Special Potato Soup

One rainy afternoon in Little Rock, I went over to my dear friend Holly’s house.  It was a set apart kind of day.  I can still remember our conversation and all the details of the meal.  This is the warm and inviting soup she prepared.  Every time I make it, I think of my special friend.  I pray for her.  And I remember our conversation. Perhaps someday I will write about it in another room. Until then, I am still treasuring it up in my heart!

2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. butter
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 C. water (can substitute chicken broth, then reduce bouillon cubes to 2)
5 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 t. seasoned salt
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. rosemary, crushed
dash of garlic powder
dash of pepper
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c. milk

Sauté celery and onion in butter in a large stock pot for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add potatoes, carrots, water, bouillon cubes, seasoned salt, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and pepper. Cover and simmer on medium to med high heat for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. Add milk and cheese. Cook, stirring constantly, on low hear for about 5 minutes. Yields 10 cups.

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Corn Sausage Chowder

This is one of those mis-named recipes, I believe.  It is so wonderful tasting!  And it’s name is boring and blah. One fall evening, soon after our Sydney was born, our neighbor brought us a batch of this delightful fare and we all loved it!  Try it as soon as there is a chill in the air–you won’t be sorry.

1 lb. Jimmy Dean maple sausage
1 T. butter
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped
3 1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. flour
1/2 t. garlic
1 t. salt
2 – 15 oz. cans mexicorn (yellow corn with red and green peppers)
1 1/4 c. sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated

Brown sausage and drain. Sauté onion and bell pepper in butter over medium heat in a large stock pot for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Gradually add in milk mixed with flour, stirring constantly over medium heat. Add in corn, sausage and salt. Stir together and heat for another 5 minutes. Gradually blend in cheese and melt over low heat until just melted.

Can add bacon, green onions and more cheese as toppings for each bowl of soup.

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North Woods Bean and Sausage Soup

This is a new favorite recipe of ours from Cinde in The Siesta Fiesta Cookbook. It is rich, comfort food that is also very cost effective.  We enjoy it with the fresh spinach leaves, she recommends.

1 c. sliced carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. turkey kielbasa or smokes sausage, sliced
1 clove garlic or 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. Italian seasoning
3 cans chicken broth (approximately 5 1/2 cups)
3 cans great northern beans

Sauté carrots and onion in olive oil until tender. Add kielbasa and garlic, continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and chicken broth, bring to a simmer.  Drain and rinse beans. Mash 1 can of beans, if you like a thicker soup. Add beans to soup and simmer for 20 minutes longer.  Can also put soup into a crock pot at this point and cook on low for 3-4 hours. For an extra healthy addition, place fresh spinach leaves in the serving bowl and ladle hot soup over the top.  Leaves will wilt down and add color and vitamins to this yummy soup!

Cinde adds, “This is a recipe from my mom, who my kids call “Bubba.” She experimented many times to come up with a chocolate chip cookie that was soft and fluffy rather than flat and greasy. This is a recipe my kids love and ask for often during our cold Colorado winters.”

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How I Cook Chicken for Recipes

Sometimes I alter this recipe by adding additional spices for the purpose of the chicken, but this is the base of how I make chicken stock.  I never buy it in a can.  You can keep it in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or freeze it in individual ziplock bags for a year.

Bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t. sweet basil
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
4 stalks celery, sliced

Boil for 1 hour. Drain and then strain broth through a fine, mesh sieve. Save broth for recipe, if needed. Chop chicken according to directions for recipe.

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Wonton Soup

This is as good as P.F. Changs’ recipe.  If you love theirs, you will love this!

6 chicken breasts
9 c. water
1 onion chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 t. salt
1 t. garlic pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. basil
1/8 t. black pepper
8 sliced bacon, cooked
1 small carton mushrooms, sliced
1 pint baby spinach leaves
4 green onions, sliced
2 T. butter
1 package wonton wrappers
8 T. soy sauce

Boil chicken in water with onion, celery, red bell pepper, salt, garlic pepper, garlic cloves, black pepper and basil for 45 minutes in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Scoop out chicken with slotted spoon and let cool.

