My 5 All-time Favorite Fall Homemade Soup Recipes

By Katrina Aceret, ASU Nutrition Communication Student

Fall has arrived, meaning time to cook homemade soups! I’m not a big fan of cooking soup out of the can and I just love how versatile you can make homemade soups.

Below are my favorite fall homemade soups. All the recipes are modified to my preferences, I always put a little cayenne pepper into my soups, so you’ll see it added to every recipe.


I love The Pioneer Woman, and she has one of my favorite homemade recipes that is really easy to make.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup


  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 4 cups cream
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • ½ cup of mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 pinches of cayenne pepper


Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, and mushroom. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender for 10-15 minutes until tender.

Add chicken and wild rice then 3 cups cream and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add the peas and turn off the heat, add more cream if desired.

Serve once the peas are heated through. Add the two pinches of cayenne pepper and add the shredded cheese.


Pumpkin Soup

You can’t celebrate fall without some pumpkin soup!


  • 2 whole pie pumpkins
  • 1-quart vegetable stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Salt to taste
  • Extra cream, for serving



  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pumpkins on a cookie sheet and roast them until slightly shriveled and soft. Allow to cool slightly, the slice in half and carefully scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop yummy flesh into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a pot, heat up the pumpkin flesh with the stock and maple syrup until simmering. Mash out the big chunks, the transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until velvety smooth. Add cream and nutmeg, then blend again.
  3. Reheat if you need to and serve in a hollowed-out pumpkin.


Tomato Basil Soup

I am obsessed with tomato basil soup during the fall. I binge on it soup every time fall hits!


  • 4 tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 12 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese to garnish



  1. Place tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the tomato mixture along with the basil leaves, and return the puree to the stock pot.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat stirring until the butter is melted. Do not boil.
  3. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese.

Thai Pumpkin Soup with Coconut Milk

If you love pumpkin and coconut, you have to try this soup! I made this for the first time and was impressed with how easy it was!


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled, chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 5 oz coconut milk


  1. Remove the roots and stalk ends from the cilantro. Wash the leaves and dry with paper towel before roughly chopping. Remove any dirt clinging to the roots. Shake off any water and finely chop.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat before adding the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion becomes translucent.
  3. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and cilantro roots and stalks. Cook until the stalk become before adding the pumpkin.
  4. Toss the pumpkin in the oil and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to lower. Cook for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Pour the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add most of the chopped cilantro leaves reserving some to garnish the soup. Blend until the soup is speckled with flecks of green.
  6. Return to a clean saucepan and add the coconut milk. I like to only add half the milk, reserving the rest for garnish. Serve with shaved coconut, and the remaining cilantro leaves.


Stuffed Pepper Soup


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup small yellow onion chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 2 ½ tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain of white or brown rice
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. In a large pot heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat, once hot add beef to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally while breaking up beef, until browned. Drain beef and pour onto a plate lined with papers towels. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in pot then add onions, red bell pepper, green bell pepper and sauté 3 minutes, then add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth and add parsley, basil, oregano and cooked beef, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a light boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
  3. While soup simmers, prepare rice according to directions listed on the package, then once the soup is done simmering stir in the desired amount of cooked rice into soup. Serve warm topped with optional cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.


Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate has a variety of homemade soup recipes too! Their searchable database of recipes with help you find a favorite.

Posted in Cooking, Fall, Food, Grocery, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

9 Black Friday Shopping Tips

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

When you’re out to get a good deal there should be no stopping you! Black Friday is the one day a year where people can get out and shop unapologetically. Most of the time, people shopping on Black Friday have one thing in mind: Christmas. But don’t be afraid to use the big savings to buy yourself something nice, too!

Whatever you’re shopping for, make sure you have a game plan in place before you head out into the crowds on Friday. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best tips for surviving the Black Friday crowds, and getting the best deals. Good luck out there, and happy shopping!


