Friday, October 17, 2014

Campbells, Who? A Few Soup-er Good Recipes That Will Make You Glad It's Fall.

Yo, it's about that time

To bring forth the rhythm and the rhyme
I'm a get mine so get yours
I wanna see soup comin' out your pores



That's not how it goes.

So guess what kids and friends, it's fall.  It's time to drag your crockpot out, climb up on-top of your counter to bring down your extra-large stockpot from above your cabinets and embrace fall foods.

More importantly - soup.

I love soup.  I live for chillier weather so I can throw some stuff in a pot and come home from work with the smell of whatever is about to warm my soul, lightly bubbling away on my stove (actually it's more like in my crockpot since I don't want to leave an open flame while I'm at work).

I love it.

And I'm going to bring to you two very delicious and different soups that are super easy, full of flavor, and - for those of us only cooking for one or two - freeze beautifully!

16 Bean Soup
I make my bean soup with ham hocks.  If you don't eat meat or don't eat pork, or just don't have access to a ham hock (you can get them at any grocery store), feel free to omit this ingredient.  I like the smokey flavor that the ham hock gives the soup. It's divine.   Alternately, if you have some leftover ham but no ham hock, cube up the ham and toss that into your soup instead.

I use my crock pot for this soup, prepping the day before and tossing all of my ingredients except the water in the crock pot.  The night before, I leave my my crock pot in my fridge and let it hang out.  In the morning, right before I go to work, I pour all of my water in and set the crock pot on low to cook for 8 hours.  The great thing about this? The beans aren't mushy, you've got a great flavor, and when I walked in from work, I was greeted by the mouthwatering smell of the bean soup just cooking away.  Perfect!

20-ounce bag 16 Bag Soup Mix  (use whatever kind of beans you prefer - just toss the seasoning packet that comes with the bag)
2 medium carrots, medium dice
1 large stalk celery, medium dice
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 packet Onion Soup Mix
1 ham hock
15 oz. can, Hunt's Basil, Garlic and Oregano Diced tomatoes (feel free to use fresh or any other brand you prefer)
1 tsp. baking soda
Water (you'll need water to boil the beans as well as for the soup)

1. Rinse your beans, removing any foreign objects.

2. Heat a large pot of water and tsp. baking soda on high until boiling.   Add your beans, bring to a boil and allow to boil rapidly for 2-3 minutes.  Shut the burner off, cover, and remove from heat.  Allow the beans to soak for 2-3 hours.

3. Once your beans have soaked, drain and rinse thoroughly.

4. Place diced carrots, celery, onion, canned tomatoes, ham hock and drained and rinsed beans in your pot or crock pot. Sprinkle the onion soup mix on top of your ingredients. Mix to combine.

5. Fill crock pot with water, about 1" from the top.  You'll want to gauge this based on the size of your crock pot and how many beans you have.  You want to add enough water so that the beans are swimming nicely.   After all, you want to have soup - not a bowl of beans.

6. If you're cooking your soup in a crock pot, set the crock pot on low and allow to cook for 8 hours.  If coking on top of the stove, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook on medium-low for 2 hours or until the beans have softened.

7. Spoon into bowls and top with mozzarella (if you'd like) or green onions to brighten up the flavor.  Serve with fresh-baked bread and enjoy!

Admittedly, the Bean Soup above is a bit more healthy than what I'm about to post.  But then again, sometimes you want a thick, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs creamy soup that leaves you wishing that your bowl was a swimming pool and you could just float in potato-y, bacon-y, choweder-y heaven.

And before things get any weirder....

Potato and Corn Chowder with BACONNNNNNNNNNNNNN(%&;!#@^;#%;(*$@
Ok...real talk, blog-friends.  I brought leftovers of this soup for work and I'm literally counting down until it's socially acceptable to eat this soup for lunch.   It's that damn good.

And last night when I made the soup, I almost licked my bowl clean.  I used a little bit of french bread to sop up the rest of the liquid and greedily shove the dripping piece of baguette into my mouth.

I'm drooling right now.  I AM DROOLING.

A few things before I get into the recipe.... instead of using heavy cream or milk, I used Almond Milk.  Also, to make things a bit lighter, I used fat-free cheddar cheese.  The soup was good even though I lightened it up.   Granted, I piled on a mound of bacon ontop of the soup, but well....things have to be evened out somehow.

If you're looking to cut calories and fat further, you can substitute turkey bacon or Veggie strips for the bacon.

Also, because sharing is caring and I don't want to plagiarize (isn't that really what all recipes are anyway?), this was adapted from Life Made Simple.

1/2 medium yellow onion, small diced
1 leek whites and light green only, medium diced
1 cup fresh corn (if fresh isn't available, use frozen)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 c. almond milk (you can use whole milk or heavy cream here!)
4 c. (32-ounces) chicken stock
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (you can use more or less depending on how spicy you like things)
2 c. mild to medium shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, diced and crisped up
1 bunch green onions, chopped

1. Cut your bacon into small pieces and fry.   (You can use less bacon but I figured that it would get eaten  Once the bacon has crisped to your liking, remove from heat and allow to drain on a paper towel.

2. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add butter. Once the butter has melted, add your onion and leek to the pot. Season with salt and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and leeks have become translucent.

3. Add garlic and corn to the pot, season with salt again, and allow to cook about 3 minutes more.

4. Sprinkle flour into your pot and whisk until combined.
Well this step looks identical to the step above it... neat.

5. Add chicken stock and milk (or cream) to the pot and stir until combined.

6. Add in potatoes, and increase the heat to medium-high.  Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

7. Once the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in cheese until melted and combined.

8. Serve immediately and top with green onions and bacon.  Enjoy!

Probably as the season moves along, I'll be posting scads more soup recipes.  So. Get excited for that.

And a joke before we leave each other...

Who is the Head of a Soup Factory?    


Don't worry. I won't quit my day job.

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