French Cabbage Soup

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One of my favorite blogs is Morning’s Minion  by a lady from Vermont who retired to live in Kentucky.  Her posts are full of her activities with her cats and her old horse, Pebble, and descriptions of her quilts and their favorite foods.  The other day, she said she had made some French Cabbage soup, which was new to me .  I looked at recipes on the internet and put together different elements along with my own preferences to make this delicious soup with the French kick being the bread and Swiss topping.  I don’t know what recipe my friend in Kentucky used, but this version surely is good.   Homemade chicken broth is best to use, but the kind in a can or box is fine, too.

FRENCH CABBAGE SOUP

  • 3 Tblsp. butter
  • ½ cup onions, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (two 14.5 oz. cans)
  • 1 cup potato, raw, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour plus water to make 1 cup
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 4 slices of sturdy bread
  • 2 slices of Swiss cheese, cut on the diagonal
  • Smoked Paprika for sprinkling

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and over medium low heat, saute the onions and carrots until tender.

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Add the chicken broth, potatoes and cabbage.
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Simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 20 minutes until cabbage and potatoes are tender.
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Place flour in a one-cup measure and add enough water to make one cup.  Whisk until smooth and stir this mixture into the soup along with the thyme and salt and pepper to taste (be sure to taste before adding salt – some broth is very salty).

Simmer on medium heat for 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, ladle the hot soup into four oven-proof bowls.  Top each bowl with a slice of bread, a piece of Swiss cheese and a sprinkling of paprika.  Place under the broiler to melt and slightly brown the cheese (watch closely so the cheese doesn’t burn).  Serve immediately.

4 servings

I used some of my old standby Italian bread for the topping.  Just right for perching on top of hot soup.

Hearty Cauliflower Soup

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When I was getting ready to fix lunch today, I found three containers of leftovers – steamed cauliflower, mashed potatoes and some carrots from our Sunday roast beef dinner.  I decided to use everything up and make a cauliflower soup which had a great flavor and was thick and substantial.   It made a nice lunch along with a warm roll on a chilly November day.

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

  • 3 slices bacon
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups steamed cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cooked baby carrots, cut into slices
  • Salt/pepper to taste

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In a large pan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crisp.

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Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel.  In the bacon grease, brown the chopped onion until soft.  Add the chicken broth.  Turn up heat to medium-high.

In a small cup, mix together the milk and flour; add to broth mixture.  Add the mashed potatoes and stir or whisk until smooth.  Stir in the cauliflower and carrots.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat until bubbly and hot, stirring occasionally.

Place soup in bowls and sprinkle with reserved bacon which has been crumbled.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

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Cold Cucumber Soup

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Here’s a tasty cold soup to enjoy on one of the remaining warm days we will surely have in September.  It’s very easy to make and tastes delicious.  It’s a light soup and I added an accompanying sturdy piece of homemade bread with a slice of good cheese, toasted under the broiler.

COLD CUCUMBER SOUP

  • One long English style cucumber
  • 3 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • ½ Tblsp. dried dill weed
  • 4 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper

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Peel the cucumber, cut into sections and remove the seeds.  A melon baller works well for this.
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Cut the cucumber into 1-1/2 inch chunks and place in a food processor or blender.  Add the lemon juice, dill weed, yogurt and broth.  Process until pureed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Place soup in a covered container and refrigerate for at least two hours.

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Makes 4 servings

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Tags:  cook,cooking,recipe,recipes,soup,cold cucumber,cucumber,lunch,summer

Easy Sweet Potato and Bean Soup

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Since the weather forecast calls for 4-8 inches of snow tonight, I thought it was time for a soup I’ve been enjoying this winter  It started out as a chicken and sweet potato soup, and turned into a Sweet Potato and Bean version which I like the best.  It’s easy to put together and is ready in an hour.

EASY SWEET POTATO AND BEAN SOUP

  • 1 Tblsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups homemade or canned chicken broth
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • A few grindings of black pepper
  • 14 oz. can of cannellini beans (or Great Northern), drained and rinsed

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In a large pot, heat oil over medium low heat and add onions and red pepper. Cook, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add garlic. Cook 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add broth, sweet potato cubes, tomatoes, cayenne and basil. Stir well, bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not soft.

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Add salt and pepper to taste (depending on what kind of broth is used) and beans.  Simmer 10-15 minutes until piping hot.

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Makes 4 servings.

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French Onion Soup and Tart Cherry Dessert

My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is what we enjoyed last Friday.

