Monday, December 10, 2012

Comfort in a Bowl

Also known as:  Homemade Soup

I love love love soup in the winter, and homemade soup just can't be beat.  Soup is the perfect quick meal when you need one, and I love to pair it with either my mama's cornbread or my mama's quick muffins.  If you think about it in time, soup can be put in the crockpot (to be smelled all day!) or it can be quickly boiled on the stove.  Now, while I do keep a couple of cans of chicken noodle on hand for those rare times when Blair and myself are both sick enough to not feel like cooking, I really really prefer homemade.  

Homemade soup does take a little more of your time, but it is so good.  It's easier if you keep these ingredients on hand like we do (no trip to the store), but if you plan in advance you can pick things up with your weekly groceries.  Here's what I threw together last week on a whim (meaning I forgot about planning for supper until the last hour). 

Whatcha Got Noodle Soup

3-4 cups chicken (vegetable) broth this depends on how soupy you like your soup.  Also, I pull mine from the freezer because I refuse to buy broth, but Swanson does still work.

1 (large) carrot stick, peeled and thinly sliced scrapings and end pieces go into a bag in the freezer to use in making more broth (because I deplete my supply rather quickly in the winter).

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced the ends of this also get frozen for later stock-making

3 ears of corn already cooked and cut off cob Leftovers from Sunday lunch.  This came from my parents' garden, but you could also use a couple of cans of corn

1 1/2 cups (?) of zipper peas these were also leftovers (and from our garden), no idea how much I used.  Any kind of pea or bean would work

2 finely chopped dried tomatoes store-bought ones work, too, if you don't have any in the freezer.  Oven-drying tomatoes is actually a great way to easily preserve that excess of tomatoes you may have in the summer.

1 TBS dried parsley

Dash of salt

However much pepper you want

About 1 TBS bacon grease totally optional.  This was saved from the last time I cooked bacon.  I keep it in a Mason jar in the fridge.  I promise it's not gross.

Pasta  this is up to you.  Whatever kind you want.  However much you want.  I used spaghetti.  I used about as much as when I make spaghetti for two people, but broke it into two-inch pieces.  

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Leave alone for about an hour, or until the carrots and celery are tender.   (Or, put it all in your crockpot and let cook all day.)  At some point during this process, cook your pasta.  When your veggies are done, drain the pasta and add it to the soup.  Bring back to a boil, turn off burner, and let sit for about 10 minutes.  Now, enjoy your comfort in a bowl.  

This is easily customizable for whatever you have on hand or like to eat.  

Quick Muffins

Makes 6

1 c All Purpose Flour

1/2 TBS baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. mayo

Preheat oven to 425.  Stir all ingredients until smooth.  Pour into greased muffin pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  

** You can use self rising flour for this, just leave out the baking powder and salt if you do.  You can also double the recipe for 12.**