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current edition

Anna Aughenbaugh

Soup is good anytime of the year, but it is especially good on a cold winter’s day. Having a big pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove fills the house with an aroma that makes the atmosphere dispel the chill outside. Soup is filling and tends to keep you feeling satisfied, and the nutritional value of homemade soups is great; it’s low in fat, and has lots of vegetables that provide vitamins and minerals, along with the protein in the meat.
    Putting together the ingredients isn’t too time consuming. You can use fresh vegetables, or, to speed the process, use frozen or canned. Canned beans can be opened and rinsed to speed the process. I like to cook a big pot of beans, and then freeze some in two-cup containers to have on hand whenever I want to make soup.
    To cook dry beans, pick out any rocks or bad beans, wash, then cover with water; soak overnight, or bring to a boil, shut off heat and let them sit for an hour. Drain the soaking water and then cover with fresh water and simmer two or three hours until the beans are tender. Do not add salt or acidic things like tomatoes until the beans are tender, and add two tablespoons of vegetable oil to help prevent them from boiling over. Be sure to keep the beans covered with water; they will not soften if they dry out.
    I like to make several different soups and freeze some of each so we have a variety that can be microwaved for a quick lunch. If the recipe calls for pasta and you want to freeze some of the soup, save half of the soup to freeze before adding the pasta, because it tends to get mushy; add it when reheating the soup. Leftover cooked beef can be added toward the end of the cooking time. Soup recipes don’t have to be followed precisely, you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

Cheeseburger Soup
½ lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 ½ cups water
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
½ cup diced onion
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 ½ cups milk, divided
3 Tbsp. flour
½ cup cubed American cheese
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
    In a large saucepan, brown hamburger; add water, potatoes, carrots, onion, pepper, chilies, garlic and bouillon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Stir in 2 cups milk. Mix ½ cup milk and flour; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in and cayenne. Serves 6 to 8.
    Options: Use canned potatoes and one can evaporated milk. Substitute canned jalapenos for the green chilies.

Apple Salad
2 cups diced apples
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
    Mix all together and chill.
Hamburger & Black Bean Chili
2 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 cup chopped onion    
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced green bell pepper
4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lb. ground beef
2 (15 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed & drained
½ cup beer or chicken broth
1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin    
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
    Heat oil in a large pan over med. high heat. Add onions, peppers and garlic; sauté until soft. Add beef and cook until browned. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Makes 8 servings.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and I am trying something new this year. Have you ever heard of spatchcock chicken? Me neither! It is a method of removing the backbone of the chicken, or turkey in this case, and cooking the bird flat. This allows the turkey to cook much faster and more evenly. If you are adventurous give it a try!
Adapted from Mark Bittman
1 7-10 pound turkey, thawed completely (I used a 10-pound Butterball.)
¼ cup olive oil (I used Star Garlic Olive Oil.)
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 lemon cut in half
3 fresh sage leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves
    Preheat oven to 450°F.
    Wash turkey and pat dry. Using a pair of poultry shears or a sharp knife, remove the back bone and discard, or use it to make stock or the gravy.             Turn turkey over onto a flat surface a press to flatten. Place in a roasting pan, cut side down.
    Place lemon, sage, and rosemary under the turkey. Pour olive oil over skin, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place garlic cloves and thyme sprigs under wings and around legs, tucking them in.
    Place leave in thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh area.
    Roast turkey for 20 minutes. Baste turkey with juices and lower oven temperature to 400°F. Reduce the temperature to 350° if turkey is browning too fast. Continue to bake until turkey reaches 165-175 degrees in several places, about 40 to 50 minutes depending on the size of your turkey and how your oven cooks.
    Remove from oven and allow to rest 20 minutes before slicing.
    Serve with cranberry sauce and all of your favorite fixings!

    Traditionally, we have ham and turkey at our Thanksgiving table. Some hams come with their own pre-packaged glaze but if you are looking for a homemade glaze this one is really simple and it is delicious!
1 Spiral Sliced Smoked Ham, 7-9 pounds, fully cooked
For Glaze:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
    Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Place ham in a foil lined baking dish.
    In a small saucepan, add all of the glaze ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring often until it just starts to bubble and all ingredients are combined.
    Remove from heat and brush over ham, making sure to get in between slices on all sides. Reserve about 1/3 of glaze.
    Place ham in the oven and bake 10 minutes per pound. My ham was about seven pounds, so I set the timer for one hour ten minutes.
    Half way through the baking time, pour remaining glaze over ham and continue to bake until ham is heated through.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Happy Thanksgiving!
    Milisa Armstrong lives on a cattle ranch in Kaycee where she cooks, writes and raises a family. Visit her blog at