Carol’s Baked Potato Soup

Contributed by: Carol Haworth (LaFerney)

  • 3 med. Baked potatoes (prepare soup while potatoes are cooling)
  • 3T. Butter (or margarine
  • 1c. Diced white onion
  • 2T. Flour
  • 4 c. chicken stock
  • 2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 c. instant mashed potatoes
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. basil
  • 1/8t. Thyme
  • 1-2 cups half and half (start with 1 cup; add according to thickness)

    Melt butter in a large saucepan, and sauté onion until light brown. Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux. Add stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes and spices to the pot and bring to a boil.

    Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

    Add chopped baked potato and half and half to the saucepan, bring soup back to boil, then reduce heat and simmer the soup for another 15 min. or until it is thick. (Do not boil any longer or the milk will clabber and make the soup look unappetizing.

    Garnish with shredded cheese, crumbled cooked bacon (or bacon bits), chopped green onions)

  • David’s 30 Minute Chili

    Contributed by: David LaFerney

    Source: From a word of mouth recipe that I was taught by my Mother.

    By thawing the meat in the microwave, you can literally have this on the table 30 minutes after you start.

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (I usually use the kind that is pre chopped in a jar)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any stage of ripeness) chopped
  • 12 oz more or less of canned spaghetti sauce (Prego, or hunts for example)
  • < Or 12 oz tomato sauce Or 6 oz of tomato paste and 6 oz of water
  • 1 package of chili seasoning Or 1 tablespoon chili powder

    Or your herbs and spices, hot sauce, Salsa or what have you

    Or plain old salt and pepper if it is all you have. It will still be great.

  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (I prefer olive oil, but you can use any kind including butter or margarine)
  • 30-60 oz of canned beans (I prefer 1/2 or more of this to be pork and beans, and the remainder to be canned pinto beans, but any kind of pre cooked beans will be fine including left over home cooked ones)In a heavy 4-qt. pan over medium to high heat, start browning the onion, peppers, garlic and meat in the oil.   Add the chili seasoning or spices. When the meat is browned, pour the meat mixture into a colander to drain any fat that has cooked out. While the meat is draining, lower the heat to medium and add the tomato sauce to the pan. Stir until the sauce comes to a simmer (this will loosen the brown bits from the meat) and then add the meat mixture back to the pan. Add the beans and return to a simmer (stirring often to prevent sticking) then lower the heat to very low and cover. This is the time to taste the sauce and add more salt, pepper, spices or hot sauce if needed. Simmer for a few minutes and serve with corn bread, crackers, corn chips, and/or grated cheese and iced tea. This makes good leftovers for a few days.


  • 1) When a recipe calls for browning meat, try not to add too much meat at one time. If during the process you see a noticeable amount of water bubbling away in the pot, then you are sweating and not browning. If this happens, there are several things that you can do:
  • A) Turn the heat up
  • B) Push the meat (and veggies) over to the side of the pan, and brown things a little at a time in the center especially until the water evaporates.
  • C) Remove some of the food from the pan and brown a little at a time.Remember, browning means the food should actually have some brown on it (caramelized) not just boiled gray.
  • 2) Leftovers will freeze pretty well, think “chili dogs”.You might notice that this is very similar to “30 minute Spaghetti”. Recipe overlap makes it easier to shop and keep your kitchen stocked with staples. .
  • Donna’s Chicken and Rice Soup

    Donna’s Chicken and Rice Soup

    Contributed by: Donna Wheatley

    When Earl and I were very young and living in New Orleans with two babies, I did all I could to conserve funds. I used to buy whole chickens for forty-nine cents a pound on sale, take them home, cut them up, and freeze the “good parts” for meals, and then put all the wings, backs, necks, giblets, and skin from those four chickens into the pot, instead of the whole chicken I now use. Honestly, there was just as much meat from the scrap parts of those four chickens as is in one whole chicken, and I considered it to be “free”.

    A variation of this recipe is to cook the same ingredients in a Crock Pot with NO water all day. When it’s done, you’ll be amazed at how much liquid cooked out of that chicken! Be sure to chill it and scrape off the fat, which will be considerable. You will get the richest, most delicious, fat free broth you can imagine! I often do this, then use the meat for casseroles and use the stock for other things, like Turkey Dressing.

