“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.”
Merry Meet everyone! How are your Imbolc preparations going? I am in the midst of cleaning! Drawers, cupboards and closets are getting organized one at a time. Curtains are taken down, washed, sprayed with lavender water and hung back up smelling fabulous! “Stuff” that is taking up space or not needed is heading to the thrift shop. Dusting, cleaning woodwork, grabbing cobwebs off ceiling fans, and vacuuming furniture will all be done soon enough 🙂 Hoping for even some touch up painting to be done. I have new candles to buy yet and I’m thinking about getting some new pots and pans as well. I just love this time of year…Imbolc..Spring cleaning. It feels great to get the house looking and feeling so nice.
Now all this cleaning is tiring! As I’m sure you know! Many nights I just want to melt into my easy chair by the fire and not move another inch! I am most definitely not in the mood to cook after a long day of cleaning, running errands, and doing all the stuff that needs to be done every day! So I was thinking about this and decided that instead of suggesting recipes to make FOR Imbolc, for the day…I would post recipes…soups and breads…that you can put on in the morning before you start cleaning, while you are preparing for Imbolc! When you are ready, you can sit down to a good, comforting bowl of soup and slice of homemade bread….without slaving over the stove after a long day of cleaning!
“Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits
and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)
These recipes are soups I’ve made myself, or new recipes I’ve found I intend on making soon. They use a slow cooker (or you can cook them on the stove top all day) and a bread machine! Let’s face it..bread machines and slow cookers are going to make getting dinner ready super simple!!
This first recipe is another favorite potato soup recipe of mine. This soup takes a little bit of work to make it cause you make it on the stovetop…but once made it can be kept warm in the slow cooker all day.
Baked Potato Soup
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for about 20 mins, turning potatoes over halfway thru. Peel and cube potatoes. Mash 3 of the potatoes leaving 3 cubed and set aside.
Whisk butter and flour in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and thick. Whisk in milk and whisk until thickened. Heat over med heat for 5-10 more minutes. Be careful not to burn. Add in the potatoes; stir in sour cream. Simmer, without boiling until heated thoroughly. Transfer to slow cooker and keep on low or warm all day.
*Serve this soup with a salad and bread for a complete meal. Top with crumbled bacon and shredded cheese to make it extra yummy! This is a really thick, satisfying soup! *Serves 4-6
Wild Mushroom Soup
3 TB butter
2 large shallots, diced
1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (such as cremini and shitake) sliced
1 TB chopped fresh thyme
3 TB flour
7 cups low sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry (or use 1 cup heavy cream)
2 tsps salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Melt butter in a large lidded pot over med heat. Add shallots and saute for 2-3 mins until softened. Add mushrooms and thyme and cook 8 mins. Sprinkle in flour and cook 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook 15 mins.
Stir in heavy cream, sherry, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer (not boil). Mix in parsley.
*Again, this can then be transferred and kept warm in a slow cooker for the day.
Chicken Noodle Soup
3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large onion, quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 to 3 soup cans of water
2 cans chicken broth
2 TBS dried dill
2 TBS dried parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
8 ounce package egg noodles
Put carrots, onion, and celery into crock pot. Add the chicken, then pour in the broth and water. Sprinkle parsley, dill, and garlic on top.
Cover and cook on low 6 – 8 hours.
Remove chicken and vegetables from crock pot, add noodles and turn to high. Dice the chicken and vegetables. Return vegetables and chicken to the crock pot for an additional 20 minutes.
This is so good for those days when someone in your house has a cold or flu. Comfort food at it’s best!
Snowy Day Beef Stew
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 medium-size carrots, cut into 1/4′ thick slanting slices
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 to 2 1/4 pounds lean boneless beef round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps dried thyme
1 can (about 14 1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
1 package frozen peas, thawed
salt to taste
In a slow cooker, combine onion, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms. Coat beef cubes with flour, then add to cooker and sprinkle with thyme. Add tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook at low setting until beef is very tender when pierced (8 to 10 hours).
Skim and discard fat from stew, if necessary. Stir in peas. Increase cooker heat setting to high; cover and cook until peas are heated through (10 to 15 more minutes). Season to taste with salt. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Long grain and Wild Rice ( Rice-a-Roni)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups milk
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup diced celery
Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker.
Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.
Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on LOW for 15 more minutes.
Beautiful soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth of beautiful soup?”
Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’
Again, all these soups are wonderful with a salad and a slice of fresh hot bread and creamy sweet butter! Don’t forget toppings….crumbled bacon, grated cheeses, crackers, sour cream, croutons etc. Ok…now on to a couple of my favorite bread machine bread recipes! Be sure and follow YOUR bread machine’s guidelines for what order to put the ingredients..some put liquid in the bottom and dry and top and some do vice versa…Mine puts liquids in first….Oh and the recipe I’m putting here is for a 2 pound loaf.
One of my very favorite breads and it goes so great with the soups..or to make up into sandwiches on the side! So so good!
Herb and Crunch Wheat Bread
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 TBS sugar
2 TBS dry milk
2 TBS butter, softened
2 tsps salt
2 tsps dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 tsps bread machine yeast
2/3 cup dry roasted sunflower seeds
Place all ingredients except the sunflower seeds in your bread machine pan, in the order recommended by YOUR bread machine. You will add the sunflower seeds at the Raisin/Nut signal.
Select Basic/White cycle and Medium or Light crust color. Remove from pan immediately when cycle is finished and cool on wire rack.
I promise you will love this bread!!
“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.”
Robert Browning, English poet, (1812-1889)
Parmesan Sun-Dried Tomato Bread
1 1/4 cups water
4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 TBS sugar
1 1/4 tsps salt
2 1/4 tsps dried oregano leaves
2 1/4 tsps bread machine yeast
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) drained and coarsely chopped
Place all ingredients, except tomatoes, in bread machine pan in order recommended by YOUR machine. You’ll add the tomatoes at the Raisin/Nut signal.
Select Basic/White cycle. Use medium or light crust color. Don’t use delay cycle with this bread. Remove bread immediately after cycle is completed and cool on wire rack.
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods;
and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard, American chef (1903-1985)
So..think about how much your slow cooker and your bread machine can work for you…do your cooking in the morning when you are more energetic. By evening, after a long day, you’ll be glad you did. And OH the way it will make your house smell all day long…Yummy!! You will be a happy little cleaning machine with those delicious soups simmering away and the smell of fresh bread permeating the house. It will be a good “tonic” to help you keep your energy level up to get everything done you want to do! Having a lazy day? You’ll still be glad that you made your meal in the morning! It will aid you in your laziness LOL.
Humm….I think tomorrow I will be baking that herb and crunch bread..just writing the recipe and thinking about it has made me want it..now!! 🙂 I’ll be back soon…pics of my altar to come etc. I send you power energy and blessings to help you get thru all your cleaning and I hope you’ll send some to me!
Blessings and love, Autumn