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Italian White Bean, Spinach, and Gnocchi Soup

Italian White Bean, Spinach, and Gnocchi Soup

Course Main Course


  • 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • ¾ yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bags Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi
  • 4 chicken sausages, sliced and cut into half moons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2-3 handfuls fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Using an instant pot or just a medium soup pot, saute the carrots, celery, and onion for about 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt.

  2. Add the garlic and chicken sausage and saute for about 2-3 minutes.

  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, bay leaves, and chicken broth. Let simmer for at least 10-15 minutes.

  4. Add in the gnocchi and Italian seasoning. Once the gnocchi is heated through, add in the spinach and stir to wilt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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Cucumber and Avocado Gazpacho

If you’ve been following me over on Instagram, you know I’ve had a plethora of cucumbers this season from my garden. I’m not complaining! BUT it has been a little challenging keeping up with consuming them and avoiding waste. So I had to get a little creative. I mean don’t get me wrong I can munch on raw cucumbers but a girl can only eat so many salads and snack so often.

I already pickled a crap ton of them for standard pickles and different condiments so I opted for a cold cucumber soup. A nice little cucumber gazpacho on a hot September afternoon hhhmmmmmmm yes. Please and thanks. This cold soup also makes for a nice little appetizer for a summer dinner party.

I had to test it a couple times to get it just right and I encourage you to adjust as needed to your flavor preference because when you make it, it’s YOUR dish 🙂 What I really love about this soup is how easy it is. You don’t have to peel the cucumbers. Let me repeat, do NOT peel the cucumbers. I did so on my first go-around and ended with beige-colored soup and despite it tasting good, I just couldn’t get over the color. So wash the outside of the cucumbers, chop, and you’re good!

Cucumber gazpacho 2.jpg

Another bonus of not having to peel the cucumbers (outside of the saving time), is the extra fiber boost! My husband doesn’t love the texture of the skins of cucumbers so this was a great way to utilize the skins and sneak in a bunch of extra fiber! Skins of any fruit or vegetable is where the money is. Americans in general struggle to get adequate daily fiber in due to the processed nature of American westernized food. Fiber is commonly found in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, seeds, and also whole grains.

What is the daily goal for fiber intake you may be asking yourself?

Women should shoot for 25 grams per day, while men should aim for 38 grams per day. To provide you with an example for comparison, one large pear with skin provides about 7 grams of fiber. Many Americans only get about 15 grams in per day. Fiber is so important for so many reasons!

  1. Helps keep us all regular! I ain’t ashamed to have the poop talk!
  2. Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease due to it’s potential to lower blood cholesterol.
  3. Keeps us satiated between meals and helps avoid overeating, which in turn helps us maintain a healthy weight.

The health benefits of this gazpacho alone should be reason enough to try this recipe. Did I mention, you put all the ingredients in a blender and that’s it? Oh yes, that’s it. Refrigerate and voila, you’re good to go. Hope you guys enjoy!


Cucumber and Avocado Gazpacho

Course Appetizer, Soup
Author Liz Bissell


  • 6-8 small cucumbers (or 2-3 large English cucumbers), washed and diced
  • 2-3 tbsp red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 avocado
  • 3-4 slices day-old bread, cubed (crust removed)
  • tsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp sherry vinegar


  1. Crust and cube the bread and place in a medium bowl. Pour water over and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.

  2. Chop the red onion, garlic, shallot, bell pepper, salt, cucumber, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil and stir to combine in a medium bowl. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.

  3. Squeeze the water out of the bread and add the bread to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine.

  4. In a large blender or food processor, add the bread-vegetable mixture in parts. While blending, add the avocado, sherry vinegar, and the last 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add salt and additional vinegar as needed. Blend until smooth.

  5. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. Serve chilled.

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Charred Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Despite the heat wave this week, Michigan fall is finally here! And hey, that’s Michigan weather for you…cold one week, hot the next. But I LOVE fall. Give me all the pumpkin, bright-colored leaves, comfort foods, cozy sweaters, spiced rum and apple cider, and Michigan State football…I die happy. Luckily, my fiance also loves fall and any delicious stew or soup that is served in a bowl 🙂

On a different note, lately I have been feeling more primal urges in my cooking. You know, getting back to a more simple way of living and preparing food. Sometimes after a long day at work where I am constantly dialed into a computer, pager, or phone, it’s nice to come home and slow life down a little.

My latest obsession has been charring. Tortillas, bell peppers, naan bread, you name it. It adds an amazing depth of flavor and small little smoky bits of goodness.


However, one blessing of advanced technology is the immersion blender. It’s a sneaky little amazing hand-held machine that blends and purees foods lickity split. One of the best gifts I ever received and I highly recommend it to my all my fellow creamy soup lovers.

This creamy tomato soup gives all the fall feels. It pairs beautifully with a homemade whole grain bread, French baguette, or grilled cheese sandwich for dipping. Bonus: it’s packed with antioxidants. Lycopene, vitamin C, and beta-carotene will help ensure no fall colds occur in your household. So get in the kitchen and happy fall cooking!

Charred Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
4 red bell peppers
2 large Roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped


  1. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove the stem to create a canal down the middle of the tomato.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Stuff each tomato half with a halved piece of garlic and place the tomatoes on the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Gas stove: Turn your burner to low to medium heat and place the bell peppers on the burner. Char on each side of the pepper (about 3 minutes per side). Once fully charred, place the peppers on a large plate, cover with aluminum foil and allow the steam to soften the peppers for about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. No gas stove? Use the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the whole peppers on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping the peppers twice. Once the peppers are charred and wrinkled remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Once peppers are cool enough to handle, wet a paper towel and scrap off the charred peel. I like to keep some on for flavor. Remove and discard the stem and seeds.
  6. Depending on the tools you have available at home, you can either use a food processor or immersion blender for this part (I used an immersion blender). Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, vinegar, and broth in a large pot. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth.
  7. Add the milk (or cream) and bring the soup to a low simmer. Add the onion powder,  salt and pepper to taste, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes (if desired). Serve and garnish with fresh basil or shredded mozzarella cheese.