Cooking 101: Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan

28 04 2010

Big post incoming. Go grab yourself some coffee and settle in.

Since this photo blogging cooking thing seems to be going around the interwebs I thought I might share a few of my favorite recipes with you. We will begin with Chicken (or Eggplant) Parmesan. I’m making this for a meeting the next night as this dish works really well for meals you need to prepare ahead of time. You cook it halfway and then refrigerate. When you’re ready to eat just heat in the oven.

It’s a very tasty recipe and easy to make, though it tends to be a mess and tends to use quite a few dishes in the process. Just something to keep in mind 🙂

First off, I’d like to share 2 things I’ve found to be necessary in any cooking endeavor.

An Apron

And a lovely beverage. My beverage happened to be juice, but anything you enjoy will do. Cooking is hard work!


  • Chicken Breasts (Cutlets or Butterflys, we’ll discuss this later) or Eggplant or both as desired. I used one smallish eggplant which made 4 slices and 5 chicken breasts wich made 3 large and 4 small servings.
  • Spaghetti sauce. I used Prego Three Cheese, but anything you like will be fine.
  • Bread Crumbs. I used Progresso Italian Seasoned. Again, any kind you like will work, though if you use Plain you’ll want to season it yourself or else your breading will be very bland (basil, parsley, and some grated parmesan cheese should work well). For this batch I used about 1 1/2 cups
  • Shredded Cheese, not pictured. I like mozzarella, but any white Italian cheese, works great (you can use a blend too).
  • Spaghetti. Any strand-like pasta will work
  • Eggs. For this batch I needed 3 eggs
  • Flour. For this batch I needed about a cup
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Oil (not pictured)

Chicken Prep

First we will prep the dredging mixes

Get yourself 3 bowls, wide and flat works better than tall and skinny. In the first bowl put your flour. No matter how big of a batch you’re making you’ll want at least 3/4 of a cup of flour, just so there’s enough to dredge your chicken/eggplant easily. In the second bowl, put your eggs and give them a good beating. In the last bowl put your bread crumbs. Same as the flour, you’ll want plenty in the bowl to work with.

Next, you want to season each bowl with some salt and pepper, I don’t really measure but if I had to guess I’d say it’s about 2 tsp of each in the eggs and breadcrumbs and maybe 3 in the flour. The trick to making this dish taste really good is to season at each step. You don’t have to overload, it’ll just taste like salt, but if you don’t season everything you can wind up with really good chicken, but bland breading (or the other way around!). Give each bowl a good mix to incorporate the salt and pepper.

At this point, if you have any jewelry on, you might want to take it off. I usually don’t take my bracelets off, but the rings can get really nasty.

Get out a large cutting board and your chicken. Trim off the fat and the little flappy thing that I’m holding out in the picture, they should look like this:

At this point you have 2 options for prepping your chicken breasts. Butterflys or Cutlets. A whole chicken breast is too thick for this dish; the breadcrumbs will burn before the chicken gets cooked all the way through. For both options, place the chicken breast flat on your cutting board. Put your left (or non cutting hand) on top and be sure to keep your fingers up and on top of the chicken breast. I find that tucking my thumb and pinky under the other three fingers prevents a lot of cuts. With your knife parallel to the board slice through the chicken breast about half way up the side, using long strokes. After each stroke you may need to open up the chicken to properly reposition the knife. To make a butterfly, leave a little bit still attached on the side and open it up so that it lays flat. For cutlets, just cut all the way through. Since this takes 2 hands I was unable to take photos of the process, but here’s the finished product:

Next, though I didn’t get a picture, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Eggplant Prep

This is fairly simple. Trim off the stem and the end and cut into slices about 1 1/2 inches thick. I like to cut on a bias (about 45 degrees) as it will make the slices a little closer to “chicken-breast” size. If you cut on a bias, you’ll have 2 little wedges from the ends leftover, you can use them if you like, but I just threw them out as the breading doesn’t stick very well to the skin of the eggplant.


The trick to easy dredging is to switch hands. You’ll need a “wet” hand and a “dry” hand. If you use the same hand for each stage you wind up breading your fingers over and over and it’s very difficult to work.

Grab your first piece of chicken (or eggplant, it works the same for both) and place it in the flour bowl. Notice I’m using my left hand.

Turn it over, flop it around, just make sure all surfaces get covered in flour.

Next, transfer to the egg bowl. Again, make sure all surfaces are covered. Notice I’m using my right hand.

Lastly, transfer to the breadcrumb bowl. Again, make extra-super-double-sure that all surfaces are covered. Notice I’m back to my left hand.

