UPDATE: Ann Lemons Pollack, the poplar St. Louis food critic passed away suddenly. Ann was involved in many things and had an abundance of friends. Her death was unexpected, due to a fall.
Food For the Big Game: Soup Treats and Super Treats
With the temperatures hitting the single digits these days, and snow on the way, soups would be a welcome addition to any meal planning.
“I am not a fan of canned tomato soup, one of the remnants of my picky-eater childhood,” she said. “Not even grilled cheese sandwiches could persuade me otherwise. So it’s a source of private amusement to me that this soup is one of my favorites. It’s rich, creamy, deeply satisfying and an absolutely fabulous first course for a fancy dinner or a main course for a Sunday night with a good salad and the legendary crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich, haute or ordinaire.”
Ann and Joe Pollack are shown in the photo, left (photo by Herb Weitman). She even had a Super Bowl story to share.
“One of the best jobs we did together was when the NFL called Joe to write a piece for the Super Bowl program. The game was being played in New Orleans, and the article was to be about the food and nightlife there,” she said. “We got to spend two hours with Emeril Lagasse. This was back when he was very popular but pre-television years. He was a really smart man, by the way.”
Emeril was telling them all about New Orleans, however Ann Lemons Pollack knew a lot about the city.
“We both knew New Orleans but in different ways,” she said of Lagasse and her. “I had actually gotten started in food writing because of one of the restaurant critics there, and it was a fabulous serendipity.”
Super Bowl Treats
Meatloaf- Ann Lemons Pollack
1 Tbs. cooking oil
1/2 c. minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly-ground pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 lbs. ground chuck or a mixture of beef and pork
1 1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce plus more, if desired
3 Tbs. plain yogurt plus more
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they’re softened. Stir in the black pepper and cayenne, salt and cumin and cook an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
Spoon the vegetable mixture into a large bowl. Add the meat, bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and egg. Mix well with your hands.(This is a good job for kids; squooshing things around is infinitely satisfying.) Add as much more yogurt as necessary to make the mixture moist but not soupy.
Put the mixture into a greased loaf pan or a 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking another 20-30 minutes. If you wish, brush with additional barbecue sauce the last 10 minutes.
Serves maybe 6 people; also makes great burgers to go on a grill.
Note: The meatloaf can also be made into small ‘fat’ burgers, served with buns–although Joe after grilling them liked them just plain on the plate.
Crock Pot Meat Balls – Sally Hanson
30 oz. jar of grape jelly
18 oz.bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
Frozen meatballs like you buy at Sams
Place one half of a jar of grape jelly (30 oz jar-generic brand is fine) and half of an 18 ounce bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce in the bottom of the crockpot.
Place 1/2 bag of the frozen meatballs and then top with the rest of the BBQ sauce from the bottle.
Cook it on low about three hours, stir it a few times, and then if it needs more time, cook for another hour.
Note: Use a regular sized crockpot liner to avoid extra work cleaning up!
We always took these to potlucks to be sure our kids would eat something with protein in it.
Cheese Football – Tara McMahon
Smoked Queso- Ann Mandernach
9 x 13 pan
1lb of chorizo – cooked and drained
2 – 10oz Rotel original (can use spicy if you like it spicy)
32 oz Velveeta
8 oz cream cheese
Set temp on smoker at 225
Stir after 30 minutes, then every 15-20 minutes until done.
Cook time is about 1:30.
Serve with taco type chips.
Top Notch Guacamole- Ann Mandernach
5 ripe avocados
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
3 tbls freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper – finely chopped
1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
Mash Avocado in large bowl. Stir in tomato, onion, cilantro, lime zest and juice, garlic, jalapeno, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with taco type chips
Karen’s First Down Dip – Karen Henington
Jar of salsa
Container of sour cream
Knorr’s dry vegetable soup mix
Mix one small jar of chunky salsa, one small container of sour cream and then equal part mayonnaise mixed with a package of Knorr’s dry vegetable soup mix.
Note: It is better to make a day or a couple of hours ahead, so all the flavors come out.
This dip is great with large Fritos but also goes with tortilla chips, potato chips and could be the dip in the center of a veggie tray.
Italian Roll-Ups- Joan Spink
¼ pound genoa salami
¼ pound sandwich pepperoni
¼ pound prosciutto
¼ pound picante provolone
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup shredded lettuce
1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
¼ cup sliced black olives
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
Lay meats and cheese down in order from largest (at the top) to smallest (at the bottom).
Spread mayonnaise along the center of the chain in a thin layer.
Sprinkle lettuce, onion, and black olives onto the mayonnaise.
Begin rolling the chain tightly from the bottom (smallest meat/cheese) up toward the biggest one. Roll them tightly so they won’t become undone. Once it’s all rolled up, put a toothpick in the center to hold it in place.
When ready to serve, make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt. Dip the roll-up into the dressing and enjoy!
Note: This is great for a low carb (keto) addition. Makes five.
Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Steak Bites – Tara McMahon
Toffee Bugles- Sue Hyde
Ranch Snack Mix with Oyster Crackers- Joan Spink
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 9 oz package oyster crackers
1 11.5 oz box of reduced fat Cheez-its
8 oz (half of a normal bag) waffle pretzels
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dill weed
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In large bowl combine the snack ingredients. Drizzle with vegetable oil, mix in dried ranch dressing packet, onion powder, garlic powder and dill weed. Spray two cookie sheets lightly with non-stick spray. Spread mixture evenly on the cookie sheets. Cook approximately 30 minutes, stirring after about 15 minutes Store in an airtight container. Will keep for about 2-3 weeks.
Editor’s note: The Ranch Snack Mix would go great with these soups…
Soup Bowl Treats
Tomato Bisque- Ann Lemons Pollack
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. dill
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
5 c. tomatoes
4 c. chicken stock
2 Tbs. flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper (she suggests white; I use white or fresh-ground black)
1/4 c. chopped parsley
4 tsp. honey
1 1/4 c. heavy cream (see milk discussion in note below)
2/3 c. half-and-half
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions, dill and oregano and cook until onions become translucent, or sort of clear. Add the flour, stir it in and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt and pepper. Stir and raise the heat to high. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Drop the heat to a simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add parsley and honey Remove from heat, let cool, a little or a lot, and puree. Add whatever milk/cream you’re using and reheat. This makes about 9 cups, so figure on it serving 6, but, as always, who knows? People often want seconds.
Note: The recipe calls for heavy cream and half and half. I almost never make it that rich; my usual combination is a cup of heavy non-ultrapasteurized (it tastes better) cream and the rest lowfat milk. It actually comes out to 5/6 of a cup, but you can be a little casual about the exact amount.
Touchdown Taco Soup- Sally Hanson
Turkey Soup- Holly Reimer
vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, whatever you choose)
bay leaves, sage, salt, pepper
Directions: This is a homeade soup made from the remains of your turkey. You can add bits of turkey to it if you have some. Take the turkey carcass with the juice in the pan and put it in a big stock pot. Add water and chicken broth. Cover it. Add vegetables vegetables of your choice, bay leaves, sage salt and pepper
Ham and Bean Soup- Barbara Tippett
1 pound dry great Northern beans
8 cups water
½ teaspoon salt
1 ham hock (or you can use pieces of ham)
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 cups chopped ham
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Rinse the beans, sorting out any broken or discolored ones. In a large pot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the beans and remove from heat. Let beans sit in the hot water for at least 60 minutes. After beans have cooked an hour, add the hamhock and onion for another hour. Remove the hamhock and add the chopped ham.
Note: This soup should be made in a pot on the stove but can then be put in a crock pot (as shown right) to serve later. We always ate it with a little vinegar and ketchup added to our individual bowls– always with cornbread as the side.
As with most soups and family recipes you can improvise. If you have extra ham but don’t have the ham hock and you want to make the soup just dump it all in at the beginning. You really can’t go wrong with this basic soup.
Mom’s Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
(Person who submitted it wanted to remain anonymous)
2 ½ cups shell noodles
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
12 cups chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
⅓ cup cornstarch
¼ cup water
3 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
Directions: Cook the noodles- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles, and boil for 8 minutes. Drain and rinse.
Bring to boil in saucepan: broth, salt, celery and onion. Reduce heat, cover, Simmer 15 minutes.
Make the thickener: mix cornstarch and water together in separate bowl until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Slowly add to soup, stirring constantly. Stir in noodles and chicken, and heat through.
This can be put in a crock pot at low until time to serve or eaten as soon as made.
Joan’s Buffalo Chicken Chili- Joan Turner
2 cans of chicken drained
1 can white navy beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can (14.5 oz.) Hunt’s fire roasted tomatoes (drained)
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cups Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce
1 packet ranch seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder and dried cilantro flakes
1 tsp. salt
1.8 oz. cream cheese
Put all ingredients (except the cream cheese) in crock pot. Put cream cheese on top. Cook on low for eight hours. Stir together before serving.
Note:This chili is award winning, lol. I won my department chili cook off. Now I usually shred my own chicken instead of cans. It’s comfort food for sure
Smokey Chicken Chili- Ann Mandernach
2 pounds ground chicken (can use turkey)
2 16oz cans of black beans
16 oz crushed tomatoes
Red/Orange/Yellow peppers (any color will do)(you only need to use 2)
Small can of green chilies
Sweet red pepper – powder
Ancho Chili powder
Brown chicken in olive oil (I use Pam to spray the pan). Remove from pan and add to crock pot. Sauté onion and peppers in Pam/olive oil. Add garlic and sauté with the onion and peppers. When done, add to crock pot. Add tomatoes with liquid, chilies, beans with liquid and spices to taste. Salt to taste. Add additional spices as you like. I like to add a lot of smoked paprika for that smokey taste.
Easy Gumbo- Pam Melvin
A gumbo soup mix kit
Shrimp- medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Buy a gumbo soup mix and prepare it in a large pot. I use the mix shown in the photo, right.
Add diced tomatoes, as many as you want. Then add andouille sausage and shrimp.
Note: This soup is really easy to make but it is a hit.