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Super soups

Snow is falling heavily outside, coating the big round bales of alfalfa and covering the woolly backs of the ewes behind the barn. My daughter is inside the snug barn opening and spreading bales of cornstalks to bed the goats. I'm thinking ahead to supper and deciding soup sounds mighty good. I have several packages of home-raised pork sausage from the locker. Italian Sausage Soup will be just the thing tonight!
Southwestern Bean Soup

Southwestern Bean Soup

I consider soup the perfect winter meal. You can pack a lot of nutrition into a hearty bowl of soup or stew. Many of the ingredients in soups, such as in the three recipes featured here, can be substituted for other favorites. For example, if there is another bean you like better than what is listed in the Southwestern Bean Soup, feel free to make it work. Don't like corn in soup? Take it out. The type of potato you use in Creamy Ham and New Potato Soup can also be switched. Make it your way and enjoy!

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 10 to 12 hours (low), plus 30 minutes, or 5 to 6 hours (high), plus 20 minutes

3 cups water

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can black beans, pinto beans, or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

1 14 1/2-ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn

1 cup sliced carrot

1 large onion, chopped

1 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers

2 tablespoons instant beef or chicken bouillon granules

1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash ground black pepper

1 egg white

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1. In a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine the water, beans, undrained tomatoes, corn, carrot, onion, undrained chile peppers, bouillon granules, chili powder, and garlic.

2. Cover and cook for on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

3. For dumplings: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, milk, and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir with a fork just until combined.

4. Drop dumpling dough into six mounds on top of the bubbling soup. Cover and cook on low-heat setting about 30 minutes more or on high-heat setting about 20 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in center of a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift lid while dumplings are cooking.) Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 263 cal., 4 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 1434 mg sodium, 51 g carbo., 11 g dietary fiber, 15 g protein.

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