Eggplant follows the same procedure, though covering ALL sides doesn’t work quite as well since none of it sticks very well to the skin. Just make sure the rest is covered.

Frying and Boiling

Now you’ll want to get a large skillet (the biggest you’ve got) and put enough oil to cover the bottom in about 1/4-1/2 inch of oil. I use vegetable oil. Light olive oil will give a better flavor but it’s kind of expensive. Heat the oil over med-high heat, you’ll know it’s ready when a little pinch of breading sizzles and pops when tossed into the oil. Also, put a large pot of water on to boil. Both of these can be done while you are prepping the chicken and/or eggplant but I always forget.

Place a couple pieces of chicken or eggplant in your skillet once the oil is hot (don’t crowd the pan!). 

When the breading is Golden Brown & Delicious flip the chicken/eggplant over and fry the other side. This will take a minute or three per side.

When the second side is done, remove the chicken/eggplant to some paper towels to drain off the extra grease. Work in batches until all your chicken and/or eggplant is cooked.

When your water comes to a boil, add some salt. If you don’t already know to do this, it will make your pasta taste a lot better!

Cook the pasta according to the package directions and,

drain and set aside when it’s done. You could toss in with a little olive oil to prevent sticking if you so desired.

Put It All Together

If you are going to eat this right away, you’ll want to heat the spaghetti sauce, if you’re cooking ahead of time you can spoon straight from the jar, as I have done. Put some sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom in a thin layer, and place your chicken/eggplant in the dish. If you need to, you can overlap the pieces a little but you want most of the surface to be exposed for cheese-iffication.

Spoon a little sauce on top of each piece. If you like sauce a lot, go ahead and slather it all over. Me, I like just a little bit.

Top each piece with some cheese. I can’t believe I’m actually going to say this, but you CAN put too much cheese on this dish. If you put too much cheese it doesn’t melt evenly and can get kind of greasy when the fats come out of the cheese. You want a nice, even layer, covering the entire exposed surface of each piece.

The chicken works the same way.

If you’re cooking ahead of time, stop here, cover the baking dish and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat! You’d probably be good preping up to 3 days in advance.


Just for you, Internet, I set aside 2 servings of the chicken so that I could show you how to finish the recipe. Just for you, I made this sacrifice… and so that I could have dinner the night I made this.

Preheat your oven to 350. You can do this whenever, but I never think about it until everything’s ready to go into the oven.

Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is good and melted. If you cooked ahead of time, take the dish out of the fridge about 30 mins before baking and let it come to room temperature, then bake for 15-20 minutes.

You can stop here, and serve just like this, but if you want that awesome, restaurant-like finish, turn on the broiler and move the rack up to the top.

You’ll need to watch closely, it will only take a few minutes to give the cheese a nice browning. Unfortunately Golden Brown & Delicious is remarkably close to Burned and Nasty.

I like to serve this over a bed of pasta and a little sauce. Salad and garlic bread would be a nice addition but as you might have noticed from the shot of my oven on preheat, it was 11:00 at night… salad and garlic bread just weren’t going to happen.



Good Friday 4/23/10

23 04 2010

Every Friday I write a post about the good things from the previous week in an effort to focus on the positive things in my life. You can see all my Good Friday posts here.

Book Reviews

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading the past few weeks and I’m finally getting around to writing some book reviews. They’ll start going up next week and I’ll post one a week until I run out! Hope you guys enjoy!

Lunch & Learn

Wednesday I went to a little seminar at my church. I almost didn’t go, but I’m really glad I did. I learned a few things that I hope will really help me to be a better Small Group leader. Besides learning some nuts and bolts about asking good questions (which was enlightening on it’s own!), I realized that I need to be much more intentional about leading my group. I can’t sit back and just let things happen.

I’ve written and deleted probably 12 sentences now, and I’m realizing that I still don’t quite know how to articulate what I’m thinking and feeling right now. I probably need to sleep on it a little more. Let it suffice to say that I think I learned something really important!

Date Night

It’s my week to pick the movie for date night, but I decided to allow The Hubby to pick. He picked up the Family Guy parody of Empire Strikes Back. It was funny, but I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as The Hubby did 🙂

I was pretty tired and fell asleep on the couch almost immediately after the movie. The Hubby got me up and into bed by around 9:30 (knowing that I don’t sleep well on the couch, he takes good care of me), and I slept almost all the way through until getting up the next morning. Felt pretty good!


