The days have been rainy and the breeze biting. Ward off the chill with broths beyond the usual chicken noodle or cream of mushroom soups.
Spicy Cheeseburger Soup
Ingredients: 1-1/2 c water; 2 c cubed peeled potatoes; 2 small carrots, grated; 1 small onion, chopped; 1/4 c chopped green pepper; 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped; 1 garlic clove, minced; 1 tbsp beef bouillon granules; 1/2 tsp salt; 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained; 2-1/2 c milk, divided; 3 tbsp all-purpose flour; 8 oz processed American cheese, cubed; 1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional; and 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1. In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 2. Stir in beef and 2 cups of milk; heat through. Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted. Add cayenne pepper if desired. Top with bacon just before serving.
Ingredients: 11 large cucumbers (about 8 lb), divided; 1/4 c honey, divided; 1/4 c rice wine vinegar; 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded; 2 tsp chopped fresh dill; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper; cracked black pepper (optional); and dill sprigs (optional)
1. Cut 5 cucumbers into 3-inch chunks. Place half of cucumber chunks and 2 tablespoons honey in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour pureed cucumber mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Repeat procedure with the remaining chunks. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
2. Peel, seed and thinly slice remaining 6 cucumbers; place slices in a bowl. Add vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons honey; toss well to coat. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
3. Working with pureed cucumber mixture in sieve, press mixture lightly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to squeeze out juice; discard solids.
4. Place half of marinated cucumber slices, avocado and 1 3/4 cups cucumber juice in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour cucumber mixture into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining cucumber slices and 1 3/4 cups cucumber juice; reserve any remaining juice for another use. Stir in chopped dill, salt and pepper. Place 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls. Garnish with cracked black pepper and dill sprigs, if desired.
Bacon Cauliflower Chowder
Ingredients:4 slices bacon, cut into lardons; 1 medium yellow onion, chopped; 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped; 2 stalks celery, chopped; kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 2 tbsp flour; 2 sprigs thyme, stripped and chopped; 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets; 1 qt vegetable broth; and 1 c whole milk
1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer to paper towels and drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat.
2. To pot, add onion, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Sprinkle in flour and cook 2 minutes. Add thyme and cauliflower.
3. Pour in broth and milk and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and let go until cauliflower is fork tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Garnish with bacon. (Recipes and photos from www.tasteofhome.com; www. myrecipes.com; www.delish.com)