Well, friends, it is that time of year again. I hereby proclaim soup season has arrived! Cold, snowy days just seem to lend themselves so well to the warming, gentle aromas that waft from my kitchen when I have a batch of soup simmering. I don’t know about you, but I could easily eat soup daily. The varieties are endless…believe me, I don’t often make the same thing twice!
Because it has been so cold and dreary, I have been on a “comfort food kick”, and soup is cold weather comfort food in a bowl. I’ve made broccoli cheese soup, Italian sausage soup, chicken noodle soup, veggie lasagna soup and steak and potato stew. I usually make a variety soups every week for work, so these are just added to my list of vailable varieties!
As kids, we were used to the basics…tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, alphabet soup…you remember the familiar red and white cans! I never liked homemade soups as a kid; I don’t know why. My mom would make a pot of something only to have my brother and I turn up our noses because it hadn’t come from a can. Now that my own kids have done the same thing to me, I realize how crazy we were! Homemade soups are soooo much better than canned soups.
Soup is such a fun thing to create. All you need, basically, is a big pot and a few (or a bunch of) leftovers. Just rummage through the fridge and see what you pull out. Some leftover pot roast, carrots and potatoes? Chop it up, add a bit of celery and onion and a little broth (or thinned gravy) and you’ve got great vegetable beef soup. Didn’t they finish last night’s chicken and rice? Same thing…chop the chicken, and maybe a few finely diced veggies, add the leftover rice and some broth or gravy and yum! I like to keep a can or two of beef and chicken stocks or culinary bases in my pantry for just such occasions. You never know when you will need to add a little flavorful moisture to something.
Soups and stews are terrific make ahead and freeze meals. As I always suggest, why make just enough, when you can cook for today, tomorrow and next week? Soups and stews freeze really well, especially when they are packaged in individual or family sized portions. Just because you make a huge batch, you don’t have to freeze the whole
batch in a single container. You can split a gallon and freeze that amount in two- one quart containers, two- two cup containers and four single serve one cup containers. By doing it this way you can simply thaw the amount you want for a single use, be it a single serving or family meal.
The long-range weather forecast still looks typically cold and snowy, so this will be a good week to make soup! Why not look through your fridge, freezer and pantry, pull out a few random ingredients and see what kind of masterpiece you can whip up. Remember, it’s not just another bowl of soup…if you make it from scratch it’s a steaming bowl of love!
Stuffed Pepper Soup
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 C chopped onion
- 2 C diced red and green bell peppers
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes w/garlic, basil and oregano
- 1- 15 oz can plain tomato sauce
- 3 C beef broth
- ½ t basil
- ½ t oregano
- 1 C cooked rice
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain and put in crock pot. Saute onions and peppers until tender. Add to crock pot along with all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the cooked rice. Stir gently. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in rice and cook 15 minutes longer.
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