Cream of Mushroom Soup


I have been on a quest for the ultimate Mushroom Soup recipe ever since I tasted the soup at Pop Ellis’ Soda Shoppe in Abingdon, Virginia. If you have ever been there and tried their soup and have any ideas for duplicating that, please let me know! In the meantime…

This recipe comes from a book entitled  IS IT SOUP YET? which I purchased from a Scholastic Book Fair at my kids’ elementary school, so many years ago.  I have only tried a couple of the recipes from that cookbook, and this is one that I never tried but wanted to.

During a little declutter of my cookbook shelf, I decided this was one of the items that could bless someone else, but before I let it go I copied down the recipe–just in case I could re-create the amazing aforementioned soup.

The recipe comes pretty close, but I substituted apple cider vinegar for the Cream of Sherry, and the taste is a little vinegar-y.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
A tasty alternative to the canned stuff.
Write a review
  1. 4 tablespoons butter
  2. 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  3. 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  4. 1 tablespoon flour
  5. 1/2 cup cream sherry (I subbed apple cider vinegar)
  6. 3 cups beef broth
  7. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  9. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
  12. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  13. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (opt. for garnish)
  1. In a 4 quart stockpot, melt butter over medium heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and onion and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
  3. Stir in flour and sherry. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Blend soup with immersion blender (or in small batches in food processor) until smooth.
  5. Add 1 cup of the beef broth, thyme, dry mustard, garlic powder, and pepper and blend until smooth.
  6. Pour back into the stockpot (if you used food processor) and stir in the remaining broth, 1/2 and 1/2, and the salt.
  7. Heat through, but do not boil!
Adapted from Is it Soup Yet?
Adapted from Is it Soup Yet?
Mormon Mavens

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup


So many of us are looking for healthy DELICIOUS food options these days.  The latest thing I am checking out is the Mediterranean diet–actually I just would like to not call anything a diet, but a lifestyle.  Mediterranean sounds good to me.

I looked up easy Mediterranean recipes and found this one that sounded delicious.  And who doesn’t love using a rotisserie chicken? Am I right?

And you may think, by looking at the photo, that this recipe includes cream. NOT.

I know.  And yet it is so good.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Write a review
  1. 1 T. olive oil
  2. 3/4 c. cubed carrot
  3. 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
  4. 2 t. minced fresh garlic
  5. 3/4 t. crushed red pepper (next time I will use 1/2 t.)
  6. 6 c. chicken broth
  7. 1/2 c. uncooked orzo
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  10. 3 c. chopped baby spinach
  11. 1 1/4 t. kosher salt
  12. 1/2 t. black pepper
  13. 3 T. chopped fresh dill (for garnish)
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly.
  2. Add broth to Dutch oven and increase heat to high, bringing broth to a boil. Add orzo and cook, uncovered, until al dente, about 6 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and lemon juice together until frothy. Remove 1 cup of the broth from Dutch oven and add, gradually, to the eggs. Whisk constantly to temper the eggs for about 1 minute. Pour egg mixture into Dutch oven and stir to combine.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, then stir in chicken, spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until spinach wilts.
  5. Serve up in 6 bowls and sprinkle with the dill.
Adapted from Cooking Light
Adapted from Cooking Light
Mormon Mavens

Sausage Okra Gumbo

Today I am sharing a family favorite recipe that gets rave reviews no matter when I serve it.  Just had it the other night–8 of us for dinner and I doubled the recipe and had one serving left.  Yeah, that good.  I use Kielbasa, but feel free to used whatever type of smoked sausage you would like to.  Turkey Kielbasa is also very good. 
Mom always made this with Kielbasa.  Don’t you love saying that word?  Kielbasa, kielbasa, kielbasa…

1 1/2 lbs. Polska Kielbasa ( I just use 2 packages.  You can’t have too much sausage in gumbo, can you?)
2-3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 cups chicken broth
18-oz. frozen gumbo vegetables*
14-oz. can of tomatoes, chopped, with juice
1 1/2 t. salt (you may want to adjust down, depending on how salty your meat choice is)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. ground red pepper 
1 T. Old Bay Seafood Seasoning

3 cups hot, cooked rice

1.  Saute cut sausage for a few minutes in a Dutch oven or large pot.  Even though these are precooked, I think it improves the overall taste to brown them up just a little bit and it also helps your roux.  Remove and set aside.
2.  Melt the butter in the Dutch oven.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is deep brown, about the color of an old penny (this is known as making a roux).
3.  Add broth, vegetables, tomatoes, seasonings, and sausages.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
4.  Remove from heat.
5.  Ladle gumbo into bowls and top with a scoop of rice.  Some people think you should put a bunch of rice in the bowl and then add the gumbo on top.  Personally, I like less of a rice ratio to my gumbo.  A little scoop of rice on top is perfect for me.
* You can use a combination of okra, corn, onions, celery and sweet red pepper instead of the frozen vegetables. These days that combo is hard to find in the frozen food section.

