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  • Mary Kay

Kielbasa Vegetable Soup

Clean out the fridge with this hearty healthy soup great for a cold wintery day!

Have you ever looked through your refrigerator, wondering how in the world you're going to use up all those vegetables? Well, here's what you do. Get a good sized chunk of kielbasa and turn those vegetables in some of the best tasting soup you've ever had. It's a hearty and healthy soup that will warm your soul on a cold winter day.

Creating a soup like this was actually one of Mom's specialties. She could make a delicious soup out of just about anything she had in the fridge. She would fry up some meat, cut up whatever vegetables she had in the crisper drawer, add water (she NEVER had chicken stock in the house), add some herbs and spices or maybe just salt and pepper. To make it stretch she might even add some macaroni noodles. Her soups were always tasty and warmed the tummy on a cold winter day, especially if we kids had been out shoveling the driveway, tobogganing down the neighbors' big Sandy Hook snowy hillside or building snowmen in the front lawn.

This is a soup that you can spice up or leave a little more bland. Pep it up with herbs or hot spices. But, if you have some people in your home who want less spice than others, Cry Baby Craig's Cheesy Pow Pow is an easy way to satisfy both palettes. Cheesy Pow Pow comes in a shaker bottle and can be added after the soup is scooped up in bowls. That way you can make a more bland version and add the Cheesy Pow Pow to individual servings. What is Cry Baby Craig's Pow Pow? It's a grated cheese that has quite a bit of bite to it. Just shake some into your soup for a little spice. (It's made in Faribault, Minnesota. Check out their website.)

But, let's get back to ridding your fridge of it's vegetables. Size up what you have in the vegetable drawer and decide what you want to use up. The list below is just a guideline. You use up what you have in the drawer. In about an hour or so, you will have a hearty winter soup that chocked full of vegetables and wonderful flavor. It's easy! (I think that's my favorite two word phrase.)

Serving quantity:

This soup will serve about 8 people, depending on how large your soup bowls are. To serve fewer people, just cut the recipe in half...or serve it in larger bowls.

Get your pan ready:

I use a deep stock pot or large sauce pan for this soup. It doesn't need to be an enormous stock pot, just something large enough to hold all of your tasty items.

Kielbasa Vegetable Soup Ingredients:

1 T Olive oil

1# Kielbasa, diced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1/2 Onion, diced

2 Carrots, cleaned and peeled (if you like) and rough chopped

2 Celery stalks, cleaned and rough chopped

1 Pepper, yellow or orange, cleaned, diced.

4 Kale leaves, stripped of it's main stem and rough chopped

2 Potatoes, medium, cleaned and diced (no need to peel)

1 Tomato, large, diced

1 Tomato Sauce can, 8 oz.

4 C Chicken stock or water

Leftover grilled chicken, diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start your soup:

- In your pot, place the olive oil and diced kielbasa and sauté the meat over medium heat until heated and a little browned. If you don't have a full pound, that's just fine. I had some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge that I added after all the veggies had been added.

- Add the onion and celery to sauté until they are translucent.

- Add the peppers and carrots to sauté and soften up.

- Add the garlic and sauté just a few minutes - do not burn or you'll have nasty flavor in your soup.

- Add the 4 C chicken stock or water along with the tomato sauce.

- Add all the rest of the vegetables.

- Don't be afraid to mix meats for some extra tasty protein.

- Boil the soup (not a hard rolling boil) for about an hour, stirring periodically.

- Check the vegetables for doneness.

- Turn the heat down to low or off until ready to serve.

- Salt and pepper to taste.

Serving options:

- This is a soup that works well with a grilled cheese sandwich sandwich. The other day I created a sandwich with some leftover Asiago Cheese Bread. I grilled two thick slices of that with a couple of marbled Colby Cheddar cheese slices in the middle. It was delicious! The flavor of the Asiago cheese in the grilled bread gave it a little tang with the milder Colby Cheddar cheese. It's great for dipping in the soup, too!

- Don't forget to shake some parmesan cheese or Cry Baby Craig's Cheesy Pow Pow on your bowl of soup. It will add a little punch.

- Place a thick slice of cheese of your choice on top of your bowl of hot soup. Let it soften up and dig in. Yum for gooey-ness!

- Garnish your soup like a big bowl of French Onion Soup. Layer a crusty or toasted slice of garlic bread, with a slice of Swiss cheese on top and broil it until the cheese bubbles and turns a light golden brown. Double Yum!

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