Winter Comfort-Soup is On

I love to cook.  Being a part of Debbie Arnold’s food blog is always a special treat and privilege.  If you know anything about Debbie Arnold, you know she is an amazing cook and is full of great tips (which she shares on Arkansas KTHV 11 During Dining with Debbie).  It is always a little humbling to prepare a dish to share on her blog, but the other aspect of Debbie Arnold is her genuineness and love of gathering in the kitchen.   She is a down to earth home cook who inspires you to jump right in and share the kitchen.

Transitioning back to work full-time outside of the home has made cooking at home a little more difficult.  However, I still believe that relationships are most often built around the table.  We were created to need sustenance.  We were created to need relationship.  The table draws us together, allowing for two of our basic needs to be met. That belief, my desire to nurture my family physically and emotionally keeps me working to find ways to meal plan better, to slow down and let the cooking time also be bonding time, and letting go of some of my “perfectionist” expectations of myself.  Meals have become a little simpler.  The crock pot finds it way to my counter at least once a week.  My girls play a bigger role, getting something started as I am on my way home or taking on one of the dishes as we put a complete meal together.  I have also found I turn to some of our favorites more often, cooking less variety during the week.   It just helps keep things simple, and keeps us at home.

Today, I am sharing one of the few soup recipes my family can agree upon and devour in less than an hour.  Cajun Shrimp Chowder.  The recipe, originally passed along to me by a friend from Louisiana, has been given a few Chaplin tweaks. It was the perfect bowl of warmth and comfort after church today.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.  Spend a little extra time around the dinner table this week with family and/or friends.  In a world filled with sadness, turmoil, and busyness we all need the comfort of good food, good company, good fellowship.

cajun-shrimp-chowder

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Soups On! Winter in the South

It has been a cold winter.  And for those of us in the South, we just ain’t used to this white stuff called snow.  We have a love hate relationship with it.  We love it for about a day.  Then, all our power lines begin to fall, electricity may or may not go off and stay off, the streets are iced, we have no real means of getting our streets ready or cleared, etc… One thing for sure though, we have food.  First inclination of bad weather and off to Kroger we go!  It’s a battle for Wonder White Bread and Milk.  Go figure.  This year, apparently bananas were also in high demand, and LORD HAVE MERCY there was a Rotel and Velveeta shortage.  Now that, dear friends, is a SIN, with a capitol S!  We love our food, especially when “snowed in”.  After all, isn’t that what every good Southerner does when stuck inside?  Cook and eat.

I myself love a good pot of soup.  Slow cooked soup with some rolls or crackers and cheese.  Better yet, a little cheese dip and some tortilla chips!  Two of my go to soups are:  Taco Soup and a new favorite Tortellini Soup.  The latter is actually quite healthy and vegetarian.  The Taco Soup, well, kind of healthy until we sprinkle on the avocado, add a dollop of sour cream, and a cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  It’s the South-no apologies.

I thought I’d share my go to recipes.  Both are easy to make and both are great for taking to sickly friends.

Taco Soup:                                                                                                                                                                              

2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained

2 pckgs ranch dressing mix (powder)

2 pckgs taco seasoning

3 cans mixed beans (I like Kroger Simply Organic:  kidney, black and pinto beans)

1 can chick peas

2 cans Ro-Tel

Tortellini Soup

42 oz vegetable broth

2 (9oz) packages spinach tortellini

1 can diced tomatoes with garlic

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup light whipping cream

Both soups:  Just dump it all into a slow cooker.  Let simmer for 3-4 hours.  Top Taco with the above mentioned.  Top Tortellini with shredded Parmesan.

Taco SoupTortellini Soup