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Cold night comfort

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

Who doesn't love soup when the thermometer reads just 6 degrees F outside? There's something about dishing up a bowl brimming with ingredients with steam rising that warms you to the core.

Several things make soup a regular appearance at Sutton Central. It is an easy item to add to your meal plan because you can use leftover meat from another night's meal. Grab a bag of frozen browned ground beef or shredded grilled pork tenderloin, pop it in the microwave to defrost and you've got a headstart on your dish.

Another reason it tops the list is easy preparation with either fresh vegetables or shortcuts in the freezer section at your grocery store. Fresh petite-sized baby carrots can double as a kid's snack and soup staple. While I prefer fresh potatoes, frozen Southern-style hash browns can save you preparation time and cook time because of their size.

Most soup recipes require just one or two pots and pans to create, which means less time in the kitchen and more family domino game playing!


One-Pot Taco Soup

This soup is a combination of our favorite things. A tummy-warming and filling soup that is made in one pot guarantees this dish will make a regular appearance at Sutton Central. Another plus is you can brown your ground beef and then toss all of the ingredients in your slow cooker on low to simmer for up to 8 hours.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 (16-oz.) can mild chili beans, undrained
1 (16-oz.) can light red kidney beans, undrained
1 (15-oz.) can whole-kernel sweet corn, undrained
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
2 c. tap water
2 (14.5-oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4-oz.) can diced green chili peppers
1 (1.25-oz.) pkg. taco seasoning
1 (1.25-oz.) pkg. ranch dressing mix

Directions:

1. In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef and onions. Drain any fat.

2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

3. Simmer on low for up to 1 hour.

Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.


Smoked Sausage, Cabbage and Veggie Soup

This is a recipe created by my husband last week when he was home for lunch. A few ingredients in the slow cooker set on low for 6 hours or on high for about 4 hours and you'll be welcomed home by this warm, fragrant soup. Kick it up by using spicy smoked sausage!

Leftovers taste just as good on day two for lunch.

Ingredients:

1/2 head cabbage, washed and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 c. fresh mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c. carrots, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 c. tap water (more or less)

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker.

2. Add enough water to fill your slow cooker about half full.

3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Potatoes will be soft when done.


Black Bean Soup

Serve with sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips and a wedge of lime.

Ingredients:

4 (15-oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 c. tap water
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small green pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1. In a medium stock pot, add beans, stock, water, garlic, onion, and bell peppers. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover and simmer for an hour.

2. Add salt, cumin and chili powder,; stir until combined. Cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Use a stick blender to blend about half the soup to create a creamier base if you wish.

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