I had a hankerin’ (yes, I said hankerin’, I’m from Texas. Sue me) to bake something Wednesday night. Originally I had planed to make some brownies but later on I changed my mind and decided to try this recipe for Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake instead. Baking Bites is a new favorite of mine. The recipes are easy to follow and the 2 that I have tried so far have been good (the other was Irish Cream Brownies which were a big hit).

As I tweeted, I screwed up the batter a little bit. I skipped a step and forgot to add the eggs. Thankfully I realized my mistake as I was licking the spoon about to pour the batter into the pan. I added the eggs to the otherwise finished batter which probably meant that I over mixed it. The finished texture was a bit… off, the flavor of the cake was really good though. I’m fairly sure the texture issues are due to my goof and not any problem with the recipe.

Quilting Night

Most of the time 2 of my girlfriends and I get together once a week for coffee. We get some “girly time” and chat and catch up with each other. This week, however, one of them is getting married and can’t make it to coffee night. The other girlfriend (who has started a blog, by the way, Jill of Few Trades, go check it out) and I decided to have a quilting night instead. Another other friend is in town for the previously mentioned wedding and came over for quilting night too! It was really awesome to see her again and I’m really looking forward to spending some time with her this weekend.

I actually finished a project! This is a quilt I started 3…4… maybe 5 years ago and have been working on it a little bit here and there. I can finally move it from the work in progress page to the finished projects page!!


We have seedlings! Basil and lavender to be specific. I think we’ll be planting these in our handing baskets this weekend! It’s been really amazing to watch these little guys grow! I would have pictures for you but the batteries in my camera are dead. You’ll just have to use your imagination 🙂

Quinoa Casserole

22 10 2009

More recipes today 🙂  This recipe originally comes from a co-worker of my husband’s (original here).  I’m basically going to shamelessly copy it and add my own notes.  Everything here is Haley’s except for my notes at the bottom.

Quinoa is a small grain common in South American cooking. I like it because it is quick to cook, very healthy, and I prefer it’s taste to that of rice or other grains. It is also a complete protein on it’s own, which makes it a great ingredient for vegetarian dishes. I often use it in casseroles. The one below is a favorite–Mark particularly loves it.  (Note from Lauren: I am able to get Quinoa in my regular grocery store, it’s usually with the couscous, which can sometimes be found with rice and sometimes with pasta)

Here is my disclaimer for this recipe: I think that I do at least a little something different every time that I make this dish. I don’t measure any of the ingredients either, except the grains and water. Thus the quantities listed below are approximate at best. My recommendation is that you play around with your own substitutions and modifications, according to your tastes etc. So be brave, and enjoy!

  • 1 cup Quinoa (or part quinoa, part Bulgar wheat. I often do 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 2 cups water
  • dash of salt
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 can Ranch Style beans (or kidney beans + Mexican spices like chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 can Mexican Rotelle diced tomatoes (or a little salsa, or something of the sort)
  • a few wedges of (light) laughing cow cheese (La Vache qui rit) or ~ 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Mexican spices: I use chili powder and cumin.
  • Salt (to taste)
  • grated Mexican cheese (~1 cup, or less for a lower-fat version)

Measure the quinoa, then rinse well**. Mix grains, water, salt, and cilantro in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed, and the quinoa is larger in size, clear, and has a visible white “tail”. Turn off the heat. Add in beans, tomatoes, soft cheese or sour cream, and spices. Mix well. Salt and season with more spices to taste. Stir in grated cheese if desired. Pour/spoon into a casserole or baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 min at 350 degrees. Remove cover, and bake about 10 minutes more, or until the cheese on top is melted.

Haley Notes:

  • Chicken also works very well in this dish. I have often put chopped chicken pieces from a rotisserie chicken into the casserole, and called that dinner.
  • Quinoa works well in other kinds of casseroles. I particularly like mixing it with spaghetti sauce and soft cheese (like laughing cow cheese, or goat cheese) and baking it, often adding black olives, mushrooms, spinach, or other vegetables.
  • A Quinoa Link

** Rinsing the grain before cooking it reduces the slightly bitter taste of plain quinoa. Just be sure you have a colander/strainer with small holes

Lauren’s Notes:

I made this dish for dinner last night.  Both The Hubby and I enjoyed it!

I left out the cilantro, neither of us like it, and just cooked the quinoa with salt.  I had planed to leave out the beans as well since The Hubby doesn’t like them but after discussing it he said I could leave them in.  We decided there would be nothing to bind the quinoa together with out the liquid from the beans.  After eating it The Hubby decided we should make it with just one can of beans next time.  I added chicken and sausage to the casserole, just cooked both in a skillet before adding to the quinoa.  The Hubby liked the sausage but I didn’t.  For the seasoning I used pre-packaged taco seasoning (and idea I got from another friend who also makes this casserole), though next time I’ll probably use half of the package as it was very salty.  I think veggies would make a good addition to this recipe.  It’s also very good served with tortilla or corn chips.

