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Cooking Corner


January 21, 2012
Bernice Volkens , Reinbeck Courier

One thing I use to hate to hear was the age-old question, "What's to eat?" I've solved that problem this winter by having some soup always ready to eat. I've found some things out about soup. You can't make too much soup. You can't invite too many people in to eat it. Also anything starts to taste pretty good when it has been simmered long enough with everything else - especially onions.

Soup can usually last a long time. I've even been known to change the type of soup. After a day or two you can still add something else to it and again you have a new pot of soup. I especially like to add rice, barley, or noodles. If you have young children they seem to like pasta added to their soup. I have found if you have a good stock, or pot of soup you can keep replenishing it to keep a good, hot nourishing meal on hand at all times. Soup in my house has become a family tradition.

It is hard for me to follow a recipe when making soup. "Forget the recipe," the soup kettle seems to say. "See what is in the back of the refrigerator, on the shelves, or in the basement. Soup making requires both thrift and creativity, qualities and quantity that is always enough. Saving for the soup pot is a genuine pleasure of, making do, using it up and getting by. Cooking soup creatively lets us bend the rules.

I know when I take the days of soup stock saving from the fridge or freezer they aren't particularly glamorous, but they are filled with beautiful possibilities. One of the best thing about making soup is we get to use the leftovers and transform otherwise plain ingredients into something lovely and tasty. If you are like me, I save giblets and necks from any old hen that comes my way, juices from chicken, beef and ham bones, or left over vegetables too become future soup ingredients. I recently made this soup using my crockpot. I also make this soup on top of the stove. However, when it's in a slow cooker it's wonderful to come home and find this scrumptious soup waiting for you.


1 lb. ground beef,

browned and drained

28-oz. can crushed


1 cup potatoes, peeled

and diced

1 cup carrots, peeled and


1 cup onions, sliced

1 cup celery, sliced

4 cups hot water

1 Tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf, crumbled

Mix together all ingredients in a slow cooker. Heat on a slow setting for 6 to 8 hours or until vegetables are tender. Serves 6.

"Time for cold weather and hot soup."



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