Winter Soup Recipes to warm you up!

These were published in the February March Issue of Lake Wedowee Life magazine.

Soup’s On!

Winter months seem to keep everyone staying indoors. Its cold, gets dark way too early and it always seems there’s some kind of sickness going around. So it’s no wonder soup is the perfect comfort food for these cold winter months. We have collected a few of our favorites to share with you. Enjoy!

Classic Chili
1 pkg. 1.25 oz. chili seasoning mix
1 lb. ground beef
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 to 16 oz.) kidney or pinto beans, undrained
Assorted toppings: shredded cheese, chopped onions, or sour cream
Brown meat in a large skillet on medium-heat. Drain fat.
Stir in seasoning mix, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until beans are soft, stirring occasionally.
Serve with toppings, if desired.
Creamy Chicken
& Wild Rice Soup
Amanda saw a soup similar to this online and decided to give it a try while substituting some ingredients for things that her family liked better. Not only was the soup a hit with her family, she prepared it for her son's school PTO teacher appreciation lunch and had several teachers email asking the recipe.

3 (10¾ oz) cans chicken broth
2 cups water
½ cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed
½ cup finely chopped green onions
½ cup margarine or butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
⅛ teaspoon pepper
2 cups half and half
1½ cup cubed or shredded cooked chicken or turkey
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, combine chicken broth and water. Add wild rice and onions. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30-45 minutes (or until rice is tender). Once the rice is cooked, there will be some additional broth – do not drain.

In a medium saucepan, melt margarine, stir in flour, salt, seasoning, and pepper. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly.

Gradually stir in half and half with the butter/flour mixture and cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add this creamy mixture back into the saucepan with the rice/broth. Add remaining ingredients (chicken & bacon). Heat on low, stirring every once in a while, for at least a half an hour. Do not boil. This soup is best served after gently heating for an extended period of time (even a few hours) or the next day! For extra flavor, add more poultry seasoning and/or bacon.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

This Italian soup is a quick and hearty meal for your family. Most people in this part of the world haven’t used gnocchi, but its basically a potato dumpling. You can find them in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. The risk is worth it with this soup!

1 cup chicken breasts, diced and cooked (can use canned chicken or turkey)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 quart half and half (can use evaporated milk)
1 14 ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
16 ounce package gnocchi

In a large stockpot, saute the onion, celery and garlic in the butter and olive oil. When the onion is clear, add the flour and form a roux. Stir and cook a minute. Add the half and half.

Meanwhile in another pan, cook the gnocchi. Add the carrots and chicken to the stockpot.

Stir often and when it gets thicker, add the chicken broth, gnocchi, spinach and seasonings. Cover and heat throughly.

Chicken and Dumplings
about 3 cups cooked chicken
6-8 cups chicken broth
2 cups flour
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt to taste (I just shake some in)
about a cup of milk, maybe a bit less

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.
Heavily flour a work surface. You’ll need a rolling pin and pizza wheel to cut the dumplings.
Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Dip your cutter in flour and cut the dumplings in squares about 2″x2″. It’s okay for them not to be exact. Just eye ball it. Some will be bigger, some smaller, some shaped funny.

Use the floured spatula to put them on a heavily floured plate. Just keep flouring between the layers of dumplings. If they will be cooked soon, this method works well. If you plan on cooking them later in the day, layer them on a cookie sheet with wax paper between and lots of flour. You can also freeze them like this and then transfer them to a ziplock bag.
To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and you’re done!
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