Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Soup Swap

For my "Italy Friends" Christmas Party this year I decided we should do a "Soup Swap."  I did a little research, and sent out this invitation via e-mail:
 Soup Swap  

  1. Make 6 quarts of your favorite soup.  Make the soup a few days ahead to allow time to freeze.  Email us with the type of soup you are making so we will have a good variety.
  2. Label 6 freezer Ziplock bags with the name of soup, date, and any instructions needed to re-heat or garish the soup.
  3. Put 1 quart of soup into each bag, Lay the bags flat in the freezer to make them easier to store.
  4. Bring the recipe and the soups to our party.  One of the bags we will be eating/tasting at the party, so bring it ready to serve in a crockpot with any garnishes. 
  5. Each of us will come home with 5 new soups! You may want to bring a cooler to transport them to and from.  
These are a few tips and tricks I figured out as I was cooking.
  • Quadruple your recipe.  
  • Use a 6 Quart pot
  • Buy freezer quart bags
  • 4 cups = 1 quart
  • find a large measuring cup, or pitcher that can hold 4 cups. Ladle the soup into the measuring cup, and then pour it into the baggies. 
  • Release the air and lay flat. 
  • Lay it flat in a freezer basket or a box. 
  • If everyone lays their soup flat, it will be really easy to store! 
On serving day, everyone brought their soup in a crockpot ready to serve. I found that the small crockpots hold 1.5 quarts which was perfect, but the big ones worked too. I also bought bowls and little ramekins so we could do a soup flight and taste all of them. 
Here are the soups that we had: 

  • Indian Stew 
  • Cheesy Chicken Tortellini 
  • Italian Tortellini

  • **SORRY FOR THE FORMATTING! It did not like me today!**


    4.5 pounds ground beef, browned and drained
    2 large yellow (sweet) onions, chopped
         7 large green bell peppers, chopped
        4 celery stalks, chopped
        2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic (I use jarred)
        2 cans Ranch Style Beans, NOT drained (15 ounce cans) -I couldn't find Ranch Style so used Black
        2 cans dark red kidney beans, drained (15 ounce cans)
        2 cans Original Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chili (10 ounce cans)
        2 cans stewed tomatoes (15 ounce cans)
        4 cans plain tomato sauce (15 ounce cans)
        2 packages McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning (1.25 ounce packages)
    1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.*
    2. Simmer for at least three hours (I let mine cook about 5 hours).
    3. Enjoy!

    Naughty Cornbread

    • ·      1 yellow cake mix
    • ·      2 Jiffy cornbread mixes
    • ·      Oil, milk, and eggs according to package directions
    Preheat oven according to directions on cake mix box. Combine cake mix and cornbread mixes in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, and milk according to package directions (replace all water with milk). Mix together according to cake mix directions.

    Veggie Chili


    • 2 garlic cloves, minced

      1 large green or red pepper, chopped

      ½ lb. mushrooms, slicked

      ½ cup chopped onion

      2T oil

      1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

      11 15 oz. can tomato sauce

      22 T chili powder

      1 tsp. ground cumin

      2 15 ounce cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed

      1 ½ diced zucchini

      10 oz. pkg corn, thawed

      1 ½ C shredded sharp cheddar, divided

      1 ½ c diced zucchini

    Cook and stir garlic, peppers, mushrooms and onions in oil 5 minutes or until tender.   Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin.   Heat to boil.   Reduce heat to low; add beans, zucchini and corn.   Simmer 15 minutes or until tender.   Add 1 cup cheese and stir until melted.   Spoon into serving bowls and top with remaining cheese.   Makes 8 servings.
    *we also eat with rice, sour cream and Fritos!

    Cheesy Chicken Tortellini Soup

    • 4 Tbs. butter
    •  1 diced onion
    •  2 diced carrots
    •  2 ribs celery, diced
    •  6 cups water (or chicken broth)- I usually use mixture of both
    •  12 oz. frozen cheese tortellini
    •  4 cups milk
    •  2 cups whipping cream
    •  1 cup Cheez Whiz (8 oz)
    •  4 cups diced, cooked chicken

    Melt butter in lg pot. Add veggies and saute. Add water (or broth) and bring to boil. Add tortellini and cook until tender. Reduce heat- add milk, whipping cream, Cheez whiz, and chicken. Stir constantly over low heat until cheese is melted. Simmer on low until heated through.
    I doubled the recipe for our soup swap.


    • 1 1/4 lbs. (about 4 med.) potatoes
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 c. chopped onion
    • 2 1/2 c. boiling chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 c. broccoli florets, cooked tender-crisp or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen broccoli cuts
    • 1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
    • 1 tbsp. sour cream
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch cubes; set aside. In a 2 to 3 quart saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and saute 5 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken stock. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook just until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
    Pour contents of saucepan into the container of a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth; return to saucepan. Add broccoli. Over medium heat, gradually add cheese, stirring until heated through and cheese is completely melted. Stir in sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
    As a last step I added two packages of bacon that I had made into "bacon bits" to make it more of a loaded baked potato soup. I also would recommend using sharp cheddar. I accidentally grabbed mild and the soup felt like it needed something more.

    Tortellini Soup with Chunky Tomatoes and Spinach
    Yields 3 to 4 servings

    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    4 to 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
    1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium diced tomatoes, including juices
    9-10 ounces tortellini (fresh or frozen), any variety
    1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
    10 ounces fresh or frozen spinach, chopped (if frozen, thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)
    Salt and Pepper, to taste
    1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

    1. In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onion for 5-7 minutes, or until translucent.  Add garlic, and saute for 1 minute.
    2. Add broth and tomatoes.  Turn heat to high, cover and bring to a boil.
    3. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions. 
    4. Within the last minute of cooking the tortellini, stir in Italian herb seasoning, crushed red pepper and spinach.  Taste, and add salt and pepper seasoning, as desired.  
    5. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with Parmesan cheese.

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