I like the idea of writing about food on the last day of 2013. We should all enter a new year with full stomachs. I say that not as a nod to stuffing ourselves with leftover Christmas cookies, but to think about your next trip to the supermarket: Start 2014 by adding some extra canned goods, cereal and other staples to the grocery cart. Then take them to your local food pantry. Everyone, but especially children who live in low-income homes, need to begin another year with a good meal in them.
A great way to stretch food is with soup. I still get laughs from a dear friend who used to look down his nose at the notion that soup could be a meal. Now, I know, he enjoys it more than he ever thought he would.
These hearty recipes are meant to keep you warm and full on a cold January day.
To turn this soup recipe into a delicious turkey alfredo pasta bake, use 5 cups of uncooked noodles instead of 2 and follow the rest of the recipe as usual. The pasta will soak up most of the liquid. When your pasta is cooked al dente, probably about 10 minutes, remove from heat and put in a large baking dish. (The pasta will finish cooking while baking in the oven.) Top pasta with bread crumbs and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Also, feel free to substitute the veggies for whatever you have on hand. I'm sure corn or green beans would be fabulous additions.
Creamy Turkey Noodle soup
1/4 cup butter
2 large carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken or turkey broth, divided
2 cups heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
2 cups uncooked rotini noodles
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1. Saute carrots, celery, onions and garlic in butter until soft. Add flour and mix well.
2. Gradually add 2 cups of the broth and all of the cream. Cook over medium high heat until it's thick and bubbly, 12-14 minutes.
3. Stir in remaining 3 cups broth, and all remaining ingredients except parsley.
Simmer 11-13 minutes, stirring occasionally until noodles are tender. Stir in chopped parsley and serve.
This is a St. Louis Bread Co. copycat recipe from Carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 package Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice with Flavor Packet
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 cup cooked chicken
Kosher or sea salt, to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
In a large saucepan, drizzle olive oil on the bottom and add your carrots, celery, onion, marjoram and seasoned flavor packet and saute 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir; then add the flour. Add the chicken broth and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
While this is simmering, heat the heavy cream and milk in a small saucepan until hot. Add to the soup mixture along with the cooked chicken and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 8 cups.
And since you've made the above soup, you might as well create these breadsticks. Todd Wilbur is author of a variety of copycat cookbooks, looking to imitate as closely as possible favorite recipes from national chain restaurants. These are meant to imitate the ones from Olive Garden. See lots of how-to photos at chocolatechocoateandmore.com
Olive Garden Breadsticks
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water in a small bowl or measuring cup and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes foamy on top.
2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer to mix in the softened butter to the flour. Don't worry if it still looks like flour, you just don't want to see lumps of butter anymore.
3. Switch to your dough hook and add your foamy yeast mixture to the flour. Combine ingredients and then knead for 10 minutes.
4. If you don't have a stand mixer, use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour then add yeast mixture and combine well and knead by hand on countertop for 10 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover; let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till double in size.
6. Once doubled, measure out portions to roll into bread sticks. The easiest way to roll is between your palms, but you can also roll on the counter or a cutting board. Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can make long or short breadsticks, just make sure the thickness is the same for even baking.
7. Once all dough is rolled, cover baking sheet and let rise for another hour to 1 1/2 hours, until the dough doubles in size again.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread sticks 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with garlic salt. Makes 12-13 breadsticks.
Tip: It is easier to add the garlic salt to the melted butter and then brush it over the bread sticks.
Smoky Cheese & Potato Soup
6 ounces smoked cheese (Cheddar, mozzarella, or gouda), shredded
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 ounces ham, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1/2 of a 24-ounce package refrigerated garlic mashed potatoes
Canned shoestring potatoes, fresh snipped parsley and/or paprika (optional)
1. In a bowl, combine cheese and flour; set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven, combine ham, carrot, curry powder and paprika. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Stir in milk. Cook, uncovered, for 4 to 5 minutes, just until milk is hot but not boiling, stirring occasionally.
3. Gradually whisk in mashed potatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbly. Stir in the cheese and flour. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, just until cheese is melted.
4. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with shoestring potatoes, parsley, and/or paprika.
Makes: 4 servings, each with 429 calories, 26 grams fat, 94 mg cholesterol, 22 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 12 grams sugar, 25 grams protein, 1059 mg sodium.
Change Up: For a vegetarian version, replace the ham with 1 cup of cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well. Substitute chopped fresh chives for the parsley.
Detroit Free Press
Italian Sausage Black Bean Soup
6 ounces Italian turkey sausage
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup non-fat sour cream
Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Crumble sausage in a Dutch oven; add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes, or until sausage is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
2. Add 2 cans black beans, chicken broth and next 7 ingredients.
3. Place remaining 1 can black beans in a bowl; mash with a fork, and add to soup mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until thickened. Ladle soup in individual bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
Makes 8 1-cup servings, each with 223 calories, 230 grams carbohydrates, 14.5 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 553 mg sodium.
Light & Luscious, Oxmoor House, 1994