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Feel-Good-Food #1

As the days grow short, some faces grow long.  But not mine. 
Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. 
It’s time to start making soup again.
~Leslie Newman

I love food. I love to cook it, I love to eat it, and I love to feed it to other people.  I love experimenting with recipes and coming up with unique dishes, and I love making old classic favorites. I’m infatuated with it

I know this comes from my grandmother on my father’s side of the family. My grandfather was a cotton farmer in Alabama, and he and my grandmother raised 14 children on a small farm. My grandmother passed away when I was 18 years old, and all of my memories of her are in the kitchen. She was either cooking a meal, cleaning up from a meal and getting ready to start the next one, or, very occasionally taking a rare break and sitting around the kitchen table with any number of kids or grandkids (there were 42 grandkids – 18 great-grandkids) taking a brief rest and sharing a story.   She loved to cook, she loved to teach others to cook (if you were in the kitchen with her, you learned something that day), and she loved to see people eat. I’m sure that’s where I got it.

Each season inspires me in the kitchen, but none like Fall. Soups, casseroles, bread…hearty food to satisfy and soothe the body and soul. I do understand that food doesn’t have this affect on everyone…I just don’t understand why it doesn’t :-).   Feel-good-food.  I have several recipes for feel-good-food that are musts in my house for cool weather. I’ll be sharing one each week this Fall and Winter, and I hope you will share your favorites with me. 

My absolute favorite feel-good cool weather food is potato soup. I make this a lot during the Fall and Winter, and it’s such a favorite of our family. I always get a lot of requests for the recipe and I love to pass it along.

This soup can be made as ‘bad’ or ‘good’ as you would like for it to be, depending on the lightness of the ingredients you use. Christmas Day tradition is to have family and friends over for lunch and serve a couple of different soups and this one is always on the menu. For that day, I make the ‘bad’ version. But when I make it for just Mike and I, I make the ‘good’ version.  OK, ‘semi-good’.

Paulette’s Potato Soup
10 medium potatoes
1 stick of margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1 pkg bacon, crumbled (this doesn’t go in the ‘good’ version
½ to ¾ cup sour cream (light for ‘good’ version
2 cups shredded cheddar (2% for ‘good’ version
1 can cream of chicken soup and 1 can cream of mushroom (can use fat free
Salt and pepper
Parsley flakes

Peel and cube potatoes and cook until tender.
In separate pan, melt margarine and sauté onion until tender. Combine other ingredients and simmer until cheese melts. Don’t leave too much water in the potatoes unless you prefer a thinner soup. With potato masher, slightly mash some of the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, top with parsley flakes and bacon.

This soup is guaranteed to hit the spot on any day. When making for Mike and I, I usually lessen the amounts of butter and cheese, and go low fat where I can. It’s still delicious.

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