Slow Cooker Italian Meatball Soup: A healthy, hearty family meal with hardly any effort.

What do you get when you combine delicious meatballs, healthy greens, hearty beans, and your slow cooker? A dinner-worthy soup that practically cooks itself.

A cozy weeknight Spiced Chickpea Soup

We can't get enough of this super flavorful, totally healthy soup that comes together in your blender. How easy is that?!

Avocado Gazpacho with Peaches and Corn from Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen

A delectable Avocado gazpacho recipe and how Silvana Nardon's gluten-free and dairy-free recipes became an invaluable source for my family.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup: Just like Chicken Tortilla Soup, but (surprisingly) vegan!

Tortilla Soup is one of my all time favorites. Hearty, with a little bit of spice, and topped with fried tortilla strips, it's as satisfying as a soup gets. And, I mean, fried tortilla strips. Is there more to say? I've always considered chicken—and, more to the point, deep, rich homemade chicken stock—to be the soul of Tortilla Soup. After all, it's usually called Chicken Tortilla Soup. And that healing feeling that sweeps over you when you eat a bowl? It could only come from long cooked chicken bones. Right? Apparently not, because I've made a kick ass version that's completely vegetarian. Vegan, even, if you skip the grated cheese garnish. It turns out that this soup is not about chicken stock, but rather a genius blend of simple ingredients. (Like so much great Mexican food. I should have known!) --more after the jump--

Curried Cauliflower Lentil Soup

I'm at a loss. I'm in bed after a 16-hour bout of food poisoning, waiting for snow to start. SNOW. This is not my week, and it's only Tuesday. As sick as I was mere hours ago, I'm hungry. Not quite ready to eat, but hungry for something simple and comforting. Warm, too, since, apparently, snow is on the way. (Did I mention the fucking SNOW?) I'll make soup tomorrow. Yes, that's what I'll do. I'll make this Curried Cauliflower Lentil Soup. This soup comes together quickly and easily enough that I can make it the day after I've been in bed sick. Major points for that. Plus, it'll nourish me back to health and keep me cozy. The kids love this soup, too, so dinner's done, suckers. Maybe I'll put a poached egg on top for them, to make it more filling. An egg and bread: they always turn soup into a meal. (more after the jump)

Chorizo and Chickpea Soup with Swiss Chard

I want to be writing about something else like ramps or rhubarb, artichokes or peas. I'm ready for spring. But, alas, small, dirty patches of snow still dot my Brooklyn street. And it's cold. And the hungry boy is home sick. These may be his last days, but cranky old man winter is still here and instead of composing spring salads, I find myself bubbling soup. Chorizo and Chickpea Soup, to be exact. Hey, at least I get to throw in some swiss chard. It's possible that the weather will have warmed a bit by the time this post goes up, but that shouldn't dissuade you from committing to this tasty soup. Though I was reluctant to make it, I developed the recipe with warmth soon to come in mind. It's a transitional soup: warming enough to get us through these last days of cold, but light enough to carry us through the slow start of spring. And it's a killer spring substitute for chili: thanks to smoky chorizo and fire roasted tomatoes, this soup has all the big flavor of a great chili with a much lighter feel fit for the warmer days ahead. (more after the jump)

Greek-Style Lamb Stew

Tis the season! No, not for gifts. Well, not just for gifts. Tis the season for STEWS, like this aromatic Greek-style lamb stew. Here's the deal: I'm not a soup person. That's right, let me say it again so that you good people can get the say whats out of the way. I. Don't. Love. Soup. I like it, a lot sometimes, but mostly soup's just okay. And, no, the right soup won't come along and fix me. I was born this way. I promise that even though I don't love soup, I will serve up soups recipes (amazing ones, even), because I know that you like soup. The boys in my house are fans, as well. But lets remember that there's winter eating beyond soup. There's also stew. (more after the jump)

How to make Corn Stock… and why you should

Corn on the cob is great, but so is corn freshly cut off of the cob. You can use it for so many things—you'll see in a minute—and then you can make corn stock. Just throw the milky cobs in a stock pot filled with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour (or until you have great corn flavor). Use the silky vegetarian broth to make corn chowder, another vegetarian summer soup, risotto or, really, whatever you like. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Kale, Squash & Farro Soup with Chickpeas

I appropraitely made this soup to warm our bones just a couple of weeks ago. Now it's nearly 70 degrees. I have no idea what kind of weather the next couple of weeks will bring, but I know that I'll be making this soup. Thankfully, with it's thin, flavorful broth and hearty chunks of seasonal veggies, it's just as fitting in winter as it is in spring. Just change the vegetables. My recipe is based on Mark Bittman's Luccan Farro Soup, a sort of minestrone from Lucca in Tuscany. I swap chick peas for his white beans—just because I prefer chick peas—and add extra vegetables. My winter version includes kale and butternut squash (though any dark leafy green and winter squash will do). I also like to top this soup with crunchy brown butter breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of pecorino. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Weeknight Udon with Quick Vegetarian Dashi