Source:  Pat Brew, Brew Family Cook Book, 1st Edition.

Originally posted on January 24, 2014.

Chicken Noodle Soup


I used to love volunteering at my girls’ elementary schools.  Yes plural on schools.  They went to two different ones because we moved in the middle of those years.

One of my favorite places to volunteer was in the school library.  All those books!  And the librarian at their second school became a good friend–before working in the library she was one daughter’s 2nd grade teacher.  She was amazing.

Anyway, one aspect of volunteering in the library was working the Scholastic Book Fairs and, since I had been a bank teller for several years in my single days, I usually worked “register” and did the deposit at the end of the fair.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, when you work at the book fairs you have early access to the books on sale and I would always check them out to see if their were any books that appealed to me.  Cookbooks were a favorite and I still have one called “Rise and Dine America”, full of Bed & Breakfast recipes from across the country.  Perhaps I will share a few at some point.  

Today’s recipe comes from one of those book fair cookbooks, entitled “Is it Soup Yet?”   I haven’t tried very many of these soups but this happens to be the very first recipe in the book and we really like it.  I actually have substituted Thrive Foods for several of the ingredients, and have noted that in the recipe.

It’s Fall y’all, and at some point–not right now because in the South we are still pretty darn warm–you are going to be craving some good old comfort food and that will include soups and stews, so get ready!

Chicken Noodle Soup
Write a review
  1. 3 lb. fryer
  2. 3 bay leaves
  3. 6 peppercorns
  4. 7 stalks of celery (I used 3 stalks, then 2 cups of sliced Thrive celery, cut up)
  5. 2 cups chicken broth (I used Thrive Chicken Bouillion)
  6. 1 large onion minced (1.5 cups Thrive Chopped Onion)
  7. 3 carrots, julienne sliced
  8. 1 T. dried parsley (Thrive)
  9. 1/2 lb. thin egg noodles (Thrive)
  10. 1 (10 oz.) package frozen peas (Thrive)
  11. 3 t. salt (Thrive)
  12. 1 t. ground white pepper
  13. 1 t. of your favorite all-purpose seasoning
  1. Remove the neck and gizzard pack from the cavity of the chicken.
  2. Place the chicken into a 6 quart stock pot and cover with water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and 3 stalks of celery, broken in half.
  3. Cook over high heat until the water comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken falls off the bone.
  4. Remove the chicken to cool and strain the broth.
  5. Return the liquid to the pot, then add 2 cups of chicken broth, minced onion, 4 stalks of celery minced or Thrive celery slices cut up, carrots, dried parsley, and egg noodles. Cook over high heat until the noodles are soft.
  6. Chop the chicken into bite size pieces and add along with the peas to the broth.
  7. Season with salt, white pepper and other seasoning of choice.
  8. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the peas are heated through.
  1. Original recipe calls for Accent seasoning but I did not include that. I had a packet of Thrive seasoning left from something else and wanted to use it instead. I believe that Accent actually contains MSG, so no.
Adapted from Is It Soup Yet?
Adapted from Is It Soup Yet?
Mormon Mavens

Taco Beef Soup


Yes.  Another Taco Soup recipe, but this one is a family favorite.  I used to make it all the time and I have missed it.  

Just yesterday I realized that this would be perfect for dinner since our cute sister missionaries were joining us!  So excited to look it up in our Brew Family Cookbook–this is my go-to for meal planning.  

And guess what?  This is one of the recipes that Julie submitted for the cookbook!  I don’t think she will mind, do you?

Taco Beef Soup
Write a review
  1. 1 lb. ground beef
  2. 1/2 cup chopped onion
  3. 3 cups water
  4. 2 (14-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
  5. 1 (16-oz.) can kidney beans, un-drained
  6. 1 (16-oz.) can tomato sauce
  7. 1 envelope taco seasoning mix or 1/4 cup from bulk mix
  1. In large pot, cook ground beef and onions until browned. Drain off fat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer soup, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Top with grated cheese, corn chips, or sour cream.
Adapted from Brew Family Cookbook, Vol. II, Strange Brew
Adapted from Brew Family Cookbook, Vol. II, Strange Brew
Mormon Mavens

Copycat Wendy’s Chili


Okay, this is going to have to be quick because I have to get back to watching the Winter Olympics.  Every time.  

