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Colder weather means more 'soup nights'
by Darlene Montague
Jan 21, 2013 | 717 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I’ve been waiting and waiting for soup weather. Finally, we had some cold and rainy days.

Once the temperatures drop below 50 degrees, I break out my Presto electric kettle. Do you have one of these? It is great for cooking a large batch of soup or chili and it is much faster than a crock pot.

I read an article several years ago about a lady that made a big pot of soup every Thursday night during the winter months. She would send out announcements to all her friends and neighbors saying that hot soup and warm bread would be on the stove every Thursday evening any time between 6 and 8 o’clock and invited them to stop by.

They did not have to call ahead. They did not have to bring anything. They did not have to come every Thursday (but they could if they wanted to). If they couldn’t face cooking that day or the kids were trouncing on everyone’s last nerve, they should just come over. They could bring friends and relatives along, too. They were to just show up whenever their time and schedule permitted to enjoy a comforting meal and unwind from a busy day.

She said some weeks she had just a few people and at other times her house would be full to overflowing. These people did not all know each other either, so new friendships were made.

I’ve been wanting to do “soup night” for years now, but I figure I couldn’t get too many of you to drive seven miles out into the country after dark. I know how you are. So break out your own soup pot.

Leftovers make great soup, too, so dig around in your fridge and see what you have. Maybe you have friends and neighbors who need to slow down a bit and relax. Invite them over for a soup night and reconnect.

Well, I’ll hold on to this idea of a “soup night” for a bit longer and maybe I can find some of you willing to participate. Until then, here are a few recipes to make your soup night special.

Minestrone Soup

(From Kristen Montague of Ohio, who makes hers in a crock pot, so that is an option, too.)

Ingredients

• ½ onion, chopped

• 1 cup carrots, sliced thin

• 1 stalk celery, chopped

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

• 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed

• 3 cups chicken or beef broth

• 1 oz. chunk of good Parmesan cheese rind

• 1 fresh sprig rosemary

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

• ¼-cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

• 10-12 frozen pre-cooked Italian meatballs

• salt and pepper

• 1 medium zucchini, chopped

• 2 cups fresh spinach, rough chopped

• 2 cups cooked small pasta

Instructions

• Put first 13 ingredients in a large pot and simmer 45 minutes.

• Add the zucchini, spinach, and pasta and cook another 15-20 minutes until everything is heated through.

• Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

• Remove bay leaves, parmesan rind and rosemary sprig before serving.

• Sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.

Potato Soup

(From Gayle Baecker of Victoria.)

Ingredients

• 8 slices bacon

• 2 carrots, sliced

• 8 cups diced potatoes (I used frozen hash browns)

• 2 chicken bouillon cubes

• ½-cup flour

• 4 cups milk

• 1 cup half and half

• salt

• pepper

• 1 cup (or more) cheddar cheese

• 2 cans whole corn, drained (optional)

Instructions

• Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.

• Slice carrots and microwave until tender in small amount of water, add chicken bouillon cubes and dissolve.

• In reserved bacon grease, stir in the flour, then add milk and stir until smooth.

• Add hash brown potatoes, salt and pepper and simmer until potatoes are tender.

• If desired, add drained corn, then stir in half and half, cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon just before serving.

Monterrey Bread

(From Carolyn Klump of Goliad who says, “Oh goodness, I just love this, especially while it’s real warm.” It is probably even better with more onions.)

Ingredients

• 1 loaf French Bread

• 1/2-cup chopped green onions

• 1/2-cup margarine

• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

• 1 cup mayonnaise

• 1/2-cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

• Cut bread in half and put on a cookie sheet.

• Mix remaining ingredients and spread on bread evenly.

• Put under the broiler and broil until light brown in color.
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