Friday, October 21, 2011

Soup’s On!

This time of year is when my thoughts turn to warm, hearty soups that nourish the whole family.  I have to make most of my meals from scratch due to the plethora of allergies in our family, but it does not bother me much, because I get to experiment.  I frequently joke that I cook like a mad scientist in his laboratory – a little of this, and a pinch of that, and “what would happen if I added _____________?”  That can be dangerous.  Ask me how I know! :)   None of my family has ever gotten sick, or even turned into some kind of mutant after my experiments, so I guess I haven’t done too bad of a job feeding them!
Lately, I have been watching a few of the cooking shows featured on Swagbucks TV, and have been inspired, in addition to earning Swagbucks.  If Paula and Rachel can throw something together, why can’t I? 
I decided to make a nice potato soup – it can be thrown in the crock pot for busy days (of which I seem to have quite a few) and voila it is ready at dinner time! Hooray!  I love my crock pot.  Okay – I have a small collection of crock pots, and I love them all!
This recipe is very simple with just a few common ingredients.  It is also dairy free – unusual for potato soup – and quite tasty!
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Potato Soup
6-8 med potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 – 14 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 roll sausage, cooked and drained
1 small onion
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbs olive oil
1-2 stalks celery, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional – I added just a drop or two)

In a large pot, put enough water to cover potatoes and bring to a boil.  Add salt.  Boil until potatoes are soft, but not mushy (about 15-20 minutes).  Sautee the onion, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until onions are clear.  Place drained sausage, 1/2 can of beans, onion, celery, and red pepper mixture in crock pot.
Place the other 1/2 can of bean in the blender along with a scoop of boiling potato water.  Blend until creamy, then pour into the crock pot.

When potatoes are soft, drain most of the water off, reserving 2-3 cups of the hot water for your soup.  Put 1-2 cups of cooked potatoes in the blender along with 1 c. water.  Blend until creamy, then pour into the crock pot.  Add the rest of the potatoes and stir until well mixed.  Add the hot water gradually until the soup is the consistency you like.  It will thicken the longer it cooks, but I like my soup thick.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.  Serves 6-8.  Enjoy! 
Hint:  Soup is always better the second day!

What is your favorite kind of soup for a cold day?

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