Comfort by the spoonful

Nothing takes the chill away after a cold winter day like a bowl of hot soup or chili. Soup is the ultimate winter comfort food, warming both body and soul. It’s even better when it’s made from scratch using wholesome ingredients, brimming with nutrients.

Although everyone enjoys a serving of old-fashioned chicken noodle soup, sometimes your family appreciates a variation on the classic.

Young children might enjoy mild but savory chicken and rice soup because there are no long noodles to struggle with.

Older children and teens may ask for second helpings of zesty chicken tortilla soup.

Whatever the preference, experiment with a new ingredient this winter…one that you’ve never used before. Be creative and watch those jaws drop as your family devours your special dish.

Cauliflower Tomato Soup

1/4 cup sliced leek (white portion only)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup,
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup fresh cauliflower florets
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, saute leek and celery in butter until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 12-16 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Veggie Vegetarian Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with liquid,
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic, onion and carrots in the pot until tender. Mix in the green bell pepper and red bell pepper.
Season with chili powder. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until peppers are tender.
Mix the mushrooms into the pot. Stir in the tomatoes with liquid, black beans with liquid, kidney beans with liquid, pinto beans with liquid, and corn.
Season with cumin, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Easy Texas Chili

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, minced
3 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
4 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 jalapeno peppers, minced (optional)
1/2 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cook and stir the beef, onion and bell pepper in a large pot over medium heat until the beef is brown and onion and pepper are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain grease from beef.
Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapenos (if using), chili powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt and garlic powder. Bring mixture to a slow boil; cover and reduce heat.
Simmer chili at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it does not stick.
This chili can be simmered for several hours; the longer you simmer, the more flavor you will get.

Wild Rice Soup

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (10.75 ounce) can chicken broth
2 cups milk
2 cups diced chicken

Prepare rice according to package directions.
Melt the butter or margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, or until almost tender.
Stir in the flour, salt and pepper to taste. Add the broth and milk. Stir until soup thickens.
Add the rice and the chicken. Allow to heat through, about 10 minutes.