A Simple Chicken Soup Upgrade

upgraded chicken soup with rutabaga.jpg

I’ve been serving the same basic chicken soup recipe for more than thirty years. My family, even the “vegetarians” among them, look forward to chicken soup at the Friday night Shabbos dinner, rain or shine, winter or summer.

As far as changes over the years, they have been minimal.  I sometimes leave the vegetables whole and sometimes dice the vegetables.  When Kaitlyn visits, I add an extra onion and eliminate the celery.  When Michelle visits, I add extra zucchini.   Leah loves eating the dill sprigs that I remove from the soup before serving.   Aaron and Davida put no extra demands on the chicken soup and they enjoy the soup any way that it is served.

This winter I upgraded the chicken soup.  I added cubes of waxed turnip, also known as rutabaga.

I didn’t think that it was a big deal, until the first time I served the upgraded soup.

“What did you do differently to the soup?” asked Leah.  “Yeah” chimed in the rest of the family.

I braced myself.  After all, upgrading a thirty-year constant can be a big deal.

I need not have worried because they all loved the assertive flavor and color of the diced rutabaga.  It was just another distinctive character in the colorful combination of textures and flavors of my chicken soup.

And, that is perfectly fine.  The chicken soup is kind of like our family, our Shabbos table and our lives, a colorful blend of personalities.


One pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast trimmings
1 white turnip, peeled and cubed
1 waxed turnip (rutabaga), well-peeled and cubed
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery (optional), scrubbed and cut into 1 inch sections
2 small onions (optional), peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons salt (more or less for taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1-2 sprigs dill (optional)
2 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch sections


Peel and prepare vegetables. The rutabaga has a thick waxed coating, so peel carefully with a peeler or a paring knife, taking care to remove every bit of peel.



Place chicken and vegetables (except zucchini) in a large stock pot and fill 2/3 to the top with water. Bring soup to a rolling boil and then lower heat to medium and cook for one more hour.

Replace any water that has evaporated, making sure that the level of the soup broth is where it started before cooking. Add zucchini and increase flame to high.  Boil for 15-20 more minutes.

upgraded chicken soup with rutabaga


No-Chop No-Fuss Spinach Split Pea Soup

split pea spinach soup

On these wintry days, there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup.

This soup takes the bowl! It uses a few simple wholesome ingredients with no chopping and no mess.  Just take a few minutes to toss all the ingredients in the crockpot in the morning and come home to a finished delicious soup in the evening.  The pot does all the work, no dicing. no sauteing, no prep mess.

one 16 ounce bag (2 cups) of yellow split peas
one bag of fresh or frozen baby spinach (see kosher notes)
one tablespoon salt
dash of pepper


6 quart crockpot


Fill crockpot two-thirds to the top with water. Toss split peas, spinach, salt and pepper into the crockpot and stir. Cook on high from morning to evening, at least six hours.

Kosher laws disallow the eating of any whole insects and therefore most greens require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing. I have found that flat-leafed greens like baby spinach are much easier to check for insects than their curly-leaf counterparts. Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of leafy vegetables and some disallow the use of spinach altogether. This blog was not designed to be your kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using leafy greens such as spinach.

This soup freezes extremely well. Cool soup and decant into freezer-safe containers or freezer-type zipper bags. Just defrost and reheat. Add fresh herbs and water if necessary to freshen it up.


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Set It and Forget It Lentil-Vegetable Soup

There is something so hearty and comforting about lentil soup.  And, there is something about taking just a few minutes to prepare a soup on these cold, snowy mornings and coming back at the end of the day to a warm, thick, velvety and delicious soup.  Ordinary lentils really have that magical texture, firm yet creamy.  Adding vegetables to the ingredient list just takes lentil soup to a whole new level.

