Reader Recipes

This is a keeper... easy to prepare (One Pot Meal) and I generally have all the ingredients. Delicious!! – Jailynn D.

Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup
(Serving 8)

1 lb. Italian sausage
1/4 cup of Basil
2 gloves garlic
1 large onion (chopped)
1 tsp Oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 large bag of fresh spinach
1 can chopped tomatoes
6 cups chicken broth/stock (I recommend Better Than Bouillon!)
2 Large Tbsp Tomato paste
1 lb cheese tortellini
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Brown and crumble Italian sausage with onion (In soup pan.. less dishes).
Add garlic and red pepper flakes during last minute of cooking.
Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano and cook until reaching a boil.
Add tortellini and cook approximately 5-7 minutes (until tortellini is just tender).
Turn to simmer, add entire bag of fresh spinach.   Before serving add cheese.
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“Hi Suzanne, our family likes soups of all kinds. My husband and I were born and raised ‘up north’ and it wasn’t until after our college graduations that we began to move south. Even though we’ve lived in Texas for nearly 40 years, soup is still one of our favorite meals–summer and winter.

One of the things I like best about making a pot of soup (besides the delicious leftovers and how it makes the kitchen smell so good!) is the fact that soup recipes are very forgiving. If you want to add more of something or even substitute an ingredient, it is usually a pretty safe thing to do and that holds true for both of these recipes as well. I hope you enjoy them as much as our family does!” —Jane R.

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
(6-8 servings)
Freezes well

1 box long grain and wild rice
2-3 large chicken breasts
1 medium onion, diced
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine (or less)
6 Tbsp instant chicken bouillon
2 cups diced celery
Broccoli, chopped (one medium bunch or to taste)
2 cups diced carrots
Salt & pepper

Bring chicken to boil in 8 cups of water in a large pot.  Cook until tender.  Remove chicken and save water in pot.
Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces (or shred).  Meanwhile, prepare the rice according to package directions and set aside.
Add bouillon cubes, carrots, celery, and broccoli to water and cook until crisp-tender (5 minutes at most)
Saute mushrooms and onion in butter and add to soup mixture
Add chicken and prepared rice and heat thoroughly
Serve with blueberry muffins or crusty bread.

Tortilla Soup

2 cans chicken stock
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can tomatoes with chilies (Rotel)
1 cup cooked rice
Note: cooked chicken, frozen corn, and/or drained black beans may also be added. Increase the stock as needed.

To make a thicker soup add a can of cream of chicken soup

- Cook all stock, condiments, and vegetables for 30 minutes on low.  Add rice.

To serve, ladle soup over tortilla chips and top with grated cheese and avocado slices.

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“Dear Suzanne, first of all, thank you for sharing one of your favorite soup recipes. I just love eating soups, especially during the colder months. And, because I live in PA, we have more colder weather than you do, living in Sarasota, FL! I have several soup recipes that I enjoy making and find delicious.  But, I had to narrow it down, so I decided to send you the one below.
This is a comforting soup for a cold day with cornbread! Enjoy!” – Warm regards, Marcia G., (Bethlehem, PA)

(Yield:  6 servings)

1/2 pound ground round
2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 3 medium sized)
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, untrained
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato soup, undiluted
1 1/2 cups hot cooked white (I often use brown) rice

1.  Heat a small Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add beef; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Add chopped green bell pepper and onion; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in seasonings, less-sodium beef broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato soup; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.

2.  Spoon 1/4 cup hot cooked rice into each of 6 bowls; top with 1 cup of soup.
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Karla N. shares her method for preparing soup–a little of this, a little of that.

I've been reluctant to submit my soup recipe as it's not really a recipe per se. I agree with your reader about soup being forgiving. During the summer at my farmers market one of my favorite vendors saves me the okra they think is too big to sell. Appreciating okra in soup, I am always grateful and take it home to sort it out. I cut any that's tender enough and spread it out on a cookie sheet to freeze it and after it's frozen I bag it and it gets a soup okra label.

When we're hungry for soup I start with diced tomatoes simmered and smashed and then add leftovers from roast, taco meat, etc. I always add chicken AND beef stock no matter what the meat as I think the contrast balances the flavor. More simmering and then in go the vegetables. I must confess Veg-all is a friend of mine. After more simmering in goes the uncooked orzo and when it's done the last addition is the coveted okra!

I've heard cooking is a science but I always say it's a science experiment!

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Book club reader Maria M. shares one of her favorite soup recipes:

From Cookie and Kate
(Yields 4 bowls)
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 cups (24 to 32 ounces) vegetable broth, as needed
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1/2 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 40 to 50 minutes (don't worry if the skin or flesh browns--that's good for flavor). Set the squash aside until it's cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering (if your blender has a soup preset, use a medium skillet to minimize dishes.) Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Transfer the contents to your stand blender.

Use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into your blender. Discard the tough skin. Add the maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper to the blender. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later).

Securely fasten the lid. Blend on high (or select the soup preset, if available), being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid. Stop once your soup is ultra creamy and warmed through.

If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, stir in the remaining cup of broth. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.

If your soup is piping hot from the blending process, you can pour it into serving bowls. If not, pour it back into your soup pot and warm the soup over medium heat, stirring often, until it's nice and steamy. I like to top individual bowls with some extra black pepper.

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