Monday, January 11, 2010

Celebrate National Soup Month with simple homemade soups

(ARA) - Many people turn to a comforting bowl of soup to take the bite out of chilly winter days. January is National Soup Month, and what better time to discover just how simple it can be to make sensational homemade soups? Whether serving soup as part of an entertaining menu or an easy weeknight meal, making soup from scratch does not have to require hours in the kitchen.

Shortcuts, like starting with ingredients such as 100% natural Swanson chicken broth, which provides an ideal blend of stock, vegetables, herbs and seasonings, make it easy to create the perfect foundation for every soup recipe.

Here are some quick tips to help you enjoy soup this month and throughout the year:
* Cook up a family favorite during the weekend and save leftovers for school and work lunches or for suppers throughout the week.

* Entertaining? Turn your party into a soup sampler. Ask each guest to bring their favorite soup and serve in cups, ramekins or even shot glasses to encourage people to try all the different varieties.

* Fire up the slow cooker. In the morning, place ingredients into your slow cooker. Let the soup simmer throughout the day and you'll come home to an inviting aroma and a dinner that's ready to enjoy. Add a crusty bread or salad to round out the meal.

Twice-Baked Potato Soup and Savory Vegetable Beef Soup are two soups that can be prepared in under an hour. Both are sure to please friends and family. For more flavorful soup recipes, visit and

Twice-Baked Potato Soup

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

6 large potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
5 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness or Certified
1/4 cup light cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Heat the oven to 425 F. Prick the potatoes with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the potatoes to a bowl and cover the bowl. Let the potatoes stand for 10 minutes. Remove the skin from the potatoes and mash the pulp.

2. Heat the butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the onion and cook until it's tender. Stir in the broth and 5 cups potato pulp.

3. Place 1/3 of the broth mixture into a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl. Repeat the blending process twice more with the remaining broth mixture. Return all of the puréed mixture to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and chives and cook for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot. Season as desired.

4. Spoon 1/4 cup remaining potato pulp into each of 8 serving bowls. Divide the broth mixture among the bowls. Serve with one or more Assorted Toppers.

Assorted Toppers: Cooked crumbled bacon, shredded Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream.

Time-Saving Tip: Microwave the potatoes on HIGH for 10 to 12 minutes or until they're fork-tender.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with endive and sliced pear salad with lemon mustard vinaigrette sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese. For dessert serve chocolate eclairs.

Savory Vegetable Beef Soup

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

1 3/4 cups Swanson Beef Broth (Regular, Lower Sodium or Certified Organic)
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1 cup cubed cooked beef
3 cups V8 100% Vegetable Juice
1 can (about 8 ounces) whole peeled tomato, cut up
1 bag (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place the broth and potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

2. Stir the beef, vegetable juice, tomatoes, vegetables, thyme and black pepper in the saucepan. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with a tossed salad and Ranch salad dressing. For dessert serve dark chocolate cookies with vanilla cream filling.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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