One of my favorite parts of winter, especially since I hate cold weather, is SOUP! I have had the good fortune already this ‘winter’ even though winter only officially started a couple of days ago, to make some big pots of soup. Anytime the weather is hovering around freezing it’s ‘winter’ and good weather for making soups, especially slow cooker soups.
Most recently, I made a soup that my mother introduced me to. I believe she was introduced to it at a work related retreat at a nearby hunting lodge. No, my mother is not a hunter, not does she work for a company who is in any way related to hunting. However, where we live that is one of the choices for a meeting venue – a hunting lodge. As it turned out they made a delicious soup! The name of the lodge is Ravenwood Lodge so therefore the soup is Ravenwood soup.
In addition to loving soup I love sharing food with friends and family. It is the love of sharing food that urged me, the week before Christmas, to take a slow cooker soup to the office to share. As I was assembling the ingredients for the Ravenwood soup on the counter the night before, The Hubs said, “Oh, it looks like someone has been very good.” I turned to see the gleam in his eye, and wasn’t sure I had it in me to tell him the truth. I did. “Well, this is for the girls at the office.” That gleam turned to sadness very quickly. “I do have enough to make enough for home, too – if you want,” I threw in quickly. The gleam returned, although not quite as brightly. He knew who had been really good and it obviously wasn’t him!
The girls at work were very happy to have some hot slow cooker soup to eat for lunch on the first big icy day of the season.
That evening the pot (slow cooker) I had on at home was looked at with 2 little upturned turned up noses. Well, at least one upturned, two turned up noses! Once they tasted how delicious the slow cooker soup was they gobbled it up. They were also pleased to know there would be enough for lunch the next day. My mother was also quite pleased when I took her a little bowl for her lunch the next day.
The other soup that I made was a lentil soup. The noses were turned up at this one, too. Not really sure what lentils were the girls were skeptical at best. They decided that it was much better than they thought it would be, although Daughter Number Three informed me there was too much Thyme in the soup. As I started to agree, Daughter Number Four, always quick to spare hurt feelings informed her sister that all of the best foods take too much time. My husband agreed that she was absolutely correct. He and I gave reassuring glances to Daughter Number Three, who then gave us a knowing smile.
Both of these slow cooker soup recipes are great for winter meals and sharing with friends or family.They are hearty to warm you and yours on a cold day.
- 3 pounds ground beef (browned and drained)
- ¼ cup onion (diced)
- 3 cans yellow corn
- 3 cans red kidney beans
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 can Ro-tel
- 2 pounds Velveeta cheese
Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Add the onion to the ground beef during browning or sauté in the same skillet after the beef is browned.
Add all ingredients, including juices of canned goods into the slow cooker – EXCEPT the Velveeta. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Add the cheese about 30 minutes before serving.
Cook on low for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and soup is hot.
Serve with tortilla chips. Optional garnish: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onion.
- ¾ cup lentils (picked and rinsed)
- 3 carrots (peeled and coined)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or stock
- ½ cup red wine (or water)
- ½ cup water (or more, see above)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Add all ingredients into crock of slow cooker. Stir gently. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until lentils are soft. Turn slow cooker lid to the side for about 30 minutes to thicken broth, if desired.
Serve with crusty French bread.