For this soup, I used the most common brown lentil .  It has the seed hull intact and is most suitable for salads and soups that require the lentil to retain its shape.   If you are short on time, you can use red lentils, instead.   It will cut down on the cooking time and still yield a hearty and delicious soup with a less defined texture to the lentil base.

set it and forget it lentil soup in crock

one bag lentils
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
dash of pepper
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 parsnip, cut into thin slices
1 package mushrooms, sliced thin
4 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced

celery leaves, for garnish (optional)

set it and forget it lentil soup.jpg


Place lentils, vegetables and seasonings into a crockpot. Fill crockpot 3/4 to top with water. Cook on high from morning to evening. If the soup is too thick, add up to a cup of water and stir well. Garnish with celery leaves right before serving.

When in a hurry, I substitute red lentils and adjust the cooking time to 4 hours.  Right before serving, puree soup with a  stick blender for a creamy texture.

15 Minute Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup

The weather outside is frightfully cold and nothing warms the soul like a hot bowl of satisfying soup.   Although yesterday morning, I intended to start my  Crockpot Drunken Mushroom Soup in the crockpot,  I never did.  Instead, I got home late with only 15 minutes to get dinner on the table.   That meant that I needed to make the soup in a heavy-bottom pot using every shortcut possible.

I skimped on sauteing the onions and celery slowly and carefully.  Instead, I cut the onions and celery very small and started the soup by just sauteing the small bits of onions and celery for a few minutes.  I then shredded the mushrooms and zucchini in the food processor so that the tiny bits would cook quickly.  I skipped the wine and just added salt and pepper for flavor.

This soup was one of the best that I ever produced.  Sorry, kids!  Although my kids often chastise me for complimenting my own food, I subscribe to the belief that a cook may compliment or criticize their own handiwork.  Why not?

The soup was so flavorful and so silky that Don could not believe that there was no cream in this soup.  He loved this soup so much that he enjoyed three bowls of it.  So, guys, I didn’t even need to compliment my own soup.  Dad did it for me in word and in deed.  Indeed!



2-3 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced small
3 stalks celery, diced small
2 containers mushrooms, shredded
2-3 medium zucchini,shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
dash pepper
4-6 cups of water

Celery Garnish (optional)


In a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat, saute onion and celery in oil for just a few minutes, until onions and celery are soft but not brown.

While vegetables are sauteing, shred the mushrooms and zucchini in the food processor using the s-blade or the shredding blade.

Add the shredded mushrooms and zucchini to the onions and celery. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes more until the soup is cooked through and silky.

Garnish with a celery curl.




To speed up recipes, cut, shred or dice ingredients into smaller pieces.   Smaller bits create more surface area for the heat and cooking media to enter.  Just take care, because the smaller the pieces of ingredients, the easier these ingredients are to overcook or to burn.

Simple 15 Minute Spring Pea Soup


I have been known to define spring as the seasonal period of time when neither heat nor air conditioning is necessary.  There were many days within the past few weeks that definitely fit that definition. Although we have had some rain, we have had some lovely days filled with cool, breezy weather and intermittent sunshine.

I try to prepare hearty soups to greet the cool weather. This silky pea soup is a perfect soup for the time-challenged as it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare. It is perfect to greet springtime as it is a lighter version of the hearty split pea soup.

Best of all, it is versatile in that it can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. It makes for a perfect Shabbos lunch appetizer served at room temperature.

fresh pea soup


olive oil
1 large onion
1 container chicken broth
2 bag frozen sweet peas
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
dash of black pepper
fresh herbs (for garnish)


In a large saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until fragrant and just beginning to brown. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add frozen peas and stir occasionally until peas are tender and cooked through, not more than 5 more minutes. Add seasonings to taste and puree with a hand blender.

Fresh and Bright Carrot Soup

carrot soup

Cool weather is soup weather.  When the weather is cool, my crockpot does not leave my counter.  This carrot soup is bright and fresh, simple to prepare and delicious. The gorgeous color and silky texture will make this a go-to recipe.


