Lydia's Winter Kitchen

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In  case I haven’t seen you around FBC Starkville, a big happy New Year to you! No matter what your resolution, catch phrase, or word of the year is, I feel as if a lot of us make a commitment to make healthier choices with food. I know I certainly do.  A couple of days ago, Mrs. Melita Tomlinson posted “Snow Day Soup.” I knew right away that I wanted to feature her soup and recipe. It was beautiful in color and looked like the perfect Snow Day treat. Even though I have not tried Mrs. Melita’s soup, I can guarantee you that, with anything she cooks, I am on board. I first met Mrs. Melita right before Scott and I married in 2006, and I joined the Celebration Choir where I sang with her and a couple of other women in a group called GraceNotes. If there is a place to serve at FBC, Mrs. Melita has served in that capacity at some point in her life. She loved on preschoolers for many years by teaching a Sunday School class. She selflessly helps with the Hospitality Committee. Ever wonder who sets up the OC Warehouse for church wide events? That would be the Hospitality Committee. You will see her wiping  tables, helping young moms get plates for their children, or carrying drinks to the table because you have run out of hands.  She also sets an example of leadership by serving coffee and doughnuts to our university students every Sunday during the Community Group hour.  Our church and community sure are blessed to have her. Mrs. Melita, we shall rise and call you blessed!

My second recipe originated soon after I became a stay-at-home mom in 2009, and I attended a women’s Bible study group at FBC Starkville called Heart Friends. We would meet on Friday mornings for two hours and study God’s Word. Lots of times we would also talk about mom life or life struggles. It was so refreshing to have women in my life who were walking in the same season I was and to have women who were just a season or two ahead of me. In that group was a gal named Erika Riggins. Although she is a member of another church, she was always so faithful to attend Heart Friends. One Friday we had lunch, and she made Santa Fe Stew. This stew has cabbage in the recipe. Let me just say I do not even like the thought of cooked cabbage! I was having a bowl of Erika’s soup, and I couldn’t figure out all the ingredients. She revealed the ingredients and I was SHOCKED that I loved the cabbage in the soup. Stop and head to the store for the ingredients in this recipe! It can be mostly prepared and served from a Crock-Pot, and I love an easy Crock-Pot meal. 

My last recipe is another Crock-Pot soup. I found this one on Pinterest several years ago, and it is certainly a home run with my boys. Whenever I get the opportunity to stuff them full of fresh spinach, I call that a win! I hope you all enjoy these recipes.

Happy Cooking! 
Lydia Edwards


Snow Day Soup

  • 2 pounds sirloin steak (or stew meat)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Flour, salt, pepper
  • Spices: oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, parsley, lemon pepper, garlic salt (anything you like, to taste)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tomato paste cans of water
  • 1 carton vegetable broth
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. bag frozen edamame (or lima beans)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Cut steak or stew meat into cubes, then toss in large zip lock bag with flour, salt, and pepper until coated. Heat olive oil in large soup pot, then add meat and brown on both sides.  Add seasonings, tomatoes, tomato paste and water, and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add carrots, onion, edamame, and sweet potato to soup, and let boil until potatoes are tender.  (Add more water, if necessary.) Then lower heat and let simmer until ready to eat.  (You also could cook in a Crock-Pot after browning the meat.) Perfect on a snowy day with corn bread or crackers.

Santa Fe Stew

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 package of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package of dry ranch dressing
  • 2 yellow onions chopped
  • 2 cans of pinto beans
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black eyed peas
  • 1-15 oz. can of V-8 juice
  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped
  • ½ tsp. red pepper

*Do NOT drain canned veggies. Cook ground beef and onions, drain. In your Crock-Pot add beef, onions, ranch, taco seasoning, and other ingredients. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Makes a good amount and freezes well.

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

  • 4 cups quality chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen cheese tortellini (I prefer the tortellini found in the refrigerated section at Kroger)
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and drained
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 2 % milk to cut calories
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Add the broth to the slow cooker and whisk in the flour until dissolved. Add the spices, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and stir until incorporated. Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours. Add the frozen cheese tortellini and cook on HIGH for another 15-20 minutes or until the tortellini are done. Add the shredded cheddar cheese, spinach, cream, cream cheese and stir until the cheese is melted, then continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.