Winter Soups

by Maegen Tabor

Soup is comforting, especially during these winter months. A classic chicken soup with vegetables or creamy baked potato soup warms up your body and feeds the mind. Paired with salad and freshly baked bread, soup makes a healthy and satisfying meal.

Soup may have added health benefits. Studies show that soup produces greater feelings of satiety than other types of food. Research shows that it may have to do with the high water content in soup. Also, when soup is piping hot we eat it more slowly and that gives us time to notice when we feel full. Another great benefit is that when we boost soup with fresh veggies and beans we get great vitamins and protein necessary for a healthy diet. The best part just might be that most recipes make a generous amount of soup to share. Having a meal to freeze for later is perfect for when a new baby comes and a quick healthy dinner is a blessing.

Here are a few great recipes to try:

Baked Potato Soup
Serving Size: 10

Ingredients:

5 lbs. russet baking potatoes (6 large bakers)
1/2 lb. bacon
3 cups 2% milk
1 stick butter or margarine
3 cups onion, minced
7 1/2 cups chicken stock
½- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 TB. Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Red Pepper
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and dry potatoes, poke with a fork, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until soft. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour to speed up the cooling. Remove the skins and coarsely chop the potatoes. Set aside. Finely chop the bacon and fry until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper toweling and set aside. Let the milk come to room temperature. Place 1½ Cups of chopped potatoes into a blender. Blend or mash with a little water to make the potatoes thin, yet smooth and creamy. In a large, heavy pot, melt the margarine or butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour into the onion mixture. Continue stirring mixture for 3 minutes. Do not brown. While stirring the mixture, slowly add the rest of the chicken broth to the onion mixture. Next, add the potato puree. Mix well. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir often to avoid scorching on the bottom. Add milk, PARSLEY, THYME, CAYENNE, salt, PEPPER, and the remaining chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring often. If soup is too thick, thin with more milk. Add ¾ of the crisp bacon and mix well. Serve garnished with the remaining bacon, cheddar cheese, and CHIVES, if desired.

Chicken and Barley Soup
Serving size: 10

Ingredients:
1 whole cut up chicken
7  celery stalks, chopped in bite size pieces
7  carrots diced into bite sized pieces
2 large onion
4 garlic cloves minced
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 can 15 oz stewed tomatoes, diced
1 cup pearl barley
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
3 tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:
In large stock pot place chicken, 3 stalks of celery washed and cut, 3 carrots peeled and cut, 1 onion chopped coarse, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, 2 bay leaves, rosemary sprigs, season with salt and pepper, fill with 8-10 cups of water and place on med high heat.

Bring to to a boil, cover and simmer for one hour or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

Remove chicken to cool. Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer, discard veggies and herbs & reserve stock for cooking.

While chicken cools, dice 1 large onion, mince 2 cloves of garlic, chop the celery & carrots to bite sized pieces.

Heat 2-3 tbsp of olive oil in stockpot, sauté onion, minced garlic, celery and carrots with salt and pepper at medium heat (5-7min).

During this time de-bone chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.

When vegetables are soft and fragrant add chicken, stock & stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and barley and cook another 35 minutes or until barley is tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Minestrone Soup
Serving Size: 12

Ingredients:
2 c bite size carrots
2 c chopped celery
2 c bite size zucchini
2 c onion chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1- 15oz can kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
1- 15oz can garbanzo beans (rinsed & drained)
8 cups chicken broth
1 c water
1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 -28oz can tomato puree
1 lb. ground beef
2 c small shaped pasta (elbow or shells)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
5 cloves garlic minced
Kosher salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook beef with some salt and pepper until done, take out drain fat, set aside.

Use a large stockpot and sauté veggies (onion, garlic, carrots, & celery) in olive oil until tender (about 8-10 min).  Add the zucchini for just a few minutes because it tend to cook quick and get mushy.  Add beans, broth, crushed tomato, puree, & water bring to a boil.  Add in beef, Italian seasoning.

Simmer 30 minutes.

Cook pasta separate and add to bowls when ready to serve.

Garnish with fresh grated parmesan cheese!

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