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Pat’s Pantry: January is Soup Month

By Pat Mills

I read the headlines in a supermarket checkout line magazine about January being national soup month, so I couldn’t resist printing some soup recipes. Soup can be served with a salad and roll for a full meal. – Pat

Ham cheddar chowder

3 cups water
3 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
3 cups (12 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring water to a boil. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper. reduce heat. cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender: drain and set vegetables aside. In same pan, melt butter, stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened, remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add ham and reserved vegetables. Cook on low until heated through. Do not boil. Yield: 8 servings.

Vegetable beef soup

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (46 oz.) tomato juice
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 jar (4 ½ oz.) sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cups frozen cut green beans
2 cups each finely chopped celery, cabbage and carrots
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook the beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours. Yield: 14 servings.

Chicken tortellini soup

2 cans (14 ½ oz. each) chicken broth
2 cups water
1-½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (8 to 9 oz) refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
breadsticks, optional

In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients; bring to a boil. reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with breadsticks if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

spinach bisque

½ cup chopped onion
2  tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 ½ cups milk
1 cup water
¾ cup cubed process American cheese
1  package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
oyster crackers, optional

In a 3-qt saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt and nutmeg until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and water. add cheese; cook and stir over medium heat until melted. Add spinach; cover and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Serve with oyster crackers if desired. Yield; 5-6 serving.

FOOD FACTS

• Use buttermilk for baking, pancakes and especially mashed potatoes, buttermilk is low-fat.
• For a too-salty ham, partially bake it and drain all the juices. Pour a small bottle of ginger ale over it and let it bake until done.

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