By Jenny Stauffer

Aahhh, Fall is finally here! With the early warm temperatures, I personally could not be more ready for fall this year. Fall is probably my most very favorite time of the year. Football, the fall festivals and the fair, eating dinner on the deck…I could go on and on! I like to think of fall as the introduction to so many fun times and memories to be made, from the start of school, to Halloween and Thanksgiving, to finally the countdown to Christmas.

Guess what my favorite fall and winter once-a-week meal is? Soup! Every one of us loves soup, and I love that they are full of healthy ingredients that my kids devour. I am lucky that even my picky eater loves soup.

Here are some of our favorite soups. You can also look back in the recipe directory to reference previous posts. I’m all about easy and flavorful, so maybe you will find something the will please your family. What is your favorite soup? Do your kids enjoy it as much as ours?

Lighter Lasagna Soup

This is really yummy! Our kids loved it, and I loved the taste of lasagna in a MUCH easier form! If you use the frozen veggie crumbles, you just add those at the end! My kids can’t tell the difference.
Adapted from the Deen Brothers

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed, OR Morningstar Grillers Crumbles
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is crumbled and browned, 8 – 10 minutes.

Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in mozzarella, basil, and the Parmesan. Serve with the breadsticks, if using. (whole-wheat lasagna noodles take a little longer to cook.)

Photo from

My Easy Chili

I have been making this since college, so you know it’s easy! I do cheat with a seasoning mix. I have gotten away from most seasoning packages, but I do love this recipe, so I am going to stick to it!

1 package of mild Chili seasoning, I use McCormick.
1 pkg lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
2 cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans kidney beans, undrained
2 small cans tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste, add a little at a time until chili is as thick as you want

I add the following seasonings:
-i tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder (truly, I eyeball this and taste as I go, but this is close to my measurements)

Brown the beef, drain as needed. Add all ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for an hour or longer. Check seasonings and adjust as needed. Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and any other accompaniment. Sometimes, I might add some beer or a hershey kiss, or both! The base of this is really pretty good, so I can experiment as I wish, and you can, too!

Lemon-Orzo Soup

Recipe & photo source:

This is a Greek soup that is so comfy and flavorful. I have made it several times, and my husband likes that it is similar to Chicken Noodle soup, but as he said, “better”. It just has more flavor going on and the touch of creaminess is delish. There are some steps, but they are NOT hard, I promise! It’s lemon flavor is bright, and guess what? It’s healthy, too!

7 cups chicken broth
1 cube chicken bouillon
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
11/2 cups diced chicken
2 T butter
2 T all purpose flour
3 large eggs
4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
In a large saucepan, combine broth, bouillon, carrots, celery and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice and vegetables are tender. Add orzo and cook until tender. Stir in chicken. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in 2 cups of the broth, cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in lemon juice and 2 cups of reserved broth (****Add SLOWLY, so as to temper the eggs. You want to gently warm them, so do not dump all 2 cups of hot broth in, or you will scramble the eggs!!) Slowly add egg mixture to the rest of the broth mixture in the large saucepan. Stir constantly. Heat gently until soup is thick enough to coat a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taster.

Lentil and Sausage Soup

Recipe and Photo Source:

Oh, my goodness, this is so delicious! And because you puree all of the vegetables, except the spinach, your little one will not see one speck of tomato, carrot or celery! You could even leave the spinach out, if you wanted to. The smoked paprika gives it the, well, the smoky flavor and the sausage is a tasty addition. This is both hearty and healthy, which is a winning combination! 16 oz. lentils

1 medium carrot, peeled & cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tomato, quartered & seeded
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
4 links mild Italian sausage, casings removed (I use turkey sausage)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
Salt and pepper

Place lentils in a strainer and rinse well with water. Pour the lentils into a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Add 1 carrot, celery, tomato, and 2 tsp salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the cooking water.

Put half of the lentils and all of the vegetables into a blender. Purée the mixture, adding enough of the cooking liquid (about 3/4 cup), to make it smooth. Put the other half of the lentils into the large saucepan and pour in the lentil purée. Add chicken broth and smoked paprika, and stir well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the Italian sausages to the pan, along with minced garlic cloves and onion. Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon and cook until the onions are starting to brown and the sausage is almost cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Add the sausage mixture to the soup and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups fresh spinach until the sausage is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.