Incredibly delicious and creamy carrot soup that requires little work but is big on flavor and nutrients! Topped with buffalo grilled chicken for a flavor combination that’s too good to be true. Trust me…

creamy carrot soup

My husband thinks I eat weird food sometimes.  Carrot soup would definitely fit that category for him, but I’m telling you there’s more to explore than just chili and chicken and noodle soup.   I mean we enjoy burgers with peanut butter and hot pepper jelly on them so how can carrot soup be so weird? Right?!  Thank you for siding with me.

Soup must be either thick and creamy (like this carrot soup) or full of ingredients with every spoonful. No wimpy broth soups!   The decision to top this with leftover buffalo grilled chicken is brilliant and shouldn’t be left out!! 

Even though this soup is a vibrant orange, it’s not overly carrot-y.  Does that make sense? hahaha. I was worried it would taste too earthy or bitter and it definitely does not.  Think thick tomato soup, but carrot flavor with a punch.  That punch comes from the roasted red peppers.  DELISH.

carrot soup with chicken

I’ve never gotten the hang of meal prepping for the week but I’m an aficionado when it comes to repurposing leftovers.  So while this post is mainly about the carrot soup, I HIGHLY encourage you to make some marinated buffalo chicken to top it off.  You can use the rest of the chicken for paninis, toss it in a salad, or wrap.  However if you’re short on time this soup is delicious as is and needs nothing but a spoon.

You won’t regret having this on hand though…

buffalo chicken marinade

The recipe makes enough for 3 large bowls.  Each bowl (3 servings without chicken) is approx 115 calories 0fat, 26g. carbs and 6g protein.

Let me know when you try it!


Creamy Carrot Soup w/ Buffalo Grilled Chicken


  • 156g carrots, peeled and diced (about 4 carrots)
  • 1 jar fire roasted red peppers, drained (I used Trader joe's)
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • salt to taste
  • Buffalo chicken Marinade


  1. Begin by marinating chicken, preferably overnight or at least a few hours. While chicken is marinating preheat oven to 350* and prep carrots. Arrange carrots on baking sheet with non-stick spray and roast 40 minutes. (don't forget to include some other veggies or potatoes while the oven is on!).
  2. In a small pot saute onion 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute continually stirring. Add broth, roasted peppers, and beans. Bring to a simmer then pour into blender. Add carrots and blend until desired creaminess. Add more broth if desired.
  3. *I 'grill' my chicken indoors either in my cast iron skillet or grill pan.
  4. *After chicken cooks I allow it to rest 5 minutes then slice and add back to skillet (scraping out any burnt marinade pieces) with marinade to soak up all the flavor.
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Sweet honey cornbread paired with my simple crockpot chili is a quintessential combination that can be enjoyed year-round. Everyone seems to have their go-to chili recipe but when it comes to cornbread there are many that have disappointed.  Allow me to change that for you.  (dang iPhone photo is a bit blurry…but can you see how thick and awesome this cornbread is?)

sweet honey cornbread

There’s only 2 ways to enjoy cornbread with chili: on the the side, warm with melted butter overtop eaten like a piece of cake  or broken into chunks a few at a time placed in the bowl of chili.

how does one make such difficult life decisions? You do both.  

When I was a kid I would mix my cake with ice-cream sometimes into an unrecognizable concoction.  I would start with a few spoonfuls of equal parts ice cream and cake, but eventually smoosh and stir it all together. It’s how I roll I guess.  Cornbread and chili just carries on my childhood methods in a more sophisticated way.  I think.

honey cornbread

This cornbread recipe makes 9 large squares because anything smaller would be a disgrace.  It cuts beautifully and is perfectly fluffy yet dense.  This is NOT a dry cornbread that requires a drink to help get it all down.  You with me…

lighter cornbread

So enough about the cornbread.

Everyone seems to have their go-to chili recipe and there are some that require elaborate ingredients at an award-winning level.  Move right on along if you’re expecting fancy.  (I’m blogging this wearing mismatched pajamas and socks.  Fancy does not describe my style, anywhere!)

Anyways my chili is simple because simple wins.  It’s really about the toppings anyways.  Chili is just the base for things like shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeños, fritos, and obviously we’re back to that sweet honey cornbread again.

