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KITCHEN COMFORT

Want soup? You just might have all the canned ingredients you need to whip one up

SOUP IN A BOWL

Make a soup, similar to this one, by combining canned ingredients from your pantry cupboard. 

My son and daughter-in-law knocked it out of the park this Christmas, giving me a robot vacuum cleaner and an air fryer. I'm intrigued by the vacuum. How does it know where it's been and where to go next? And how does it know where and when to return to its base? I could sit and watch it for hours — which may be a reflection of how boring my social life is these days. I’m trying to figure out how to get it to open the pantry door and bring me a snack while I’m watching TV at night.

The air fryer is also fantastic. They gave me an Instant Pot two Christmases ago, and it’s been in the same place on my kitchen counter since then, awaiting its maiden voyage. They claim I said I couldn't live without it — I claim they gave it to the wrong mother. Because obviously, I can do without it.

I’m fairly new at the air fryer game. I’ve only ventured into the realm of frozen appetizers and side dishes from the supermarket — much to the delight of my taste buds and the demise of any semblance of a waist line. Frozen tater tots? The crispiest I’ve ever had, along with regular french fries, sweet potato french fries, jalapeno poppers and my newest addiction, loaded potato skins. I’ve Googled air fryer recipes and there are millions. So, I’m asking readers to email me their favorite recipes for real food made in the air fryer — before my cholesterol levels reach Mars. I’ll share them at a later date.

During the recent cold snap, I’ve been dying for some homemade soup, but, also due to the weather, I’ve had some migraines and no ambition to make homemade soup. While I was browsing in my pantry for some canned soup, I remembered a recipe the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, made years ago that consisted of raiding the pantry and dumping the contents of the cans into a large pot and letting it simmer before adding a chunk of Velveeta cheese. And while I didn’t have all of her recipe’s ingredients, I did have seven cans I could use in their place. I used her technique and adapted it to my pantry — a large can of cooked chicken, a can of mixed Chinese vegetables, a pouch of precooked rice, a can of crushed tomatoes, a container of chicken broth, a can of shiitake mushrooms and a can of water chestnuts. I didn’t have Velveeta, but added a glug of half and half.

7-CAN SOUP

(Courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com)

Total: 25 min

Active: 10 min

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

One 15.25-ounce can corn with red and green peppers, such as Del Monte Fiesta Corn

One 15-ounce can meat-only chili

One 15-ounce can kidney beans

One 15-ounce can pinto beans

One 15-ounce can black beans

One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

One 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles, such as Ro-Tel

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces processed cheese, such as Velveeta, cubed

DIRECTIONS

Empty the corn, chili, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, tomatoes and tomatoes with green chiles, liquid included, into a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to bring all the flavors together. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Dice the cheese and stir it into the soup until melted. Serve immediately.

Margaret Button can be reached via email at mombutton7@gmail.com.

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