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Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato SoupTreat your family to “rich creamy comfort in every bite” with this delightful fix-it-and-forget-it soup from Taste of Home. Perfect for those chilly fall or cold winter evenings.

2 large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water, divided
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1-1/2 cups instant mashed potato flakes
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced

1. In a large skillet, sauté onions in butter until tender. Stir in the flour. Gradually stir in one cup of the water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Add the broth, potatoes, potato flakes, bacon, pepper, salt, basil, thyme and remaining water; stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the half and half; heat through. Garnish each serving with shredded cheese and green onions. Makes 10 servings.



Turkey Chili

turkey-chili-1No matter what the weather is outside, my hubby enjoys a hearty and tasty dinner when he comes home from a strenuous day at work. This thick robust turkey chili from Taste of Home is the perfect recipe to satisfy his “hungry man” appetite!

1 pound lean ground turkey
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (26 ounce jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1 (15-1/2) ounce can hot chili beans
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup frozen corn
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce)can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
Sour cream (optional)

1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey, onion, celery and green pepper until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender; drain. Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Stir in the tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, chili beans, water, corn and seasonings. Cover and cook on High for 1 hour.

3. Reduce the heat to Low and cook for 5 to 6 hours. Add the kidney beans and pinto beans; cook for an additional 30 minutes. Garnish with the sour cream, if desired. Makes 12 servings.



Vegetable Barley Soup

vegetable-barley-soupIt was so cold and cloudy yesterday that all I could think about was a big bowl of tasty hot soup so I went searching through some recipes in a Taste of Home magazine I had purchased a couple of years ago. This is the one I chose because it contained a lot of healthy vegetables, required no meat and was so simple and easy to make in my slow cooker.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 cups fresh baby carrots, halved
1-1/2 cups frozen cut green beans
1-1/2 cups frozen corn
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water
2 cans(14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
1 cup medium pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained

1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine the first 8 ingredients. Stir in the water, broth, barley, bay leaf and seasonings. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or until barley and vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in the tomatoes; cover and cook on high for 10 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Discard the bay leaf before serving. Makes 12 servings.



Hearty Chicken Stew

Hearty Chicken StewTender chunks of chicken and hearty vegetables in a rich savory sauce will make your family smile!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size chunks
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups peeled, cubed all-purpose potatoes
2 (14 ounces each) cans chicken broth
2 cups water
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

In a Dutch oven, brown chicken in oil; transfer to dish and set aside. Add the onion and celery to drippings in Dutch oven and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Return chicken to Dutch oven; stir in the carrots and potatoes.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour into the Dutch oven. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender. Makes 6 generous servings.

I like to serve this stew with a slice of hot corn bread or fluffy buttermilk biscuits.



Shrimp Chowder

Shrimp ChowderThis creamy shrimp chowder recipe from Taste of Home is sure to please the shrimp lovers in your family. You will especially enjoy how easy and quick it is to prepare!

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
1/2 pound frozen cooked small shrimp, thawed
1 (14-1/2 ounces) can diced potatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Sauté the onion, celery, carrot and red pepper in the butter in a large saucepan until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Stir in the flour until blended; gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

3. Stir in the shrimp, potatoes, vegetable broth, corn, seafood seasoning and thyme. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through. Makes 5 cups.



Great Northern Bean Soup

Great Northern Bean SoupThere’s nothing more heart-warming on a chilly day than a steaming bowl of soup. My family especially likes this one!

1 (16 ounces) package dry great northern beans, sorted & washed
4 quarts water
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 to 2 cups cut-up cooked ham*
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Place sorted and washed beans in a large pot; cover with the water. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the beans are tender and liquid has been reduced and slightly thickened, stirring occasionally about 2-2-1/2 hours.

* Left over ham is great in this bean soup, but you could substitute 3 to 4 slices of bacon, if you prefer.

Note: Some cooks say to pre-soak the beans and that’s fine if you want to but I have always cooked my bean soup this way with great results every time.

Delicious cornbread muffins are the perfect companion for this flavorful bean soup.



White Chili

White ChiliI found this recipe in an old church cookbook and decided to give it a try. It turned out really tasty. It was completely different from my usual ground beef chili but we liked it immensely!

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14 ounces) can chicken broth
1 (4 ounces) can chopped green chilies
1 (15 ounces) can great northern beans, undrained
shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add the chicken and cook until meat is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

3. Add the chopped onion to the pan; cook 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, green chilies and spice blend; cover and simmer 30 minutes.

4. Stir in the cooked chicken and beans; cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Note: I like to serve this with warm cornbread muffins.



Hearty Slow Cooker Chili

DSCN2107-1It’s that time of year when chilly temperatures have me thinking chili. I especially like how easy and convenient this recipe is. I just put it all together in the morning and when dinner time rolls around my family enjoys a delicious hot meal in minutes!

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (10-3/4 ounces) can condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
2 (15 ounces each) cans red kidney beans*, rinsed and drained
1 (14-1/2 ounces) can diced tomatoes

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, stirring often to separate the meat, until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a 3-1/2-quart slow cooker.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the meat in the slow cooker; stir. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours. Makes 6 servings.

* If your family (like mine) doesn’t like kidney beans just substitute 2 cans pinto beans in place of the kidney beans.

** Serve with hot cornbread muffins for an even heartier meal!