My sister shared this recipe with me when we visited one time during a cold winter weekend.  Comfort food at its best and it smelled so good in her house while it was cooking.  Super easy recipe, and could easily be done in the slow cooker.  Be sure and get some of those cute Premium Saltine Minis.  I think they just taste better because they are so small.  Kids I love to snack on them.

Great dish for a baked potato bar while you are watching ballgames or any time you are feeding a crowd.  We had a baked potato bar when I fixed this and now I have leftover spuds.  Stay tuned for my next recipe–baked potato soup!



Copycat Wendy's Chili
Serves 12
Write a review
  1. 2 lbs. ground chuck
  2. 1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
  3. 1 29-oz. can dark red kidney beans (with liquid)
  4. 1 29-oz. can pinto beans (with liquid)
  5. 1 c. diced onion (medium)
  6. 1/2 c. diced green chilies
  7. 1/4 c. diced celery
  8. 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  9. 2 t. cumin
  10. 3 T. chili powder
  11. 1 1/2 t. black pepper
  12. 2 t. salt
  13. 2 c. water
  1. Brown the beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off fat.
  2. Using a fork or other tool for chopping meat, crumble the cooked beef into pea-size pieces.
  3. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all remaining ingredients, and bring to simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes for 2-3 hours.
  1. I had a big crowd over for dinner so I doubled the recipe, but only 1 1/2'd (is that a word?) the spices and water.
  2. Add-ins: sour cream, shredded Mexican blend cheese, saltine mini crackers.
Adapted from Amy Eason
Adapted from Amy Eason
Mormon Mavens

Brunswick Stew



When we were little and living in Northern Virginia, our summer vacations usually consisted of driving down to Wilmington, North Carolina and visiting my grandparents, on my Dad’s side of the family.  We would either rent a cottage for  the week on one of the beaches in the area or we would stay at Grandpa and Grandma Brew’s house in Leland.  

Always lots of stuff to do when visiting there like going down to Grandpa’s store and filling a small brown paper bag with whatever candy and treats we could fit into it from the old candy case–we each got our own bag!–and we could get a drink from the drink case, where we could use the attached bottle opener to open a cold Pepsi or Mountain Dew–you know, before flip tops and screw caps.

Another favorite must-do while there was to go to a local seafood restaurant (I would usually get fried shrimp) and to go to Skinner & Daniels BBQ. Here is where the recipe memory gets really tasty.  If my mind serves me right, I usually liked to get the BBQ chicken and ALWAYS the Brunswick Stew.  So good. So “d-wicious”, as my grandson would say.  This is not their recipe, but I think Mom got it from Grandma Brew.  That’s my guess, anyway.

Skinner & Daniels isn’t there anymore–long gone and probably replaced by an auto parts or mattress store, but the memories are still there.

Land sakes, (Grandma used to say that), look what I found on Google!  So glad someone thought to put this on Pinterest.


A little side-note:  I ran out of time between running to Walmart– because I didn’t have any Lima Beans– and a meeting that I had at 10:00 this morning, so I Googled cooking this in the slow cooker.  I found good instructions for doing this and saw that they had also included a pork tenderloin.  Well you know I didn’t have that on hand, but what I did have was Thrive Life Freeze-dried Pulled Pork .  Thanks goodness for my Thrive! Threw everything in my Crockpot for 4 hours and now my house is smelling so good.


Brunswick Stew
Serves 4
A tasty stew, often found in local BBQ restaurants in the South.
Write a review
  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 12 oz. boneless chicken, cut into 1" cubes
  4. 1 1/2 c. THRIVE freeze-dried Pulled Pork
  5. 6 c. chicken broth (30-oz. can)
  6. 1 (16-oz.) can stewed tomatoes
  7. 1 c. baby lima beans
  8. 1 c. corn kernels
  9. 1 c. sliced okra (opt.)
  10. 1/2 c. raw rice
  11. 2 t. dried thyme
  12. 2-3 t. Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  13. 14 t. Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
  1. In large soup pot, heat oil and saute onion over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken, broth, pork, tomatoes, limas, corn, okra, rice and thyme.
  3. Bring to simmer, reduce heat, and cook, partially covered, for about 25 minutes, until rice is tender.
  4. Season with Worcestershire and Tabasco.
  5. Serve with cornbread, corn sticks, or hushpuppies (never heard of these? Stay tuned.)
  1. Can be made 2 days ahead.
  2. Leftover chicken would be fine in this soup. Add 2 c. cubed meat during last few minutes of cooking.
  3. This soup takes particularly well by doubling. Use an 8 qt. pot and make enough for at least 2 meals.
Adapted from Pat Brew, The Brew Family Cookbook, vol. 2 "Strange Brew"
Adapted from Pat Brew, The Brew Family Cookbook, vol. 2 "Strange Brew"
Mormon Mavens

Crazy Leftover Soup


It was one of those days when I just could not think of anything to fix for supper, it was Sunday so I wasn’t going to the store, so I checked my “home store” and found a couple of packages of frozen Vegetables for Stew (I don’t know why I bought these and don’t even know WHEN I bought them), I had one leftover cooked chicken breast, and of course, I had plenty of Thrive Foods to add to any dish.  And that, my friends, is how you end up with some crazy soup made from leftovers.  And guess what?  It tasted really good!  

