Did you know it’s National Soup Month?

Let’s celebrate the event these last days of January with some good ol’ soup recipes. What could be better than a big pot of soup simmering on the stove or perhaps in a slow cooker while you are at work? Add a salad, some warm hearty whole-grain bread and, to complete your meal, some sort of sweet, such as one of these easy fruit desserts.

Crockpot Beef Stew

2 pounds lean beef stew meat

2 large onions, diced

6 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

6 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 (24-ounce) V8 juice or tomato juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 cup Minute Tapioca

1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, mix well . Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

French Onion Soup

3 large sweet onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 tablespoons instant beef bouillon

4 cups hot water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt to taste

Toasted French bread or garlic bread

In a skillet, melt butter; add onions and saute’ until lightly browned. Whisk together bouillon and water until bouillon is dissolved. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and salt. Add onions and pour into slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve with bread.

Note: May use 4 cups beef broth in place of the water/ bouillon mixture.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Dish

1 (32-ounce) bag frozen tater tots

1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

1 (16-ounce) package finely shredded cheddar cheese

3/4 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Lay half of tater tots over bottom of cooker. Top with one-third of bacon pieces. Top bacon with one-third of cheese. Scatter chicken pieces over cheese and season to taste. Top with another third of bacon pieces and third of remaining cheese. Top with remaining tater tots. Top tater tots with remaining bacon pieces, and top bacon with remaining cheese. Drizzle milk over all. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours or until chicken tests done.

Potato Cheese Soup

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 stalks celery, diced fine

2 small onions, finely diced

4 cups chicken broth

6 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon white vinegar

6 tablespoons cornstarch

5 cups milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1 (16-ounce) package finely shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a a large kettle; add celery and onion and saute 5 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and vinegar; cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Whisk together cornstarch, milk, salt and pepper. Stir into potato mixture and simmer until mixture thickens. Fold in cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Potato/ Bacon Soup

3 pounds potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked

1/2 pound bacon, fried and crumbled

2 cups chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 bay leaf

4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

Finely shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Thinly sliced green onions, optional

Saute onion in bacon drippings until tender. Combine all ingredients; bring just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Top each serving with cheese and green onions if desired. Makes 9 cups.

Potato-Bacon-Navy Bean Soup

1/2 pound bacon, cut in small pieces, fried and crumbled

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

4 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large potatoes, cooked,peeled and diced

1 small can navy beans, drained

Combine onion, celery and carrot; place in skillet of melted butter. Saute until all are tender. Combine all ingredients in a large kettle and heat until heated through. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Crockpot Beer Cheese Potato Soup

6 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped carrot

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1 (14-ounce) chicken broth

1 (12-ounce) can beer

8 ounce package finely shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Combine all ingredients except cheese and whipping cream. Pour into slow cooker; cover and cook on low for 8 hours. About 10 minutes before serving time, fold in cheese and cream. Cover and cook on low until cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Peach Tart

1 baked pie shell for a 9-inch round baking dish

3 cups canned sliced peaches

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 beaten egg

Place peach slices over baked pie shell. Combine sugar, cream, cornstarch and egg; mix well an drizzle over peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until filling is set. Cool, and serve cold or warm. Top with whipped cream or whipped topping.

Brownie Shortcake Delight

1 family size fudge brownie mix

Eggs

1 quart vanilla ice cream

1 quart sliced fresh strawberries or red raspberries

1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping, heated

1 cup finely chopped cashews or pecans

Prepare brownie mix as directed on package, but add 1 more egg. Bake as directed on package. Cool. When ready to serve, cut brownies into desired sizes. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Scatter berries over ice cream and drizzle desired amount of fudge topping over all. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Crockpot Granola Apple Crisp

8 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

4 cups granola cereal with fruit and nuts

1/2 cup honey

4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

3 teaspoons apple pie spice

Toss apple slices and granola together and pour into cooking-sprayed slow cooker. Stir together honey, butter and spice together, and drizzle over apple mixture. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Top with whipped cream, whipped topping or vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 servings.

Crockpot White Chocolate Bread Pudding

6 cups small French bread cubes

1 (8-ounce) bar white chocolate, finely grated

3 eggs or 1 cup egg-product

3/4 cup very warm water

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Toss bread cubes and chocolate together. Pour into cooking -sprayed slow cooker. Whisk together eggs, water, vanilla and milk; drizzle over bread mixture. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

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