As most of you know I have a beyond reasonable love for soup. Alas, in the 100+ degree days of Sacramento heat, soup is not a desirable dish. Fall weather means it’s time to break out the crock pot and enjoy some delicious hot soup! (Or in my case, a rather large amount of hot soup!) This week was my first of two weeks of Thanksgiving break, and with the glorious amount of free time I am enjoying and the onset of cool, crisp winter mountain weather…I declared this week SOUP WEEK! I made 4 different kinds of soup throughout the week (1 was technically chili but for the purposes of soup week I am calling it soup). They were all delicious and easy as pie. I highly recommend them if you need an easy meal on a cool winter night!
Night 1: Tomato Basil Soup
I found this recipe in a Kitchen Comforts cookbook. It gets a maximum rating for healthiness and a medium rating for difficulty. I served this soup on a night that my parents came over for dinner. Sol and I made a gourmet version of grilled cheese and tomato soup, with this tomato basil creation paired with our fancied up version of grilled cheese: smoked Havarti cheese, prosciutto, sun dried tomato pesto sauce on fresh focaccia bread. MMMM delightful!
3 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 zucchini, cubed
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups freshly sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp salt
3 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried basil
1.2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 to 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
In a food processor or blender, puree whole tomatoes until smooth.
In a large soup pot, cook zucchini, onions and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat until tender. Pour in the pureed tomatoes.
Season with salt, bay leaves, thyme, basil and pepper.
Bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer 14 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Just before serving add fresh basil and stir.
Night 2: Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Not quite as healthy as the first, but equally as yummy! Also super easy to make.
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 onion finely chopped
1/4 cup of flour
1 (1pint) carton half and half cream
1 (14 ounce) can of chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (unless this is your thing- the add away!)
1 (8 ounce) package of mild Mexican-style, cubed or shredded, processed cheese
Punch several holes in broccoli package and microwave for 5 minutes. Turn package in microwave and cook another 4 minutes. Leave in microwave for 3 minutes.
Melt butter and saute onion large saucepan, but do not brown. Add flour, stir and gradually add cream, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8th teaspoon pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir constantly and heat until mixture is slightly thick. Do not let mixture boil!
Add cheese, stir constantly and heat until cheese melts. Add cooked broccoli, serve piping hot.
Night 3: Chicken and Rice Soup in the Crock Pot
This is hearty and delicious, a great soup to cure a cold or a just a cold day.
1 (6 ounce) package long grain, wild rice
2 (10 ounces) cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
6 cups chicken broth or water
Combine rice, chicken soup, chicken broth, celery, carrots, cubed baked chicken and about 6 cups chicken broth or water into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Night 4: Chili Colorado
Okay, so this isn’t really a soup, but Sol requested it and it is very soup-like. Soup adjacent, if you will. This is my mom’s easy recipe.
2 cans tomato soup
4 cups of cubed steak
2 cans of stewed tomatoes with italian seasonings
chili seasonings (a packet or a mixture of chili powder, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper)
shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to top
Chop onion and saute in pan with steak for a few minutes before adding to crock pot. Add steak and onion to crock pot. Add tomato soup, stewed tomatoes and two can fulls of water. Stir in seasonings to taste. Let cook on high for 4-6 hours. Top with cheese and sour cream to taste.