  • In a big pot, place
  • 1 whole chicken (remove giblets)
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1-tablespoon salt
  • 1-teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper (or 1/2-teaspoon black pepper)

    Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook about one hour until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove chicken from pot, cool, and remove meat from the bones. Discard skin and bones. Put meat back into the pot. Add a can of stewed tomatoes and 1/2 pound frozen peas and carrots, if you want to.

    Cook rice in a separate pot. (Bring to a boil, 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of raw rice. Cover, and cook on low for 20 minutes.)

    To serve, put some rice in the bottom of a bowl and ladle the chicken soup over it.

  • Home made Stew

    Contributed by: David LaFerney

    Stew is really more of a method than a recipe. I make soup and stew out of whatever I have, and it is always delicious. However, the ingredients are usually something like this:

    (Everything cut up into bite size pieces)

  • Meat (I freeze leftover meat just for this)
  • Starchy vegetables – Potatoes, Rice, Beans, Carrots, Peas, Corn, etc
  • Non-starchy vegetables – Cabbage, Green Beans, Celery
  • Aromatics – Onions (including leaks, shallots, etc), Celery, Garlic, Carrots, Tomatoes, etc
  • Thickeners – Potatoes, Rice, Peas, Flour, Cornstarch, Bread
  • Seasoning – Salt, Pepper, Soy sauce, Hot sauce etc.
  • Water or Stock – If you want to make soup instead of stew, use stock instead of water as the base.

    Note that some things (like potatoes and rice) are in more than one category. If you cook one of these for a long time they completely fall apart and thicken your stew, if you cook them for a shorter time then they stay firm and whole. Therefore, if you want your rice or potatoes to be in chunks then add them in the last 45 minutes or so, if you want them to be thickener then add it at the beginning of a long cook time.

    You could make a stew with all of the listed ingredients, or as few as meat, potatoes (both as thickener and chunks), celery, onions, salt, pepper, and water. You can often just use whatever you have on hand.

    Here is the method: In a large (up to 5 gallons) pot, brown the outside of your meat and aromatics in a little bit of oil. Drain any excess fat, add a little bit of water to deglaze the pot, and stop the browning. Start adding your vegetables. I usually am cutting up the veggies, and adding them as I go. Retain any vegetables that you don’t want to cook for a long time (those that will get too soft) until later. Add a safe amount (safe as in not too much) of seasoning, make sure there is plenty of water, cover and simmer.

    Stir regularly, adjust the liquid as needed. When everything is starting to cook to the edible, but still al-dente’ stage start tasting it and adjusting your seasonings. Add seasonings a little at a time until it suits your taste. Add any vegetables that you have been holding out (like peas that you don’t want to turn to mush or potatoes that you want to be firm). If you are going to thicken the gravy with cornstarch, wait until near the end to do it.

    Once your stew is fully cooked, don’t make the mistake of continuing to “slow cook” it until suppertime or it will all turn to mush. Tasty mush, but mush nonetheless.

    Freeze leftovers in single serving size gladware for microwave meals.

  • Teri’s Chili with Beans

    Contributed by: Teri LaFerney

    Teri is a great cook and even though her recipes never have eggs in them (because of her son’s egg alergy) her dishes are always big hits at family get togethers.

    Brown 1 1/2 Lbs. very lean ground beef with 1 small onion chopped. Drain off fat.

    Then add 1/2 tsp. Oregano

    •   2 tsp. Chili Powder
    •   1/3 cup Salsa
    •   1 can diced Green Chili’s
    •   1 large can diced Tomatoes
    •   1 tsp. each of Salt, Pepper, Sugar & Accent
    •   2 15 oz. cans of Beans (your choice of type)

    Simmer on low heat for about 20 Minutes.

    Teri’s Mexican Soup

    Contributed by: Teri LaFerney

    Teri is a great cook and even though her recipes never have eggs in them (because of her son’s egg alergy) her dishes are always big hits at family get togethers.

    1 LB Lean Ground Beef, browned


  • 2 cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Kidney Beans
  • 1 can Shoepeg corn
  • 1 pkg. Taco Mix
  • 1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Mix (Not the Buttermilk recipe)
  • 1 Onion Combine the above ingredients with the beef and cook on medium low heat for about 1 hour. Before serving, sprinkle with