Cooking with Ease

Fall is my favorite season. The temperature is so comfortable, especially after coming out of a blazing hot summer, and the leaves turn into a paint pallet full of color.

Fall, for me, is the time for me to break out the comfort food recipes. At the top of my list are soups. I cook a few soups in the summer, too, but in the fall and winter, especially, I break out a bunch of soup recipes.

Here are a couple soup recipes to warm you up this fall and winter:

SLOW-COOKER CREAMY TORTELLINI AND SAUSAGE SOUP

Ingredients

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

One 9-ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini (I also use cheese and spinach tortellini when I can find it)

Two large chopped carrots

One medium chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

32 ounces vegetable broth

One-quarter teaspoon salt to taste

One-quarter teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to taste

One 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves

2 cups heavy whipping cream

Grated Parmesan cheese

— In a nonstick skillet, cook sausage six to eight minutes over medium-high heat until no longer pink; and drain. Transfer to slow cooker.

— Add carrots, onion, garlic, chicken broth, salt and pepper flakes to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for three to four hours or on low for eight hours until vegetables are tender.

— Stir in tortellini and cook covered on high for 15 minutes.

— Stir in spinach and whipping cream and continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes or until spinach is wilted and mixture is heated through.

Garnish with grated Parmesan before serving. I like to serve with breadsticks.

CORN CHOWDER

Ingredients:

Six ears corn (When I can’t get fresh corn, I use about 5-6 cups of frozen)

Two russet potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups vegetable stock

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

Extra-virgin olive oil

One medium onion, diced

Two garlic cloves, minced

Six sprigs fresh thyme leaves

One-quarter cup all-purpose flour

Salt and black pepper to taste

One-quarter cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

— Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.

— Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are soft, eight to 10 minutes.

— Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well.

— Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.

— Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about seven minutes, until the potatoes break down Between the roux made from the butter and flour and the starch from the potatoes, they will help to thicken the soup, which makes for a good texture.

— Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and sprinkle with a little olive oil.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. I like to serve with cornbread.

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