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Spring has finally sprung!  The need for those thick, bone warming soups is slowly slipping away. I had some extra carrots, onion, and potato that were just screaming to be used before the warm weather really kicks in this season. So what better way to use up those ingredients than to make a light carrot and potato soup! There is no cream in this soup, the potatoes serve double duty in this soup adding just the right amount of thickness and creaminess.

Carrot & Potato Soup

The trick to making these sorts of veggie soups is to layer the seasonings as you cook. Sauteing the carrots, onions, and potatoes for a few minutes with the seasonings revs up the flavor and makes a wonderful base upon which to add the broth. Otherwise if you add the seasonings at the end, they will just float around in the broth and not really mesh well with the vegetables–resulting in  a bland and unevenly seasoned soup.

Leftover soup can be frozen so it can be a  ‘go-to’ on those chilly spring days. But it is light and delicious enough to be a perfect bite any time of the year…

Carrot and Potato Soup

5 potatoes (washed, peeled, cubed)

3 large carrots (washed, peeled, sliced)

1 medium onion, cubed

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

dash of cayenne

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp dried thyme

32 oz. chicken broth; reserve 1/2 cup (you can use veggie broth to make it a vegetarian meal)

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a large, heavy bottom pot on medium-med/high heat. Add the onions and carrots, cook 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, salt, oregano, thyme, pepper, cayenne, cook 3-5 minutes stirring to incorporate all ingredients. Using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits that may begin to stick to the bottom of the pan–add some broth to help with this process. Slowly add the rest of the broth (not the reserved portion). Bring the broth and veggies up to a boil. On a low boil, continue to cook until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, stirring occasionally. Take the soup off of the heat. At this point you have  few options: 1) use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smooth, silky texture–add the reserved broth if needed to thin out the soup to your preference ; 2) remove half of the soup mixture and blend in a blender or food processor, return soup back to the pot and add reserved broth–this will result in a more rustic, chunkier style soup.  I used option # 1 because I prefer smooth, creamy-like soups…but either way the result will be tasty!

Be creative with the soup toppings: your favorite cheese, crumbled bacon, fresh parsley, etc.

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The forecast for the Northeast….more soup weather! We’ve had a few really nice days lately but the cold chill is back in the air. In my effort to eat fresh and budget friendly the only option until spring is to take advantage of the plethora of root vegetables that are readily available in the supermarket. This recipe is thick, creamy, and has tons of flavor–without the actual calories from the cream. The boiled potatoes thicken up the soup  nicely and the lowfat milk is sufficient for giving the soup that velvety texture of regular cream-based versions.  Not to mention if you are cleaning out your cupboard and come across leftover canned pumpkin from Thanksgiving, this is a go-to idea for using it up (alternatively try my pumpkin bread recipe).

Creamy Root Veggie Soup

Roasting the root veggies before adding them into the soup intensifies the flavor and adds a rich caramelized not to the soup. This soup is perfect for a cold, late winter day but flavorful enough to remind you that spring is near!

Root Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb parsnips, peeled and large diced/cubed

1 lb carrots, peeled  and large diced/cubed

2 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garam masala (or use 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp dried oregano)

olive oil

4 medium sized russet potatoes

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin spice)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 package of Hidden Valley Dill dry mix

1/2 cup milk

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix parsnips, carrots, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garam masala in a large bowl until mixed well. Place onto a baking sheet in a single layer–roast in oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until slightly browning at edges. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in a large pot in water until fork tender. Add roasted vegetables, boiled potatoes, butter, and pumpkin back into large heavy bottom pot and mash with a potato masher until well blended and slightly chunky. Place over medium low heat and begin to add chicken broth slowly, add Dill mix and stir until well blended. Use an immersion blender to blend ingredients until smooth (you can also blend the soup in batches in a blender and return to the pot when smooth). Add milk or cream, continue to stir on medium low heat. If the soup is to thick feel free to add warm water 1/4 cup at a time until desired soup consistency is achieved. Serve warm.  Feel free to add a dash of red hot to spice it up or a sprinkling of your favorite shredded cheese on top for that extra richness! Makes 8-10 servings–feel free to freeze leftovers!

This soup pairs perfectly with caramelized honey mustard bacon.

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