When the holidays roll around, I seem to get invites to a lot of Christmas Cookie Exchanges. When these first became the rage years and years ago, I thought it was a great idea. Bake a dozen (or maybe two dozen) of your best cookie recipe. Bring that recipe, along with the 12-24 cookies, and spend some time with friends. Trade cookies so that you have all kinds of different cookies at home for when people stop by. Get some pretty nifty recipes in turn since everyone’s bring their A game cookies.
But what typically happened? I sat around with friends and friends of friends, eating a bunch of cookies I didn’t need (I’d already packed on the Thanksgiving pounds), and I’d come home with some cookies. A variety of about 4-5 cookies. That was all that remained after my afternoon or evening of sampling. And then my family would scarf those pitiful few down in the blink of an eye. Back to zero cookies for the times people stopped by. I got to where I didn’t even go to cookie exchanges anymore. They became passé.
But I went to a different exchange the other day. I’m hoping this idea will catch on. What was it? A soup exchange!
Now I love soup, year-round. I know some people only touch it when the temperatures drop, but I could eat soup any day of the year. I can freeze it in small, individual containers and pull out a different kind every day to go with my salad or sandwich for lunch. I can even do soup for breakfast or a snack. I know, I’m weird in that respect. But I digress . . .
I whipped up a pot of my chicken tortilla soup. It’s easy to make (my 1st requirement of any recipe) and very tasty (my 2nd requirement). I printed up copies of the recipe to trade like baseball cards. The exchange was a blast—the hostess showed us how to make a super-simple soup composed of roasted vegetables (which we then tasted)—then she put together a more complicated one and left it to simmer for half an hour.
In the meantime? We went around and heard about the different soups people brought. We grabbed samples of each. One gal had baked 3 different types of breads instead of the soups, so we added slices of each to our booty, opened up a couple of different kinds of wines, and sat around gabbing as we did our taste testing. By that time we were able to sample the one our hostess had made, a potato soup that could be served hot or cold. It was delicious hot, and I couldn’t wait to try it cold. Afterwards, we even got dessert, a yummy apple-spiced cake that was moist and the perfect way to top of our time together.
Before we left, we’d each brought containers from home, so we divvied up and took portions of the soups we liked. Everyone got generous portions of each kind available. I liked bringing home something healthy and tasty, and I have several recipes to try out now that I didn’t have in my repertoire before. Let me tell you, that sweet potato and pecan soup? To die for!
So think about holding a different kind of exchange this holiday season. I’d recommend a soup exchange after participating in this one. I’m hoping this will become a yearly event.
P.S. In case you like easy as much as I do, here’s my soup recipe that I shared with the group.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 cans low sodium chicken broth
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel
1 green pepper
2 T butter
2 lbs frozen diced chicken breasts or fajita strips (dice strips after cooking)
Garlic powder and black pepper, to taste
-Microwave chicken while sautéing chopped onion and green pepper in butter till softened
-Stir into veggie mix the 7 cans, along with the seasonings and chicken
-Simmer 30 minutes
-Place crushed tortilla chips in a bowl and ladle soup over them; top with grated cheese