Food & Drink

Stir Crazy: Time to put the soup on

Chicken and Black Bean Soup
Chicken and Black Bean Soup

OK, everyone take a deep breath. We’re at the end of one holiday and heading toward the next.

My 18-year-old nephew is home from college until Jan. 20. My sister-in-law started stocking up on groceries weeks ago. As anyone who has been away from Mom and homecooking can attest, other food just doesn’t cut it.

As busy as we all are at this in between week, it’s a good time to put a pot on the stove and make some soup. It’s not only filling, but easy to reheat whenever somebody gets hungry. Plus, it doesn’t have to be time-consuming to fix. Make a double batch if you’re like my family of hearty eaters.

And, don’t look at the kitchen floor (or the bathroom) until after Jan. 1, unless of course you’re having a party Thursday night. Who knew there could be so many crumbs and towels on the floors?

These two recipes are not complicated. They use chicken and can be on the table in 30 minutes. My thinking is that any soup tastes better the next day after flavors have blended some more, but heck, an 18-year-old will be plenty ready to eat not long after you’ve put the soup on.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

3 cups chicken broth

3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter. Add the broth, carrots and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the chicken, parsley, salt and pepper; heat through.

Combine flour and milk until smooth; add to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add cream cheese; cook and stir until melted. Yield: 8 servings.

Country Woman January/February 2001

Chicken and Black Bean Soup

1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

2 cups frozen corn

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

3 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon cornstarch

18 tortilla chips

Shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, optional

Place a large nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Reserve 2 tablespoons broth; add remaining broth to pan. Stir in corn, beans, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.

Mix cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Top servings with crushed chips and, if desired, cheese. Yield: 6 servings (2 quarts).

Makes 6 servings, each 1 1/3 cups with 3 tortilla chips (calculated without cheese) equals 194 calories, 2 grams fat, 24 mg cholesterol, 752 mg sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 17 grams protein. Diabetic exchanges: 2 starch, 2 lean meat.

Editor's note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Light & Tasty December/January 2007