In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions. Sauté for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Add crumbled bacon to this mixture. Fold one spoonful into each wonton wrapper and fold in each side thoroughly.

Chop chicken and add to chicken broth in the stock pot. Also add the spinach. Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes more until hot and bubbly. Gently drop wontons into stock pot, one at a time. Cook 10 minutes more. Turn down heat to low and gently stir in soy sauce.

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Leek Potato Soup

One Saturday morning, my Chris and I were enjoying a Jacques and Julia cooking show and they made this recipe.  It is delightful and rich to your palette. A wonderful Saturday afternoon get-away–right in your own home.

1 leek, washed in warm water, dark green cut off and thrown away, rest chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 c. hot water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 stick butter
1 c. milk
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Melt 5 T. butter in stock pot. Sauté chopped leeks (light green and white parts only) and onions for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add hot water and bouillon cubes, potatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium high heat for 25 minutes. With a potato masher, mash the mixture in the pot until the potatoes are chunky, not completely mashed. Add milk and rest of butter (3 T.) with heat on low, cook for 5 minutes more.

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This is a delightful soup for a chilly fall evening.  Even better?  Share it with a neighbor or friend. We love to do that!

3 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 ham bone or one thick slice of ham
6 c. chicken stock (or 6 c. water a 6 chicken bouillon cubes)
3 c. sliced leeks (white only) or green onions, chopped
1 c. heavy cream
1 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper, freshly ground
3 T. minced chives

Combine in large stock pot chicken stock, potatoes, ham bone and leeks. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Puree the soup with hand blender or food processor. Over low heat, add cream to purred mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Chill. Serve in chilled soup bowls with chives on top. (May enjoy hot, as well–we do!)

Grocery List
heavy cream
chicken stock
green onions (for chives)

Approximate Cost: $4.57

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Tortilla Soup

This is a fall/winter staple in our home.  Everyone loves it and they can add the toppings they want, which is great for the motley and assorted taste buds in a family of six.

4 chicken breast halves
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 t.)
2 T. minced onion
2 T. butter
30 oz. chicken broth
2 14 1/2 oz cans chopped stewed tomatoes
1 c. of your favorite salsa
1/2 c. cilantro
1 T. ground cumin
8 oz Monterrey jack, shredded

Toppings (optional): Sour cream, sharp cheddar, tortilla chips, jalapenos

Boil Chicken in a large stock pot with about 10 c. water. Season to taste (salt, pepper, basil, onions, garlic). Save broth. Cube chicken. In another small pan, melt butter. Saute minced garlic and onion. In a crock pot on low, mix together broth, tomatoes, sauteed garlic and onion, cubed chicken, salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Cook on low for about 6 hours. Divide cheese on the bottom of 6 bowls, layer tortilla chips, soup, extra cheddar, sour cream, and jalapenos (if you’d like). So very good and hearty!

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Fergie’s Potato Soup

This is our favorite fall soup in the Smith home.  Make some homemade bread and serve it up in a big bowl!

6 slices of uncooked bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 1/2 c. diced celery (hearts and leaves are best)
1/2 lb. carrots sliced
[Sauté above in stock pot for 10 minutes]

3 qts. hot water
3 T. chicken base or 2 cans chicken broth or 6 chicken bouillon cubes
3-4 c. diced raw potatoes
[Add to above and simmer over med-low heat until all veggies are tender]

2 cans evaporated milk
Roux (see recipe below)
[Add to above when veggies are tender]

1 lb. cubed Velveeta (makes a salty soup) or cheddar (melt very slowly) or American (smooth and rich)
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
[Add and cook on low until soup is thickened and cheese is melted]

Roux: Melt 1 stick butter completely and stir in 1/2 c. flour in melted butter on low for 1 minute

From our friends the Ferguson’s mom, Mrs. Ferguson. As for any recipe, you may find that you alter this. I have by cooking the bacon pretty crispy before sautéing the vegetables (Chris doesn’t like wiggly bacon). Also, I use 2 quarts of water instead of three (Chris doesn’t like his soup too runny). Are you seeing a trend here? Maybe Chris is a bit picky???? Ha Ha!

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