Craving comfort food? Make a pot of soup on a cold winter night

Published 9:08 pm Monday, May 4, 2015

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During the cold months many of us turn to warm and hearty food to heat up our insides after having to brave the cold weather outside.
One of my favorite treats in the winter is to curl up with a quilt, a good book and a hot bowl of soup.
Every year, when the first cold snap of weather hits, I get the urge to make a big pot of soup. Over the course of a winter, we make a lot of soup and chili in our house.
For some reason, a big steaming bowl of soup doesn’t have the same appeal in July as it did in January, so it must have something to do with the weather.
One of the other reasons I love to cook soups is many of the recipes are no fuss, you can put them on the stove to simmer or cook them all day in a crock pot. Sometimes they are even better on the second day after the flavors have had a chance to really cook through.
While the days of winter and cold weather are winding down, it is not too late to put a pot of soup on.
Below are some of my favorite winter time soup recipes.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 bunch broccoli flowerets
1 small onion, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup butter
1 10 ounces can cream of celery soup
1 10 ounces can cream of mushroom soup
10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
3 soup cans of milk
12-ounce can evaporated milk
12 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
Steam broccoli, set aside. Saute onion in butter in a small skillet. In a 4 quart pot, combine soups, milk, evaporated milk and cheese. Add broccoli and onions. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted.
Note: I really like a cheesy broccoli cheese soup, so I usually add a little more than this recipe calls for. Play around with the amount of cheese until you find the blend you like.

Loaded Potato Soup
1 package (12 ounces) bacon
11⁄2 cups chopped onion
6 cups chicken broth
2 lb baking potatoes, peeled, cubed
2⁄3 cup butter
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced cooked ham
8-ounce container sour cream
21⁄2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (10 ounces)
3⁄4 cup sliced green onions
In a 12-inch skillet, cook bacon over medium heat 6 to 7 minutes or until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Cook onion in bacon drippings over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until almost tender.
In large stock pot, mix onion, broth and potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
Meanwhile, in same skillet, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour with whisk until smooth. Cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in 2 cups of the milk. Pour milk mixture into potato mixture. Add remaining 2 cups milk, the salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
Stir in ham, half of the bacon, the sour cream, 2 cups of the cheese and 1⁄2 cup of the green onions. Cook until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Top individual servings with remaining bacon, cheese and green onions.

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Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies (RoTel)
14.5 ounces diced tomatoes,
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
14.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium white onion diced
1-2 jalapenos (optional, depending on how spicy you want your soup)
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
White corn tortillas, cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all the ingredients for the soup into your crock pot and give everything a good stir. Secure the lid and set to cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Once the soup is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray each tortilla with non-stick cooking spray. Cut the tortillas into thin strips and toss them onto a baking sheet.
Dust the strips with some salt and pepper to taste. (You can also give them a sprinkle of taco seasoning too for added flavor.)
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until starting to brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Dish the soup into bowls and top with a few tortilla strips.
Abby was born and raised in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County. Her love of cooking grew over the years as she worked in the kitchen alongside her mother and grandmother. Reach her at