soup Archives - Birdseed Kitchen

What to Cook When It’s Just Too Damn Cold (Recipe Roundup)

a composite of warm meals for cold weather

It’s cold. SO. VERY. COLD.

Like, eyeball-freezing cold. Why-does-nature-hate-the-humans cold. It’s been negative-something-ridiculous for days here in Central Illinois. I get it: it’s winter, so what did we expect? But it’s like we’re having ALL the winter at once. Oof.

It’s too damn cold.

A lot of the U.S. has been locked in this deep-freeze together, but for the entire eastern seaboard, from Florida to New England, last week was a lot worse. The region was hit with what weather professionals call a “bomb cyclone.”

I’m sure you’re wondering, as I was, “What the heck is a bomb cyclone?” If you’ll allow me to “nerd out” for a minute, the technical term for this weather phenomenon is explosive cyclogenesis, or bombogenesis. It happens when the central barometric pressure of a storm system drops VERY quickly, allowing the system to gain a large amount of energy, and thus, precipitation and strong winds. Like, snowfall rates of up to 3 inches AN HOUR. Accompanied by 50-80 mph winds. Yikes. New York got ten inches in one day.

It’s shaping up to be a long, cold winter, and it’s only January. So I hope you are someplace warm. And if you feel like making something HOT to eat, these recipes are just what you need. I hope there is something to please just about everyone here, including meals that require only basic pantry ingredients if you’re snowed in, plenty of soups and stews, and recipes that are simply a good excuse to crank up your stove or oven.

And if you’re considering snuggling onto the sofa with a hot bowl of something, you’ll want to check out this genius sewing pattern I just encountered: a SOUP BOWL COZY. Apparently, I’m into both being cozy, and creating cozies. These quick little crafts will hold your hot bowl of soup in style while you’re book-reading, binge-watching, or just waiting for spring. I’m totally making them for gifts next year in all the nerdy fabrics.

Ready? Let’s WARM THINGS UP!

Turkey Sweet Potato Cashew Curry

Turkey and Sweet Potato Cashew Curry

This velvety, sweet-sour-spicy, umami-rich Turkey and Sweet Potato Cashew Curry has all the right Thai flavors and spices to chase the chills away. It’s delicious over hot jasmine or basmati rice.


Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese - The Organic Kitchen |

Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Linda at The Organic Kitchen must be feeling my brainwaves from across the Internet, because I’m usually thinking about bread, cheese, and fig jam at some point in the day. That’s about all you need to make this Brie and Fig Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I have orange cardamom fig jam in the fridge RIGHT NOW, but I’m taking a break from refined sugar this January, so this toasty, cheesy beauty will have to wait!


Authentic Posole -

Authentic Posole

This Authentic Posole recipe from Souper Chef Deb at Bowl Me Over simmers for about 4 hours. That pork is going to be SUPER tender. And, it’s going to warm up your kitchen all day. I LOVE hominy, slow-cooked pork, and all of these flavors, so this fragrant Mexican stew is on my list this January!


30-Minute Minestrone Soup -

30 Minute Minestrone Soup

Hina’s 30 Minute Minestrone Soup from Fun FOOD and Frolic uses a lot of ingredients you probably have in your pantry, and a few clever tips – like using pasta water to thicken the soup. Great tip! This veggie-rich soup would be a great option if you’re snowed in, or if it hurts your face too much to go outside.


Braised Short Ribs -

Braised Short Ribs

We love short ribs in my house. They are a fairly inexpensive cut of meat that transforms miraculously in a dutch oven into a fork-tender delight. Kelly Anthony of The Anthony Kitchen braises her ribs in a red wine sauce with mushrooms and fresh herbs. Pass the mashed potatoes!


Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef

Smoked Sirloin Chili

If you’re into thick, hearty, meaty chili, this one’s for you. The ground beef is briefly smoked for added flavor.


Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup -

Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup

I’m a firm believer that, if you have a can of coconut milk and some curry paste on hand, you have most of what you need for a great meal! This Vegan Thai Green Curry Soup from Fun FOOD and Frolic would be quick to make on a cold weeknight.


Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup -

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Neil from Neil’s Healthy Meals created this veggie-rich, ginger-spiked Carrot and Sweet Potato soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, soups like this one are a good reason to pick one up. Sautée aromatics. Simmer veggies. Blend. Your healthy soup options have just expanded exponentially!


Mulligatawny Soup -

Easy Mulligatawny Soup

According to Helene’s recipe on, Mulligatawny soup “doesn’t have any special rules.” If you haven’t had this British-Indian soup, it couldn’t be easier to get started than with this recipe.


Thukpa Tibetan Chicken Noodle Soup -

Thukpa Tibetan Chicken Noodle Soup

Helene D’Souza describes Tibetan Thukpa as “usually made with chicken, veggies and noodles. What gives it the little extra is the addition of some soy sauce with lemon juice.”


Roasted Pumpkin Cream Soup with Crispy Chickpeas -

Roasted Pumpkin Cream Soup with Crispy Chickpeas

Okay, you had me at “crispy chickpeas”, but I also love a good creamy pumpkin soup. And this one from Vibrant Plate includes some GREENS, too.


Vietnamese Beef Stew -

One-Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew

Lucy from Supergolden Bakes shared this One-Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew. I can’t imagine how great this smells while it simmers on the stove.


Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew (Kimchi Jjigae) -

Spicy Kimchi Tofu Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)

My colleague at work brings delicious lunches, and Kimchi Jjigae is one of them. I’m a newcomer to kimchi, but I’m down for anything that looks as stunning as this recipe from Pups With Chopsticks.


Roasted Hatch Green Chile Pork Stew -

Roasted Hatch Green Chile Pork Stew

I did not know that the Hatch Green Chile, a hot chile from New Mexico, has such a devoted following. This stew from Flavor Mosaic makes great use of them!


Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon and Cheddar -

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon and Cheddar

This classic creamy potato soup from Savory Tooth reminds me a lot of a classic chowder. And then, it adds BACON and CHEESE. This low-carb recipe would also be great the next day… if it last that long.


Spicy Chickpea Kale and Potato Curry -

Spicy Chickpea Kale and Potato Curry

I love a good curry to warm up in the winter, from head to toe. This vibrant curry from Yay for Food (yay!) with chickpeas, kale, and potatoes would do just that. Add some naan or paratha, and dig in.


Brownie Batter Sipping Chocolate -

Brownie Batter Sipping Chocolate

Let’s finish our list off with a little dessert, shall we? I’d like to curl up under a blanket with this luscious hot chocolate drink from Such the Spot any time.


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Smoked Sirloin Chili

Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef

If you’re into thick, hearty, meaty chili, this one’s for you.

The quality of your chili powder is important, so make sure it is fresh and contains a good blend of chilis. I prefer Penzey’s chili powder, which is fairly mild. You could use a hotter chili powder if you prefer. Or, you can try making your own.

Smoked Sirloin Chili - chili with smoked beef

Smoked Sirloin Chili

Course Main Course
Servings 8


  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3 1/2 tbsp chili powder (preferably Penzey's)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder (not sweet)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 15-oz cans Brooks Mild Chili Beans
  • 3 14.5-oz cans Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
  • kosher salt, to taste


  1. Set your smoker for 165 degrees F. Load with wood chips. (I used a combination of apple and pecan.)

  2. On a piece of foil, shape 2 lbs of ground sirloin into a large, round patty, about 1 inch thick. Place foil and meat on your smoker rack, and pierce foil in a few places around the perimeter to ensure that smoke can circulate around the meat.

  3. Smoke patty for 1 hour at 165 degrees F.

  4. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot on medium heat. Add onion. Sauté until it browns a bit, about 10 minutes.

  5. Add chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cocoa powder, and black pepper to onions. Cook about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add brewed coffee and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Allow liquid to reduce until the mixture forms a thick paste. Reduce heat to low until beef is finished smoking.

  6. Crumble beef patty into onion mixture. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp salt.

  7. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least one hour. Season to taste.

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Sauerkraut Kielbasa Soup

vegan sauerkraut kielbasa soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 cups cubed potatoes (yukon gold or red)
1 package Tofurkey Kielbasa – sliced lengthwise, then into 1/2-inch pieces
16 oz sauerkraut, drained (I like Hengstenberg, it’s made with white wine)
10 cups water
3 tbsp + 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken broth concentrate
1/4 tsp ground marjoram
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper, or more to taste

In large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add sliced kielbasa, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boiling, cover, reduce heat and simmer 45-50 minutes (or longer), until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Makes about 12 servings.

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