Here’s my Simple Crockpot Chili Recipe:
1lb. lean turkey (or beef, wadever)
1 chopped onion
1 24oz. can plum peeled tomatoes, cut into large chunks (with juices)
1 can Bush’s chili seasoned kidney beans, undrained! (I use mild)
1 can water (I like to keep ours thick and add water as needed)
1 packet chili seasoning
1-2 TB chili powder
*Cook meat and onion together, drain and toss in crockpot with remaining ingredients. Cook on low 4 hours or more.

Sweet Honey Cornbread


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla cashew milk (or any milk/buttermilk will be fine too)
  • 1 TB. vinegar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TB. honey
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter


  1. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, soda, sugar and set aside.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl add cornmeal, cashew milk and vinegar. (If using buttermilk no need to add vinegar.) Add melted butter, applesauce, honey and sugar to cornmeal mixture and gently whisk to combine. Add eggs and whisk again.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients and whisk until it's smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Pour mixture in a greased 8x8 pan.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes. Check it with a toothpick in the center at 30 minutes and bake longer if needed. I like to err on the side of caution and not risk over baking...
  6. Each slice comes in at 176 calories 6.9grams fat, 26.3 carbs, 3.1 protein.
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*recipe slightly adapted from

Baked Goods Soup

Pasta e Fagioli is an easy Italian soup known for the combination of pasta and beans.  In fact, Pasta e Fagioli literally means “pasta with beans.” My version is more reminiscent of a stew making it the perfect fall/winter comfort dish.

easy pasta fagioli

Let’s talk crockpots a moment shall we?

My Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking system is a life-changer!  It’s more than the average crockpot because it also has a stovetop setting.  Helloooo. This is a phenomenal feature!! Not only can I use the 6qt. wide base to saute my veggies like for a big pot of Pasta e Fagioli stew, I have the option to also switch it to slow cooker or simply… warm.  This is far superior to some crockpots that only switch to warm after the specified cooking time.

To start this pasta and beans stew, you’ll need 3-4 large carrots and celery stalks diced up.

pasta e fagioli soup

While the veggies are busy sautéing, I start a separate skillet of some sweet italian turkey sausage and diced onions.  I prefer to cook my onions with the sausage out of habit from making spaghetti, but you can certainly add them to the pot of carrots and celery.

My local grocery used to carry thee best turkey italian sausage that was lean and full of amazing flavor.  Sadly they discontinued it (along with my favorite cheesesteak beef).  Use whatever brand or style you prefer…even spicy if you don’t live with wimps. cough cough.

italian sausage soup

Now comes the best part of making this soup…start dumping all the ingredients in.

Here’s my twist that makes this Pasta e Fagioli stew a notch better than the average version…spaghetti sauce. 

I’ve been making this soup for several years now using various cans of stewed tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, organic tomato sauce, you name it….I’ve tried it.  Marinara Sauce or Traditional Spaghetti sauce is where it’s at!  I think I learned this from another recipe of Pioneer Woman (whom I met back in 2014 and have a signed cookbook, ahem).  There’s just something about a jar of spaghetti sauce that you can’t replicate in this soup…

pasta e fagioli soup

Did you notice in the picture at the beginning of the post, the jar of Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce was missing a little?  That’s because a few days prior to making Pasta e Fagioli we had my Pub-Style Hoagie Burgers.  The soup had to sacrifice 1/2 cup or so of sauce but it was a sacrifice that saved money but didn’t rob flavor …that’s recipe poetry right there. 


After the soup has simmered for a while and the veggies are nice and tender add 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni. A more traditional type of pasta to use in this soup would be ditalini.  But here’s a little secret…northern beans kinda hide among the elbow macaroni making it easier to scoop into the minions bowls, if ya catch my non-bean-eating-picky-kid-kinda-drift.  

easy pasta and beans soup

Soup in a handled bowl is the ultimate comfort in your lap kinda meal.  And those garlic breadsticks make the perfect dunking device for what little broth remains in my version of Pasta e Fagioli.