I adapted this recipe from one in a cooking newsletter I received awhile back (can’t remember source) and found this amount of soup is perfect for the 4 servings I like to make for our  Friday lunches.  I leave one serving on the table for my daughter who works at home and take three servings in a picnic basket to my youngest daughter – two for our lunch and an extra for her to use another time.  This is the first recipe I’ve seen for French Onion Soup that uses chicken broth and since I cook a chicken almost every week, I have a lot of broth in the freezer.  I also freeze any leftover broth from roast beef and this enhances the flavor of the soup quite a bit.  I also think the red wine vinegar gives the soup a special boost in taste.  Canned broth can also be used but the flavor may not be as good.

FRENCH ONION SOUP

• 1-½ lbs. sliced yellow onions  (7 cups)
• 1 Tlsp. olive oil
• Approx. 2 Tblsp. water
• Chicken stock, plus beef broth and water as needed, to make 4 cups total
• 1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
• 1 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
•  ¾ tsp. salt (taste before adding especially if using canned broth)
• 1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar
•  4 slices sturdy bread (I used my homemade Italian bread*)
•  4 half-slices Swiss cheese
•  ¼ cup parmesan cheese

Saute onions in olive oil, add water.

Stir often on medium low heat until onions are soft.  Turn heat to low, stirring occasionally, cooking for an hour or so until onions are sweet and lightly browned.  Add small amounts of water as necessary to keep onions from sticking to pan.

In a large pot, place chicken stock/beef/water to make 4 cups.

In a small bowl, whisk until smooth the flour, brown sugar and salt.

Add red wine vinegar.  Bring stock to a boil and add the flour mixture, whisking well and bring back to a boil.  Boil on medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add sautéed onions last.  Pour into 4 oven-proof bowls and top each bowl with a slice of sturdy bread, a half-slice of Swiss cheese and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese.

Broil for a minute or so, watching carefully so the cheese doesn’t burn.  Serve immediately.

4 servings 

*Italian Bread

Based on 4 servings, the soup with bread and cheese is 264 calories.

For dessert, I made a light but very flavorful dessert from an old Shaker cookbook, We Make You Kindly Welcome.

TART CHERRY DESSERT

  • 3 oz. package of cherry Jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cherry brandy/liqueur or cherry juice
  • 1 Tblsp. Lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen tart cherries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, place cherry Jello and  pour boiling water over.  Stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in cherry liqueur/juice and lemon juice.  Pour into a 9-inch dish and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, pour cherries into a small bowl and add sugar.

Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours while gelatin mixture is chilling.

Remove gelatin mixture from refrigerator (should be partially set) and stir in cherry/sugar mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for another 2 hours.

4 servings 

Can be served plain or with a bit of whipped topping.

Based on 4 servings, this dessert is 192 calories.  Add 20 calories if using lite whipped topping (2 Tblsp.).

The soup and dessert were a good combination – low in calories and very tasty.

White Chicken Chili

I found this recipe in 2001 on the label of a Bush’s beans can.  I was happy that my husband liked it as much as I did, since he generally preferred beef or pork to chicken.  This is a quick way to make a flavorful, filling meal.  Based on four servings, each bowl has only 168 calories and 2.32 grams of fat.

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI

  • One medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-¾ cup homemade chicken broth (or 14.5 oz. can of broth)
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Two 16 oz. cans cannellini or great northern beans (Bush’s)
  • 1-½ cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste (canned broth can be saltier – taste first before adding salt)

In a large saucepan, cook onion in oil for 4-6 minutes until onion is soft.

Whisk flour into ½ cup cold chicken broth.  Add to onion and stir.  Add remaining chicken broth, cumin,  beans, chicken, pepper and salt.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then lower heat and simmer at medium low heat for 10 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Makes 4 servings.  I like the spiciness of the recipe but for more heat, you could add some chili powder. 

Our Favorite Black Bean Soup

I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and made a few adaptations.  It’s wonderful, makes 10 one-cup servings, each one only 2 Weight Watchers points.

OUR FAVORITE BLACK BEAN SOUP

  • Servings: Ten one-cup servings
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  • 1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 Tblsp. cumin
  • Three 16-oz cans of black beans, undrained
  • One 16-oz. jar of salsa, mild
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth (or a 14.5-oz can)
  • Sour cream and cilantro for garnishing

Saute onion slices and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat until onions are soft and tender.  If necessary, a small amount of chicken broth can be added to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in cumin.