Give it a try, I hope you enjoy!

Quick and Easy Dinner

19 10 2009

Last night was the second time I’ve made this dish and it was good both times, in my book that’s a success!  This meal works really well for The Hubby and I because we always have the ingredients on hand so all I have to do is pull it all out of the fridge and throw it in a pan.


  • Cooked Chicken – I use about one breast per serving or if it’s already cut up about 1 cup
  • Pesto – about 1 tbsp per serving
  • Cooked Pasta – any kind you like, about 1 cup per serving
  • Minced Garlic – about 1 tsp per serving
  • Parmesan cheese – optional
  • Olive Oil


  1. Put olive oil and garlic in a preheated pan large enough to hold all ingredients.  Cook garlic on medium-high heat 1-2 mins until it starts to brown
  2. Add chicken and cook another 1-2 mins until chicken is heated through
  3. Add pasta and pesto.  Cook another 1-2 mins until pasta is heated through, stirring constantly so the pasta doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  4. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!


  • For a lighter version you could use sun-dried tomato pesto instead of the regular kind and leave out the cheese
  • Veggies would make a great addition, if they’re cold, add in with the chicken, if they’re hot already stir in at the end.



Jasper: You know what I was thinking? When you get back to London, maybe we could sneak off somewhere together. Maybe Venice. You and me in Venice could be good.
Iris: Do you mean that? I mean, are you free to do that?
Jasper: Darling, I’ve just traveled halfway across the world to see you, haven’t I?
Iris: [Iris & Jasper almost kiss before Iris pulls away] Yeah, that doesn’t exactly answer my question. So, are you not with Sarah anymore? I mean, is that what you’ve come here to tell me?
Jasper: I wish you could just accept knowing how confused I am about all this.
Iris: Okay, let me translate that. So, you are still engaged to be married?
Jasper: Yes, but, I mean…
Iris: Oh, my God.
[Iris gets up from the couch]
Iris: This was a really close call. You know, I never really though I’d say this, literally never, but I think you were absolutely right about us. Very square peg, very round hole.
Jasper: You cannot mean that.
Iris: The great thing is I actually do. And I’m about three years late in telling you this, but nevertheless I need to say it. Jasper. Wait, I need the lights on. Jasper, you have never treated me right. Ever.
Jasper: Oh, babe.
Iris: Shush. You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don’t want to lose me whilst you’re about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it’s over. This – This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I’m miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I’ve got a life to start living.
[Picks up Jasper’s jacket, walking to the door]
Iris: And you’re not going to be in it.
Jasper: Darling.
Iris: Now I’ve got somewhere really important to be, and you have got to get the hell out.
[Opens the door]
Iris: Now!
Jasper: What exactly has got into you?
Iris: I don’t know.
[Pushes Jasper out the door]
Iris: But I think what I’ve got is something slightly resembling, gumption.
[Slams door shut in Jasper’s face. Lifts hands up and screams with joy]

What’s For Dinner?

30 07 2009

The oft dreaded question… “What’s for dinner?”  I don’t know about you guys but The Hubby and I are in a food rutt.  I feel like we eat the same things over and over and over and most of what we eat is not very good for us.  In order to collect more recipes I thought I might share some of our favorites and ask you guys out there on the interwebs to share your favorites.  If it’s short you can leave it in a comment.  If it’s longer you could make a post on your blog or send me a link to an online recipe.  If you like you can also email me a recipe and I’ll post any that I get here.

Lauren’s Chicken Parmesean


  • 4-6 Chicken cutlets (tenders work well too, but whole breasts are too big)
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Spaghetti sauce (any brand or flavor, whatever you like)
  • spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
  • Mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced)
  • canola or vegetable oil


  • place 1 cup of flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper
  • place the egg and 1/4 cup of water in another bowl, season with salt and pepper
  • place 1 cup of bread crumbs in a third bowl
  • season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
  • dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg, and lastly the bread crumbs, set aside
  • cover bottom of a large skillet with about ½ inch of oil heat over medium heat
  • when oil is hot (a pinch of bread crumbs put in the oil should sizzle and pop) place chicken in pan
  • fry until bread crumbs are golden brown (3-5 mins depending on size of chicken) turn and fry the other side until golden brown (this can be done In several batches if needed, just place fried chicken on several sheets of paper towels to soak up excess oil)
  • meanwhile : cook pasta, preheat oven to 350, and put spaghetti sauce in small sauce pan and heat through, when sauce is hot, spoon enough to cover the bottom of a baking dish large enough for all of the chicken.
  • when the chicken is done, place in baking dish, top with a little more sauce and cheese, bake until cheese is melted (about 5-10 mins)
  • Serve on a bed of pasta with more sauce if desired.


