Right now, it’s easy to fall into the doldrums of winter. The holidays are past. The cookies have disappeared off plates and onto our mid-sections. It’s cold outside, and you’re back to your work/home/school routine. Blah.
Just let out a big sigh now. Then, let me fix you up with some nice, hot soup.
When all else fails, a pot of soup soothes, warms and fills you up. It’s also an easy way to get dinner on the table. Add salad and rolls and that’s it. Plus, the mellowed leftovers are often better than the first time around.
So, my first choice for 2017 is Cheesy Lasagna Soup. It calls for ground beef, but you could switch to thawed-out cooked meatball instead. It gets finished with cheese under the broiler, but you could just sprinkle the mozzarella on top and serve.
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The second is Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. This recipe got rave reviews online at slowcookergourmet.net. I’ve always hoped for a chicken noodle soup that was creamy instead of broth-y. Well, here it is. The recipe says to use Amish noodles if you can find them. But any good wide egg noodle will work.
The third recipe combines hearty goodness with health-consciousness. Light Turkey & Corn Chowder is satisfying and a fraction of the calories of most chowders at 218 calories per serving.
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Cheesy Lasagna Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, sliced
2 large green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups water
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
About 8 broken lasagna noodles or bowtie pasta (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups Italian-style croutons
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
1. In Dutch oven, cook beef, onion, bell peppers and garlic over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown and onion is tender; drain.
2. Stir in water, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in pasta, brown sugar, Italian seasoning and pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender.
3. Set oven control to broil. Pour hot soup into 6 ovenproof soup bowls or casseroles. Top each with 1/4 cup croutons. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil soup with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Note: Store your soup, covered and refrigerated, for up to three days. This soup is great when made ahead and reheated; the flavor improves with age.
Also, you can reduce the sodium in this recipe by using tomato products marked as low-sodium. To reduce the fat, use ground turkey in place of beef.
Per serving: 460 calories, 22 grams fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 830 mg sodium, 42 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 28 grams protein. Exchanges: 2 starch; 2 vegetable; 2 1/2 high-fat meat.
Yield: 6 servings.
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 (8 ounces) can mushrooms, drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces egg noodles, thick or thin
Place all ingredients except for cream and noodles in crock. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until chicken is fully cooked. (It took 7 hours on low in a 4-quart round slow cooker.)
Remove chicken and shred or dice and return to crock. Add noodles and cream and turn slow cooker to high heat. Let cook 15-30 minutes until noodles are softened as desired.
Light Turkey & Corn Chowder
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Green onion, thinly sliced (for garnish)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the green chiles and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in the chicken broth, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the corn and simmer for 3 minutes.
Place the flour in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.
Slowly whisk the milk mixture into the soup, along with the salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, until the soup is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the turkey (or chicken), Cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with green onions and serve.
Per serving: 218 calories, 7 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams sugar, 844 mg sodium, 2 grams fiber, 16 grams protein, 13 mg cholesterol. Weight Watchers Points: 6 Points+, 5 Old Points.
Yield: 6 servings