Stone soup

By Dr. Linda Mitchell
When I taught Kindergarten one of my favorite stories was Stone Soup, an old folk story in which travelers come to a village with only an empty cooking pot. They fill the pot with water, drop a stone into it and place it over the fire. The curious villagers are told they are making stone soup which tastes wonderful but still needs a bit of something extra to improve the flavor. Although the villagers were unwilling to share food with the strangers they don’t mind parting with a bit of this and that. As more and more villagers add ingredients a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is made and enjoyed by all.
This is true in our kitchens today as well. Soup stretches to feed a crowd, soup recipes are very flexible, you can play around with spices, proportions, and ingredients and still end up with something hot and delicious, and soup is a great way to work healthy foods into your diet.

Easy Brunswick Stew
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 can tomatoes-28 oz-undrained
2 cups water
1 package each frozen lima beans, whole kernel corn
1 tablespoon Whrcestershire sauce
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 teaspoons granules
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh herbs, diced (your choice) optional
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in saucepan. Add chicken and onion and cook about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, water, beans, corn, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon cubes, sugar, and seasonings. Simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. To thicken: Mix flour with enough water (about 1/4 cup) to make a paste. Stir it into the soup.
Note: If you have leftover veggies such as potatoes, green beans, peas, they make excellent additions to the stew.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 stick butter
1 onion, diced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup flour
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Place rice and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Do not drain. Set aside. Melt butter and add onion and mushrooms. Saute about 5 minutes. Add rosemary. Gradually add flour and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth, rice, and seasonings. Stir in whipping cream just until warmed. Do not boil. Serve immediately.

Old Time Chicken and Dumplings
(not exactly a soup but definitely a comfort food)
1 ham hock or large bone from ham
1 stewing chicken
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced, optional
2 ribs celery sliced, optional
6 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons salt and pepper or other seasonings of your choice
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Dumpling Mix
2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk

In a large pot combine the ham hock, chicken, onion, carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover and cook over low heat until chicken is done, about 1 hour. Remove ham and chicken from pan and when cool, debone. Dice meat and reserve. Add enough water to remaining stock to make 1 quart. Continue to simmer. In separate pot melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour and seasonings. Stir in cream. Add to stock. Stir in meat.

To make Dumplings:
Stir together flour and butter with a fork. Add milk and stir. Drop by spoonfuls into simmering chicken and stock mixture. Cook, covered, 15 minutes without lifting the lid.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(Healthy and delicious/ Makes your house smell like fall)
2 cups shelled pumpkin seeds
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Your choice of seasoning blend below:

Maple Chipotle
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Brown Sugar and Spice
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Garlic Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon parmesan seasoning

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients and pour over the pumpkin seeds. Stir to combine and evenly coat all of the seeds.
Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until the seeds are golden and crunchy, about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow the seeds to cool before serving.

Frankenstein Jigglers
(These are so adorable and kids love them)
1-2/3 cups boiling water, divided
1 package (3 oz) Lime flavor gelatin
1/4 cup (1/2 of the 3-oz package) Grape flavor gelatin
32 pieces of red string licorice
1 tube black decorating gel
Plastic party cups, clear kind

Spray 24 cups with cooking spray. Add 1-1/3 cups boiling water to lime gelatin mix in medium bowl. Stir until completely dissolved. Do not add cold water. Refrigerate until slightly thickened. Add remaining 1/3 cup boiling water to the grape gelatin mix. Stir until completely dissolved. Spoon about 1 teaspoon into each glass. Let set 5 minutes. Spoon lime gelatin over grape gelatin in glassed. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Unmold jigglers onto tray. Insert 2 licorice pieces into opposite sides of jigglers for the neck bolts. Use decorating gel to draw black stitched mouth and eyes.