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Home on the range: Autumn stirs hearty appetites; it's soups, sweets to the rescue

In the age of a "gajillion" recipes, the best remain the tried and true. Recipes shared have withstood the test of time, and continue to be part of the menu.

This week, we run the alphabet gamut (almost) from b (borscht) to p (pumpkin soup) to z (zucchini brownies). Enjoy!

Pumpkin Stew

Kathy Dennis

2 pounds beef stew meat cut in 1-inch cubes

3 tbsp. oil

1 cup water

3 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes

4 carrots, diced

1 green pepper cut in 1/2-inch pieces

garlic, to taste

1 chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 instant bouillon cube

14-ounce can of diced tomatoes

A 10- to 12-pound pumpkin

In a Dutch oven, brown meat in 2 tbsp oil, add water, potatoes, carrots, green pepper, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, bouillon and tomatoes. Cover and simmer two hours.

Meanwhile, wash pumpkin, cut a circle around the top. Discard seeds and loose fibers. Place pumpkin on a sturdy shallow baking dish. Spoon stew into pumpkin and replace the top. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil. Bake at 325 degrees for two hours or until the pumpkin is tender. Do not over-bake.

Grandma's German-Russian Borscht

Sharon Rezac Andersen

1 pound roast beef with bone

2 onions diced

½ pound carrots, diced

4 or 5 fresh garden tomatoes

(or 16-ounce can of tomato puree)

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. sugar

2 ½ quarts water

Pinch of thyme

2 tbsp. lemon juice

2 bunches of beets, including 2 beet stems

Sour cream for garnish

Bake roast beef two hours at 350 degrees. Slice beef into cubes. Mix beef, bone, onions, carrots, tomatoes, seasonings and water. Simmer slowly for two hours or until the meat becomes tender. Wash beets thoroughly with a vegetable brush and peel, cutting the stem near the beet. Slice beets very thin without losing any of the juice. Add beets to soup and simmer slowly another hour. Taste for seasoning and add more sugar or lemon juice, if necessary. Borscht may be served hot or cold. Garnish with sour cream. (This dish may be kept in the refrigerator for four days.)

Confetti Chowder

Shirley Lieffring

3 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup broccoli florets

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

¼ cup flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp. sugar

3 cups milk

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup whole kernel corn

1 cup diced ham

½ cup peas

2-oz. jar of pimentos, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, zucchini, broccoli, onion and celery. Cook and stir for five minutes or until crisp tender. Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper and sugar over vegetables. Mix well. Stir in milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add corn, ham, peas and pimentos. Cook and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Serve hot. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Buttery Onion Soup

Shirley Lieffring

2 cups thinly sliced onions

½ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

1 ½ to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Croutons, optional

In a large kettle, sauté onions in butter over low heat until tender and transparent, about 20-30 minutes. Blend in flour. Gradually add broth and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Cook and stir for one minute more, reduce heat to low. Add cheese and stir until melted. (Do not boil.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with croutons.

Spinach Bisque

2 boxes frozen chopped spinach

2 10.5 cans chicken broth

Combine and heat.

Microwave 4 tbsp. butter with 1/2 cup finely chopped onions until onions are tender. Add 4 tsp. cornstarch to onions and butter and stir until smooth.

Add paste to broth and spinach and stir well.


1 bar Philly cream cheese, cubed

1/2 lb. Velveeta, cubed

1/2 cup shredded mild chedddar

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Stir on low to medium heat until melted in broth.

Add up to a cup of milk for preferred consistency.

Easy Fried Ice Cream

Kathy Maurer

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cup brown sugar

6 to 7 cups corn flakes

½ gallon vanilla ice cream


2 tbsp. cinnamon

Melt butter, sugar and cinnamon. Add corn flakes and stir until moist. Put half in a 9X13 pan. Drizzle honey on top. Slice ice cream in half and place on each side of the pan. Use waxed paper to push down ice cream on corn flakes. Put remaining corn flake mixture on top, drizzle with more honey, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.

Zucchini Brownies

Shirley Lieffring

2 cups grated, peeled zucchini

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup oil

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ tsp. soda

½ cup cocoa

½ cup chopped nuts

In a mixing bowl, mix sugar, oil and vanilla. Add zucchini and blend well. Add dry ingredients and blend well. Fold in nuts and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a greased 9X13 pan. Add cream cheese frosting, if desired.