I’m one of those “sick” people who love winter. I really do. There’s something peaceful to me when the ground is blanketed in snow and things are muffled and silent and crisp. It seems so fitting to me that the year rings out and in this season. It’s the perfect ending and beginning time.
I love going out into the cold weather and feeling of the cold crisp air in my nose. And, I admit to being someone who loves being at home. I’m like a little caterpillar, spinning myself into the cocoon that is my home. I pull on my slippers and a sweater and light some candles and I bake and roast and stew and slow cook and the house is full of the warm smells of winter.
And, that means soups. And stews. And chowders. Lovely meals you simmer for hours and eat out of big mugs and bowls. Im going to let you on on a little secret. I have a thing for soup. There’s something comforting to me about the slicing and chopping and simmering.
The familiar ritual of curling around a mug or a bowl. The pattern of dip, blow, sip and repeat. The crumbling of crackers and dipping of read. The way you have to eat soup slowly, which means you have to sit around the table just a little longer. Soup is one of those meals that can warm you to your toes.
Usually, on Monday, I lay out our menu plan for the week. This week I’m going to do something a little different. I’d like to link you to a handful of my favorite soup recipes (or stew or chowder) in hopes that it inspires you to cook something warm. I’m not going to put my favorite Guinness Beef Stew or Ultimate Potato Soup on the list. I’ll link you anyhow. These are longer cooking soups that are great for special occasions or lazy Sundays.
Without further ado, seven fantastic soups for cold days
1) Easy Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup–I know this calls for a lot of processed ingredients, but this is a really fast soup to make on a busy night. Big Daddy LOVED this soup. It’s creamy and thick and super yummy.
2) Panera bread knock off broccoli cheese soup in bread bowls-Does this taste like Panera’s soup? I don’t know. I’ve not had it. What I can tell you is that it tastes amazing and everyone in my house loves it. Want to make super easy bread bowls? buy frozen bread dough. Two loaves will make five, good sized bread bowls. Let them rise and then back in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
3) Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana in the crock pot. Anoither great soup to serve with fresh baked bread of any can. I tear mine up and drop it in the soup.
4)Smokey Black Bean Soup with Avocado Salsa -this soup is seriously easy for busy nights. Just open a few cans and simmer.
5)Chicken and Dumpling soup. A wintery must, don’t you think? I hate to say this, but be sparing with the dumplings. It sucks up all the broth. I like a MILLION dumplings and if you like a lot, you may want to double the liquid in the soup.
6)Cincinnati Style Chili -This is a great choice for parties. It’s different than your run of the mill chili, but the toppings really make this one fun. Over spaghetti? With cheese? Onions? Beans? I know this recipe calls for chocolate and that might feel a little weird, but it’s not. It’s good.
7) Italian Wedding Soup since this is a Giada De Laurentis recipe, she encourages you to make your own meatballs. However, my grocery store sells teeny tiny frozen meatballs, which would easily decease the amount of time this recipe takes.
All of these soups would rest fine in the refrigerator, so you can make a nice big batch on the weekend to eat during the busy part of the week. They all will freeze, but the soups with milk in them will get a little grainy and separate. This won’t affect the taste, but if you’re picky about consistency, it will suffer if you freeze the potato soup or the broccoli soup.
Do you have a favorite soup recipe? I’d love to hear about it.