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Pat’s Pantry: Fall soups

By Pat Mills

It’s time to bring out the soup pots. The weather has turned cooler and a good pot of soup is just what we need to warm us up. – Pat

Slow cooker corn and potato chowder

8 oz. bacon, cook until crispy and crumble
2½ pound russet potatoes, not peeled and diced into 1/4-in cubes
8 cups (about 2 pounds) frozen or fresh kernel corn
1 medium/large sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup chopped celery
6-8 garlic cloves crushed
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups Half-and-Half or heavy cream
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients except half-and- half in slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. Blend about half in blender, then return to slow cooker. Add Half-and-Half or cream and continue cooking uncovered for another 15 minutes or until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

30 minute baked potato soup

1 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2/3 cup of butter
2/3 cup of flour
7 cups milk
½ to 1 cup chicken broth
5-6 medium baked potatoes, peeled and diced
1¼ cups of shredded or cubed cheddar cheese plus some extra for sprinkling
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Melt the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk, and stir constantly until thickened. Add potatoes and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, then add bacon, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper, along with chicken broth to thin to your liking. Stir until well blended and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Minestrone soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1  cup fresh or frozen green beans
2 cans (14 oz each) diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 can (14 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat olive oil on a large stock pan. Add onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add in zucchini, green beans, and diced tomatoes. Stir in vegetable broth and water. Add beans, macaroni, oregano, and basil. Simmer until vegetables and macaroni are tender- about 35 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.

FOOD FACTS

• Onions are an excellent antioxidant, and they contain anti-allergy, antiviral and antihistamine properties. To obtain the maximum nutritional benefits, onions should be eaten raw or lightly steamed.
• Green beans are diuretic and may be used to treat diabetes.

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