Alright gang, with the weather getting a bit chillier...tis the time for SOUP!
There's something about soup that is just so awesome. Just a heads up, a couple of these I do in a slow cooker - and a couple of these I do in a regular pot. Whichever you use is up to you - slow cooker stuff can be done in a regular pot, and regular pot stuff can be done in a slow cooker...with me it all depends on how much propane we have in our little tank, or if I want to heat the house through the stove (yep, done that!)
I'll add the disclaimer - some of these recipes are straight outta my experimental toss what I feel like into the pot...so I may not always have exact amounts...feel free to modify these to make more, make less, take things out you don't like, or add things in you do like. On some recipes, they're actual recipes...so I'll add my little notes in (brackets)
First, I'll share the cheeseburger soup recipe. I got this one from a slow cooker magazine I found in the grocery store a couple years ago. (so the directions I'll give for cooking times are slow cooker, but you could also dump this all in a big pot and simmer it a bit until the veggies are all tender and the flavors are all meldy!)
1 lb ground beef (I use leaner ground beef, that way I don't have to spend my time skimming! If you use the higher fat content ground beef, make sure you drain the fat)
1/2 cup chopped onion (or a medium or smallish onion, chop it good!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped russet potatoes (I use whatever potatoes I have on hand - the yellow or red potatoes usually, then I don't worry about peeling them mwahaha! and just chop em into bite sized pieces)
1/2 cup sliced carrot/1 medium carrot sliced (mmm slicey dicey!)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 serrano chile pepper, finely chopped (disclaimers about chopping up spicy peppers, don't touch your eyes or if you're a man type, go pee after chopping these until after you've washed your hands a bunch. I confess, I usually skip the pepper, but if you want the extra kick, go for it)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 - 14 oz cans beef broth (or if you're like me and get broths in cartons, one carton)
1 - 10.75oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup (or in Canadian WHAT ARE THESE OZ THINGS??? just a regular ol sized can)
1/2 cup or more shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar. Use what you'd like!)
In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until beef is brown. Drain off fat.
In a 4 to 5 qt slow cooker (aka average size!) combine beef mixture, potatoes, carrot, ketchup, mustard, serrano pepper, salt and ground black pepper. Add broth and cheddar cheese soup, stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 10 to 11 hours (okay, it honestly doesn't NEED this long, the standard 7-8 hours works too) or high heat setting for 5 to 5.5 hours. Top each serving with cheese. Makes six servings.
Here's another good one from the same magazine...wasn't requested but dear my I love it. It's so tasty...
New England Sweet Potato Soup
2.5 - 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)
1/4 cup maple syrup (MAPLE SYRUP...do NOT use table syrup! Aunt Jemima is NOT your friend for this!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried sage, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 - 14 oz cans of chicken broth (or use a carton. Or use veggie broth...whichever you prefer!)
1 cup water
1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk (I didn't always add this...you don't really miss it if you need to be dairy free or anything like that.)
1. in a 3.5-4 quart slow cooker, combine everything but the dairy. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-8 hours or on high heat setting for 3-4 hours.
Using a potato masher, mash the soup until desired consistency. You could also use an immersion blender, or a big kid blender, just BE CAREFUL with hot soup and blenders....it can be a recipie for disaster!)
Enjoy the tasty goodness!
Baked Potato Soup
Okay, this one is one where I eyeball and guess a LOT. uh oh!
Potatoes (6 or 7 good sized white or red potatoes, unpeeled. If you have russets, use them, peel them, dice them into bite sized pieces)
BACON! mmm must have bacon! I'm a fiend and use a full package...use more or less depending on how you want it.
Dairy (milk, half and half - I usually just splash regular ol 2% milk in there, the other day I tried with some half and half as well to thicken it...again your call!)
Onion (slice and dice 1 small to medium onion)
Garlic (three cloves diced if you're a reverse vampire, less if you're not!)
Carton of veggie broth
Shredded cheddar cheese (don't be stingy now! You'll put some in the soup and some will go in the bowls too
Quick blending flour (you can use regular flour too)
Salt and Pepper
Green onions (to add on top!)
Let's do this! Grab out a big soup pot! You can either cook the bacon to crispiness in the slices and crumble them later, or you can slice up the bacon slices and crisp em up in the bottom of that soup pot. When its cooked, toss em on that paper towel lined plate to remove the worst of the grease. Drain MOST of the grease from the pot, but leave some down there. Just trust me on this my poultry pals. You want to leave some drippings for flavor!
Have you diced up the potatoes, onion, garlic, and all that jazz? yes? Awesome! Dump that in the pot, add the carton of broth. Add a generous sprinkle and a half of salt (I use sea salt), and add a bunch of pepper. Bring it up to a boil and let it simmer for about fifteen-twenty minutes or so. Let those potatoes get nice and tender....
Add some sprinkles of the quick blend flour to thicken it up...add about 2 tbsp of butter. Add some milk and dairy! Usually at least a cup of milk, and I did a generous splash of half and half last trip. Mix it all together, add a good sized dollop of sour cream (1/4 to 1/3 cup). Add some cheese! How cheesy do you like it? At this stage probably about 1/2 cup (since we'll also be topping with shredded cheese too.) Bring it back up to heat, stir it lots...give it a taste, see if it needs more or less of anything. Grab a ladle, fill up your bowls, and top it with green onions and shredded cheese.
Chicken Fajita Soup
Okay, this one's an easy-peasy one. I'm tweaking it a bit tonight, I'll let you know how it goes. It works fabulously for if you have random left over chicken you just don't know what to do with.
Carton of chicken broth/veggie broth/swanson actually has a fajita chicken broth as well, feel free to use that (I do!)
Cooked chicken (doesn't really matter if it's breasts, thighs, whatever bits you have...you'll be shredding or cutting it up anyway!)
Can of black beans (drained and rinsed!)
(if you want you can add another can of whatever kind of beans you'd like as well for extra beany-ness)
Can of diced tomatoes (My local grocery store has a mexican style...you can do regular, mexican style, rotel...it all works!)
Corn (i use the small bags of frozen corn that again the grocery store has - they also have a "chuckwagon corn" that has some peppers and onion mixed in with it...if you have a stater bros or your grocery store carries something like that, do it!)
Bell peppers if you so desire
Onion (dice it!)
Garlic (dice it!)
Small can of tomato sauce to thicken up the broth (or half a tiny can of tomato paste)
Spices: Salt, pepper, cumin, if you got some chili powder or cayenne pepper, feel free to add some of that too!)
For toppings: shredded cheese, tortilla chips, avocado
Alright, so if you do it in the slow cooker, add everything EXCEPT the corn and bell peppers....you'll toss those in later. They'll just turn into mush after 8 hours in the cooker! Cook it on low for 6-7 hours, add the corn and bell peppers, cook an extra half hour or so until its all nice and warm, dish it out into bowls, top with the cheddar cheese, crunched tortilla chips and sliced avocado.
Guys I confess I wanted to go back and add some formatting to make it easier for y'all to read....but that's not happening. But...here's some dinner ideas