Minnesota has been in a deep freeze for months, with temperatures of 20 below zero and wind chills a startling 45-50 below. Though the evening television news is packed with stories about frozen pipes, the broadcasts haven’t mentioned frost bite or frozen tummies. However, the newscasts urge parents to bundle up their children and protect their skin.
During weather like this parents tend to feed their children comfort food like soup. Sandwiches often accompany the soup of choice. I ate lots of soup when I was a child and still enjoy it.
An early riser (5 a.m. or even 4 a.m.) I’m ready for lunch around 10:15. The other day I longed for homemade soup, but didn’t have time to start from scratch. So I opened a can of cream of chicken soup. Canned soup has several advantages. First, it’s quick. Second, the manufacturer has spent years on product development. Third, the manufacturer strives for a consistent product.
A little of this, a little of that, and 15 minutes later, I had a satisfying lunch. You may enjoy these recipes, one for a creamy vegetable soup, and the other for fresh mushroom. Both may be doubled if you’re feeding a large family. For a heartier dish, add cooked chicken to the first recipe. Then pass crackers or crusty bread.
Creamy Vegetable Soup
10 3/4 ounce can lower sodium cream of chicken soup
3 soup cans water
3 packets salt-free chicken soup base
1 package Trader Joe’s frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, cauliflower, corn in sauce)
1/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (optional)
In a soup kettle whisk together canned soup and water. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the vegetables and pasta are tender. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese if you wish. Makes 6 servings.
Fresh Mushroom Soup with Dry Sherry
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8-ounce package button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (Use another variety of mushroom if you wish.)
10 3/4 ounce can lower sodium cream of mushroom soup
3 soup cans water
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2-3 tablespoons dry sherry
Put butter and oil in soup pan. Add sliced mushrooms and saute over medium heat until they start to brown. Add soup base, water, and dried thyme. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Just before serving add sherry and cook one minute longer. Makes 6 servings.
Copyright 2014 by Harriet Hodgson