Simple soup recipes for winter months

Sunday, January 6, 2013

After the New Year, when days are short and gloomy, I often turn to soup for our supper options. My husband would not like soup every night, but I can sneak it in once in a while without too much fuss. I chose a couple of soup recipes to include that are really good and can be made in a short period of time.

Lasagna Soup

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 1/2 pounds ground Italian sausage

3 cup chopped onions

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

6 cups chicken stock

8 ounces mafalda or fusilli pasta

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

For the cheesy topping:

8 ounce ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of freshly ground pepper

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions have softened and browned. Add the ground Italian sausage and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente. While the soup is simmering, combine the ingredients for the cheesy topping in a large bowl; set aside until ready to use. Right before serving, stir in the basil and season to taste with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired. To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy topping in each soup bowl and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Recipe Note: If you expect to have any leftovers, I suggest cooking the noodles separately then adding them to the individual bowls before serving. This way the noodles do not absorb all of the soup broth when stored.

Savory Winter Soup

To save chopping time, use frozen sliced carrots, frozen diced onions and cubed hash brown potatoes in this savory winter soup recipe.

2 pounds ground beef

3 medium onions, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cans (10-1/2 ounces each) condensed beef broth, undiluted

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

3 cups water

1 cup each diced carrots and celery

1 cup fresh or frozen cut green beans

1 cup cubed peeled potatoes

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours or until heated through. Yield: 14 servings (3-1/2 quarts).

"Leftover Turkey" Soup

Other vegetables may be added or substituted such as corn, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and mushrooms.

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning or sage

Bones and trimmings from one turkey or two chickens

3 cubes or 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon

1 bay leaf

6 cups water

1/2 cup barley or rice, or 1 cup noodles

3 medium carrots, sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

3 medium onions, sliced or chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

In large saucepan, combine first 6 ingredients. Simmer covered, 1 1/2 hours. Remove bones; cut off meat and return meat to broth. Add remaining ingredients except parsley to broth. Simmer covered, 30 minutes or until vegetables and barley are tender. Garnish with parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Golden Winter Soup

2 tablespoons butter

5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)

4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 cup half-and-half

12 ounces baguette, cut into 16 slices

3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

3 tablespoons chopped chives

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preheat broiler. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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