I had a group of friends, all teachers, come to my house when school was out for the Christmas break (yes, it's called Christmas). I invited them for lunch, and decided to have choices for them. I made 3 different soups (recipes below) and my sister contributed Corn Chowder. The lunch was a great success!
This was the biggest hit:
CROCK POT CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN CHILI
(found on the blog "Rita's Recipes")
2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 Tbs cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese
Put chicken in the slow cooker. Top with Rotel, corn, beans, Ranch mix, and spices. Stir to combine, then top with the cream cheese.
Cook on low 6-8 hours, stirring once or twice to blend in the cheese. Shred the chicken and serve over rice.
Another choice of soups was a copycat recipe of
OLIVE GARDEN'S PASTA FAGIOLI SOUP
(found on JustAPinch.com)
2 lbs ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 28-oz cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 16-oz can red kidney beans, drained
1 16-oz can white kidney beans, drained
3 10-oz cans beef stock
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp black pepper
5 tsp parsley
1 tsp Tabasco sauce (optional, but I used it)
1 20-oz jar spaghetti sauce (I used Hunt's)
8 oz pasta (I used elbow macaroni, like Olive Garden uses)
Brown beef in a skillet.
Drain fat from the beef and add to slow cooker with everything except pasta.
Cook on low 7-8 hours or on high 4-5 hrs.
During last 30 mins on high or 1 hr on low, add pasta.
This is a large amount of soup! It serves 12-14.
This one was a favorite of my friend, Ann's, who told me she would add some worcestershire to hers when she made it. I thought that was a nice addition!
DECADENT TOMATO SOUP
(on JustAPinch.com, but misspelled: Decandent)
2 8-oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 6-oz can evaporated milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 cups water
4 Tbs flour
1/3 cup rich, mild hard cheese (optional. I put parmesan on the table for individual tastes)
Melt butter in heavy skillet.
Add chopped onions and saute.
Add the flour and poultry seasoning to the onions and cook until brown and tender.
In a heavy pot, combine water, milk, tomatoes with juice, bouillon cube, (and maybe some worcestershire?) and bring to a low boil.
Reduce heat and add flour and onion mixture to the liquid.
For a really rich soup, grate and drop in the cheese.
Simmer for 20 mins.
Everyone enjoyed this type of dining. I served three types of crackers, including some spicy ones. Here's that recipe:
(I am unsure where I found this recipe, but I know they taste like the ones served at my favorite tea room, The Texas Tearoom, in Friendswood, Texas!)
Box of Saltines
1 1/2 cup of oil
Ranch dressing packet
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper
Mix last 4 ingredients, then pour over the saltines in a container. Mix carefully, coating each cracker with some of the mixture. Serve after 48 hours of coating.
(I put 2 sleeves of crackers and poured half of the mixture, then added the other 2 sleeves and the rest of the mixture.)