Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soup's On!

It’s soup weather here again. That is one of my favorite things about this time of year. I love to cook but certainly hate to heat up my house, so when fall comes it’s great to be back in the kitchen again.
I’ve always loved making soup and experimenting with different soups. I began my soup experimentation years ago when I was first starting to get serious about food storage. I had an epiphany one day and realized that soup was a great food storage meal; especially if you have a lot of mouths to feed. The lady who sold me my solar oven told me that where she lives they have a lot of power outages; some for an extended period of time and that nearly every time, several of her neighbors start showing up for meals. They know she has cooking methods that require no electricity and that she has food storage. She told me that often she will put on a large pot of soup and just keep adding to it until all the neighbors have finished showing up for dinner. What a woman!

Seriously though, soup is one meal that can be extended to feed extra people. Along with that, I have always thought that if I had to live very long without electricity, I certainly wouldn’t be cooking 3 meals a day, so a pot of soup at noon that is big enough to feed us again at night would certainly be okay with me.

When my kids were little and I was doing all this experimenting with different homemade soups, I soon learned that people don’t mind eating soup if there is something to go with it. I always tried to have fresh bread, scones and honey butter, corn bread or breadsticks to help make the soup go down better. I also love homemade croutons served with almost any soup.

One thing I always do when I get a new soup recipe is to try to convert it to food storage ingredients. It is pretty easy to do. For example, I can make Chicken Noodle soup anytime because I have dried carrots, celery, spices, noodles and canned chicken in my pantry. I love all kinds of soups and while some are delicious they just are not conducive to food storage. Today I’m including some of my favorite “food-storage-adaptable” soup recipes. I’m always looking for great soup recipes so feel free to share if you have any.

Homemade Croutons
4 c bread cubes (thick sliced homemade bread is great)
1 1/2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
¼ t. kosher salt
¼ t. onion powder
¼ t. granulated garlic
½ t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
Croutons can be made in the oven or on the stovetop.
Oven method: Preheat oven to 350º. In a small bowl combine salt, onion, garlic, oregano, and parsley. Melt butter completely and then combine it with the olive oil. Place bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the butter-oil mixture over the bread cubes making sure to distribute evenly over the cubes in a small drizzle. Don't dump it all in one place. If you do that, a few lucky little bread bits will soak up all the buttery goodness and the rest will get hurt feelings from being left out. Immediately use your hands to toss making sure to coat each bread cube with the butter mixture. Sprinkle the herb mixture over the bread cubes, again, making sure to distribute it evenly and use your hands to coat well. Spread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring and flipping every 5 minutes so they cook evenly. The time is going to vary depending on the type of bread used and the size of the cubes. The croutons should be golden brown. Generally, they will take 15-20 minutes. When finished, remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Stovetop method: Using a skillet or griddle, spray well with olive oil Pam or use olive oil and add some melted butter to the mix. Spread cubes and stir so they become evenly coated with butter and olive oil. Sprinkle generously with spices, stirring gently till well toasted on all sides. For an extra touch, sprinkle on powdered parmesan cheese and stir till evenly toasted. Store in airtight container (if there are any left)!

Tomato, Macaroni, Hamburger Soup
1 lb. hamburger (or canned ground beef or beef chunks)
1 onion, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
4 tomatoes diced or 1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 can V-8 juice (8oz.)
3-4 c. water
2 beef bouillon cubes
½ c. ketchup
½ c. (or less) brown sugar
1 T. parsley
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Lowery Seasoning salt
½ t. cumin
½ t. thyme
1 t. garlic salt
1-2 c. uncooked macaroni (cook & drain)
Brown hamburger with onion and celery. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer about 20 minutes; add cooked macaroni. Check seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you want a thicker soup, add potato flakes to thicken. Makes a large pot of soup.

1 lb. ground beef
½ c. diced onion
½ c. diced celery
¼ c. diced green pepper
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes
1 qt. water
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cans (8 oz. ea.) tomato sauce
2 c. beef broth
1 T. dried parsley flakes
½ t. basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano leaves
¼ t. pepper
½ t. garlic salt
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 can green beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 ¼ c. elbow macaroni, uncooked
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Brown beef and drain. Puree tomatoes in blender. In a large pot combine beef and tomato puree with onion, celery, green pepper, carrots, tomato sauce, beef broth, parsley, basil, oregano, pepper and garlic salt. Bring to a boil. Cover; simmer over low heat about 20 minutes. Add garbanzo beans, green beans and kidney beans. Bring to a boil; add macaroni. Cook 15-20 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Y: 10-12 servings.

American Hamburger Soup (Uses cannery soup mix)
1 ½ lbs. hamburger
2 c. potatoes diced
3 carrots, diced
2 T. minced parsley
1 large bay leaf, crushed
1/8 t. garlic powder
¼ c. celery diced
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. sugar
2 c. tomato juice
2 qts. Water
2 t. salt
Pepper to taste
¾ c. prepared soup mix (from the cannery)
Brown meat and drain. Mix all ingredients together and simmer 2 hours or till done. Can be cooked in crock Pot.

1 lb. ground beef
½ c. chopped onion
1 package Lasagna dinner mix (Hamburger Helper or make your own)
5 c. water
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can whole kernel corn
2 T. parmesan cheese
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
Mozzarella cheese for garnish
Cook beef and onion till meat is no longer pink; drain. Add dinner sauce mix, water, tomatoes corn and parmesan cheese; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lasagna noodles and squash. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or till noodles are tender. Serve immediately. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese to serve.

2 c. split peas, washed & sorted
4 c. water
3 c. chicken broth
1 can tender chunk ham or diced cooked ham
1 c. finely chopped celery
1 c. finely chopped carrots
1 T. dried onion or 1 c. diced onion
1 bay leaf
¼ t. thyme
½ t. dry mustard
¼ t. pepper
Put all ingredients in large pan. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer about 3 hours or until peas are mushy. Stir often and watch temperature as it will scorch easily. Add milk to serve if desired.

Manti Soup
Brown together:
1 lb. hamburger
½ onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can red beans
1 can pork n’ beans
1 can white beans
1 can black beans
1 can minestrone soup
1 can diced tomatoes
You may use whatever combination of beans you like. Then add ketchup, A-1 sauce and brown sugar to taste. Make it on the stove top or in your crock pot.

2 quarts water
8 chicken bouillon cubes
½ t. basil
1 c. finely chopped carrots
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 chicken breasts or 2-3 c. diced cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. corn, optional
1-2 c. egg noodles or homemade noodles
Bring water to a boil. Add next bouillon, spices and vegetables and chicken if uncooked. If using cooked chicken add later. Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes. Add chicken and noodles and simmer about 10 minutes or till noodles are tender. Add corn. Mix cream of chicken soup with about a cup of boiling soup in another bowl and mix till creamy. Stir into pot of soup. Cook till slightly thick. Note: If serving over mashed potatoes, thicken cream of chicken soup, and boiling soup with about 1 T. cornstarch, then stir into soup base, stirring till well blended. Serve in soup bowls or over mashed potatoes.

Jen’s Fagioli Soup
1 lb ground beef (can use 1/2 lb)
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 lg. carrot, julienned (1 cup) or grated
1 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, with liquid
1 15 oz can northern beans, with liquid
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can V-8 juice
1 T. white vinegar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 pkg. Ditali pasta (short macaroni tubes)
Brown the beef in a large saucepan. Drain off fat, if any. Add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook pasta according to directions until al dente, or slightly tough, about 10 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.
If you find that it is too tomatoey, add some water until you find a consistency and taste you like. This recipe also freezes well. Enjoy

Because soup is such a great storage food, I’ll include recipes for homemade soup mixes and great soup accompaniments in a future post. I’ll also be doing a post on favorite chili recipes.

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