In a blender or food processor, puree two cans of black beans* and add to onion/garlic mixture.  Stir in remaining can of black beans, salsa and broth.  Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

*You can also use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash the beans.

Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Ladle soup into a bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream and some snipped cilantro.

Makes ten one-cup servings.

One cup of soup plus 1 Tblsp. sour cream and a snipping of cilantro = 2 Weight Watchers points

Anadama Bread and Rolls


I first made this bread in December of 1982 and included mini-loaves in my food gift baskets that year.  This is very good bread and you can definitely taste the hearty texture of the corn meal.   I adapted my recipe from one in a 1976 edition of Redbook Cookbook.

ANADAMA BREAD AND ROLLS

  • Servings: One 9-inch loaf or one 7-3/14-inch loaf plus 10 rolls
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  • 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, approx.
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 2 pkgs instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup water, heated to 130 degrees F
  • 1 cup milk, heated to 130 degrees F
  • 1/2 cup light molasses*
  • 3 Tblsp. butter, melted

*I used some molasses I had bought in Amish country and it has a slight sorghum flavor.  Any good light molasses would work well.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place 1 cup of flour, the corn meal, yeast, water, milk, molasses and melted butter.  With a paddle beater, beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Add one cup of flour to the mixture and beat at medium speed, gradually adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time as the dough is being kneaded for 6-1/2 minutes.  Dough should be elastic and smooth, but will be a little sticky to the touch because of the molasses.

Place dough in a greased bowl ….

…cover and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and make into bread and/or rolls.  This amount of dough will make two 9×5 inch loaves or a variety of other combinations.  I chose to make a 7-3/4 inch loaf and 10 large rolls.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the rolls for approximately 12-15 minutes, depending on size.  Bake a 7-3/4 inch loaf of bread for approximately 30 minutes, and a 9×5 inch loaf for 45-55 minutes.

Remove from pans immediately to a wire rack and let cool.

I like to cover the bread with a tea towel while cooling to keep the crust soft.

The bread came out of the oven at noon, just in time for my daughter and me to enjoy it for lunch with a bowl of soup – fantastic!

Incidentally, for busy days, it’s nice to have a box of Campbell’s V-8 soup in the pantry.  Today, we had Southwestern Corn Chowder – really good.

Note:  I always underbake the rolls because I’m going to be browning them in the oven just before serving – usually just two or three at a time.

Depression Vegetable Soup

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My parents married as teenagers during the Great Depression.  For the first three years they lived with family but after my father got a job with the WPA, he moved his wife and two young daughters to a one-room apartment on Elm Street in downtown Cincinnati.  My mother had never cooked for a family before and knew nothing about it.  My father drew on his experiences of traveling around with his father and younger brother from one fairground and racetrack to another where they did horseshoeing, grooming of horses and my father picked up drives in harness horse races.  They did their cooking in barns and tack stalls on a small electric hot plate and my father knew all about making dishes like pancakes with fried eggs, chili, and a hearty vegetable soup – on the cheap and as quickly as possible.

Our first apartment was about three blocks from the large Cincinnati Sixth Street Market where every conceivable kind of food was sold.  Each morning my father would hand my mother the correct amount of money to cover the ingredients for the day’s supper.  We didn’t have an ice box in that first flat so the three-block-long walk had to be made every day with my mother carrying my year-old sister and with me at three years old walking alongside, hanging onto the shopping bag.  My father gave my mother instructions on how to cook what she bought and he made it clear that supper was to be ready on time – no excuses of a crying baby or obstinate toddler.

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This soup was a weekly menu item during the 1930s and beyond.  When I was married in the 1950s and on a strict budget, it became a regular meal for my family.  Like everything my mother cooked, it was frugal, filling and only contained items that my father liked (so, no carrots or green beans or barley or noodles, etc., etc.)  It’s still my favorite soup, thick and hearty – even better the next day.

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DEPRESSION VEGETABLE SOUP

  • 1/2 lb. of stewing beef, cubed*
  • 2 cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • One 14 oz. can of tomato puree
  • 3 cups water
  • One 14 oz. can of peas
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients except peas and seasonings in a large pot.  Cover with 3 cups of water.  Let cook for about an hour and a half on medium heat, stirring occasionally and adding a small amount of water if the mixture is getting too thick.   Add the can of peas, including liquid, and allow to cook for 10 minutes or so longer until peas are heated through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with saltine crackers.  Yield:  4 servings

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*My mother would have used the cheapest cut of beef available but I like to use chuck or round steak with all of the fat removed and then cubed.