Soups are a staple in the diet of everyone who wants good food that doesn't cost much money. Making your own soups saves money. Most leftover soups can be used in casseroles. Instead of a can of cream of mushroom soup, substitute 1-1/2 to 2 cups of your favorite leftover creamed soup with an additional tablespoon of flour blended in. This is a real money saving tip, as canned cream soups -- while great for taste, nutrition and convenience -- do add to the cost of a casserole. Make soup every week, and hide some of it in the casseroles. Your family will truly thank you.

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See Helpful Hints for information on using Bouillon, Broth, and Stock in soups.

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas ----- ham bones or bacon ends and pieces ----- 8 cups hot water ----- garlic, onion, celery, salt, pepper

Combine all ingredients and bring to boiling point. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for at least 2 hours. The longer and slower it cooks, the better it is (add water if necessary, don't let it scorch.)

Cream of Vegetable Soup

1 cup cooked vegetables, mashed ----- 4 cups milk ----- chopped onion ----- 2 tbsp margarine ----- 2-3 tbsp flour ----- salt and pepper

Saute onions in margarine, stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add mashed cooked vegetables, cook one minute, slowly add four cups milk, cook until hot throughout (don't boil). Variations:Creamed Corn Soup, use two cans creamed corn in place of mashed vegetables. Cream of Tomato Soup, add 2 cups tomato juice in place of mashed vegetables, and add 2 tsp of sugar, reduce milk to two cups.

Cream of Chicken Soup

1 cup cooked, chopped chicken ----- 3 cups chicken stock ----- 1 cup milk ----- chopped onion ------ 2 tbsp margarine ----- 2-3 tbsp flour ----- salt and pepper

Saute onion in margarine, add flour. Stir until bubbly, add chicken, cook for one minute. Add broth and milk, cook until hot throughout (don't boil) and serve.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 cup chopped mushrooms ----- 2 cups chicken stock ----- 2 cups milk ----- chopped onion ----- 2 tbsp margarine ----- 2-3 tbsp flour ----- salt and pepper

Saute onion and mushrooms in margarine, add flour, cook until bubbly. Add broth and milk, heat until hot throughout, serve.

Best-Ever Potato Soup

2 stalks chopped celery ----- 1 tbsp melted margarine ---- 2 carrots, sliced ----- 2 cups milk ---- 1 medium onion, chopped ----- 4 medium potatoes, cubed ----- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Saute celery and onions in margarine until tender. Add carrots, potatoes, and stock, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat, mash vegetables with potato masher, add milk and re-heat until ready to serve. Variations: (1) when you add the water, season with tsp thyme, darsh of garlic, tsp rosemary, 3/4 tsp seasoned salt, add 1 cup grated cheese when milk is added. (2) Add 1/4 cup ketchup and cup peanut butter when milk is added, stir and heat over low heat until it is all well mixed.

Cheese Soup

2 tsbpn chopped onion ----- 2 tbsp margarine -----2 tbsp flour ----- 2-3 cups milk ----- cup cooked carrot, minced ----- cup cooked celery, minced ------ 1 cup shredded cheese.

Saute onion in margarine, add flour and milk to make a thin white sauce. Add salt, pepper, carrots, celery and cheese, mix well and heat until steaming.

Cabbage Patch Soup

lb hamburger ----- 2 large onions ----- 1 large can tomatoes ----- 4 cubed potatoes ----- garlic powder ------ 1 head of cabbage ----- 6 carrots ----- 1 can tomato juice ----- salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

Lightly brown hamburger, cover with water. Add chopped cabbage, sliced carrots, onions, tomatoes (and liquid, if using canned or stewed) and juice, simmer one hour. Add potatoes and seasonings. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender.

Vegetable Soup

1 small head cabbage, shredded ----- 1 onion, chopped ----- tomatoes ----- 4 potatoes, cut in cubes ----- 1 green pepper, chopped ----- 2 tbsp margarin

Put in kettle with 3 cups boiling water. Add salt and pepper to taste, cook until potatoes are done.

Lentil Soup

2 cups dry lentils ----- 1 quart water ----- 2 quarts Brown Soup Stock (or other soup stock, broth, or boullion) ----- 1 diced potato ----- 1/8 tsp ground cloves ----- parmesan cheese ----- salt to taste (no pepper!) ----- 1 tbspn white vinegar.

Soak the lentils in one quart water for two hours. Place with water in soup pot with stock, potatoes, carrots, vinegar, salt, and cloves. Cook over low heat for three hours. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese in bowl before serving

French Onion Soup

1 pound onions, sliced very thin ----- 4 tbsp margarine ----- 6 cups water or stock

Brown onions in margarine, but don't let them burn. Add the stock and cook slowly until onions are soft. Remove from heat and let stand several hours. Cut some bread into two inch squares (French bread is good for this) and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Brown the toast in the oven. Put a square of toast in each soup bowl. Reheat soup and pour in bowls. Add a teaspoon of parmesan cheese on top of each bowl.

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For much greater detail about my plans for adapting my "urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for my home.