Monday, January 4, 2010

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Let me start off by wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR from Three Simple Girls!! We hope that 2010 has treated you well thus far and that you're looking forward to all that this year holds!

Here, in our neck of the woods, we've seen quite a few VERY cold days in a row with wind chills in the NEGATIVE degrees!! And this all falls on the heels of one of the worst snow storms we've seen in several years. So, needless to say, our days are filled with fires in the fireplace, big hooded sweatshirts, hefty jackets and an extra blanket on the bed and lots of warm cups of coffee. This has also put us in the mood for big batches of homemade soup. Soups are great because you can make them in HUGE quantities, you can freeze them, you can make them in a relatively healthy manner and they are perfect for a chilly winter night.

We spent about 2 hours yesterday afternoon making 2 soups and committed to doing the same for the next few weeks. We've picked about 7 different soup recipes to use to avoid getting tired of eating the same type of food for the whole month! Pairing the soups with salad, crackers, cornbread and grilled cheese sandwiches should give us enough variety. We figured we'd eat the soup for a meal, leave enough for a night of leftovers and freeze the rest. Depending on the recipe, we could end up with several nights of leftovers!! Spending 2 hours on day to have dinner for the entire week is a pretty good trade off, if I do say so myself!

Here are the 2 recipes we used for this week. First up is a healthy take on a Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It was actually pretty good!! It didn't make as much as we thought it would, so we'll probably eat it all before we get a chance to freeze it!

Broccoli Soup

*1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
*Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
*5-8 cups Broccoli Florets
*1/2 cup Finely Chopped Celery
*1 Large Onion, Chopped
*1 Small Potato
*1 Bay Leaf
*1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
*1 quart (about 32 ounces) Chicken Broth
1. Cook celery and onion, seasoned with salt and pepper, in olive oil at medium heat for about 10 minutes.
2. Peel and slice potato and at to the pot. Add the bay leaf, oregano and broth and bring to boil quickly over high heat.
3. Simmer until vegetables are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Add broccoli and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove bay leaf and puree the soup in a blender.
**You can place pureed soup back into pot and stir in 1 cup of cheese while hot. **
6. Serve topped with cheese.
Serving Size: 1.5 cups Serves: 6
104 calories, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat

This next recipe filled a 6 qt. crock pot, so be prepared for LOTS of leftovers!!

Crock Pot Potato Soup

*5 lbs. Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
*1 Small Onion, Chopped
*8 oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
*3-14.5 oz. cans of Chicken Broth
*2 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
*1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
*Bacon, Cheese, Sour Cream and Scallions for garnish
1. Put potatoes and onion in crock pot.
2. Combine cream cheese, chicken broth, soup and pepper and add to crock pot.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
4. After cooking time, mash potatoes for a thicker soup.

The best way I've found to freeze soups is to put them in gallon or quart size storage bags. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until frozen. Once they're frozen, you can stand them up or move them around as needed. When they thaw, you can easily pour them into a pot or bowl to reheat.

I'll try to post the recipes we use for the next few weeks. Does anyone have any great soup recipes you think we should share? Anyone want to join us on this soup for a month plan?

Stay warm!!


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