Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Soup for you

Warm up to some tasty winter soups — Cathi Litzenberger has two to try this week

Soup is the perfect dinnertime solution for those cold winter nights.

Soup is the perfect dinnertime solution for those cold winter nights.

The weather is changing from a long fall into winter, and since I missed my regular soup column at the beginning of this month, I’ll wrap up the month with soup recipes.

There’s nothing quite like the comfort of a good homemade soup prepared with love for those we love or care for. Take the time to stir in loving thoughts for those who will partake of your creation because they will feel it. The potato/leek soup is very simple and is easily altered for vegetarians or vegans. The second recipe combines all the flavours of chicken parmesan, only in healthier soup form.

Potato Leek Soup

2 large leeks, sliced thin

2 tbsp. butter

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 liter chicken stock

1 cup water or milk or cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup crumbled bacon bits

Place sliced leeks into a large pot over medium heat, stir until soft but not browned at all.

Add cubed potatoes and chicken stock. Add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil; turn heat down to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are very soft.

Using an immersible beater (or food processor) process until the consistency you like. Add water, milk or cream to the consistency you like. Add bacon bits and reheat. Yummy!

Slow Cooker

Chicken Parmesan Soup

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup chopped white onion

1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 ounces gemelli or penne pasta

Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

In slow cooker, stir together garlic, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, chicken, broth, onion, 1/3 cup cheese, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook on high 3-1/2 hours or on low 7 hours.

Transfer chicken breasts to cutting board and coarsely shred; return to slow cooker. Stir in pasta. Cook on high 30 minutes longer or until pasta is cooked al dente.

Serve garnished with extra parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.