I'm not a winter girl, generally speaking. I'd much rather frolic by a swimming pool than curl up by a fire.
(Frolic? Did I just say frolic? I don't know where that came from; I haven't frolicked in 20 years.)
If winter brings one redeeming quality (and it is only one), it is that I am justified in fixing soup. I love soup. I'd fix it year-round if the temperature of an Oklahoma summer didn't hover around 294 degrees.
But there is nothing easier (or cheaper, or tastier) than a big pot of soup on a cold day. Throw in some easy cornbread, and you have an entire meal. I love this.
All winter long, I fix soup at least one night a week, and it's usually one of these two. Please note that the ingredients in these recipes are approximations; I make them a little different every time. (Which is another thing I love about soup, actually: it's almost impossible to ruin it. Unless you forget and leave your plastic stirring spoon in the pot and it melts into the broth, turning the whole thing into plastic sludge, forcing you dump the whole pot in the backyard for the wildlife to eat, and making you hope all the squirrels don't end up with cancer. Hypothetically speaking, of course.)
EASY BEEF STEW
4 cups beef broth (I make mine with bouillon cubes, usually)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato soup (undiluted)
1 lb ground beef, browned
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
4-5 potatoes, chopped
4-5 stalks celery chopped
2 cups green beans (frozen or fresh)
2 cups carrots (frozen or fresh)
2 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
Mix all ingredients together in a large pot. Cook over low heat (or in crock pot) for at least four hours. Experiment with it, substituting other veggies. Serves about 12.
EASY HAM AND POTATO SOUP
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups milk
8 potatoes, chopped into cubes (I leave the skin on)
about 2 cups diced ham
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz sour cream
1/2 tsp garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a large pot. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, so the milk won't scorch! Pour into bowls for serving, and sprinkle some grated cheddar cheese over the top. Serves 8-10.
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