Monday, January 16, 2012
Crock Pot Soups
January brings some chillier days and it can be really depressing -- unless -- you dust off the old crock pot and pour in ingredients for a tummy-warming-soup. It will be ready when you get home and if someone asks you what's for dinner, your answer will make them think warm and cozy thoughts.
Almost any soup recipe does well in a crock pot. The flavors blend well together and you get richer flavors. The smells that greet your family when they come in the door are scrumptious.
Today, is MLK Day and you might want to have something fancier like a chicken and white been soup or a baked potato soup, especially if you care coming in after a parade. There are some great vegetable soups using black eyed peas and collards if you want warm southern flavors. Just google the ingredients plus soup and you will see what I mean.
I always like the good ole' vegetable soups like my mother used to make. Here is an easy crock pot variation of her soup. For this, I use my largest crock pot.
Very Veggie Soup
2 jars spaghetti sauce, any kind
2 large bags frozen vegetable soup mix
1 bag frozen gumbo mix
(I love okra in my soup but if you don't like it, use mixed vegetables)
2 cans crushed tomatoes
4 to 5 cups water or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional ingredients: Brown ground beef or ground turkey with a clove of garlic and put it in the crock pot first. Use this as an opportunity to clean out the fridge. Use any leftover vegetables, rice, beef or chicken, chopped, or any canned beans or vegetables of your choice.
Just dump all ingredients into the crock pot and set on low. It will take 6 to 8 hours for this to be perfect, depending on your crock pot. I have one that cooks fast and one that cooks slow and I have to make adjustments according to how each one cooks.
My favorite bread to serve with soup is cornbread. I usually use half cornmeal and half corn flour to make a gluten-free bread. I also like to use millet. It has a great flavor and texture.
Stay warm and have a nice bowl of soup by the fire, if you have one. Today is just that kind of day.