Greens n’ Beans Soup & Dolly’s Polish Cabbage Soup

I love soup. It’s the perfect comfort food to me, especially this time of year when days are shorter and much colder. Soup not only fills you up, but it warms the soul. Most soups are also healthy as long as cheese and cream bases are avoided. In these times of economic hardships, soup is an inexpensive way to fill stomachs without emptying wallets. Plus, soups freeze beautifully and they can make several meals.

I have several favorite soup recipes, but most of the time I just take what ingredients I have and throw them into a pot. The only downside is that I can’t always exactly duplicate a soup that turns out awesome, but I rarely turn out a bad soup so the upside is re-creating isn’t always necessary.

Once upon a time my husband went to a restaurant and ate a soup with collard greens and white beans in it. He absolutely loved it and came home raving. I happen to have some leftovers in my fridge: collards and chicken to be exact. I think we have the makings of a soup. And since it’s a very grey, chilly, and rainy weekend, a heart-warming soup sounds like the perfect thing.

Homemade Greens & Beans Chicken Soup

This soup turned out great. The only problem I have with low-fat soups is that the flavor is usually made up for in the sodium. In that case I make sure we all drink plenty of water with our meal.

 Talk about within the budget! I made this soup almost entirely with leftovers and what I had in the pantry. Whenever my staples get low I always stock up on a variety of beans (pinto, black-eyed, kidney, etc.) and several cartons of chicken broth. After making 2 soups this weekend all the chicken broth I bought last week  is gone. Luckily my local Dollar Tree carries an excellent all natural brand, so I can easily stock up and stay within my budget.

Beans and Greens Soup

In a large pot I combined 1 (15 oz) can of drained and rinsed navy beans
1 container leftover collard greens and its cooking broth (about 1 1/2 Q. total and I used chicken broth, onion, & celery to cook the greens in. No pork.)
I added another quart of chicken broth
2 leftover chicken breasts, already cooked, cubed or diced
1 T. onion flakes
**This alone would have made the awesome soup I was aiming for, but it was even better because of something extra….
The 2 leftover chicken breasts were from a dinner I’d made 2 nights before called Tarragon Chicken. This is such an easy and yummy meal (thank you, Mom, for showing it to me) and my boys always love it. It’s super easy, but be warned, it is fattening. It’s best served with mashed potatoes but this time I made basmati rice. Don’t forget the vegetables, like sautéed squash and zucchini.
SO basically I added the leftover tarragon sauce to the soup, which was honestly only about 4 T. but it was enough to give the soup a hint of creaminess and a wonderful added tarragon flavor. Fabulous!
I’m guessing you would like to know just what exactly is tarragon sauce? If you’re not, you should be….

Mini Corn Bread Muffins

Hubby calls them Corn Bread Nuggets

Since I knew I would be doing this blog on making up a soup from leftovers, I decided I’d throw in a recipe I’ve used for years. This soup is super yummy. An old family friend introduced this soup to us when I was knee-high to a grass hopper. I have no idea who Dolly is, but nevertheless…

Dolly’s Polish Cabbage Soup 

1/2 C. celery & carrots each, thinly sliced

1/4 C. butter

2-3 C. shredded cabbage

1 C. leeks, sliced using white and lighter green parts*

2 quarts chicken broth

2 C. potatoes, in 1/2 inch dice

1/2 t. marjoram

1 t. parsley

1 T. dill weed (I use twice as much because you can never have too much dill!)

1 lb.  turkey polish kielbasa, sliced 1/4 inch thick

Saute the carrots and celery in the butter for a few minutes just until they begin to wilt. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If the cabbage and potatoes are not tender, simmer for a few more minutes. Serve at once with crusty french bread. Serves 6-8. **Obviously you can throw everything into the pot and let it cook together in time, but you should at least make this soup exactly as directed at least once.

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