Sunday, September 18, 2011

Creamy Vegetable Soup

What I really wanted to tell you was how to make "drips and drops" soup--but something about dripping and dropping seems more in line with a weight room than a soup pot. Tonight is comfort food Sunday, so dubbed because of the strenuous weekend we've had generally doing nothing but reading, sleeping, and lounging about.

You could also call this "I threw everything in soup" or "Literally, all the little bits are in here soup" or a personal favorite: "Clear out the pantry and fridge and freezer for the week soup." It's like poetry here.

This soup is really the product of realizing that I am becoming my mother. I mean this in the best possible sense, so please take it that way. My mom's pantry is like that of a food bank, with multiples of everything you can imagine--cherry pie filling, mandarin orange segments, artichokes in water, artichokes in oil, tomato soup, beans (seven kinds), water, chocolate chips, tonic water, barbeque sauce, Gatorade....and on and on. I won't tell you your address; you'd be tempted to go there in a crisis.

My smaller, less impressive pantry has been getting larger over the past few months, and with that comes the realization that I am a) getting older b) getting more prepared or c) forgetting what I have when I buy things. Ding, ding, ding. It's c, folks! No more--not after creamy vegetable soup. After seeing yesterday's Facebook post on Taste of Home's page, I've been craving creamy soup, and as the weather turns sharply to fall, it is indeed time.

And here's the mess of things I threw together to do clean-up duty in my house and make a comforting Sunday supper:

1 1/2 onions, diced (mix of red and purple in my case)
3 carrots, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 c. frozen mixed veggies
1/2 c. spinach and artichoke dip
2 T. turkey chili (I know!)
1 can evaporated milk
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c. frozen shredded potatoes
3/4 serving of KFC mashed potatoes and gravy (need a poll here--will you ever read this blog after this?!)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1 piece of goat cheese we found--get this--in the freezer...
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t. chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube bouillon
Few splashes cream at the end

Literally all you have to do for this one is toss it all in a pot to simmer. I saved the cheese for the end, but you get the idea. The nice thing about this soup is that it will accommodate whatever you have on hand, and this is the way of cooking that ensures you'll never have to eat out or go hungry.

Have fun with this--make your own creamy soup with vegetables in it. On another night, I might thicken this soup with sour cream, cream cheese, mascarpone, cream, mashed potatoes, regular milk.  I might toss in leftover ranch or onion dip, frozen green beans, canned corn, egg noodles, or fancier spices (like herbs de provence).My basic recipe for soup is core vegetables: onion, celery, carrot, peppers, thickener (potatoes, milk, cream, cheese), flair (spices like cilantro, oregano, italian seasoning, etc; bits of salad dressing, dip, spreads, etc), and substance (noodles, meat, beans, etc). It sounds so appealing that way, doesn't it? if you pressed me to put a ratio on it, I'd guess we're looking at about 3:2:1:2/ But one of the things I like is that soup always comes out balanced and authentic this way--made with love.

We're having this with cornbread mix (another pantried item), and it's rather filling and delicious. Now my fridge, freezer, and pantry are a bit cleaner, though I have to admit that I do pride in knowing that I now appreciate a canned good saved for a rainy day.

What I appreciate even more is that I resisted the urge to type veggie multiple times during the creation of this post...

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