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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soups On!

Perhaps you've had some time to clean out those cabinets and get organized, or maybe not.  I should tell everyone that I didn't do my whole kitchen in one day, I just tackled one area at a time.  I also want to mention that I didn't develop all these healthy habits over night.  I used to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.  As I saw my parents develop problems with heart disease and I learned more from my husband, my approach to eating, exercise and good health evolved.  Having children really spurred my desire to be more healthy and to raise healthy children.  So don't feel discouraged or that you can't possibly do the things I do.  Remember to try one thing at a time and adjust to it - baby steps!

That being said, let's talk about one of the quickest and easiest dinners you can make - soup!  We eat alot of soup in the fall and winter because it usually makes a large amount (leftovers for another meal!) and if it contains vegetables, it is a complete dinner.  I have several soup recipes that my family loves.  The vegetable beef soup I'm going to share has a ton of vegetables in it and makes more than enough to freeze for another day or to share with a friend.  It is also simple because you just dump most of the ingredients in the pot and let it simmer away.  Don't worry if you can't find a soup bone.

Vegetable Soup
3 lbs. stew meat                                            
1 soup bone
1Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 13 1/2 oz. cans tomato juice 
1 tsp. onion powder
4 13 1/2 oz. cans water 
2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 onion chopped 
3 bay leaves
1/2 green pepper chopped
4 cups diced tomatoes
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 10 oz. packages frozen mixed vegetables
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients except diced tomatoes and frozen mixed vegetables in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, cover tightly and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender.  Return to a rolling boil and add tomatoes and frozen vegetables.  Boil 5 minutes, uncovered.  Better the next day. 

I also want to share another favorite soup which is a bit unusual but loved by my family - Zydeco Soup.  It has several spices but goes together quickly. 

Zydeco Soup
2 stalks celery chopped
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 large onion chopped
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 green pepper chopped
1 15 oz. can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic minced
1 14 oz. can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
6 oz. diced, cooked ham
 1 14 oz. can chicken broth
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. each of sugar, dry mustard, cumin, basil, oregano, thyme
1 Tbsp. molasses
Cook celery, onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stir in ham and spices, then cook 5 minutes more, stirring.  Add black eyed peas, hominy, undrained tomatoes, broth and molasses.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. 

These soups are great on cold winter nights.  Serve with your favorite bread and let someone else clean up the kitchen.  Thursday we will talk about another time saver - the crockpot.

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