I'm so pooped. I've woken up every day that has passed since learning that the hungry baby is clear of a bone tumor thinking that I'll finally feel recharged. Instead, I feel more tired. Like deep down in my bones tired. Like I spent my entire reserve of energy—and then some—keeping it together through the holidays while a black cloud loomed above. And now that the skies have cleared, I'm free to be done. Just—DONE. As it turns out, the Hungry Papa feels the same. Two depleted parents + two rambunctious little boys = need for an emergency plan to high tail it out of town. So in a rare, last-minute play, the Hungry Papa and I are going to the beach. Alone. On Monday. (This Monday!) This will be the first time we've spent more than 24 hours without children in two years. Sayonara hungry boys. Mama and Papa are going somewhere really beautiful to sleep for four days. In the meantime, I'm focusing on keeping things copacetic at home. For the dinner table, that means dishing up healthy, quick and easy meals like with this Weeknight Udon made with Quick Vegetarian Dashi. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Slow Cooker Cassoulet

A drafty farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Red wine in mismatched glasses. A long wooden table, its years revealed in the kinds of dings and scratches furniture designers work to replicate. Warm, crusty baguettes lying around small bowls of soft butter, spicy radishes and crunchy fleur de sel. Cassoulet simmering on the stove. Welcome to my fantasy. (Well, my French Countryside fantasy. There are others—like the Glamour in Rome fantasy and the Gourmet Gallivant around Barcelona fantasy—for another time.) But my life, this fantasy is not. More like messy brownstone in bustling city. Wine out of a dirty mug, if I’m lucky (or awake). Crayon scribbled table crowded with Kindergarten art supplies and Matchbox cars. But you know that I don’t sacrifice on food. I play with cooking methods and am strategic about my shortcuts, it’s true, but—you know what’s coming—children change the way we cook, but they don’t have to change how well we eat. So cassoulet there will be. Simmering in my slow cooker. Yea, you read correctly. My slow cooker. This week marks the first ever Naptime Chef and Small Kitchen College slow cooker challenge, complete with slow cooker giveaways from Delonghi and Breville (more details below). When I was invited to participate in the challenge, I immediately ran through my favorite stews and slow cooked meat dishes. They are, after all, what I use my slow cooker for most. But then—and I can’t remember how this happened—I got sidetracked by my French Countryside fantasy. When I snapped to, everything was different. I had clarity. The kind that the French country air gives you. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Oliver’s “Firehouse” Chili

I know you're all in holiday mode, but I'm going to take a quick break from the chrismakwanzika madness to return to a celebration from earlier this year—the Hungry Baby's birthday. I started telling you about his firehouse birthday party and the requisite fire truck cake in October, right after he turned two. Remember this? I meant to follow up with a post about my firehouse chili but, well, as it tends to do, life got in the way. But even life can't stop this delicious chili because, as chili tends to do, this recipe gives the gift of perfect, freezable leftovers. Leftovers that I popped out of the freezer yesterday morning for dinner last night. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Blue Cheese

It's not what you think! Despite the sound of it, this recipe is not crazy decadent. Luxurious, definitely. But, as things with bacon and blue cheese go, it's relatively abstemious. Don't believe me? Here's proof: This recipe serves 4-6 and calls for the fat rendered from only 2 strips of bacon, 1/3 cup of blue cheese and an optional 1/3 cup of sour cream (low or fat free will do). Not that bad, right? The key to this soup is making the most of blue cheese and bacon's big flavors. When it comes to lusty ingredients like these, just a little peck ignites big romance. And that's just what this soup is: warm, sensual, fall food perfect for cozying up with a loved one. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Loaded Miso Soup

Have you grown tired of me talking about how busy I am with Peko Peko, my charity cookbook for Japan? (I have!) Well, there's good news: the finish line is in sight! The book is almost done (more details here) and breathtakingly gorgeous thanks to Rieko, our book designer. Between this suuurious last push and the Hungry Baby's weirdo issues (he's starting to feel better and we're waiting on tests; keep you posted and thanks for checking in!), I've been all about the fast food. I've also been all about soba noodles. I made a big bowl a few weeks back and the Hungry Boy has been obsessed ever since. Put the two together and (among other things) you get this simple, healthful Loaded Miso Soup. (more after the jump)

{recipe} Jamaican Chicken Curry

The madness continues! Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan still has me busy as a bee (and is, by the way, looking AMAZING!) and the Hungry Boy has been on Spring Break for over a week. I've barely had time to breathe, never mind develop new recipes. Old favorites, great family food finds like this One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf and eggs (lots of eggs), have been keeping dinner safe from take out during this busy time. One of our favorite go-to dinners is Jamaican Chicken Curry. I've mentioned before that we're big fans of Jamaican food (and that the Hungry Boy regularly gets jerk pork FedEx'ed to him!) but, for some reason, have neglected to share this recipe. Major oversight on my part. (more after the jump)

{guest post} “It’s 5:30 and I Haven’t Started Dinner Yet” Stew

I know it’s a little strange to have another guest post given that I’ve been back from vacation — and posting — for almost a week. But I couldn’t miss the opportunity to host Debbie of Words to Eat By. That’s how much I love her. (Well, actually, I love her more that that: I […]