Soup & Bread

This month, our friend Victoria Smith is sharing with us some of the ultimate comfort food that can be made in minutes ... in the microwave! Everything from corn chowder to pumpkin bread is easy and delicious ... and fast! Here's to finding ways to beat the winter blues with something warm and wholesome ... that doesn't take all day to put together.

Microwave Corn Chowder

  • 1 can (17 ounces) cream-style corn
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup diced potato
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

Combine the corn, broth, milk, and potatoes in a 2-quart microproof casserole. Cover it with the casserole lid and cook on Power Level 8 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Break the eggs into a small bowl. Gradually stir in one cup of the hot corn mixture into the eggs. Blend that mixture back into the hot corn mixture. Cover and cook on Power Level 8 for 4 to 8 minutes or until hot.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 14-20 minutes

Microwave Minestrone

  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery
  • ½ cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup (1 large) potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup thinly sliced zucchini
  • ½ lb. green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup broken spaghetti
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 2 teaspoons instant vegetable bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes

In a 3-quart casserole, combine all of the ingredients. Cover the casserole and microwave for 25 to 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring once or twice.

  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Microwave Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnut or pecans
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves or mace
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Combine the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, nuts, oil, water, and spices in a mixing bowl. Combine the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl; stir into the pumpkin mixture. Blend until the ingredients are moistened. Pour the batter into a waxed paper-lined 9x5x3-inch glass loaf pan.

Cook in the microwave, uncovered, 16 to 17 minutes at Power Level 7; rotate the dish ½ turn and shield the corners with waxed paper halfway through cooking. When it's done, the top will appear moist and a wooden pick inserted near the center will come out clean. Let the bread stand covered with the waxed paper on a flat surface for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the dish and remove the waxed paper. Cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Microwave Garlic Bread

  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) margarine
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf (6-inch) French bread, cut 2/3 of the way through at 1-inch intervals

Place the margarine, garlic, salt, and pepper in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Cook in the microwave, uncovered, for 45-60 seconds at Power Level 1 or until the margarine is softened but not melted; beat to blend.

Spread the margarine mixture between the slices of bread. Wrap the loaf loosely in waxed paper for a soft loaf or place unwrapped on a paper towel for a crisper loaf. Cook in the microwave for 30-45 seconds at the highest power level or until hot.

  • Yields: 1 loaf
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes