Leave the deep freeze behind with this steamy and stellar selection of winter soups, stews and chilis.

For warm, sweet sips guaranteed to chase away the chills, check out Bite Me More’s top 10 hot chocolate recipes.

Photo: Bite Me More

1. Traditional Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls 

We’ve all heard about Chicken Soup for the Soul books, but how do you cook a book? With this simple and superb recipe for Traditional Chicken Soup, a pot chock full of fresh vegetables, herbs, chicken and of course, tender matzo balls, you’ll have a bestseller in every bowl.


Homemade Chicken Soup

1 (4 lb) whole chicken, well rinsed
8 chicken wings, split, tips removed
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
5 large celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 large bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large bunch of fresh dill
10 black peppercorns
1 tbsp kosher salt

Matzo Balls

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp kosher salt
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup matzo meal


1) For the soup, place the whole chicken and chicken wings in a very large soup pot. Fill with enough cold water to cover the chicken and fill the pot to 3/4 full. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim off the foam that accumulates on the top. Reduce heat to a simmer and add carrots, celery, parsnips, onion, garlic, parsley, dill, peppercorns and salt. Return to a boil, reduce heat and cover, simmering gently for 2 hours. Remove lid and continue to simmer for 1 hour.

2) Strain the soup into another pot through a very fine sieve or a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Shred the meat from the chicken breast and put it in the strained soup or save for another time. Discard the remaining chicken and solids.

3) Salt the soup to taste. Cool soup and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface (the easiest way is to refrigerate the soup overnight and then discard solidified fat from the surface). Serve hot with shredded chicken, matzo balls and/or cooked egg noodles.

4) For the matzo balls, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Whisk in matzo meal just until combined. Cover mixture lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour until slightly firm.

5) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove matzo ball mixture from refrigerator. Gently roll a heaping tablespoon of the matzo mixture into balls too much pressure when rolling the balls will make them too hard. Add to boiling water, cover and reduce heat to low, simmering until doubled in size, 25-30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to prepared soup.

Yield: 20-24 matzo balls Serves 10-12

Photo: Bite Me More

2. Pasta Fagioli Soup

This recipe for Pasta Fagioli Soup was, at one time, called Pasta FaJulie as I endlessly begged Lisa to create it for me. You see, I’m a sucker for classic Italian dishes, especially this hearty soup of pasta, beans and vegetables. Scrumptious and heartwarming spoonful after spoonful, this soup doesn’t disappoint.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 cups chicken broth
1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
¾ cup dry pasta (small shape, such as mini shells macaroni)
1½ cups canned white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots, cook 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and tin of diced tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3) After soup has cooked for 20 minutes, add white kidney beans and chickpeas, simmering partially covered for 10 minutes.

4) Remove 2 cups of bean soup and place in food processor. Puree, return to soup pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add cooked pasta, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper, simmering 5 minutes. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Photo: Bite Me More

3. Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

If Andy Warhol had tasted our deeply flavored roasted tomato soup, we’re confident he would have chosen it over the bland canned variety. We can picture the canvas…bowl after bowl of velvety, steaming tomato puree topped with crispy mini grilled-cheese croutons…a comfort-food masterpiece that’ll be remembered long past 15 minutes.


Roasted Tomato Soup

2 (28oz/796ml) cans diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Grilled Cheese Croutons

4 slices white bread
2 tbsp margarine
2 slices cheddar cheese


1) Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Strain tomatoes, reserving their juices in a medium bowl. Spread strained tomatoes on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Roast in oven for 15 minutes.

2) While the tomatoes are roasting, in a large soup pot, heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, cooking until softened, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat. Over high heat, add the roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer, cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

3) Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and puree the soup (using a hand held or countertop blender) until smooth. Stir in 2 tbsp butter and chopped basil.

4) For the croutons, spread margarine on both sides of bread slices. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and place 2 slices in the pan. Top each with 1 slice of cheese and place remaining bread slices on the cheese. Cook for 2 minutes, until underside is golden brown, flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from pan, cooling a few minutes before slicing. Cut into 1-inch squares and sprinkle a small handful on each bowl of soup.

Serves 10-12

Photo: Bite Me More

4. Roasted Sweet Potato, Parsnip And Apple Soup

How do you pump up the flavor in your soup? Roast the vegetables, as evidenced in this extremely easy and tasty Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Apple Soup. The sweetness of the roasted potatoes and parsnips, combined with intense apple cider and mild shallots, creates a hearty and delicious soup that is guaranteed to deliver satisfying spoon after spoon.


6 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup parsnips, peeled and cubed
¼ cup chopped shallots
2 small garlic gloves, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground cumin

7 cups vegetable broth
1½ cups apple cider

2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Granny Smith apple, chopped for garnish
Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish


1) Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes, parsnips, shallots, garlic, olive oil, ½ tsp salt and cumin together. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and roast 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2) In a large soup pot, bring vegetable broth and apple cider to a boil over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and using a handheld or countertop blender, puree until smooth. Return to soup pot over medium heat and stir in butter, ¼ tsp salt and pepper. Garnish each soup bowl with diced apple and parsley.

Serves 6

Photo: Bite Me More

5. Easy Ramen Noodle Soup

Think ramen is just for college kids? Think again because this easy Ramen Noodle Soup recipe elevates a student staple to a family favorite. Quick to whip up, a flavorful chicken broth (thanks to the addition of ginger, garlic, soy and sake) is loaded with noodles and bok choy, completing the leap from dorm to family kitchen.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup sake
¼ cup soy sauce
10 cups chicken broth
8oz ramen noodles
½ lb baby bok choy, washed and thinly sliced
½ lime, juiced

Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish


1) Place a soup pot over medium heat with olive oil. Add onion, carrots, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add sake and stir to deglaze pan for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce and cook, stirring 1 minute. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

2) While the soup is simmering, cook ramen noodles according to package directions, until just tender. Rinse and drain noodles. Add ramen noodles and baby bok choy to simmering soup. Simmer 5-10 minutes more. Stir in lime juice and ladle into bowls, garnishing with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Photo: Bite Me More

6. Simple Beef Chili

This Blazing Beef and Bean Chili is hot stuff. A dynamite mix of chili powder, red pepper flakes and cayenne, mingled with intense cocoa powder, sweet tomatoes, fiber-rich beans and well-seasoned meat, it can rival any Lone Star chili joint. In a big bowl or piled atop a hot dog or fries, this one is a Chilympic winner.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium white onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2½ lbs ground beef

1 (28oz) tin diced tomatoes
1 (5.5oz) tin tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2½ cups canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced jalapeno pepper
Corn tortillas


1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and stir often, cooking 4 minutes. Add diced red pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cocoa powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute to combine spices, stirring continuously. Add the ground beef and cook 10 minutes until no longer pink. Break beef up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes more.

2) Serve topped with sour cream, cheddar on Monterey Jack cheese, sliced jalapeño and/or fried tortilla strips (cut corn tortillas into thin strips, fry in 1-inch of oil for 1-2 minutes and season with a little salt).

Serves 8-10

Photo: Bite Me More

7. Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili

We’re crazy for quinoa. While you might scoff at jumping on the quinoa bandwagon, there’s nothing new (think: 4,000 years old) about this Super Grain. Not only does it pack a nutritional punch (protein and amino acids and anti-aging, Oh My!), but this glorious grain also serves as the foundation for this easy, scrumptious Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili. Tender sweet potatoes, carrots, celery and red peppers are simmered along with cumin, chili powder and cayenne to create a most flavorful, satisfying meal-in-a-bowl.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1(15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups tomato sauce
1(28oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Cubed avocado, for garnish


1) Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

2) For the chili, in a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa, black beans, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and lime juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley and avocado.

Serves 12

Photo: Bite Me More

8. Irish Beef Stew

Chef Lisa is our lucky charm—she has filled our pot with gold, Guinness gold. This classic Irish Beef Stew recipe is jam-packed with tender chunks of beef, carrot, turnip, potato and parsnip. Flavored with wine, Guinness and beef broth, this unbelievably hearty stew has us clicking our heels like the Lord of the Dance.


3 1/2 lbs. stewing beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp canola oil
4 cups diced yellow onion
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1 cup diced celery
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 dried bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
1 1/3 cups dry red wine
1 1/3 cups Guinness
4 cups beef broth
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes


1) Place beef in a large bowl and toss with flour, 3/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tbsp canola oil over medium -high heat. Add meat in a single layer, browning it in batches if your pot isn’t big enough. Brown meat on all sides 5-6 minutes until a good crust forms. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining beef. Wipe out pot when finished browning.

2) In the same pot, heat 1 tbsp canola oil over medium-high. Add onions, mushrooms, celery and garlic, stirring occasionally and cooking 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Add browned beef, red wine and Guinness. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Add beef broth, turnips, potatoes and parsnips. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour.

Serves 10-12


Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.