1 container chicken broth
2 pounds of carrots, peeled and cut into chunks or 2 pounds of peeled baby carrots
2-3 garlic cloves or garlic powder
1/4 cup orange juice
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
dash of black pepper
dash of cinnamon
dash of ginger



Place all ingredients in crockpot.  Add water to 2 inches from the top of the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.  Puree using an immersion blender.


Simple Roasted Cauliflower Lentil Soup


It is cold outside and the weather is perfect for soup.  On these windy and cold winter mornings, I love to prepare a crockpot soup that will be ready for lunch and then again for dinner.

There is nothing quite like a hearty winter soup.  Delicious and nutritious soups don’t have to be complicated.  This one is the perfect example.  It is simple and fashioned from Shabbos leftovers.

I used leftover roasted cauliflower from Shabbos, but this soup can easily be made with fresh or frozen cauliflower, as well.  If using fresh or frozen cauliflower, it will require more cooking time in the crockpot and more salt.

I have used red lentils for this soup because they cook quicker and break down more easily into a velvety smooth pureed soup.  You can use green or brown lentils, but the soup will require more cooking time and will result in a soup with a more distinctive lentil texture. For more information on different types of lentils, read my introductory lentil soup post.


3 cups cauliflower florets, fresh, frozen or roasted (see kosher notes)
1 onion, diced and sauteed in oil
2-3 cloves garlic, sauteed in oil or garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper

scallions for garnish (optional)

6-quart Crock Pot

metal stick blender



Over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil until just turning brown.  Place sauteed onions and garlic in crockpot.

If roasting cauliflower, place cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper or foil.  Drizzle with oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and garlic.  Cook for 25 minutes  at 375 degrees and then increase temperature to 450 degrees F for 20-25 minutes more, checking that vegetables are soft and browned before removing from oven.

To the crockpot, add cauliflower, red lentils and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 4-6 hours on high heat.

Blend with a stick blender just before serving.  Garnish with Curly Scallion Garnish



Kosher laws disallow the eating of  any whole insects and therefore cauliflower require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing.   Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of  cauliflower and some disallow its use altogether.  This blog was not designed to be your  kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using and preparing cauliflower.


Crockpot Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup

This is one of our family favorites.  In fact, when I offer to bring soup to a party or dinner, this soup and my Simply the best chicken soup…ever! are the two most popular favorites.   There is something about the natural sweetness of this soup paired with the velvety smoothness of its texture that is divine.

It is best made in a crockpot and can be adapted to incorporate butternut or acorn squash and carrots as well.  Just roast those ingredients until they are soft and beginning to caramelize and then add to the crockpot with seasonings and water.  The key to the soup is the unique combination of sweet and savory spices.  Cream can be added to the recipe for a delicious dairy version of this soup.

When I prepare this soup with butternut squash or pumpkin, I reserve the seeds and roast them for 20-30 minutes.  They are delicious served on top as a garnish.



1 small whole pumpkin
2 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1-2 whole onions, peeled

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered or freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Scrub and rinse unpeeled sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  Remove any paper tags.   Place whole vegetables on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F. Remove sweet potatoes and onions from oven after 45-60 minutes and pumpkin after 90 minutes.

Place onions in crockpot.  Once cool, carefully remove stem and peel skin from pumpkin and discard.  Carefully,  place clean pulp in crockpot. Carefully peel skin from sweet potatoes and place sweet potato pulp in crockpot.

Add seasonings and fill crockpot two-thirds of the way to the top.  Place crockpot on high setting and cook for 3-6 hours.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Puree with a stick blender before serving.

Reserve seeds and place in separate pan for roasting.  Roast at 425 Degrees F for 20-30 minutes, checking often to make sure that the seeds are not burning.

Skip the roasting of the vegetables. Instead, use 1-2 cans of sweet potatoes or yams and use shredded carrots and raw onions or scallions. Place all ingredients and seasonings directly into crockpot. Allow 5-6 hours to cook in crockpot with seasonings. Puree before serving.


