Monday, April 2, 2012

Kitchen Challenge: Soup's On

Sundays are a tough day for me as far as meal planning and cooking is concerned. A lot of our friends plan and enjoy big family dinners on Sunday nights, and while that sounds wonderful to me, it doesn't really work for our family. Tom often works a full day and into the evening on Sundays, so we're hardly ever able to sit down to dinner as a foursome on Sunday nights. And I usually devote Sunday afternoons to cleaning the house and catching up on laundry, which doesn't leave me much time for prepping, making, and serving elaborate Sunday night meals.

I felt the need to make a change to our regular Sunday night menu (leftovers or take-out) though, so I created my own winter soup challenge and committed to making a new soup recipe every Sunday night throughout all of January and February.

Some weeks went more smoothly than others. (It's tough to find the motivation to make soup when it's 84 degrees outside. Or when both of your kids are sick. Or when you realize you forgot to purchase an essential ingredient at the grocery store and have to make a special trip to Kroger so as to not waste the already-purchased and partially cooked ingredients.) Some soups were hits while others were misses. But at the end of the nine weeks, we could all agree that the challenge had been a positive experience for our family. My husband loved trying a new recipe every week. My kids finally accepted soup as a reasonable dinner option. (Previously they were both inexplicably and vehemently opposed to eating soup.) And I ended up with quite a few new soup recipes.

Here's how the challenge went down:
Week 1: Mexican Chicken
Week 2: Chicken and Wild Rice
Week 3: Cheeseburger
Week 4: Beer Cheese
Week 5: Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder
Week 6: Santa Fe
Week 7: Broccoli Cheese
Week 8: Creamy Potato
Week 9: Tomato Basil

Tom's favorite was the Tomato Basil, while my favorite was the Chicken and Wild Rice. You can find these two recipes and recipes for a couple more of our top choices by clicking on the links above.   (The original Tomato Basil recipe can be found here, the original Chicken and Wild Rice recipe came from an old Taste of Home magazine, and I'm sorry to say I can't find the links to the Mexican Chicken and Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder recipes online anymore.)

If you're interested in the recipes for any of the other "hits" ( Beer Cheese and Broccoli Cheese), let me know and I'll update this post to include those recipes as well.

Desserts are up next (and already well underway) on Kitchen Challenge; throughout all of March and April I have been/will be making a new, from-scratch dessert every weekend. If you have any suggestions for recipes I should try, please share them or a link to them in the comments section. Yum!

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