  1. Research, research, research! Before you dive into the shopping, research the stores you plan to visit, the deals they are offering, and the products you are looking to buy. First, compare the prices of items offered at different stores. A certain store might have a better deal on that must-have thing on your list. Today’s instant access to information and comparison shopping is only a click away. Second, check the ads! Many stores put out their Black Friday ads at least a week before the sale, so take the time to look through and see what the biggest specials will be.
  2. The kids need to stay home. Unless you are shopping with your adult children, leave the kids at home. Black Friday shopping might sound fun to your little ones at first, but after a few hours of walking, standing in line, and hopping from store to store, the complaints will begin. Unfortunately, Black Friday has become known for too much pushing and shoving.
  3. Make a list. Before Black Friday, make a list of the things you’re looking to purchase. First write down all the stores you plan on visiting, and then list the items you want to purchase at each store under the store name. List the items in order of importance so you have a higher chance of getting them first.
  4. Start early. Tons of stores offer discounts and deals a few days before Black Friday. When you do your research, find out which stores are offering these deals, and visit them on Wednesday or Thanksgiving night.
  5. Find the best payment method for you. Instead of using a credit card for your Black Friday purchases, use cash if possible. Set a budget before you head out, and withdraw that exact amount in cash. It will save you from spending more than you have or maxing out your credit card. Just make sure you keep the cash secured in your wallet or purse, and if you are shopping with a purse keep it tightly closed. If you will be able to pay your card off and in full at the time payment is due, then feel free to use your credit card.
  6. Shop with friends. Shopping with friends can be a blast, and in the end, it can help you score the items you wanted. When shopping with a friend, split the store up by departments, and designate departments between yourselves. Share your lists with each other so you can grab the stuff they need while getting what you’re looking for, too. Don’t forget to text your friend to let them know what items you’ve grabbed.
  7. Shop online. If you’re not one for crowds, shopping online might be a better option. Stores sometimes give their best deals online. Lots of brands also start their sales up to a week early on their websites. Plus, don’t forget Cyber Monday that’s designed to lure all of the online shoppers a few days later.
  8. Learn the return policies. If you can’t memorize them all, ask about the store’s return policies at checkout. Some stores change up their policy for Black Friday.
  9. Bring snacks. I am constantly snacking, so this tip is very important to me. You might be waiting in long lines, camping out the night before, or searching each aisle meticulously. This can not only tire you out but make you hungry! Keep a bag of nuts or healthy granola bars on you at all times, and don’t forget a bottle of water.

If you shop right, Black Friday can be a day filled with discounts and deals. Hopefully, these tips make shopping that much easier. If you’ve got any other tips that you use to survive Black Friday, leave them in the comments.

Want to purchase directly from a farmer or rancher instead of the mall, remember Fill Your Plate. We’re your online directory of direct market (retail) farmers and ranchers.

Have fun out there, and good luck!

Posted in Events, Fall, Fun and Games, Holidays, Just For Fun, Money Saving Tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fill Your Plate with these Thanksgiving Blogs

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Let us help take some of your stress away while you’re planning Thanksgiving dinner! Whether you need recipe ideas or cooking tips, we’ve got your back. Use the recipes provided below to create a one-of-a-kind meal for your family and guests, and get inspiration from Arizona-grown products. Read through these blogs and by the end, planning your meal should prove to be stress-free!


  1. Prime Rib Serves up Well on Thanksgiving Too!
  2. Thanksgiving Recipes to Thrill Your Guests
  3. Great Grandma Griffith’s Thanksgiving Stuffing
  4. Arizona Agriculture can Grow Your Thanksgiving Meal!
  5. 4 Creative Uses for Thanksgiving Leftovers
  6. Plan the Perfect Thanksgiving Day Dinner with these Easy Steps
  7. Your Favorite Recipes: Thanksgiving
  8. Thanksgiving Dinner – Arizona Style

If you want more inspiration or recipes, head over to Search the blog for ‘Thanksgiving’, or look under the ‘Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes’ tab; and from me to you: Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Arizona, Fall, Food, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Holidays | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern

Thanksgiving is approaching fast, and whether you’re hosting the entire family or just a few friends, cooking can be a hassle. Putting together a full Thanksgiving meal takes a lot of preparation, and on the day of you might be cooking more than being with your guests. A way to make life easier on yourself around the holidays is to cook dishes that are more simple than traditional dishes.

You’ll impress your guests with your non-traditional Thanksgiving, and enjoy their company instead of slaving away over a stove for hours on end. Here I have a list of my favorite Fill Your Plate recipes that can be used for appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts; I hope you and your Thanksgiving guests enjoy them!


  1. Arizona Cornbread Chili Pie
  2. Orange Coated Yams
  3. Dru’s Special Stuffing
  4. Stuffed Pumpkin
  5. Sweet Corn Casserole
  6. Popping Cranberry Sauce
  7. Lentils and Smoked Turkey
  8. Arizona Rancher’s Prime Rib
  9. Citrus-Marinated Grilled Turkey
  10. Grandma Gertie’s Pumpkin Pie
  11. Grandma Howard’s Apple Pie
  12. Harvest Pumpkin Bars with Icing

Create the tastiest Thanksgiving dinner you and your family have ever had with this non-traditional menu. Check out the recipe section on, as well, for more delicious recipes!

Posted in Cooking, Events, Fall, Fill Your Plate, Food, Grocery, Holidays, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A few Simple Tricks to get even the Pickiest Eaters Eating their Veggies

By Lori Meszaros, Nutrition Communications Student at ASU

Google how to get your kids to eat healthily and you’ll get over 6.5 million results. With all of these brilliant ideas on how to get kids to eat, why are we still struggling to get our kids to make healthy choices?

