Hot and hearty soups, the ultimate comfort food

Colleen Kottke
Going through family recipes can be a trip down memory lane or through someone's life. The best recipes are handwritten with personal notes.

My grandmother always told me she could live on soup alone. Perhaps that's why I have such an affection for simple, hearty soups that hit the spot, especially on chilly fall or winter days. Believe it or not, my homemade chicken noodle dumpling soup is at the top of the list my grandchildren's favorite foods. That's quite an honor. Enjoy!

Autumn Soup

This recipe was given to me by the now late Mary Lou Jewson at my wedding shower. So simple that even a novice cook couldn't goof it up.

1 lb hamburger, browned

1 c. onion, chopped

4 c. water

1 c. carrots

1 c. celery

1 c. potatoes, cubed

 2 t. salt

1 t. Kitchen Bouquet

1/4 t. pepper

1 bay leaf

1/8 t. sweet basil

1 qt. tomato juice

Brown hamburger and onion. Add water. Cut up vegetables and add. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until done. Serves 12.

A hearty pot of chicken noodle dumpling soup helps ward off the chill of cooler days.

Grandma's "Awesome" Chicken Noodle Dumpling Soup

8 c. chicken Stock or water with 1/4 c. chicken base added (to taste)

1 pkg. six skinless chicken thighs

2 c. sliced carrots

2 c. sliced celery

1/2 c. diced onion

2 T. crushed parsley

1 t. thyme

1 t. minced garlic

1 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1/4 c. uncooked rice

8 oz. cooked Kluski noodles

1c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1 egg

1 t. crushed parsley

Combine the first ten ingredients in a stock pot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pot; let stand for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from bones; shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard bones. Add uncooked rice and pre-cooked noodles, and simmer 6 minutes. In a separate bowl beat egg and add salt, flour and parsley. Stir. Pinch off small pieces and drop into boiling water until they float to top. Add dumplings to stock pot. Serves 12.

Potato soup with a hint of cheese is the ultimate comfort food.

Best Potato Soup

After a long morning of shearing sheep, my sister-in-law served up a pot of her daughter-in-law Shelly Kottke's potato soup. I just had to have the recipe. It's rich and definitely a comfort food!

8 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 c. unsalted butter

1 sm. onion, diced

2 c. heavy cream

2 c. Half & Half

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 c. milk

1/2 t. salt

1 t. pepper

1 1/2 c. Velveeta

May also add ham, cooked carrots or other vegetables.

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain. Melt butter over low heat, add onion and saute. Add potatoes, cream, Half & Half, bouillon, milk, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. (For thicker soup, add 1 T. of flour or cornstarch to 1/4 c. water). Add ham, carrots and cheese, stirring occasionally. Serves 4-6.

Readers! Send us your favorite recipe(s) and why they're so well-loved to Colleen Kottke at or Carol Spaeth-Bauer at