Cuisinart Stick Blender

Stainless Steel 6 Quart Manual Crockpot

Simple Crockpot Broccoli Soup

We returned home from our trip to Israel and found that Autumn has arrived in New Jersey.  Gone are the eighty-degree sunny Fall days in Israel.  Instead, we returned to crisp Fall days in the Northeast.

These cold mornings have me preparing crockpot soups.  This soup is so simple to prepare and makes for a delicious and hearty lunchtime broccoli soup.  It is flavorful, nutritious and low-carb.

broccoli soup unblended.jpgAfter lunch, I puree what is left in the crockpot for a smooth and filling dinner soup-two divine soups from one recipe with minimal effort.


2 pounds broccoli, fresh or frozen (see kosher notes)
1 onion or shallot, cut into chunks
4-6 cups water or  vegetable broth
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic or 1 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper


Fill crockpot with broccoli, onion and/or shallot and seasonings. Fill crockpot 3/4 to top with water and/or stock.  Cook on high for at least 4 hours. For a smooth texture, blend with a stick blender before serving.

Replace broccoli with cauliflower for another flavor alternative.

Saute onion or shallot before adding for more depth of flavor.


Kosher laws disallow the eating of  any whole insects and therefore broccoli and cauliflower require a process of soaking, rinsing and in some cases, pureeing.   Kashrut authorities differ on the proper checking of  broccoli and cauliflower and some disallow the use of these altogether.  This blog was not designed to be your  kosher authority, so please consult your local rabbinic authority regarding using and preparing broccoli and cauliflower.

Crockpot Drunken Mushroom Soup

drunken mushroom soup ready to eat

I love the heartiness and depth of a wine-based mushroom soup.  Mushrooms and wine are a combination made in heaven, with the wine adding depth to the earthiness of this soup. Made in a crockpot, this drunken mushroom soup is a cinch to prepare and is simply divine.

drunken mushroom soup-preparation


2-3 packages whole or sliced mushrooms
1 small onion or shallot, cut into chunks
1-2 zucchini, cup into 1 inch chunks
4 cups water or  vegetable broth
1 cup wine
1 tablespoon salt
4 cloves garlic or 1 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground pepper
dash ginger (optional)


Fill crockpot with mushrooms, onion and/or shallot, zucchini, wine and seasonings. Fill crockpot 3/4 to top with water and/or stock.  Cook on high for at least 5 hours. For a smooth texture, blend with a stick blender before serving.  Garnish with fresh herbs.

drunken musroom soup-under glass liddrunken mushroom soup ready to eat


Know your crockpot and which settings to use.  I cook my soup
on the high setting of my six quart crockpot for about 6 hours and only turn it down to low or auto once the soup has been completed.  Your crockpot may need to be set to auto for the duration of the cooking. If you are not sure, start your soup at high.  Check on the soup after 4 hours.  If it tastes ready, then turn it down to auto or low until serving. If not, cook the soup for longer, checking every hour.
For a creamy dairy variation, add 1/2 cup heavy cream to soup ingredients.
Use your favorite mushrooms.  For this  soup, I used a combination of baby bella and white mushrooms.  You can add them to the crockpot whole or sliced.Use your favorite wine.  For my soup, I used the rest of a bottle of  Merlot that was left over from Shabbos.  You can use white, red or any combination of wine.

Cuisinart Stick Blender

Stainless Steel 6 Quart Manual Crockpot

Simple Celery and Mushroom Crockpot Soup

My kids have been getting tired of all the pureed soups that I have been preparing over the past few months.   I have decided to surprise them with a vegetable soup that is not pureed, so that they can enjoy all the different textures of the vegetables.

mushroom celery soup

Here is the simple, delicious and low carb recipe, suitable for Passover:



Crockpot Orange Root Vegetable Soup

orange soup before cooking in crockpot

This is one of the simplest soups to prepare and it is a favorite soup classic at my dinner table.   It is easily adaptable to any combination of orange vegetables, but the key is the seasoning.  It has a unique flavor, thanks to the combination of sweet and savory ingredients.



4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1-2 whole onions, scrubbed
1 pound of carrots, peeled
1 whole butternut or acorn squash (optional)

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon powdered or freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon black pepper
dash of cinnamon



Scrub and rinse unpeeled sweet potatoes and squash.  Place whole sweet potatoes, onion, peeled carrots and halved squash cut-side down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F.

Remove carrots after 20 minutes.  Bake sweet potatoes, onion and squash for an additional 40 minutes or until soft.  Once cool, remove peels of onion, sweet potatoes and squash. Carefully remove squash seeds.  Discard seeds or clean and toast for use as a soup garnish.


Low-Carb Cauliflower Onion Soup

Don and I are still on a high-protein, low carb diet. We are finding that soup is very nourishing and satisfying, helping us to curb carb-cravings. For these reasons, I try to start a soup in the crockpot just about every morning. I eat the soup as my afternoon snack and Don usually enjoys it when he comes home as an early dinner meal.  Today’s soup is a take-off on potato leek soup.  I have created a cauliflower-onion soup,  so similar in color, texture and flavor to potato-leek, but truly low in carbs. (more…)

Simply the Best Low-Carb Zucchini Soup

zucchini soup-ingredients

On my low-carb diet, I often eat soup for lunch. They are filling, hearty and warm the soul. One of the things that I am enjoying and hope to retain once I complete the diet is the idea of making regular times for meals and snacks. I find that I am more satiated by meals and snacks that I anticipate and actively prepare in advance.

I have never made a zucchini soup before and decided to try and create a low-carb one for lunch. The only zucchini soup that I have enjoyed in the past is one made by my friend, Malka, and it is delicious. I hope that this low-carb variety comes close to hers.

Zucchini is a rather bland vegetable, comprised of 95% water. Believe it or not, a whole zucchini has more potassium than a banana and is only about 33 calories. This soup will need sauteed onions and garlic, a rich broth and some fresh herbs to wake up the bland, but nutritious zucchini.  Since zucchini and herbs take very little time to cook, the added benefit of this soup is that it does not take long to prepare, even in a crockpot. (more…)

Simply the best chicken soup…ever!

What would a kosher blog be without a recipe for chicken soup?

I have been making chicken soup for the past nearly thirty years of marriage.  I serve chicken soup at just about  every Friday night Shabbos dinner in my home. It is on my Shabbos menu whether the weather is frightfully cold or unbearably hot.  It is one of those recipes that I almost never make during the week, except for a special occasion or weekday holiday.

My first chicken soup in the eighties used whole vegetables and chicken parts.  Over the past decades, I made changes to suit my family and their different tastes.

When the kids were little, I started cutting the vegetables into chunks so that I could easily measure out what each one wanted.  I replaced  chicken parts with boneless chicken breasts because it yielded too much of the gray nastiness on the sides of the pot  and required me to skim the soup.  There were phases when I used cheesecloth packets for the chicken and herbs and phases where I made a more rustic soup.

Now that the dust has settled, here is where I am: (more…)

Crockpot Lentil Soup with Optional Parsnip and Kale

My daughter, Michelle, moved to California after getting married last June. She is a newly-inspired cook and it is so exciting for me to learn new recipes and plating ideas from her. A few weeks ago, when the weather was very cold on both coasts, she asked me to share some crockpot soup recipes with her. A crockpot soup would allow her to quickly start the soup before leaving to school in the morning and enjoy it for dinner with her husband, Scotty. (more…)

Simple Crockpot Mushroom Soup: Low Carb

Don and I just started a high-protein, low carb diet.  I have to admit that I’ve never been on an official diet before and I’m excited for the challenge. I visited my local market today and spent hours perusing the aisles for ingredients that will work for this new diet. I bought items that I never thought that I would use, items like soy flour and sugar-free caramel syrup. Now the challenge will be to create exceptional flavor with new ingredients. I thought that I would start by modifying some of my favorite recipes to meet the parameters of this new diet. To keep the blog updated with these diet-friendly recipes, I have created a new category on the blog menu for low-carb recipes. (more…)