Psychologists have found that children’s rejection of unfamiliar food is related to what is known as neophobia, a fear or dislike of anything new. Research supports that when your little one refuses to eat, let alone try a vegetable, it stems back to one of the human’s evolutionary adaptations. Ancient humans knew they needed a range of nutrients, but lacked the knowledge of which foods could potentially contain toxins. For children, all food is initially new and possibly dangerous. Their refusal to try something new may seem more pronounced when it comes to not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

 While there are endless things you can do to encourage healthy eating, here are just a few simple tricks research has demonstrated may work for some of the pickiest of eaters.


 Monkey see, monkey do

Kids are notorious for mimicking behavior, and it’s no different for eating. Research has shown that parents who don’t have healthy eating habits themselves struggle to encourage healthy eating habits in their kids. Kids will model their behavior after their peers and parents, and if you’re not eating carrots sticks for a snack, it will be hard to convince your little one to do the same. Start encouraging healthy snacking by eating what your offering, and let your kids start dipping veggie sticks into their favorite dressing. Hummus is a tasty and healthy dip, and so is peanut butter dip.

It’s ok to pay

A recent study published in Journal of Health Economics demonstrated that paying elementary school kids to eat one serving of fruit or vegetables at lunch increased the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed by 80%. The researchers found that even the smallest incentive ($0.05) was enough to get kids to eat the healthy stuff, and even after the incentive was taken away the kids continued to choose healthier options at school.

So why not pay your kids to eat healthy at home? Even celebrities like Heidi Klum have confessed to using these tactics to get their kids to drink smoothies or eat healthy snacks. Trying this approach helps your child acquire the taste for foods they may be reluctant to eat, and research supports that repeated exposure to foods increases their likelihood of acquiring the taste.

Don’t be afraid of the sweet stuff

Humans prefer sweet and salty foods to bitter and sour. Over time we begin to develop tastes for new foods. It has been shown it can take 8-15 times of trying a new food before you accept it, and children are no different.

When offering a new vegetable to your child, start with the sweeter ones like carrots, beets and, sweet peas. Even some varieties of cucumbers are sweet! Another trick is to sprinkle a little sugar or salt on the veggies. This helps enhance flavor, and you don’t need a lot as long as you sprinkle it on just before serving instead of during cooking; that’s because the sugar or salt hits the tongue first, tapping into their preference to eat sweet and salty foods and that will increase the likelihood of your child eating the vegetable.

My own trick– My kids refused to eat salads (this was before I learned about paying them) so I made a simple sweet lemon dressing from lemon, olive oil, Dijon mustard and maple syrup. They turned that down the first few times, so I tried straight honey drizzled over lettuce and cucumbers. They loved it! After eating salads with “honey dressing” for a while I went back to my sweet lemon dressing. No turned up noses or pushed away salad plates anymore. I exposed them enough that they soon liked eating salads.

Start off small

Food waste is a big issue and can cause stress at dinner time. Research has shown that the number one reason parents give in to buying foods their kids prefer over more nutritious foods is because of food waste. Offering smaller “samples” of new food can help reduce the amount of food your child wastes.

Serving sizes can be confusing. A simple guide to fruits and vegetables is ¼ cup is roughly the size of an egg, ½ cup is the size of half a baseball and 1 cup is the size of a baseball. A serving of broccoli for a child is about 5 florets, for carrots, a serving is about 6 baby carrots or 1 medium carrot. Offering them just one broccoli floweret or one baby carrot to start developing their taste is a good start and better than them not eating vegetables at all.

Make food fun

Pinterest has great ideas to make cute food, but who has the time to get that creative for every meal? So let them eat with their hands or make an entire meal that has to be eaten with tooth picks. Kids love eating with their hands and sometimes they may need to touch the food before they’ll consider eating it.

Eating with your hands is practiced in many cultures around the world, and can make meal time more fun and a positive experience when they feel like they get to ‘play’ with their food. Of course, there is a time and place for table manners, but when exploring new foods, letting your kids use their hands may actually encourage them to try something they would normally just push aside with their fork.

If you liked this article:

Picky Eaters

Feeding Picky Toddlers

My Kid Won’t Eat That



Connell PM, Finkelstein SR, Scott ML & Vallen B. Helping lower income parents reduce the risk of food waste resulting from children’s aversion to healthier food options: Comment on Daniel. Soc Sci Med. 2016;150:286-289.


Daniel C. Economic constraints on taste formation and the true cost of healthy eating. Soc Sci Med. 2016;148:34-41.


Loewenstein G, Price J & Volpp K. Habit formation in children: Evidence from incentives for healthy eating. J Health Econ. 2016;45:47-54.



Posted in Cooking, Food, Food Facts, Fruit, Grocery, Health Tips, Healthy Eating, Kids, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment