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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Savory soup recipes from Alpha Phi

Crisp rounds of toasted bread are a nice accompaniment to creamy wild rice soup or any of the other recipes submitted by the Alpha Phi's teacher social group.

The Alpha Phi chapter teacher's social group is made up of members who teach or are retired from four area schools: Park Rapids, Nevis, Menahga and Sebeka. For more than 10 years this group has served soup dinners to Park Rapids staff during fall conferences. They make two types of soup and bake bread and desserts to go with it. All of the food is donated by members. School staff pay a small fee for the meal, and the funds raised are used for scholarships and operating funds.

Mom's Hamburger Soup

1 pound hamburger

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup green pepper

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

16-ounce can tomatoes

1/4 cup barley

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

8 cups water

1 envelope dry vegetable soup mix

Brown beef in soup pot with onion and green pepper. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 1 and 1/2 hours.

This recipe was submitted by Mary Garlie.

Wild Rice Soup

3/4 cup of wild rice, boiled about 20 minutes or until rice is soft

1 small onion chopped

1 pound of bacon cut into small pieces

2 cups milk

1-1/2 cups grated cheese

2 cans of potato soup

Boil wild rice about 20 minutes or until soft. Sauté onion and bacon together and remove grease. Add 2 cups milk, 1-1/2 cups grated cheese and 2 cans of cream of potato soup.

Mix all together and heat but do not boil.

This recipe is a favorite of Cheryl Breitbach's family.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

1/2 cup diced onion

2 diced carrots

2 diced celery stalks

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups beef stock (26-ounce container)

1 jar spaghetti sauce (25 ounces)

3/4 cup orzo, uncooked

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons parsley

1 teaspoon black pepper

kosher salt to taste

parmesan cheese

Add all ingredients except orzo to slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours. Add orzo during the last 30 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese.

This recipe from "The Country Cook" is another favorite served at fall conferences.

Taco Soup

1-1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef

1 medium to large onion

2 tablespoons cooking oil (optional)

1 can undrained corn

1 can black beans with liquid (optional)

1 can kidney beans

2 cans chopped tomatoes, regular or with chiles

1 can (10- to 12-ounce) tomato sauce

1-2 packages taco seasoning, to taste

Brown ground beef with onions and oil. Add remaining ingredients. Cook on stovetop until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer. Serve with taco chips, sour cream, cheese and green onions.

This recipe was submitted by Jo Judson for the Alpha Phi 2012 cookbook.

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into 1-inch pieces

4 medium carrots, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 small onion, diced small

3 stalks celery, diced small

6 cloves of minced garlic

2 quarts beef broth, divided

1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

15-ounce can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup barley, rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

Generously season cubed beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add about half of the oil. Working in batches, sear beef on all sides, using more oil as needed. Transfer seared beef to a 6-quart slow cooker. Return the skillet to heat and add 1 cup beef broth. Heat to a boil and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then add to slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients, including beef broth, to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on high 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with fresh parsley or thyme.