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Nothing warms the body – or the soul – on a cold winter day like a piping hot bowl of soup. Cracking open a can of your favorite chicken and noodle soup may do the trick in a pinch, but on those days when you are looking for a little something more to stick to your ribs, here are a couple of soup recipes you can whip up with little effort and yet still reap a big payoff. Who knows? Tey may even become family favorites!


Fiesta Taco Soup


2 pounds ground beef 2 cups diced onions 2 cans (15 ½ ounces) pinto beans 1 can (15 ½ ounces) kidney beans


1 can (15 ¼ ounces) whole kernel corn, drained


1 can (14 ½ ounces) Mexican- style stewed tomatoes


1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes


1 can (14 ½ ounces) tomatoes with chiles


2 cans (4 ½ ounces) diced green chiles


1 can (4 ½ ounces) drained and sliced black olives, optional 1/2 cup sliced green olives, optional 1 (1 ¼ ounce) package taco seasoning mix 1 (1 ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix Corn chips, for serving Sour cream, for garnish Grated cheese, for garnish Chopped green onions, for garnish Pickled jalapenos, for garnish


Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos. Yields approximately 12 servings.


Hearty Ham and Potato Soup


3 ½ cups peeled and diced potatoes 1/3 cup diced celery 1/3 cup finely chopped onion 3/4 cup diced cooked ham 3 cups chicken stock 5 tablespoons butter 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups milk 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste


Grated cheese for garnish, optional Chopped green onion for garnish, optional


Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and stock in a stockpot. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4-5 minutes. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Add pepper to taste. Garnish and serve immediately. Yields approximately eight servings. If you are pressed for time, you can forego peeling your potatoes. You can also add chopped carrots, green beans, or a can of corn for some unique flavor variations.


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