Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

"Tis the season to be jolly" has ended; Now "Tis the season to be frugal"

The pounds rolled on now the bills roll in. Nothing to do but cut down on both calories and cash. But wasn't it fun?

Now it's time for soup--cheap, filling and warming to body and soul. (Does that make soup the original soul food?)

Sausage & Pasta Soup

The chicken stock can come from turkey carcass, bouillon cubes, or a can. If you want to add a taste of Italy use Italian sausage or add some Italian seasoning. It is easy to cut this large recipe in half.

2 pounds sausage, bulk or link
3 carrots, chopped or sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped, optional
3 quarts chicken broth
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cans white beans (cannelloni or navy), or soak dried beans
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cups dried large shell-shaped pasta, or any other pasta
4 quarts spinach leaves (or about 12 oz. frozen spinach)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, optional

If link sausage is used, squeeze the meat from the casings into a large kettle over high heat and stir often, breaking lumps with a spoon, until browned and crumbly. Spoon out meat and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Add carrots, onion, and garlic; stir often until onion is limp. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, beans and basil. Bring to a boil. Add pasta; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until pasta is just tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Skim and discard fat. Stir in spinach and cook just until it is wilted, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pass parmesan cheese to sprinkle on and add extra flavor. Makes 10 to 12 servings; about 5 1/2 quarts.

Dodge City Minestrone

This is a good way to use the bones from a beef roast and any vegetables that escaped the holiday feasting.

2 pounds beef bones
1/2 cup dried white kidney beans, or 1 can
1/2 cup dried red kidney beans, or 1 can
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 quarts water
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup diced or sliced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced zucchini or other squash
1 cup green beans
1/4 cup parsley flakes, or use fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste
1/2 cup elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper

Combine soup bones, beans, onion, garlic, bay leaf, water and tomatoes; bring to a boil, skim foam and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer until beans are tender (about 2 hours if using dried beans). Remove bones and bay leaf; skim fat from soup. Add remaining ingredients except macaroni and simmer, covered for 20 minutes longer until vegetables are tender. Add pasta and cook 8 to 10 minutes longer; adjust seasoning. Makes 10 servings.

Roasted Carrot & Bean Soup

This is a good recipe for vegetarians, providing they don't object to a little chicken flavor.

5 large carrots, halved
2 celery ribs (with leaves), halved
1 large onion, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
7 cups chicken or turkey broth
1/3 cup cooked, diced beets (canned may be used)
Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Place carrots, celery and onion in shallow dish; dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar, ginger and mace. Pour 2 cups of broth into the bottom of the dish. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 2 hours. Remove vegetables and transfer them, along with any liquid, to a large, heavy pot. Add 4 cups of the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, partially covered. Cool a bit. Puree the soup along with the cooked beets in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add some of the remaining broth for a thinner soup, if desired. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream. Makes 6 servings.

Corn & Chicken or Turkey Chowder

A tasty way to use leftover cooked poultry, potatoes and vegetables.

1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces, or 1 small can, or any leftover, sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chopped red potato (or cooked leftovers)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound whole kernel corn, thawed (or leftover)
1 1/2 cups shredded, roasted chicken or turkey meat
3 scallions, chopped and divided in half

Melt the shortening in large pan; add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in flour; gradually whisk in the milk. Return to heat and add the potato, thyme, salt, pepper, and corn; bring to a boil. Stir in shredded poultry and half of the scallions; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with green onions. Makes 4 servings.

Rice, Lentil, Ham Soup

Leave out the ham and you still have a soup with complete protein. Great for hungry vegetarians.

1 1/2 cups lentils
6 cups vegetable or poultry stock (from bones, cubes or cans)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup brown rice or wild rice
1 medium onion, chopped
Pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped cooked ham, optional

Wash lentils and place in kettle with stock, seasonings and rice. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes. Add onion and ham. Cook another 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste and serve. Makes about 10 cup; 6 to 8 servings, without the ham.

These are inexpensive soul warmers, but if you are serious about calorie control, don't have seconds!


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