As the weather gets colder, slow cooking becomes more important in our kitchens. Nothing is more warming to the body or soul that a bowl of hot soup or savory stew. Just the aroma of the pot simmering on the stove will bring the family into the kitchen for pre-dinner conversation or camaraderie.
If you’re short on time, make the soup or stew the night before, refrigerate, and reheat. Often these taste even better the second day. Or, make use of your crockpot. Either way, supper can be on the table with ease and all that’s needed to complete the meal is some fresh fruit – apples, pears, or grapes are excellent fall choices.
Our first recipe is a savory stew that would be at home on the range as it’s the kind of grub that hungry cowboys (or your family) would find warming and filling after a hard day wrangling cows (at work or school). We served it in a shallow soup bowl over creamy polenta.
The addition of chile peppers gives this stew a nice bite; if your family doesn’t like chile peppers, substitute a green bell pepper.
Our second meal features boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a delicious soup that’s hearty with lentils and lots of vegetables. At the last minute, fresh spinach leaves and sliced canned plum tomatoes are added for a contrast of flavors and color that makes this soup truly memorable.
This soup takes a little over an hour from start to finish so it might be a candidate for making the night before. The only problem is that it smells so good while it’s cooking that you might have problems keeping the family at bay until the next day.
If your family likes steak and potatoes, here’s a great way to stretch your food dollars using boneless top sirloin steak, russet potatoes, and winter vegetables all in a savory, good-to-the-last-drop soup. When I served this soup, I fixed some baked apples for dessert and received nothing but raves.
To tell the truth, this last recipe for vegetable ragout is one that we make almost every week, changing the vegetables depending on what is in the market. It is wonderful over polenta as presented here, but it shines over pasta or rice.
Here we share a recipe for basic polenta, but there are many recipes on our site. We eat leftovers for lunch cold or at room temperature and some times reheat the vegetables topped with low fat cheese under the broiler. Delicious. Look That: Polenta