Taste of Central Iowa

Soup and/or fudge

It’s still soup and fudge weather!

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 lb. ground chuck

1 c. chopped onion

3 c. beef or chicken broth

2 (14-1/2 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained

1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce with roasted garlic- or use regular tomato sauce and add 1-2 cloves crushed garlic

1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

salt to taste

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or dash of hot sauce

1 c. small seashell pasta, uncooked

shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.

Place beef mixture in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker/crock pot; stir in broth and next six ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW setting 5-1/2 hours. Add pasta, and cook on LOW setting an additional 30 minutes or until pasta is tender. Ladle into individual bowls, and sprinkle each serving evenly with Parmesan cheese.

Bean and Bacon Soup

2 c. navy beans

6 bacon slices, fried crisp and minced

3 small to medium carrots, minced

3 medium celery stalks, minced

1 onion, minced

1/2 tsp. thyme

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

1 (4 ounce) can tomato paste

Dash of dried red pepper flakes

1 Tbls. wine vinegar

Few drops liquid smoke

Salt and pepper to taste

6 to 8 cups water (substituting 1 or 2 c. of ham stock for 1 or 2 c. of water gives this soup an extra depth of flavor)

Soak beans overnight and discard water. Place all ingredients except wine vinegar, salt and pepper in a large kettle. Simmer until beans are tender (about 3 hours). Puree 1 to 2 cups of soup and return to pot. Add wine vinegar and liquid smoke, mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Vanilla Fudge Recipe

2 c. sugar

2/3 c. condensed milk

2 Tbls. dark corn syrup

1/2 stick butter

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1 c. chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients expect for nuts in heavy pan. Stir until it starts to boil. Boil until reaches the soft ball stage. Set aside, and let cool When lukewarm, beat by hand until creamy. Add nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper.