As mentioned before, I cannot stand cooking. It’s a necessary evil when you have a family of six, but I grocery shop and prepare meals with gritted teeth.
One weird exception to this rule is my annual soup and salad night. Every October I invite 25 aunts and cousins to come stuff their gullets at my place. My house isn’t big, so seating is cramped, but I prefer to view it as cozy and I hope they do too.
All the aunts bring a pot of soup; cousins bring salad or a side—well, one cousin who is also a kitchen goddess (darn her) is always on breadstick duty.
Besides the company, the best part is sampling a little dab of this soup and a little dab of that, soaking up every last splash with a fluffy, cheese-dusted breadstick. So I thought I’d share a few of our family’s favorite soup recipes today. Because if there’s one thing I don’t hate trying in the kitchen, it’s a new soup (but please, could someone come cook it for me instead?).
There are a million similar recipes online for this kind of soup, but here’s my quick-and-easy, one-pot version.
2 TB olive oil
1 pound turkey sausage
Two boxes vegetable broth
1 can cannellini (or white) beans
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
Half a brick of cream cheese (not Neufchatel)
Two big handfuls fresh spinach
1 bag frozen tortellini
Add oil to soup pot and cook turkey thoroughly, crumbling it as you go. Add vegetable broth, cannellini beans (do not drain), diced tomatoes, and cream cheese (cut in pieces). Bring to a boil and whisk to break down the cream cheese.
Stir in tortellini and spinach and heat until noodles are cooked and spinach is not yet desecrated. 15 servings.
2 tsp olive oil
1 pound ground turkey (turkey breakfast sausage)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small can tomato paste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
13 oz whole grain penne pasta
1/2 tsp sweet basil flakes
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 15 oz. container of part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
In a large pot, brown sausage and onion in olive oil. Add garlic, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for another minute. Add tomato paste and crushed tomatoes, water, and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 min.
Add the pasta, then cook till pasta done. Discard bay leaves, stir in basil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the cheeses together, then place a spoonful of mixture in bottom of bowl. Ladle soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.
Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 cube butter
1 cup flour
8 cups chicken broth
2 boxes Uncle Ben’s long-grain wild rice original recipe (not instant)
4 cups half & half
4 cups boiled chicken breasts-cubed
2 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Chop onion, carrots, and celery and sauté in butter until vegetables are tender. Add flour and stir until smooth. Add chicken broth and stir until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Prepare rice according to package directions. To the vegetable mixture, add rice, half & half, chicken, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer until desired temperature. Serves 12-15.
If these pique your interest, check out this blog where my sisters and mom post their favorites. •