Soup's On!

  Soup is one of the super things about January and there's nothing better for the soul than chicken soup.

While writing this piece near the end of December wearing shorts with the air conditioner running, it seems a bit of a stretch to focus on cooking hot soups for cold winter nights. However, anyone who has spent a winter or two in Mississippi can attest to how quickly its weather can change. Weather forecasters are already predicting temperatures will drop before this week's edition hits newsstands. In the likely event it does change and cool temperatures justify hot broth, below are a few chicken soup recipes.

One of these came to me years ago from Maxine Goff. It's thick and cheesy and absolutely yummy. I contacted Mrs. Goff's daughter, Alice, to ask permission to run her recipe. She said Mrs. Goff would be thrilled. Then, Alice mentioned another good soup recipe from Mary Fairley. Alice's friend Joy Smith had served it last week. It sounds double delicious. I've included it as well as a recipe of mine for Chicken Taco Soup. Our family loves the traditional Taco Soup with ground beef, but oftentimes we are in the mood for chicken rather than beef. I tweaked the original formula and added several flavorful ingredients.

If you have a favorite soup recipe, I'll happily share it with others if you email it to me at nancyjomaples@aol.com or send it to Post Office Box 265, Lucedale, MS 39452.

Soup's On! Bon Appetit!

Award-winning journalist Nancy Jo Maples has been writing about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. Contact her at nancyjomaples@aol.com.

Chicken Tortilla Soup From the kitchen of Maxine Goff Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts, boiled 2 chicken bouillon cubes 2 cans cream of chicken 2 cans cream of mushroom 2 cans diced Rotel Tomatoes, with green chilies 16 oz. Velveeta Cheese, cubed

Directions: Boil chicken breasts in water with bouillon cubes. Mix together other ingredients and two cups of the chicken broth. Cut boiled chicken into small pieces. Add to soup mixture. Put in crock pot on high or cook on stovetop. Add milk or more chicken broth if mixture needs thinning. Serve over tortilla chips. Serves 10-12.

Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup From the kitchen of Mary Fairley

Ingredients: 2 quarts chicken broth 6 1/2 cups uncooked wide egg noodles 2 cans (10 3/4 each) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted 3 cups cubed chicken 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

Directions: In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to boil. Add the noodles; cook, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Do not drain. Add soup and chicken; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream. Serves 10-12.

Taco Soup with Chicken From the kitchen of Nancy Jo Maples

Ingredients: 3 chicken breasts, baked and shredded 1 fresh onion, chopped (can be sauteed in olive oil - optional) ½ bell pepper (red or green) 1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix, or less depending on desired spiciness 1 pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder 1-2 teaspoons paprika 1-2 teaspoons cumin Salt and pepper to taste 2 10 oz cans diced Rotel tomatoes with green chilies, drained 1 10-15 oz. can shoe peg corn, drained 1 10-15 oz. can kidney beans, drained 1 10-15 oz can black beans, drained 2 cups chicken broth 1 8-oz block cream cheese cubed and softened (optional) water as needed

Directions: Bake chicken (or use rotisserie if pressed for time). Shred chicken. Add all other ingredients. Heat in large stockpot. Add enough water to reach desired consistency or to dilute the spicy flavor to suit your taste. Heat to gentle boil and reduce heat to simmer 1-2 hours. Serve soup over small Fritos, tortilla chips, or bread base of your choice. Can be topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado and fresh, chopped onion. Serves 10-12.

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