Soup Night

Although the temperatures are in the mid-70s this week, San Diego is always up and down and it is hard to predict what the weather will be like a few days from now. Last week there were a few days where the sky was cloudy and gray, it was very chilly, and it almost seemed like it was going to rain. And you know what rain and clouds mean – soup night!

I love making soups because it is so easy. Just go to the store, grab some chicken broth, a whole cooked chicken, and a bunch of your favorite vegetables. Boom! A delicious soup.

For this tasty soup, I used one large carton of chicken broth and the rest was water and chicken boullion cubes. This way you can adjust the flavor and saltiness of the broth by adding more water or boullion. A rotisserie chicken was broken apart for the protein portion of the soup. The rest was vegetables – carrots, red potatoes, celery, green beans, onion, corn, garlic. And last but not least, your seasonings – black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Heat up your broth, adding in the vegetables that need to cook longer first, like the potatoes, carrots and celery. Once all your vegetables have cooked through to your liking, add the chicken and spices. Cook until heated. Soups like this are so easy. Enjoy!

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Bean Soup

Ever since I was little, I always loved this soup that my mom made. She only made it a few times a year so I always stuffed myself with several bowls. One thing I love about it is the fact that it is so simple! It’s beans and ham! That’s it (with a few added parts for flavor of course).

1 (1 lb) package pinto beans

1 ham bone or 1/2 lb ham, sliced

1 white onion, minced

2 tbsp minced garlic (make those heaping tablespoons!)

1 tsp white pepper

salt and black pepper

water

Pour the beans into a large bowl and fill with enough water to cover. Leave to soak in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to make your soup, clean and drain the beans. Pour into a large pot.

Take your ham bone; add to pot. If you are using ham slices, (which I used this time) be sure to cut them up into smaller pieces. Anything works really, but I preferred the smaller chunks. I also cut off any fat from the slices. Add to the pot.

Add your onion and heaping tablespoonfuls of minced garlic.

Add white pepper. Add as much salt and black pepper as desired. I personally prefer a lot of black pepper in my bean soup. Once everything has been added to the pot, fill with water (about an inch or two away from the top).

Bring soup to a boil over high heat. Keep covered. Lower the temperature to medium heat and let simmer for two hours.

I found that this bean soup goes really well with corn bread, especially on a cold day. I’ll plop myself down in front of the tv and enjo. It’s something I always look forward to. It’s also good to freeze a few bowls in case you want some later on.