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Family favorite soups

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

Recipes sometimes come together based on what you have in your pantry. Soup is a great place to experiment, whether out of necessity or out of creativity. Simple directions and quick to the table are the most popular in my kitchen because I’d rather be tossing the football with the kiddos in the backyard than fussing with a recipe in the kitchen.

Pantry clean out day happens every few months at Sutton Central. Cans and boxes get organized by type and function. A can of this and a can of that get set aside on the counter. A few seasoning containers join them. A quick trip to the refrigerator to grab a few more items and we’re off to pull together something interesting. Soup is a forgiving thing, but occasionally, I admit, my throw-together-concoction doesn’t really turn out so great (don’t worry, I won’t share those recipes!) That’s why we have frozen pizzas as a backup.

I love shortcuts with soup recipes. The weekend is a great opportunity to bake chicken breasts, shred them and freeze them for later use. When the chicken is done and the oven is still on, I throw in a few pounds of bacon to brown and crisp and keep in the freezer. Of course I always have browned ground beef with onions in pre-packed portions in my freezer as a base for many recipes.

Enjoy the change in the season and slow down long enough to truly appreciate the artist’s handiwork in nature. The mix of greens, yellows, oranges and browns in the trees against the purple hue of the fall evening sunset is beautiful.


Family Favorite Chili Mac and Cheese

This simple dish combines two of our family favorites into a one-pot wonder packed with protein that’s on the table in about 30 minutes.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
4 c. chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 c. canned white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
10 oz. uncooked elbow pasta
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat. Add in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder and cumin, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.


Baked Potato Soup

This hearty soup is a little different than the potato soup I normally make but out of necessity based on ingredients at hand, it became a recipe we occasionally revisit!

6 to 8 slices of bacon, browned and crumbled

1 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
8 c. milk
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c. green onions, diced
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sour cream

In a large stock pot over medium high heat cook the bacon; drain on a paper towel and set aside. In the same stock pot melt butter and stir in the flour. Slowly add milk, potatoes and half of the green onions. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover for 20 minutes. Add cheese, pepper, garlic powder and salt; cover and cook for 20 more minutes. Stir in bacon and sour cream; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.


Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup

This soup is delicious served in bread bowls while watching Sunday football.

1/3 cup butter, sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 (12-oz.) cans evaporated milk
5 c. chicken broth
5 c. small broccoli florets, chopped
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 (12-oz.) bag shredded Cheddar cheese
2 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften and are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, flour, salt and pepper and continue to cook, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in evaporated milk while whisking. Cook mixture, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken. Transfer to a slow cooker and add in chicken broth, chopped broccoli and thyme. Cover and cook on HIGH heat for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours. Turn off slow cooker and stir in heavy cream, Cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.

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