Mushroom Barley Soup Small Batch for One Person

Mushroom barley soup is right near the top of my “comfort food” list.  I remember my grandma making it when I was little (and she made the best soups).  Sadly, I don’t have grandma’s recipe. She was a taste, toss, and stir sort of cook). Nothing was ever written down! My mom still mourns not having her recipe for pickles.

However, this Tori Avey recipe comes close.  Grandma wouldn’t have used fancy mushrooms, so neither did I, but you can add them if you like.

Grandma was from Poland, and as Tori Avey points out, mushrooms were a popular food there because you could dry them and store them for later use.  Barley also grew well in that climate, and could be dried and stored for the winter when other foods were less plentiful. Mushroom barley soup was popular throughout the whole country, but since observant Jews had dietary restrictions (no mixing milk and meat), there were two versions of this soup. One with just vegetables (which could be eaten with sour cream) and one with meat (more on that below).

There’s no meat in this recipe, but I did use chicken broth.  If you want a vegetarian version, you can substitute mushroom broth or vegetable stock instead.

As is, there’ s not a lot of fancy ingredients, and it’s just the thing for a chilly fall or winter day when all you want to do is snuggle inside a warm blanket in front of a fireplace. And you haven’t got a fireplace!

Also, since I’m lazy about pot cleaning, I simplified it. Only one pot! Not two or three. And I made fewer servings, because 8 is too much!




Mushroom Barley Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken
  • add upscale dried or fresh mushrooms, such as shiitake or chanterelle
  • try it with flanken (short ribs, or spare ribs cut sideways with little oval bones)
  • deglaze the pan with a bit of sherry or white wine before adding the broth




More Mushroom Recipes

pork tenderloin with mushrooms and sour creamPork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

Prepared with a rich, creamy sauce boosted by the bite of Dijon mustard and piquant capers —both of which complement the pork beautifully. Fancy enough for guests. Simple enough for an ordinary Tuesday.

chicken with mushrooms and tarragonSingle Serving Chicken Recipe with Tarragon and Mushrooms

Tastes like you went to a fancy French restaurant, without the bill at the end of the meal. It’s ready in only 30 minutes. Sop up the buttery rich sauce with some crusty bread.

chicken mushroom skillet recipeChicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe

The perfect answer to “I’m hungry and I want food now!” No marinating, no leaving overnight. And no separate sauce to make. The entire dish comes together in a single pan.

pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and chicken sausagePasta with Broccoli, Mushrooms, and Chicken Sausage

When you’re hungry, pasta is your friend. Meaty mushrooms, sweet chicken sausage, and earthy broccoli are a great combination. Don’t have those exact ingredients? Mix and match with spicier sausage, asparagus, more bell pepper, or sugar snap peas.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup for One Person

I’ve been fighting the creeping crud and nothing helps fight germs better than a big bowl of soup, preferably spicy soup.  This Chinese chicken noodle cabbage soup is perfect. The spicy broth clears the sinuses, the garlic, ginger and chili sauce have antibiotic qualities, and it tastes good too.

I adapted the recipe from a recipe I found on Epicurious.  It’s not just smaller quantities though. My version has less sugar, and is a bit spicier (I wanted the heat more than sweetness). Gotta fight those germs!  Also, since I didn’t have tahini handy (and wouldn’t want to buy it just for this), I ditched that and used peanut butter instead.  I didn’t have seasoned rice vinegar either, so I substituted the regular kind. Their recipe cooked the chicken by boiling it in the soup.  I decided I wanted more complex, caramelized flavor, so I cooked it with the cabbage.  And, since I didn’t have sherry I reasoned that since sherry was essentially fortified wine, that some red wine and a drizzle of honey would work just fine. It did!

This is enough for one generous serving, or two smaller ones, depending on how hungry you are.




Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Substitutions and Variations

  • Add some sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or snow peas to the soup (when you cook the cabbage and scallions)
  • Substitute bok choy for the cabbage
  • Want it spicier? Drizzle the finished soup with some sriracha or more chili garlic sauce
  • Go with the original recipe and use the tahini instead of the peanut butter
  • Like it less spicy?  Use sriracha in the recipe instead of the chili garlic sauce

Chinese Chicken Noodle Cabbage Soup Ingredients

Huy Fong Sauce Chili Garlic

This is great for lots of recipes: put it in Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, chili citrus chicken thighs, sesame noodles, or add a kick to scrambled eggs or meatloaf. Or, mix it into mayonnaise for chili aioli.

Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle
Marukan Organic Rice Vinegar 12 oz bottle

This is just about essential for Asian cooking. Use it in this recipe, or for an Asian cole slaw. Baste meat with it, or combine it with some soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and scallions for a quick dipping sauce.


Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle
Napa Valley Naturals Organic Toasted Sesame Oil 12.7 oz bottle

Another essential for Asian cooking, great for salad dressings, shrimp, or teriyaki. Use it in Chinese cucumber salad, or saute it with some spinach.

 

More Asian Recipes

sichuan chinese chicken and eggplant with garlic sauceSichuan Chinese Chicken and Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

No takeout? No problem. Make this spicy chicken with ingredients you probably already have around.

 

spicy sesame noodlesSpicy Sesame Noodles Recipe for One Person

Another takeout classic, which you can easily make yourself.  Some recipes call for non-standard household ingredients like tahini or sesame paste. Great, but not necessarily available everywhere. But, lots of us have peanut butter! Use that instead. Then slurp up the noodles.

spicy beef noodle soupSpicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

This is practically instant soup. Just dump, pour, heat, and eat. The whole thing takes 10 minutes if you have cooked leftover beef.

 

szechuan chili noodlesSzechuan Chili Noodles Recipe

Like dan dan noodles? This version is much easier, with more readily available ingredients. Make the chili oil, make the noodles, toss in the veggies, and mix it all together.

 




Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)

I should probably refer to this pasta e fagioli soup as “blizzard soup.” The forecast called for up to 20 inches of snow (though we only got seven).  I was determined to keep the stove going and get a batch of hot soup. Besides, there is more snow coming tomorrow!

Therefore, I deliberately made this the “hard” way.  First, I soaked the beans overnight.  Then I cooked the beans and sort of followed a recipe from The New York Times.  I cut it in  half and added pancetta (don’t know why they left that out).

I even made my own vegetable stock.  If you spot potatoes and carrots in the photo, it’s because they were in the homemade vegetable stock recipe .   Neither one is traditional for pasta e fagioli soup, but I left them in anyway. Why toss perfectly good veggies? I didn’t include them in the recipe here though.




You can use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you prefer. I would  have made chicken stock but I didn’t have enough chicken bones. And I certainly wasn’t going out to get some in a blizzard!

Don’t be put off by the long prep time on this recipe.  That includes soaking the beans overnight. You can speed this up by using my quick soak method. That cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to only one.

If you’re really in a hurry, and don’t have the time or patience to soak and cook the beans for an hour or more, use a can of white canellini beans instead. Make the rest of the soup, then add the can of beans.  Just cook them long enough to heat through.

Substitutions and Variations for Pasta e Fagioli Soup

  • Save time and use canned beans
  • Try different kinds of beans: pinto, kidney, or cranberry
  • Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock
  • Use bacon or pork fat instead of pancetta (I even used soppressata salami once)
  • Add one potato (cut into chunks) to the soup
  • Chop up a handful of spinach and add that with the pasta

More White Bean and Soup Recipes

Lentil Bean Sausage Soup

Moroccan Chicken and Bean Soup

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

White Bean Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

 




Curried Chicken Soup

Fight the cold weather (and winter germs) with some curried chicken soup.  If you’re sick, the hot soup and the spiciness of the curry will help cut through the congestion and make you feel better!  If you’re healthy, you can enjoy the full flavor!

This soup is pretty low maintenance, there’s not a lot of active work involved. Just chop the veggies, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and let it simmer. And, for soup, it’s ready fairly quickly. It only takes a little over an hour to cook.  I’ve been fighting a lingering cough, so I needed soup. Specifically soup with curry or something spicy to cut through the congestion and fight those germs! So I turned to the Silver Palate Cookbook and made curried chicken soup.  I think it’s working.

The original recipe says to use peas and defrost them first. I didn’t have any peas handy, so I used broccoli instead.  Also, in this case, I don’t think that defrosting first is really necessary. Frozen veggies cook fairly quickly, unless they’re all stuck together in the box.




Making this soup is much easier (and less messy) if you have a stick blender. Just put the blender in the soup, press the button, and puree it. Otherwise, you’ll need to strain it, put the solids in a standing blender or food processor and then add some cooking liquid. Full instructions are in the recipe.

If you have the hand blender, this soup requires very little effort.  Cut up the vegetables, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and just let it cook.

I’ve cut the original recipe in half, so it makes 2-3 servings instead of 4-6.  Eat one right away and freeze (or save) the rest for another day.

More Curry and Curried Soup Recipes

one person chicken curryEasy Chicken Curry Recipe

All you need for a great dinner is a few basic ingredients, a single pan, and fifteen minutes.

 

easy canned tuna curryEasy Canned Tuna Curry

A simple can of tuna, transformed into a meal.  Only takes a few minutes too. Dump, heat, and eat.

 

curried butternut squash soup with applesCurried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Perfect for fall, with apples, sweet West Indian curry, and butternut squash.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

You probably didn’t expect Jewish and curry together, but there it is.  Ginger, onions, and cardamom make this dish aromatic, warm,  flavorful, not spicy.

 




Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

There’s nothing better and more comforting than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends when squash are plentiful. I had quite a bit of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up.   I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook, with a few tweaks.

First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings.  Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!).  I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe. This gives it more flavor than just plain apple juice.

One more note, I recommend that you use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the flavor of the squash and the apples). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly. If you can’t get the curry, try a teaspoon of ginger and a teaspoon of brown sugar.




Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples

Cuisinart  Immersion Hand Blender

cuisinart hand blenderThe original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot.

Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean.  The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too.  You just pop off the end and wash it.

 

Chief West Indian Curry Powder

Flavorful, but not too hot, this curry blend comes straight from Trinidad.  It works well with butternut squash, a quick chicken curry, or over some cauliflower or roasted potatoes.

Oxo Swivel Peeler

Butternut squash is notoriously hard to peel, but this gadget makes the job a snap. Using this peeler, peeling a squash is no harder than peeling a carrot.

The little hole in the pointed end is great for removing the eyes from potatoes, or taking out bruised spots from veggies.  Oxo was originally designed for people with arthritis, so the handle is soft, round, and easy to grip.

More Butternut Squash Recipes

butternut squash brown sugar vanilla

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Vanilla

This is definitely a vegetable. Just look at it. It’s got squash right? Well, make it yourself, and close your eyes. You’ll swear it’s a dessert.

 

butternut squash cream sauce pastaButternut Squash Cream Sauce Recipe for One Person

Use up the remaining squash from your soup and make this creamy, rich sauce. It’s both sweet and savory, and absolutely wonderful over pasta.

 

roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squashRoasted Cinnamon Nutmeg Butternut Squash

Warm cinnamon and sweet squash are a wonderful side dish for fall. Great with a a roast turkey or chicken.

 

 

 




Easy Italian Wedding Soup

I’m not Italian, so don’t hit me if this easy Italian wedding soup recipe isn’t authentic. It is, however, quick and satisfying.

There are plenty of recipes out there that require over an hour to make and a long list of ingredients. Sure there are times when I’m perfectly happy to spend an hour or more making soup, but there are other times when I’m hungry and I don’t want to wait!

This soup recipe goes from start to finish in about fifteen minutes.  It hardly even requires cooking at all.  Just dump, pour, and heat and you’ve got a fast, easy soup. It’s great when  you don’t feel like fussing.

Besides, something about soup is just comforting, especially on a chilly day.

All you need are a few simple ingredients: meatballs (frozen are fine, or make them ahead), chicken broth, a can of white kidney (cannellini) beans, parmesan cheese and some spinach.




 

I had some chopped beef to use up the day I made the soup, so I whipped up a few meatballs  with some onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, and oregano.  You can use pre-made or purchased frozen ones if you like, it will turn out just fine! If you do buy meatballs, I recommend the Trader Joe’s party meatballs.

Also, there was a bit of cabbage left in the fridge, too little to do much of anything with, so I added that in too for some extra vitamins.

Substitutions and Variations for Easy Italian Wedding Soup

  • Use chicken to make your meatballs
  • Add some cooked sausage
  • Saute some garlic and add that to the soup
  • Use garbanzo beans instead of white kidney beans

More Soup Recipes

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup for One

Easy Ham and Lentil Soup for One Person

Quick Caldo Verde Soup

Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Small Batch)