  • If you are watching your salt intake you can leave salt out of the breading mix and/or the chicken
  • If you want to avoid frying you could bake the chicken instead.  Instead of dredging chicken as above, drizzle with a little olive oil and coat with breadcrumbs.  Bake at a high temperature until chicken is cooked through (the high temp oven will allow some browning of the bread crumbs)

Farmer’s Ranch Potatoes (from

This casserole is ridiculously good.  It’s great for pot luck events.


  • 2 pounds medium red potatoes
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup creamy Ranch salad dressing
  • 6 slices bacon (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups crushed cornflakes cereal


  • Place the potatoes in a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and cut into chunks, leaving the skins on.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned and crisp. Drain, and set aside.
  • Place the potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, Ranch dressing, parsley, and 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Crumble in the bacon and stir. Pour over the potatoes in the baking dish. In a another bowl, mix together the cornflake crumbs, melted butter and remaining cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top of the casserole is browned and crisp.

Sopapilla Cheesecake


  • two rolls of crescent rolls
  • a tub of cheesecake filling (look at Walmart in the cream cheese section)
  • a stick of melted butter
  • cinnamon
  • sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • roll out one of the crescent rolls flat in a casserole dish (I use a 9×13 glass baking dish)
  • smooth cheesecake filling on top of crescent roll
  • roll out the next crescent roll on top of filling
  • pinch the perforations and edges together so that no butter leaks into the filling
  • pour butter on top
  • sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to your liking
  • bake for 30-45 minutes
  • enjoy hot or cold.  I prefer hot!!

Edit: I found some crescent rolls called “Big & Flaky” these work much better than the regular crescent rolls, they cover the pan better.

What are some of your favorite recipes?


Since no one got last weeks, this week is worth 2 points! 

“This… ‘stuff’? Oh… ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff. “

Name that movie!!

Chicken Noodle Soup

7 01 2009

It’s soup weather around here… you know cold, wet, rainy, and just plain miserable.  Today is a little better but I understand it’s going right back tomorrow or Friday.  Since I crave soup when the weather is cold I thought I’d share my recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup.  It’s more of a ratio than a recipe so you can scale it to any size batch you want.


  • Rotisserie Chicken (you can use any kind of cooked chicken you like)
  • Diced Carrots
  • Diced Celery
  • Diced Onion
  • Noodles (smaller is usually better)
  • Chicken Broth
  • Oil or Butter (I prefer butter, but you can use canola oil to make it a little lighter)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

What you want is for the carrots, celery, and onion together to equal the amount of chicken you have.  The average rotisserie chicken I buy will give somewhere between 3 and 4 cups of meat so I use between 1-1 1/3 cups of each veggie.  For the broth you want enough to cover the veggies 3-4 times depending on if you want a chunkier or a borth-ier soup.  For my usual batch it’ll be 2 – 2 1/2 of the large cans of broth.  As for the noodles, that’s a matter of taste.  I like the “No-Yolks” brand of egg noodles.  I like the flavor and they hold up really well after soaking in the broth overnight, most noodles get really mushy and fall apart after soaking in the soup overnight which makes leftovers very mediocre.  I use about 1/2 of a package for my normal batch.


  • Put oil/butter and the veggies in your soup pot over medium heat with a little salt
  • Sweat* until soft, about 5-10 mins depending on the size of your veggies.
  • Add your chicken broth – add enough to fully submerge the veggies and then triple or quadruple that amount
  • Bring to a full boil then add the noodles and cook as directed on the package (8-10 mins usually)
  • After the noodles are cooked, add the chicken and heat until the chicken is warmed through
  • Add salt and/or pepper to taste
  • Serve with crackers, it’s also really good with grilled cheese.
  • Sometimes the noodles will soak up so much of the broth that you won’t have much liquid left the next day.  I like to keep a couple of extra cans of broth around in case this happens

* Sweat – A sweat is just like Sauteing but lower heat.  The easy way to tell the difference is that a sautee will make noise and a sweat won’t.  Sautee cooks the veggies too hard and fast for soups and usually involves browning and/or carmelization of the sugars which I also don’t like for soup.