• 61°

Try soup or chili for a delicious meal on a cool day

CONTRIBUTED
Cold winter months make us long for warm, soul-satisfying home-cooked meals. When weekday schedules get overscheduled with to-dos and weekends get crazy with commitments, there’s something special about coming home to a meal that requires little effort and tastes like home.
Nothing takes the chill off a late fall afternoon or early winter evening like a hearty bowl of chili or a big bowl of homemade soup.
Both are simple enough to make-ahead and great for freezing and pulling out when you need a last-minute crowd-pleaser. Serve the chili with a big bowl of salad and plenty of warm, fresh-from-the-oven biscuits or rolls. This one-pot meal makes a great holiday potluck addition, warms hungry fans at football tailgates, and is delicious enough to be worthy of a Sunday Supper main dish.
How much do you love your chili? 
Southern Living recommends its Easy Crock Pot Chili made with ground beef, as well as its Loaded Potato Soup and Soulful Chicken Soup.
EASY CHILI
INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium chopped onion
1 small chopped green bell pepper
2 mined garlic cloves
16 ounces canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
14-1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
DIRECTIONS
In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic over medium-high heat. Stir until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Once cooked, drain mixture. Place cooked mixture in a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, pepper, salt, and ground cumin. Cook at HIGH 3 to 4 hours or at LOW 5 to 6 hours. To thicken consistency, stir in finely crushed saltine crackers until the desired thickness is achieved
SOULFUL CHICKEN SOUP
INGREDIENTS
2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skinned and trimmed
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1-1/4 cups)
1 celery root, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh sage sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups wide egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
INSTRUCTIONS
Place chicken and next 11 ingredients in a 6-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken and vegetables are tender and chicken separates from bone.
Remove chicken from slow cooker. Dice meat, discarding bones. Return meat to slow cooker. Stir in noodles and parsley. Cover and cook on HIGH 15 to 20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir in lemon juice. Serve immediately, and garnish with any leftover chopped fresh parsley.
LOADED POTATO SOUP
INGREDIENTS
4 (6-ounce) red potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup prechopped onion
1-1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bacon slices, halved
1.5 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
4 teaspoons thinly sliced green onions
DIRECTIONS
Pierce potatoes with a fork. Microwave on HIGH 13 minutes or until tender. Cut in half; cool slightly.
While potatoes cook, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk; add to pan with 1-1/2 cups milk. Bring to a boil; stir often. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, salt, and pepper.
Arrange bacon on a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a paper towel; microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes. Crumble bacon.
Discard potato skins. Coarsely mash potatoes into soup. Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon.