Monday, January 2, 2017

Soup and Sandwich Season

a selection from Panera for those cold days
Here it is January and it's leaning towards being cold, cold, cold in the Pittsburgh area.  It's not unusual for this time of year that we are huddling in our houses with the threat of snow or inches of the white stuff to be shoveled.  That's not to say that winter has been unkind this year.  We are enjoying waves of intermitant warmer weather rather than outright long heavy snowfalls.

We got a dusting so far this season
I came away from Christmas with what I can only call the cruds.  I langered in my chair with a hacking cough and it was all I could do to stand up from the sitting position.  Another reason to do some zoup which is what it sounded like when some of my neighbors said it growing up in Aspinwall.  We had a family that grew all their own vegetable next to me and their 17 children learned the home arts, woodcrafting for the boys and the kitchen skills for the girls.

But I digress.....

I'm sure winter is not done with us by any means since we still have all of  this month, February and March to go this season.  I'm hoping that Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow on February 2 and we can get ready for an early spring.  I don't mind the cold weather or even short bouts of snow.  I only dread the extremely cold days following bouts of rain when the roads are icy and the only safe place is inside your home.

I'm not a pessimist by any means but I've learned that you can't count on the weather at any time of the year here in Pittsburgh.  On the average, this time of year is what I call soup and sandwich weather.
Tortellini Soup

There is nothing better for you in cold weather than a bowl of soup.  One of my favorite recipes for soup is Tortellini Soup.  This soup takes some special techniques if you follow the recipe closely but is well worth the effort.  This hearty soup is sure to chase away those chills.

Vegetable Soup

You can't make soup from scratch without including Homemade Vegetable Soup.  My mom made the best and I've spent a lifetime trying to duplicate her recipe.  There is one rule to making good vegetable soup and that is the more vegetables the better.  My personal like is to add butter beans but no lima beans.  Since this is Lent, You would make the vegetable soup without any meat base but my Mom usually started her vegetable soup by simmering chuck roast chunks to give it a fuller flavor.

Grilled Cheese


What is better than a simple grilled cheese sandwich to go along with your soup de jour.  While the soup is simmering and getting all those great flavors mixed in start your grilled cheese sandwich on another burner.  All you need is a square griddle, two pieces of bread and 1 or two pieces of American cheese.

Grilled Cheese with Bacon


If you prefer you can add a couple of pieces of bacon to the sandwich for an entirely different taste treat.  Lately I have been buying the already cooked bacon in the dairy aisle and just adding a piece or two on top of the slices of cheese.

Green Pepper Soup

Another one of my favorite soups for this season is Stuffed Pepper Soup.  This is another hearty soup that is very easy to make.  The hardest part of the process is sauteing the ground beef.

There are so many other soups we can make.  Come back tomorrow for another variety of soups to make for what should be this blustery Winter season.

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