Welcome to My Kitchen

Slow-cooker meals follow good harvest


August 30, 2018

Odessa gardens typically produce an abundance of zucchini squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables this time of year. Hot weather is past, nights are still warm so bees increase activity, pollinating garden blooms, producing more vegetables than needed for daily meals. Slow-cooker to the rescue.

Large quantities of soup and sauces may be made in a slow-cooker, then divided into freezer containers, frozen to be used later. Freezer zip-closure bags are convenient for freezing. When filled and sealed, lay flat on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. The thin shape thaws quickly when needed.

Stuffed Pepper Soup is a great way to use up an abundance of sweet green peppers and tomatoes Following is my version of a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. The original recipe called for rice but I used corn as it freezes better. I also added garlic and a minced jalapeño pepper for zip.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

1 pound ground beef

2 cups chopped sweet green pepper

1 cup finely diced onion

1 clove garlic, smashed

3 cups diced, peeled tomatoes or 1 can (29 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce

2-3 cups kernel corn (about 4 ears)

1 can (14 oz.) beef broth

1/4 tsp crushed, dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried, ground sage

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 medium jalapeño pepper, finely minced

1/4 cup brown sugar

Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain excess fat and add green pepper and onion. Cook, stirring often until onion is just translucent.

Place meat mixture in crock of slow-cooker along with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high 6 to 8 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours.

You may also prepare stove top in a large soup kettle. After browning meat and cooking peppers and onion, add remaining ingredients, cover and bring to a brisk simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. Serve immediately or cool and freeze. Yield: about 2 quarts soup.

German Italian Zucchini Soup is my variation of Italian Zucchini Soup from Taste of Home Magazine. The original called for Johnsonville Ground Mild Italian Sausage, but I used German Sausage, thus the name.

German Italian

Zucchini Soup

1 pound German sausage

2 cups chopped onion

2 stalks celery, trimmed and chopped

1 cup chopped green pepper

2-4 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4 cups diced tomatoes, including juice

4 cups diced, unpeeled zucchini

Cut sausage into small pieces and brown in a large skillet. Drain sausage on paper towels.

Drain excess fat from skillet and brown onion. In slow-cooker crock, combine all ingredients except the diced zucchini. Cover and cook on high 4 hours. Add zucchini and cook an additional 3 to 4 hours.

This soup may also be prepared stove top. After browning sausage and onion, add all but the zucchini and simmer 1 hour. Add zucchini and cook and additional 10 to 20 minutes until zucchini is desired doneness. Serve immediately or cool and freeze. Yield: about 2 quarts soup.

Note: you may use any ground sausage or meat you like in this recipe and adjust seasonings to taste.

When I have a large quantity of oversized zucchini or other summer squash, I make zucchini soup base. Either chicken- or beef-based, the mixture is pureed and ready to add meat and vegetables for a quick winter soup. You may also use a vegetable broth if you are cutting back on meat.

Zucchini Soup Base

7 to 8 pounds large zucchini or other summer squash.

2 large onions

5 to 6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Wash zucchini well to remove any surface dirt. Cut squash and onions into large chunks. Place in large slow-cooker crock. Add broth and pepper. Cover and cook on high 6 to 8 hours or until squash is soft.

You may prepare stove top by combining all ingredients in a large soup kettle. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cool about 1 hour, then working in batches, blend until smooth. Cool completely and freeze in quart containers. Yield: 5 to 6 quarts soup base.

To prepare soup base, thaw and add 2 to 3 cups meat and 3 to 4 cups vegetables and your favorite seasonings.

Note: you may mix in cooked meat and/or vegetables before freezing the soup base for ready-to-eat soup when thawed and heated.

Recently, we spent time with the Yakima Valley Quilters Guild. A Peach Cobbler, made by Tina Bolin, was one of the potluck dinner dishes. Not overly sweet, this easy to prepare dessert lets the sweet tart flavor of the peaches shine through.

Peach Cobbler

6 - 8 cups peeled, sliced peaches

3 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp cinnamon


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup very soft butter

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine peaches with flour, sugar and cinnamon and place in 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining flour and sugar, salt, and baking soda. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir just until dry ingredients are wet (mixture will be lumpy). Spoon over peaches.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Share your favorite garden abundance recipes, other summer favorites and German recipes in time for Deutschesfest, by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159, email therecord@odessaoffice.com or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Give garden and flower beds a thorough weeding to reduce late seeding and prevent some weed growth next spring.


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