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Terminate that chill and warm up with comforting tomato soup!

Bowl of Tomato SoupServed steaming hot in an over-sized mug, with a toasty brown grilled-cheese sandwich, tomato soup takes us back to those childhood days when this cool weather treat seemed really special. Comforting and warming all the way to the tummy, most of us probably had the canned soup most often. But, I still fondly recall the aromas coming from my great-grandmother’s kitchen during canning season when she was “putting up” tomatoes while making tomato soup from scratch. And, there is no tastier way to terminate a chill than that bowl or mug of tomato soup! Today, making homemade tomato soup is simple. Open a couple cans or jars of tomatoes, sauté some aromatic vegetables, and blend it all together. That’s it!

Selecting Tomatoes

Chilies and TomatoesWhile ripe fall tomatoes can make a delicious end of season tomato soup, when it comes to the classic flavor we remember, canned tomatoes are best. They provide a consistent flavor because they are picked, processed, and canned at the peak of perfection. We have found that crushed tomatoes have the preferred balance of acidity and flavor for soup, and they don’t have to spend a lot of time in the blender or food processor to break down. They have a texture between firm diced tomatoes and smooth tomato sauce, and they provide a fresh, full, flavor that is great for pasta sauces and smoother soups.

Home Canned Crushed Tomatoes

Crushed Tomatoes

We also use a small amount of tomato paste in our soups. Tomato paste comes in small cans, usually six ounces each, and also in 4.5 ounce tubes, and they are the most cooked down of all the canned tomato products with eighty per cent (80%) of the water content removed. The paste has a very concentrated flavor and a much darker color.

While the amount of paste in most recipes is small, compared to the crushed tomatoes, you really can’t develop that deep, rich, flavor we all love in tomato soup without it. Keep both canned tomatoes and tomato paste on hand for tomato soup anytime, and you’ll also discover many other uses for them.

Blending and processing hot tomato soup can be messy and even dangerous. See our tips on how to be safe while completing this essential task.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato Bisque One of our favorite soups is a steaming mug of tomato “bisque,” by definition a creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin. It is classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans or shellfish, but it can also be made from roasted and puréed fruits, vegetables, or fungi. Our bisque uses fire roasted tomatoes, heavy cream and a sprinkle of Parmesan to develop an earthiness and silkiness. Get the recipe here.

Tomato Soup with Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Soup with ParmesanHere is another of our tomato soup recipes that has you do the puree while the product is still cool. I have found this to be much easier to handle than trying to pulse the hot soup in a blender or food processor. This recipe incorporates orange juice, a natural pairing with tomato, maple syrup for a touch of sweetness in the background, and cilantro for a fresh citrus note. This one, like the bisque, we finish with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. The recipe is on our soup page, here.

Tomato Vegetable Soup
Tomato Vegetable SoupOur tomato vegetable soup is a recipe we developed in the church kitchen while cooking large batches for fellowship dinners. This is a comforting and filling soup with just a hint of citrus from orange juice. We use homemade Emeril’s Essence in this version to take it just slightly to the cajun side where it blends so well with the mixed vegetables. Find the recipe here.

Rich and flavorful tomato soups are winter warmer-upper favorites that are chock full of vitamin C, and a great way to get the antibiotic effect of the onions and garlic. If you’re fighting a winter cold or flu, you can also whip up a delicious dairy-free version to keep the mucus factor down. It will still be delicious and give you a welcome boost. Tomato soup; the winter chill terminator!

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With cold and flu season rapidly approaching, this is a good time to discover delicious recipes to help serve up the age-old cure to winter sniffles. We’re talking about soup. And, now with abundant winter vegetables that deliver or contribute to tasty soups, there are no excuses for winter doldrums. Squash is not only abundant in the fall, it is also cheap. Here are a few of our favorite soup recipes for chasing away those winter blues.

Chicken Lime Cilantro Soup
Chicken Lime Cilantro SoupThis is Lea’s version of a favorite chicken-lime-cilantro soup that she particularly enjoys at a Mexican restaurant we frequent. Combining lime and cilantro flavors with the hominy and chicken stock. It’s quick and easy to put together, and is an excellent dish to wisk you away from the everyday doldrums. Find the recipe here.

Carrot Soup
Carrot Soup, served hot or coldHere is an historic and flavorful recipe Lea acquired when we went to a hearthside dinner at Connor Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. You can just imagine yourself being in a simpler time when you sit down to bowl of this soup that can warm you up in winter, or cool you down in summer. It just doesn’t get any handier! The recipe is located here.

Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean Soup
Spicy Sausage and Navy Bean SoupThis is a perfect soup for those chilly days of fall and winter, with Hot Italian Sausage, Fire Roasted tomatoes, and fresh kale. This is a quick and easy recipe, but if you want to cook it longer to blend the flavors, leave the kale out until just before you are going to serve. The kale is best when it has just a little crunchy bite to it. The recipe is here.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Creamy Tomato SoupLarry often made this soup for our church’s ill and shut-in members during our afternoon of cooking for weekly fellowship dinners and adult bible study. This soup looks quite tasty even when packaged in re-purposed plastic containers to be delivered to shut-ins’ homes. Celery, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, combine to make this perfect tonic for those chilly, gray sky, days. The recipe is located here.

Egg Drop Soup
Egg Drop SoupThis is an excellent recipe we developed for our youngest grandson, who really likes a good bowl of egg drop soup. Our version is heartier than you get in most restaurants. The recipe is real easy to scale for the number of servings you need. To make a single serving cut the above amounts in half. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Here’s the recipe.

Cream of Celery Soup
Cream of Celery SoupCelery is an excellent source of antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, and vitamins, and can be used to help with weight loss. And, it also makes a delicious soup! This recipe turns up the heat on a cream of celery soup that is SO much more flavorful than the canned variety! This soup will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days, and is an excellent base for other soups, stews and casseroles. Get the recipe here.

Spoon Dumplings for Soup
Spoon Dumplings in StewTake any soup or stew to a whole other level by adding simple spoon dumplings just like great-grandma used to make. This recipe was handed down by Lea’s grandmother to her mother, and then to her, and has long been a family favorite. These dumplings are moist and silky, adding another layer of flavor and texture to elevate your dish. Get the recipe here.

To browse our collection of recipes, simply click on the category links at the top of the page. “Entree” means “main item,” (often meat), while Side means something to accompany the “main item,” such as a vegetable. If you’re fairly new to cooking you might enjoy browsing our page on spices. Wonder about what spice goes with what? Just click here for some helpful detail.

Salads add eye appeal to a table setting, and contribute delightful flavors to complement the main course and other side dishes. Delicious salads may include fruit salads, chicken, egg and potato salads, as well as the ever-popular, leafy, mixed greens salads. Today we are listing some of our favorite salads that can be eaten before the meal, or as a side dish to accompany the protein served during the main course.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Salad
Cauliflower and Broccoli SaladCombine cauliflower, broccoli, onion, bell pepper, and pimento with a creamy sweet and sour dressing to make a colorful salad for holiday meals. This salad is delicious any time of the year, but, it is a favorite in our family since Marjorie Vaughn (Larry’s mom) first made it salad in 1973 for our family Christmas dinner. Find the recipe here.

Cheesy Pear Salad

Cheesy Pear SaladThis is a pretty salad when served assembled, and really catches the eye due to the contrasting colors. The flavor is delicate, with just a hint of sourness from the French dressing, which complements the pear and cheddar flavors perfectly. Give this one a try. It will quickly become a favorite at your house, too. Find the recipe here.

Chicken and Fruit Salad
Chicken and Fruit SaladLea created this recipe during the heat of August 1966 for a radio station “no cook” recipe contest. The judges voted it number one! It is a surprisingly delicious twist on everyday chicken salad that delivers a variety of fresh fruit flavors and the crunchiness of pecans and celery in a shredded or chunked chicken. Oranges, grapes, a banana, and an apple make an appearance along with salted almonds.
Find the recipe here.

Cranberry Salad
Lea Mixing Cranberry SaladLarry’s mother, Marjorie, always made this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. It is so delicious with turkey! We enjoy it mostly with the turkey sandwiches the day after the holiday! Give cranberries a ride in the food processor, add sugar and orange, marshmallows and nuts to create a chilled salad that is even better the day after. Find the recipe here.

Iceberg Wedge Salad
wedge-salad_rThis elegant wedge salad with crumbled blue cheese is a steakhouse staple great for a simple lunch, or dressed up for a special occasion dinner. Fresh ingredients make this salad very elegant, and the wedge presentation makes it an eye-pleaser. Here are three versions: the classic, with blue cheese, another with red pepper aioli, and a third with cheddar cheese. Find the recipes here.

Seven Layer Salad
Seven Layer SaladWhen you talk about eye-pleasing salads, the Seven Layer Salad immediately comes to mind. With its striking layers of color from lettuce, cauliflower, green peas, cheddar cheese, and topped with onion rings, sliced boiled eggs and crumbled bacon, this salad promises great flavors, and delivers on the promise every time. Find the recipe here.

Green and Gold Pea Salad
Green and Gold Pea SaladA colorful salad that delivers on savory flavors, this salad combines cooked peas with American cheese and spices to create a creamy dish with the subtle pop of mustard in the background. This recipe dates back to Lea’s Junior High School days and has been a long time family favorite. This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day, and often appears on leftovers plates as a side. Find the recipe here.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Black Olive TapenadeA bright and appealing salad that is a summertime favorite gets all dressed up for the holiday season with luscious sliced mozzarella, bright red tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves, topped with a black olive tapenade.
Find the recipe here.

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