1000 x 90

Staying Warm as Temperatures Plunge

By Sherrie Norris

After a few spring-like days, outdoor trail walking in light jackets and indoor heating units turned down during the day, we’re returning to the stark realities of January later this week with the mention of snow in the forecast. I’m all about that, folks. I’ve always believed that each season has its own beauty and deserves its own time. It’s just the way nature rolls and I’m so glad that we humans have no control over the weather.

But, as we started out with those infamous New Year’s resolutions to eat healthy and exercise more, chances are we’ll be reverting to comfort foods in the coming days to get us through the roller coaster of winter. We’ll try to keep it on the healthy side while digging into a pot of soup and other seasonal favorites that reappear around this time every year. Try to stay safe and warm, from the inside out, and use caution when you’re out and about on slippery slopes and roads.

Sweet Potato Bisque

6 slices bacon

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups leftover roasted sweet potatoes

4 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1 cup heavy cream

In large stockpot, cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside. Drain off all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat. Cook onion and garlic in bacon fat until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes and chicken stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are falling apart. Using a potato masher or blender, mash the vegetables. Stir in heavy cream and heat through. Garnish each serving with bacon. Serves 4-6

French Onion Soup

6 cups onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup butter or margarine

3 (10 oz.) cans condensed beef broth

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

6 – 8 slices French bread or hard rolls

6 – 8 slices Swiss cheese

Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large covered saucepan, cook onions in butter until tender, about 20 minutes. Add beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil. Sprinkle bread slices with grated Parmesan cheese, add Swiss cheese and place under broiler until cheese melts, lightly browned. Ladle soup into bowls and float bread on top.

Quick Oven Stew

1 pkg. stew beef

3 onions, quartered

4 potatoes, quartered

4 carrots, quartered

1 can golden mushroom soup

1 can water

Put lightly browned meat, onions, potatoes and carrots in large casserole dish or ovenproof pan. Mix water and soup and pour over mixture; salt and pepper to taste. Bake, uncovered at 350 for about 1½ – 2 hours.

Creamy Chicken Soup

2 Tbsp. butter

½ cup diced celery

½ cup diced onion

½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 tsp. parsley

¼ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. garlic powder

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

5 cups chicken broth

1 cup diced cooked chicken breast

1 cup evaporated milk

Sauté celery, onion and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add parsley, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk cornstarch into chicken broth and stir into vegetables; cook until thick and bubbly. Stir in chicken and milk and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

Potato Soup

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, diced

3 large potatoes, diced

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a pot and sauté onion until it is translucent. Add celery and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add potatoes and cover for 5 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook until the potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf. Let cool for a few minutes,  Re-heat gently, but do not boil.

Mushroom Soup

2 Tsp. butter

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

½ cup chicken stock

1 quart cream or milk

1 fresh bay leaf

1 tsp. fresh chopped thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Ground nutmeg, optional

Cayenne pepper, optional

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until liquid has evaporated. Add chicken stock, cream, bay leaf and thyme. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf from mixture. Stir well.

Amazing Vegetable Soup

 Also known as “Miracle Soup” and should help rid your body of excess water and sodium. You might shed a few pounds, also, if you eat it for several days.

1 large can V8 juice

1 large can of diced tomatoes

6 medium stalks of celery (approx. 1 cup)

½ medium cabbage, red or green

1 medium onion, chopped 

6 medium carrots, sliced or diced

2 medium green peppers, chopped (red and/or

   yellow can also be used)

1 envelope of  onion soup mix 

1  (14 oz.) can lower sodium beef broth

1 beef bouillon cube

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. black pepper or to taste

Other seasonings such as parsley, or any other spices or herbs to suit
your taste.

Add all ingredients in a large stock pot. Add water if necessary to bring
liquids to almost twice the depth of the veggies in the pot. Bring to a boil, and stir as needed. Cook on low heat for about 2 hours or until all the veggies are soft.

Soup Toppers

Sprinkle one of these toppings on your soup for an attractive and tasty garnish: popped popcorn, grated cheese, seasoned croutons, goldfish crackers, oyster crackers, pretzels, potato chips. The list is as limited as your imagination!