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When it’s cold out, turn to a comforting soup

[cleeng_content id=”116336021″ description=”Read it now!” price=”0.49″ t=”article”]What better way to warm up on a chilly day than a steaming bowl of soup? Families have their favorites – chicken and noodles, tomato, split pea, vegetable, corn chowder, clam chowder, and so many more. Here we offer some soups that are delicious and easy to prepare.

One of my favorites is to serve this rich and hearty Cheesy Potato Soup. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Sprinkle with 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour; cook 1 minute, stirring onion mixture constantly. Add 3 cups chopped red potato (about 1 pound), 1¼ cups low-fat milk, ¾ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth and ½ cup water to pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add ½ cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese and 1/8 ground red pepper (or black). Cook 2 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently to prevent curding. Garnish each bowl a dash of chopped green onion.0305PATT_72dpi

Don’t let the sparse ingredient list of this next recipe fool you, this Potato Soup is so easy to make yet so delicious. The smell is the most comforting, delicious aroma imaginable. It’s also non-fat, if you use skim milk. Peel and cube one potato for each person or bowl, put in a saucepan along with ¼ cup chopped celery and ¼ cup chopped onions (per person or bowl). Add enough water so that you almost cover the vegetables and bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until all of the veggies are very tender. Using a potato masher, coarsely crush the potatoes, but don’t mash them – you want chunks left. Add milk or half and half enough to thin to desired thickness, then finish with salt and pepper to taste.

This basic Ham and Bean Soup is easy and quick to make because you use a can of great northern beans. This is a great soup to use leftover ham on the bone. Cut ham into bite-size pieces, reserving the bone. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat and fry ham pieces in hot butter until lightly browned, about 4 minutes, melt t 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan, cook and stir in 1 onion and 2 carrots (diced), and 1 clove garlic (minced) in the hot butter until softened and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour one 16-ounce can great northern beans (undrained) into vegetables, add ham and reserved ham bone, and pour in 2 cups water or as much as you need to make soup your desired thickness. Stir in 2 bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove ham bone and bay leaves before serving.

Chili is another timeless favorite. Some like it hot and some like it even hotter, but a good basic recipe is to place one pound ground beef in a large saucepan over medium heat, add one chopped onion and sauté until meat is browned and onion is tender. Add one 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes, 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, 1 15-ounce can kidney beans and 1½ cups water. Stir and let simmer. Season with 1 pinch chili powder, 1 pinch garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Finish with some shredded cheese on top.

Connie Schwan of Martinsburg shared her Sweet Chili recipe. Cook and drain 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef or ground turkey and three to six strips of bacon or turkey. Add one can each kidney beans, black beans and some type of white beans, all drained and rinsed to reduce salt content. Cans should be about 14 ounces each or larger. You can use baked beans-in tomato sauce in place of any of the other beans (do not drain).

Use a medium to large onion, chopped (more if desired). 1-2 small cloves (chopped). Tomato sauce at least 14 ounces or more and 1 cup ketchup. Spices are 1 ½ tsp. to 1 TBS. chili powder (use according to taste), 1 ½ to 2 TBS. vinegar; 1/3 – ½ cup brown sugar; salt and pepper to taste. Cook onion and garlic in bacon grease or 1 TBS Olive Oil and 1 TBS. butter. If you use turkey bacon, there is no grease. When onions are a little soft, add ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar and vinegar, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir until well blended. Add beans and bacon. If using a crock pot, start on high for at least ½ hour to cook onions. Then lower for several hours. Do not open for at least 2 ½ hours. If increasing the amount of chili, add more beans, maybe some tomato sauce and ketchup, taste before adding more chili powder, sugar or salt and pepper, usually additional vinegar not required. Low salt chicken broth can be used to thin out. Start with about ½ cups.

With so many varieties of soups to prepare and share, please let me know one of your family favorites for a future column.

 

– Share your thoughts with Patt Welsh at pwelsh@shepherd.edu

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