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Soup's On

Written by Anna Aughenbaugh
Soup is good anytime of the year, but it is especially good on a cold winter’s day. Having a big pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove fills the house with an aroma that makes the atmosphere dispel the chill outside. Soup is filling and tends to keep you feeling satisfied, and the nutritional value of homemade soups is great; it’s low in fat, and has lots of vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals, along with the protein in the meat.
    Putting together the ingredients isn’t too time consuming. You can use fresh vegetables, or, to speed the process, use frozen or canned. Canned beans can be opened and rinsed to speed the process. I like to cook a big pot of beans, and then freeze some in two-cup containers to have on hand whenever I want to make soup.
    To cook dry beans, pick out any rocks or bad beans, wash, then cover with water; soak overnight, or bring to a boil, shut off heat and let them sit for an hour. Drain the soaking water and then cover with fresh water and simmer two or three hours until the beans are tender. Do not add salt or acidic things like tomatoes until the beans are tender, and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to help prevent them from boiling over. Be sure to keep the beans covered with water; they will not soften if they dry out.
    I like to make several different soups and freeze some of each so we have a variety that can be microwaved for a quick lunch. If the recipe calls for pasta and you want to freeze some of the soup, save half of the soup to freeze before adding the pasta, because it tends to get mushy; add it when reheating the soup. Leftover cooked beef can be added toward the end of the cooking time. Soup recipes don’t have to be followed precisely, you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Cheeseburger Soup
½ lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 ½ cups water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
½ cup diced onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 ½ cups milk, divided
3 Tbsp. flour
½ cup cubed American cheese
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
    In a large saucepan, brown hamburger; add water, potatoes, carrots, onion, pepper, chilies, garlic and bouillon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Stir in 2 cups milk. Mix ½ cup milk and flour; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in and cayenne. Serves 6 to 8.
    Options: Use canned potatoes and one can evaporated milk. Substitute canned jalapenos for the green chilies.

Apple Salad
2 cups diced apples
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
    Mix all together and chill.
Hamburger & Black Bean Chili
2 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 cup chopped onion    
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. ground beef
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed & drained
½ cup beer or chicken broth
1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin    
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
    Heat oil in a large pan over med. high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic; sauté until soft. Add beef and cook until browned. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.