In honor of National Soup Month, Cooperative Extension staged an instructional soup luncheon last Friday at its county headquarters. The program, open to the public and members alike, attracted more than 20 people for a tasting lunch of five soups and also included demonstrations on the soups’ preparation and recipes to take home.
Carmen Long, Surry Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, had plenty of tips on soups and soup making. Long, along with assistant Goldie Sparger, had prepped up everything in advance and Long advocated batch cooking as a good idea even for the home cook. According to Long, “It’s no more of a mess to make five soups at a time than one. It’s more economical, too.” Since a lot of soups use a lot of the same ingredients, Long suggested buying a large quantity of those, carrots, onions, etc.
Long suggested that consumers pay attention to labels and to read them carefully. Demonstrating with a number of cartons of purchased chicken stock, several of the ones marked “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” in fact had larger amounts of sodium than the ones that made no such claim. Some of the differences were significant, a hundred milligrams or more.
Another time-saving hint was to make “beef crumbles” ahead of time. Beef crumbles are ground beef that has been browned and then frozen in order to save time later. Long suggested adding sautéed onion since most recipes will ask for that as well and it can all be dumped out of the freezer ready to go when preparing soup, spaghetti sauce, sloppy Joes and such.
At the end of the hour’s demonstration, five soups were ready for the group to sample. With a smaller group, there could have been some soup left for the next day when soup is always better or maybe even some for the freezer making dinner preparation for a cold, blustery day in the future easier still.
The luncheon ended not with a dessert soup, which are usually fruit based and not particularly well suited to winter, but with S’mores Dip, which Carmen Long felt would be a handy solution to reducing an overabundance of marshmallows and a good use of existing resources. Was Long concerned about using a brand new and untested recipe on a large crowd? “What can go wrong?” was her response.
The S’mores Dip was such a success that it will be on the agenda for Extension’s reprise of their popular chocolate workshop, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Contact Cooperative Extension at 336-401-8025 for exact date and time and to sign up.
Ten Minute Corn Chowder
Serving Size: 1-1/4 cup Yield: 4 servings
1 tsp. oil
1/2 chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 tbsp. all purpose flour
3 cups nonfat milk
2 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
black pepper to taste
2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 tbsp. shredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, place the flour, milk, mustard and seasonings in a small bowl and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the skillet followed by the corn; mix well until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir frequently to keep the mixture from burning. Divide into four bowls and top each with 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese.
Nutrition Information: Calories, 350; Total Fat, 13g; Saturated Fat, 3g; Trans Fat 3g; Cholesterol, 10mg; Sodium, 620mg; Total Carbohydrate, 45g; Dietary Fiber, 5g; Sugars, 11 g; Protein, 9g.
Turkey Stew (or Chicken)
Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe Yield: 4 servings
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 finely chopped garlic clove or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 chopped carrots
2 chopped celery stalks
2 chopped potatoes
1 can (15 ounce) tomatoes, diced
2 cups water
2 cups chopped, cooked turkey
salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasoning or oregano, basil or thyme to taste
Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery and stir two minutes. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and water to pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add turkey and cook another five minutes or until heated. Season to taste before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
Turkey or Chicken Soup
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup chopped, cooked turkey or chicken
dash of pepper
1/4 chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 thinly chopped carrots
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked pasta (such as bowtie, shells, macaroni, etc.) OR 1 cup cooked rice
Add all ingredients, except pasta or rice to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until vegetables are tender crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add cooked pasta or cooked rice and cook a few more minutes until pasta or rice is heated.
Italian White Bean Soup
Makes 4 servings. Part of the beans and liquid in this soup is pureed to make a thicker, creamy texture.
2 (14.5-ounce) cans white kidney beans (cannellini) or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed; or 3 cups cooked dry beans
4 cups non-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 6-ounce) can diced tomatoes with no salt, undrained or 4 to 6 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 tsp. dried basil
1-1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. pepper
Combine one can of beans with two cups of the broth in a blender or food processor and blend until a smooth puree. Transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 10 to 15 minutes, or until beans and tomatoes reach desired tenderness.
Nutritional Facts/serving: 203 calories; 1 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat); 37g carbohydrate; 12g protein; 10g dietary fiber; 744 mg sodium.
Ground Beef Corn Chili with Rice
4 to 6 main dish servings. This recipe is easy to increase or decrease in size. It also tastes great the next day Use cooked brown rice made a previous day and frozen beef crumbles (recipe follows) and this recipe practically prepares itself’
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (equals about 1 cup chopped onion)
1 (28-ounce) or 2 (14.5-ounce cans) diced tomatoes, including juice
2 cups water
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cups frozen corn
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
In large skillet, brown ground beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up into 3/4-inch crumbles Pour off drippings. Transfer browned meat and onion to a large pot Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil. Add rice and corn. After mixture returns to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until corn is heated, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin, with additional water, if it seems too thick. Reheat until it starts to bubble.
Make-Ahead Frozen Beef “Crumbles”
Ground beef may be browned ahead of time and frozen for quick and convenient use in spaghetti sauce, chili, sloppy Joes, etc. When making beef crumbles for later use, if possible, avoid using iron or aluminum cooking utensils as these speed flavor changes. Brown crumbles with onions or unroasted bell peppers which have antioxidant properties and slow flavor changes. OR, brown the meat, seasoned lightly, with one or more of these herbs and spices that have antioxidant properties: rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, mace, allspice and cloves. Use the seasoning and amount that will be most suitable for the recipes you make. Add more seasoning when you prepare the food, if needed, as freezing may affect the intensity of the flavor of spices and herbs. Do not use salt; add salt later when the meat is used in your recipe. Salt may hasten undesirable flavor changes in beef crumbles. Freezing the crumbles as part of a sauce, such as spaghetti sauce, also helps preserve flavor. Make sure the sauce covers the entire meat surface. Cool and refrigerate beef crumbles promptly in shallow containers. Containers may be placed in the refrigerator before beef has cooled entirely. Loosely cover refrigerated container until beef has cooled. Promptly transfer the cooled beef crumbles to plastic “freezer,” NOT “storage’ bags. Eliminate air pockets. Freezer bags are thicker than storage bags and will keep the food fresh longer. Label and date packages; include amount of beef or number of servings. Speed freezing and hasten thawing by freezing crumbles in a thinner, flattened shape in freezer bags. Do not stack packages – the quality will be better if the beef freezes faster. A rounded shape takes longer to thaw through to the middle. Flattened packages also will stack better in your freezer. Place on a flat surface, such as a metal pan or cookie sheet until frozen. Then, remove and stack. Use frozen beef crumbles within 2 to 3 months for best flavor and quality. Freeze at 0°F. or lower.
Unless you plan to use beef crumbles within a day or two, freeze crumbles promptly after cooling for best quality and safety. If stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, transfer to a tightly covered container after they have cooled. Use 90% lean and higher ground beef for these directions; 16 ounces raw ground beef yields equally to 12 ounces fully cooked ground beef crumbles. In general, brown no more than 1 pound of ground beef at a time. As ground beef browns, some meat juices are released. If you overload the skillet, moisture is trapped and meat is steamed rather than browned. Brown lean ground beef in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is not pink, breaking beef up into 3/4-inch crumbles.
These recipes used by Carmen Long were published by Alice Henneman, MS, RD with University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.