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  • Writer's pictureSara Bowyer

Homemade & Wonderful! Four soups to warm you on a cold winters day.

Well, we made it another year around the sun and through another holiday! Happy 2024 everyone! January, for me, is a time to rest and relax. After the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Years, our schedule really slows down and we can take breath! It’s also typically the time that winter starts in full force. And winter calls for soup!


One of my favorite annual traditions we do at the church is our Community Soup’er Bowl. It’s held the Saturday before the Super Bowl in February and it is a soup competition. You get the play on words, right? This will be our 6th year to host this event and I look forward to it every year!! Everyone in the community is invited to attend and it is a great way to warm up on a cold Saturday and fellowship with new and old friends. It’s also a great way to taste some really amazing soups! Anyone can enter a soup into the contest and everyone who attends gets to taste and vote. There are lots of prizes to win. Best over-all soup, Spiciest soup, healthiest soup, just to name a few. We have had some wonderful soups in the past and I’m sure there will be even tastier ones this year. So be sure to mark it down on your calendar and come bring a soup or just come to taste. Either way, it will be a very fun and delicious event that you don’t want to miss!


So, with that in mind, I am going to share some of my favorite soup recipes. I’ve always been a fan of a good soup and a nice piece of bread. On a cold winter day, there is not much better than having a hearty soup bubbling on the stove making your home smell warm and inviting. Soups are not only delicious, but I tend to make a lot. It’s hard to make a small amount of soup! This is why it is one of my favorites. It always gives me extra to put in the freezer or can. When I am crunched for time, or a friend is in need of a meal, or the power goes out, I have a quick and easy soup already prepared. 


So here are a few of my favorites. I hope you have time to try them this winter. And maybe you’ll love one enough to enter it in to the Soup’er Bowl!


Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup by Sara Bowyer

This soup requires minimal ingredients but yields such amazing results! When you combine several pounds of fresh tomatoes, several cups of fresh basil and a fair amount of garlic you know it’s got to be good!


Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ lbs.Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise

  • 1 ½ lbs grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

  • 4 ½ Tbsp olive oil, divided

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced just under ½ inch thick

  • 1 ½ cups lightly packed fresh basil, divided

  • 5 cups vegetable broth


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Place roma halves cut side up.

  2. Place baking sheet in oven and roast 30-40 minutes.

  3. Pour ingredients into a large pot. Add vegetable broth and about ¾ of the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste

  4. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

  5. Blend soup with an immersion blender. Serve warm topped with remaining basil (chopped)


Autumn Minestrone Soup

Autumn Minestrone Soup by Sara Bowyer

A hearty healthy soup packed with seasonal autumn vegetables! Perfect comforting recipe on a chilly day.


Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, diced

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 1/2 cups 3/4-inch diced Yukon gold potatoes

  • 2 1/2 cups 3/4-inch diced butternut squash

  • 1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced into half moons or quarters

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

  • 2 1/2 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary or oregano (or 1 tsp dried)

  • 2 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2/3 cup dry ditalini pasta (optional)

  • 2 cups packed chopped kale (ribs removed)

  • 1 (14.5 oz) can red or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)


Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and saute 3 minutes then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

  2. Stir in vegetable broth, potatoes, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Bring to a boil then and stir in pasta if using. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and and simmer until veggies are nearly tender, about 15 minutes.

  4. Stir in kale and kidney beans and cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove bay leaves, serve warm with parmesan cheese.


Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Chicken Wild Rice Soup by Sara Bowyer

This Chicken Wild Rice Soup is a hearty creamy soup made with cooked chicken, nutty wild rice, and mushrooms. It is a bowl of comfort any time of the year.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup wild rice (170g)

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)

  • 1 onion (chopped)

  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)

  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (115g)

  • 8 cups chicken stock (1.9 liters)

  • 2 cups cooked chicken (cubed) (300g)

  • 8 oz mushrooms (stems removed and sliced) (225g)

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 cup half-and-half (240 ml)

  • ½ cup chopped parsley (25g)


Instructions

  1. Cook wild rice in 4 cups (960ml) of water for 45 minutes or until it fluffs up. Drain any remaining liquid left in the pot. Set aside.

  2. In a large pot, add vegetable oil. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried thyme and all-purpose flour. Cook and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil.

  4. Add cooked chicken, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Add cooked wild rice and pour in half-and-half. Bring soup back up to a boil and allow it to heat through, about 5 minutes.

  6. Turn off heat. Stir in chopped parsley.


Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup by Sara Bowyer

Love this one!


Ingredients

  • 16 ounce can tomatoes

  • 1 med onion, cut up

  • 2 clove garlic

  • 4 Tbsp snipped cilantro (I double this naturally)

  • ½ tsp sugar

  • 8 cups chicken broth

  • 1 ½ lbs chicken breast cut up (shredded is best). I have also used leftover port and it’s amazing

  • 2 or 3 chipotle peppers and little adobo sauce (or less if you don’t like spicy) I actually used powdered chipotle

  • Shredded Monterey jack cheese or white Mexican queso

  • Avocados cut up

  • Tortilla chips

  • Sour cream


Instructions

In blender combine undrained tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro and sugar. Cover and blend till nearly smooth. Put mixture into a large pot with chicken broth, chicken and chipotle peppers. Bring to boiling, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Put crunched tortilla chips in a bowl with cheese, avocados and sour cream. Ladle soup over and serve immediately!


“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child

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