By the way it’s pronounced Pasta-EH-FAH-DJOH-LEE .  Ya gotta put a little love in the “DJ” to sound legit.  Or just call it Italian soup….my family rarely knows a dish by it’s real name anyhow.

easy italian soup

Recipe serves 8-10 and is approximately 350 calories, 23g protein- 40.6g carbs-10g fat (based on my ingredients).  Now that’s a soup that will leave you feeling full and warm on those….dare I say it….cold winter nights.

Easy Pasta e Fagioli Stew +
Ninja 3 in 1 Crockpot Product Review


  • *recipe adapted from Damn Delicious
  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 16-20oz. italian turkey sausage, casing removed (use whatever style you prefer, we like sweet italian)
  • 1 jar traditional spaghetti or marinara sauce
  • 1 carton beef stock (*1 cup reserved for leftovers, see note)
  • 1 15oz. can italian diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15oz. can northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper taste
  • parmesan cheese (optional for topping)


  1. Start by sautéing carrots and celery in large stockpot or if you're lucky enough a Ninja 3 in 1 crockpot. While veggies are sauteing add sausage and onions to separate skillet and cook until no longer pink. Drain and dump sausage into pot with veggies.
  2. Add minced garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Dump all remaining ingredients into pot, except pasta.
  4. Allow soup to simmer 20 minutes then add 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni and allow to simmer another 10-15 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
  5. Serve with breadsticks, grilled cheese or opt for a copycat Olive Garden salad...delish!
  6. *The leftover soup will become slightly thicker so I like to keep the remaining 1 cup broth to add when reheating. Feel free to add it all if you want more broth to begin with.
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With warmer weather (slowwwly) approaching here in southern Ohio, soup-season is almost over!  We still enjoy a few bowls through spring and early summer but once those temps are reaching the 80’s… NO SOUP FOR YOU!  Love that line and I’m not even a big Seinfeld fan.

This hearty and healthy veggie packed soup comes together with little effort and makes a nice large pot, perfect for leftovers.  Serve it with a side salad, some crusty bread, or even a classic grilled cheese for dunkin.  Need I say more?
Italian Turkey Tortellini Soup | One Strange Herd
Every good soup starts with a mirepoix.  Say whaaat?  A mirepoix (meer-pwah) is chopped carrots, celery, and onions.  After watching a lot of Guy’s Grocery Games on Food Network with my kids you pick up a few culinary terms.  Fancy schmancy.

We traditionally prefer soups that give your spoon a workout rather than a bath.  That’s to say more stuff, less broth!  This pot started with 4 chopped carrots, celery stalks, and 3/4 of a large white onion. mirepoixAfter sautéing the veggies (and cooking the turkey) in goes about 3 cups beef broth, 1 can northern beans and an entire jar of spaghetti sauce.  There’s something about jarred spaghetti sauce that just does the trick.  When making similar soups in the past I’ve used a mix of crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato paste.  Adding a jar of sauce just simplifies everything and I love this Tomato Basil Marinara from Trader Joe’s.
italian tortellini soupDon’t skimp on the spices even if they’re in the spaghetti sauce!  Here I added 1 tsp dried oregano and basil along with a 1/2 tsp dried thyme.  
italian soupBring the pot to a nice bubbly state then set to simmer for about 30-45  minutes before adding the cheese tortellini.  Trader Joe’s pesto tortellini (found with dry pasta) is our favorite! My wooden spoon has a magnet built inside the handle so it won’t fall into the pot.  Looks a little mysterious…mwahahaha
turkey tortellini soup
Every bite has a little bit of everything!
italian tortellini soup

Italian Turkey
Tortellini Soup


  • 1 lb. ground 93% lean turkey
  • 3/4 large onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in half lengthwise then chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz. can northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups uncooked cheese tortellini (Trader Joe's dried pesto tortellini is excellent!)


  1. Brown the ground turkey in a dutch oven or large stockpot over medium heat. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add turkey back to pot along with chopped garlic and continue cooking another 5 minutes continually stirring.
  3. Slowly pour in beef broth; using wooden spoon to remove bits from bottom of pan.
  4. Add jar of spaghetti sauce and spices. Bring just to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add cheese tortellini; cook 15 minutes or until al dente. Add more beef broth if desired.
  6. Serve with a classic grilled cheese, some crusty bread or light side salad.
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