Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Autumn Soups are simple and inexpensive!

I love autumn!  I love the colors.  I love the holidays.  I love the harvest.  AND I love the FOOD!
As life speeds up with the kids in school and activities, the weather starts to get colder.  Homemade SOUPS can be "finance friendly" AND "time friendly" as you save for Christmas (or just plain penny pinch).
The crock pot becomes my BEST FRIEND in the autumn and into winter.  Homemade soups are a snap to throw together in the morning as you throw a little of this and that into the crock pot.  And who doesn’t want to come home to a great smelling aroma of homade soup with very little effort and very little expense?!?
My best time-saver tip: When you make a crock pot soup….make a BIG one that is more than double batch.  Freeze the unused portion.  This way on a REALLY busy morning you can take that container straight out of the freezer and microwave for about 1 minute to loosen the contents and dump the whole thing into the crock pot..and run off on your busy day!  (Enjoy coming home to that wafting aroma of homemade soup with NO effort!!)

Lifestyle tip: If you want to make these soups even LESS expensive to make, consider hydrating your own beans instead of using a can!  (I will do a post on this later.)
Here are of our favorite soups that our family really enjoys:
Cowboy Soup 
2 c. cooked black beans (or 2 cans drained beans)
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (4oz.) green chilis
3/4 c. cooked ground beef
3c. water 
1 c. frozen corn
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. cumin
½ tsp. hot pepper sauce
1.     Mix all ingredients in crock pot. 
2.     Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (4.5 oz.) diced green chilies
2 cans (14.5oz.) chicken broth
1 can corn, drained
2 c. Refried beans
2 c. shredded cooked chicken
Corn chips
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1.   Combine everything BUT the cheese and chips in a crock pot. 
2.  Serve...and top with Corn chips and cheese.
Taco Soup
1 lb. cooked Ground beef
1 pkg. Taco seasoning
2 c. variety beans (or 2 cans drained beans) example: Garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto
1 c. Mild salsa
Corn (frozen)
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 oz. Diced chilies
Olives (optional)    
1.       Throw everything in the crock pot in the morning.
2.       Serve with crackers or tortillas.
Hearty Black Bean Soup 
1 c. salsa
2 cans (15 ½ oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. chicken broth (or substitute with chicken bouillon)
1 tsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream (optional)
1.     Put everything but the sour cream, lime juice and cilantro into the crock pot in the morning.
2.   In the evening ladle ¼ of it into a food processor (or blender) and puree it.
4.     Return puree to the soup.  Stir in lime juice and chopped cilantro. 
5.     Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.
South of the Border Chili…Pronto  (a little spicier than mild) 
1 lb. cooked Ground beef
16 oz. Mild salsa
1 can beans
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
2 tsp. Mexican seasoning    
Toppings:  Crushed tortilla chips, green onions, shredded cheese, sour cream
1.       Throw all ingredients into crock pot in the morning, except toppings.
2.       Prepare toppings.  Serve.
Chili (Lion House Original) 
1 c. chopped onion 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. water
½ c. diced green pepper
2 cans (14 ½ oz.) chopped stewed tomatoes (undrained)
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, drained
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp. Cumin
Sour cream
Note: If desired, add cooked ground beef!
  1. Throw all into crock pot on low in the morning.
  2. Top with sour cream.
(Stovetop: bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 min. to blend flavors and thicken chili.)

Happy Pinching Pennies..

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