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Sun, April 21

Welcome to my kitchen: Warm body, soul quickly

With our continuing cold weather a good hot bowl of soup still warms the body and soul. For those who have the time and want to try something new I have included a cracker recipe to go with the soup. Many of you are familiar with Pasta e Fagioli soup. I have included a quick version and a more time-consuming one. I recently made the quick one and found it to be very acceptable. It originated in the New York Italian community during WWII when meat was scarce. Most any kind of bean or pasta can be used so be creative with what you have on hand.EASY PASTA E FAGIOLI2 (13-3/4 oz.) chicken broth1-1/2 cup water1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (or diced, etc.)1/2 diced onion1 (16 oz.) can white kidney beans, drained (or your choice canned bean)1 diced bell pepper1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing mix (dry)1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (again, your choice of pasta)Bring broth, water, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper to boil in large saucepan. Add beans, salad dressing mix and macaroni. Return to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 10 minutes. 6 servings. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.PASTA E FAGIOLI1 cup dried white beanswater to cover1 yellow onion, chopped1 carrot, chopped1 stalk celery, chopped2 tbsp. minced parsley1 clove garlic, minced1 medium tomato, chopped (or 1 can tomatoes)1 ham bone with meat attached or one hock, cut up2 cups homemade beef stock or canned beef broth1/4 cup any tubular macaronisalt and pepper to taste1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheeseCover beans with water and soak overnight or do the quick method on package. In large pot, place beans, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, garlic, tomato, ham bone and broth. Bring to boil over medium high heat; reduce and cover. Simmer until beans are tender about 2-1/2 hours, adding water if necessary to maintain liquid level. When beans are tender, take 1/2 cup beans and puree in blender. Return to mixture in pot. Add macaroni and cook until tender, but still somewhat firm (al dente) about 15-20 minutes. Season to taste and top with cheese just before serving. NOTE: You can use beef or chicken broth, ham or even bacon, lentils, or any bean so clean out the pantry and you have dinner! Good for tough economic times!WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS2 cups whole wheat flour1 tsp. salt, opt.2 tsp. baking powder2 tsp. brown sugar1/2 cup (1 cube) butter or margarine1/3 cup milkSee seed option note at end of recipe.Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Add brown sugar and butter; cut into flour with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is fine. Add milk gradually, tossing with a fork to moisten evenly.Add a few drops more milk if mixture seems too dry; it should not stick to the bowl or your hands.Divide dough into four pieces and press each into a ball and flatten slightly. Place each cake of dough between two pieces of waxed paper, and roll out with rolling pin to about 3/16 inch thickness. Peel off top piece of waxed paper. Flip dough over onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and peel off top paper. Cut into squares or any desired shape. Prick all over with a fork. Bake at 375 for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. May sprinkle with poppy, caraway or sesame seeds over dough as it is rolled out.COLBY CORN CHOWDERFast, satisfying and serves 12-146 large potatoes, peeled and cubed1 tsp. salt1 large onion, chopped1/4 cup butter or margarine2 cans (14-1/4 oz.) cream style corn4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled3 cups milk8 oz. Colby cheese, cubedCook potatoes in large pot until tender (season with the salt). Meanwhile, in skillet sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in corn and bacon; heat through. Drain cooked potatoes. Add milk and heat through. Stir in corn mixture and cheese. Serve immediately. (about 3 quarts).
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