When fall rolls around our thoughts often turn to comfort food—something warm, that goes down easily and tastes good. In my book, that definition kind of equates to something like chili or soup.
My first experience of soup is the chicken noodle soup that my Grandma used to make. She made the noodles herself, cutting them extra thin (about 1/16 of an inch, I think!) and simmering them in homemade chicken broth with carrots. The taste was exquisite even for me, the pickiest of eaters. I later learned from my mother that Grandma made the soup to stretch their food dollars during the Depression years, and she and her 12 brothers and sisters got pretty tired of it! I’m still trying to duplicate it, and have had some success with Amish noodles.
You can easily open a can of soup and heat it, especially if you are in a timeshare and you need something quick. However, with just a bit of extra effort, you can make soup into a meal that is way beyond a canned experience, and one that tastes oh-so-good! Because soup may call for more ingredients than you have on hand in the timeshare, it makes a great meal that you can make ahead at home, freeze, and transport if you are traveling by car.
Here are some easy recipes to get you started:
YUMMY POTATO SOUP
1 Pkg. (32 oz.) frozen shredded hash browns
4 C. water
2 C. chicken broth or bouillon
¼ C. chopped onion (or throw in a few T. of dried minced onion)
2 cans undiluted cream soup—any kind
4 oz. Velveeta, cubed
1 C. sour cream
1 T. dried parsley (if you have it)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
shredded cheddar if desired
In large pan combine potatoes, water, broth and onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in the rest of the ingredient, except for sour cream. When cheese is melted, stir in sour cream and heat through (do not boil). Makes about 13 servings. I’ve tried making lots of different potato soups, but this is one of the tastiest and is so easy because you use frozen potatoes.
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped or dried minced onion to taste
½ C. chopped celery
3 C. beef broth or 3 C. water with 3 beef boullion cubes melted
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. oregano
1 C. frozen green beans
Put all in large pot, except green beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Add green beans and simmer 15 minutes more. Cook 1 C. of your favorite pasta and add to soup when finished. Serves 6. (House Specialties by Deanna House, modified)
I vary this recipe almost every time I make it, so don’t be afraid to experiment. The original recipe calls for 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed, but I prefer to cook pasta separately and add it when the soup is done. It freezes better than potatoes, and doesn’t absorb so much of the broth. I’ve also added frozen corn and/or peas with good results.
BROCCOLI, CARROT & WILD RICE SOUP
1 pkg. (6 oz.) chicken and wild rice mix
5 C. water
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 carrot, shredded
3 tsp. dried minced onion
1 can cream soup, undiluted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
In large pan, combine rice, contents of seasoning envelope and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli, shredded carrot and onion. Simmer 5 more minutes. Stir in soup and cream cheese, heating through until cheese is melted. Serves 7-8. (Quick Cooking, modified)
This really is a hearty and delicious soup, especially if you add chicken, which I frequently do. We once had a “soup lunch” at school, and this was voted the best!
MEXICAN CHICKEN CHOWDER
14.5 oz. can chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 ½ C. milk
2 cans (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large can chunk chicken
1 can Mexicorn, drained (11 oz.)
minced onion to taste
1 can (4 oz.) green chilies
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
In a large pot, bring all to a boil except the cheese and tortilla chips. Simmer 10-20 minutes. Serve over tortilla chips (or not!) garnished with cheese. Makes about 8 servings. (Taste of Homes’ Potlucks and Parties, modified).
BARB’S BASIC CHICKEN SOUP
Here is my recipe that isn’t really a recipe—I just kind of throw it all in and adjust seasonings as I go along. It always tastes pretty good, though, and hits the spot if you have a cold!
3 chicken breasts (you could also use a whole chicken, I guess)
1 can chicken broth
2 or 3 cans water
Carrots cut into coins (about a cup)
Celery, diced (about a cup)
Frozen green beans (as many as you like)
Frozen corn (about a cup)
Noodles or rice (about a cup, dry)
Salt and pepper to taste
I bring the chicken, carrots, celery and broth to a boil and cook until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked (about 15-20 minutes?) Remove chicken and let cool. Throw in the frozen veggies and seasonings and cook about another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your pasta separately and shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return all to pot and heat through. Makes about ??? servings—I don’t have a clue.
I’ve probably never made this the same way twice—but it comes out a lot like Grandma’s! Let me know how yours turns out!