We’re looking at 240 calories for a one cup serving (without the options). The grilled cheese sandwich (using spreadable Land O Lakes butter) is 330 calories. You can dump 79 calories if using a low-fat maragrine on the grilled cheese sandwich.

This recipe easily makes eight one-cup servings. Forego the grilled cheese for a green salad and you are well under 325 calories for a hearty lunch/dinner.

Low-fat cream cheese or non-fat mayo for buttering the inside of the sandwich is another way to reduce calories and fat intake.

Goluptious Country Goulash

No Frills GoulashThere was a brief chill in the air last week. After 80 plus degree weather, a 60 degree day felt like Fall. I decided to make my Blimpy Girl Goulash for dinner. A slice of hard crusted bread spread with low-fat buttery goodness completed the dish. It was great dish to eat while curled up on the sofa (with a soft comforter and glass of red wine) watching a Netflix movie. I was in heaven.

Ok, let’s start with the name of this dish. Why Goluptious? First, it’s fun to say. Additionally, the word means “delightful, luscious” and that is exactly how I would describe this easy-to-make goulash dish. I’ve never been a big fan of goulash, but I give my seal of approval on this one. Maybe it’s the added zip from the ground red pepper. Even the “wine guy” had two helpings.

Slow cook over low heat to simmer in the flavors.Ground sirloin is the best meat to use since it is very lean. I didn’t even have to drain the cooked meat. ***Big Smile***.

Of course, whole wheat elbow macaroni is a better choice if you can find it. I used standard elbow macaroni in my recipe. Whole wheat will lower calories/fat intake.


Here’s the easy-peasy recipe (that’s what my grandson calls all things he believes to me easy).


  • 1 to 1/4 pound ground sirloin beef, cooked, drained.
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 medium size onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni (pre-cook per package directions). Rinse and drain.
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used red garlic vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 pinches of red ground pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon). Use more if you like a spicy zing.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to tasteMeat sauce simmering on stove top.
  • 3 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

How To

Crumble ground sirloin into a Dutch oven pan and cook over medium-heat. Add chopped onion and minced garlic once meat has started to brown. Drain off any excess grease.

Add crushed tomatoes, seasonings, vinegar, water and noodles to the meat mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top of each serving.

 Makes (8-10) one cup servings. Add 1/2 cup more water if to ensure a serving for 10. Hard crusted bread with low-fat butter/margarine is a perfect match for this hearty dish.

Now for the calorie count. A one cup serving is in the neighborhood of 155 calories. Add a slice of hard crusted bread… another 90 calories. A pat (1 teaspoon) of low fat butter is only 30 calories.

An incredible meal for well under 300 calories. Add a yummy green side salad and you will still be around the 300 calorie mark.




Homemade Soup: A Staple Comfort Food

Homemade Soup: A Staple Comfort Food

Here in Michigan, the Winter season is starting to wind down. Hurrah!! But there is still enough chill in the air to warrant homemade soup. Sunday, at our house, is a day for cleaning out the fridge and vegetable bowl of food items that are on their last leg. This is the Chicken and Rice soup my honey-man simmered on the stove top to rescue this week’s near-death veggies.

The soup is nothing fancy, but definitely tasty. A combination of carrots, tomato, zucchini, rice, chicken stock, leftover white chicken meat (the kind in a can), celery, a little onion and a dash of this and that to enhance the overall flavors.

My favorite stock base is the Minor brand. There are plenty on the market, but 3/4 teaspoons of this concentrated base makes 1 cup of stock. It’s only 15 calories per cup with 5 fat calories. The down side (as with most concentrated stock bases) is the amount of sodium. I don’t use any additional salt when using this base.

 Minor's Concentrated Chicken BaseAdding “one foot in the grave” veggies and leftover meat to a soup stock is not only economical, but low-fat (in most cases) and yields high nutritional value.

Open the vegetable bins in your refrigerator and see what poor dying souls are calling your name.  Chop and dice to your heart’s content and throw everything into a simmering pot of stock.


Add a mixed green side salad, chunk of hard crusted bread and glass of vino to your soup du jour. While devouring the yumminess, picture yourself seated at an outdoor bistro overlooking the Seine river.  Imagine dunking bread in soup, sipping Rhone Valley wine while listening to the language of love (FRENCH).

Bon Appetit!!


Creamy Wild Rice Soup

I’m not usually an advocate of packaged soups because of the high sodium and cholesterol levels. This soup packs 960 mg of sodium (about 40%). On the plus side,  it has zero cholesterol, trans-fat and sugars.

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup

The soup is easily enhanced by adding 1/2 pound chopped chicken (cooked) and one cup diced portabella mushrooms. Before these additions, the calorie intake is minimal: 130 calories per prepared cup. Water is the only ingredient added to the powdered mix.

Soup in a Bread Bowl

Consider using a bread bowl to serve the soup. You can make your own bread, or pick up fresh bread from a local bakery. I would love to make my own bread, but 15 hour work days make it impossible. Until I retire (at age 101), I’ll be using local bakery shops. In my mind, fresh bread and soup are joined at the hip.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

I often mention my daughter picks up Blimpy Girl lunches every morning on her way to work (she’s an administrator at a school). Not only does she work full time, she is also a mommy to three little people. I know she appreciates having a prepared lunch that is both healthy and way lower in calories than fast food joints.

This is the today’s school lunch. Cheesy broccoli soup with a few Cheez-it crackers. A side dish of fresh berries is the salad substitute. Of course, Diet Coke is always on the menu for my daughter. The candy cane, well… let’s just say it lends itself to the holiday season.

I must say it’s pretty yummie and low cal considering all the cheeziness. Grab the Recipe