Everything Is Better With Borscht


(photo courtesy of


Everything is better with borscht. And nothing is truer on a bitter winter day. This winter has been colder than usual here in NC. We even had an amazing 10 inches of snow in February. In fact, it snowed Monday - little wispy flakes that swirled around but didn't stick. So on Tuesday I decided it was a soup kind of day. I'd always wanted to make borscht so I did some research on this traditional Russian and Ukranian soup, checked out a bunch of different recipes and then went to work on my own - starting with homemade chicken stock. The result was thinner than I would have liked and next time I'll probably increase the amount of roasted beets I use for a thicker consistency.



  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 6 medium to large beets, roasted and cubed
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • half head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • quarter onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 teas sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet Italian sausage, browned and drained.

In a stock pot brown onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Add chicken stock, beets, carrots, cabbage and sausage. Simmer until carrots and cabbage are tender, about 10 minutes.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Serves 4.


Chipotle Corn Chowder recipe from Del Monte & Dave Lieberman

Chipotle Corn Chowder photo by Bobby Maro Take advantage of the waning winter chill and bring the people you love around the table to enjoy one last heart-warmingly nutritious meal before spring arrives. 

This chock-full-o-veggies chowder recipe from Dave Lieberman, chef and author of The 10 Things You Need To Eat, is perfect for a quick and cozy dinner party starter or as lunch leftovers. And it's just in time for National Nutrition Month.

Just because you’re cooking doesn’t mean you have to slave in the kitchen,” says Lieberman. “There are simple things you can do to create delicious, memorable meals that don’t require a lot of time or money.” He is campaign spokesperson for Del Monte Value without Sacrifice campaign.

He recommends stocking up on canned staples to supplement fresh and frozen foods.

Chipotle Corn Chowder


3 tablespoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil

      Flesh from a 3-to-4 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large onion, diced

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 quart reduced-sodium College Inn® Chicken Broth

      1 can Del Monte® 50% Less Salt Whole Kernel Corn, drained 

2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

5 thyme sprigs

      salt to taste

      black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1   small bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped



1. Heat the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and/or squash and onion and cook 5 minutes.

2. Add the flour and stir into the onion and pumpkin. Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring all the while. Add the corn, chipotle peppers, cream, and thyme and bring to a simmer.

3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin/squash is fork tender but not falling apart.

4. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in most of the cilantro leaves, reserving some for garnish.

5. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the remaining cilantro leaves.


Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Cooking Time:  20 Minutes
Servings: 8-10

Soup's on: what to do with the leftover roast

Bean soup for a chilly day

Recently we had a delicious and meaty pork roast for dinner, but with lots of pork left I needed to find a fresh way to serve up leftovers. Pulled pork sandwiches are terrific, but so is a hearty soup.

With the weather turning cooler, a perfect solution for meat leftovers is a stockpot full of comforting and healthy soup. This Two Bean Soup is nutritious and easy to make, has a little kick to it, and takes care of those leftovers.

I keep beans - dried and canned -as well as chicken stock as a pantry staple, so there is no extra shopping to be done.  I used leftover pork as a base for my soup, but you could easily substitute leftover chicken or roast beef. 

If all the ingredients aren't on hand, substitutions are fine. 

No beans? Use a combination of vegetables - carrots, peas, corn, diced potatoes, coarsely chopped tomatoes, celery, string beans, etc.  All of these ingredients can be bought fresh in the farmers market and frozen or canned for later use also.

No herbs of Provence? Substitute cilantro or basil. You can grow these herbs all year around in a sunny kitchen window garden too. A splash of Tabasco or a pinch of cayenne pepper can add a bit of heat in the absence of fresh Poblano chiles.


Two Bean Soup

Serves 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 Poblano chile, cored and diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, diced

1 teaspoon herbs of Provence

1 cup of  pork, cubed

6 cups chicken stock

1 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 16-ounce can Canellini beans, rinsed and drained


In a stockpot, saute chile, garlic, and onion until soft. Add herbs, pork, chicken stock and kidney beans. Simmer for at least two hours to marry the flavors. 

Serve with French bread croutons.

Cool Spring days are perfect for soups


While some may argue that soup as a meal is best served during the colder months, I find soups to be a food for all seasons.

My favorite season for soups is winter, but spring is ideal for soup too. And this spring, with its wet and chilly days, has provided plenty of inspiration. 

On weekends, I like to make stock so that I can quickly and easily prepare different soups during the week - from broccoli to roasted corn to pumpkin.

This week I made both cream of broccoli soup and cream of roasted corn soup using pre-prepared stock. You can use a good store-bought stock if you're pressed for time, but nothing is quite as flavorful or satisfying as a homemade chicken, beef or vegetable stock.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

3 cups of warm chicken stock

1 large head of broccoli, steamed until tender

1/4 stick of butter

1/2 cup half and half 

salt and pepper to taste


In a large blender, puree broccoli with chicken stock until smooth. Then add butter, pulsing until thoroughly blended. Blend in the half and half, then serve warm, reheating as necessary. 

Or, if desired, chill and serve.

Serves 4.