Crazy Leftover Soup
Write a review
  1. 2 bags frozen Vegetables for Stew Mix
  2. 3-5 T. of chopped fresh cilantro
  3. 1 15-oz. can of Cannelini Beans
  4. 1 15-oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice
  5. 1 cup cooked brown rice
  6. 1 cooked chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces
  7. 1/2 c. THRIVE cooked ground beef
  8. 1 c. THRIVE Sweet Corn
  9. 1 c. THRIVE Green Peas
  10. 1 c. THRIVE Zucchini
  11. 2 T. Bacon grease
  12. THRIVE Chef's Choice Blend Seasoning to taste
  13. Salt to taste
  14. 4 cups of water or more, as needed
  1. Dump all the ingredients in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer as long as you would like to. I did mine until the house started smelling yummy.
Mormon Mavens

Slow Cooker Taco Soup


Slow cooker or crockpot.  However you say it, this is probably my most favorite kitchen tool.  How much fun is it to throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot, put the lid on, plug it in and come home to dinner?  I was at my sister’s house last week and she had just started her new job and asked me if I would mind throwing the Taco Soup in the crockpot and making the Sweet Corn Cakes (another recipe–stay tuned).  I was delighted to help out and we had just had this recipe a couple of weeks before at her house and I was excited to have it again!  You do need to brown some ground beef and add it at the end of the cooking time, but that was no problem.  I think you will really enjoy this–I sure did!  And of course the house smelled wonderful all afternoon.

This is a great dish to have during these crazy busy days leading up to Christmas, when we are all over-extending ourselves with holiday prep.  You know I’m right.

Slow Cooker Taco Soup
Serves 6
Write a review
  1. 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  2. 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
  3. 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  4. 1 (14 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  5. 1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn, drained (I used creamed corn undrained--because who wants to drain that?)
  6. 1 (10 oz.) can green enchilada sauce
  7. 1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce
  8. half an onion, chopped
  9. 1 cup chicken broth
  10. 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  11. 1 (1 oz.) packet taco seasoning
  12. 1 T. cornstarch + 2 T. water
  13. 1 lb. ground beef
  1. Add all beans, tomatoes, corn, onions, peppers, enchilada sauce, chicken broth and taco seasoning to a large crock pot. Stir to combine. Cover with lid and cook on low heat 3-6 hours.
  2. Mix together the cornstarch and water to create a "slurry." Add to the soup in the crock pot as a thickener.
  3. Brown and crumble the ground beef in a large skillet until thoroughly cooked. Drain off the grease and add beef to crock pot and stir to combine.
  4. Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, etc.
Adapted from Life in the Lofthouse
Mormon Mavens

Succotash Soup

This is a tasty, healthy soup but it does require some planning ahead.  If you are using fresh veggies, then I would prep them earlier in the day or the day before.  I used freeze-dried foods and just had to re-hydrate them during some of the cooking time.  I found this in a really cool cookbook called Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely.  You should check it out.  Lot’s of good stuff, besides recipes.  I like the way the book is organized by season, so that you are eating foods that are available and better for you during certain times of the year.

1 10-oz. bag frozen lima beans
1 cup water
2 14.5-oz. cans of chicken broth*
1 T. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup chopped onion*
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped celery*
3/4 cup chopped green onions*
2 1/2 t. dried whole thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash cayenne pepper
1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (or already diced)
1 11-oz. can whole kernel corn*

1. Place lima beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above the beans.  Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

2.  Drain beans; add 1 cup water and broth.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until beans are tender.

3.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 2 minutes.  Add bell pepper and celery; saute 2 minutes.  Add green onions; saute 1 minute.

4.  Add onion mixture, thyme, and remaining ingredients to bean mixture and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*This is where I substituted freeze-dried veggies or other items from my Home Store.

Serves 10.  Freezes well.  Leanne suggests serving with a big green salad and whole grain rolls. Sounds like a good plan to me!

Source:  Saving Dinner, Leanne Ely, p. 133.