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  • Heather McDorman & Jodi Blake

Soup’s On! Recipes to Warm Our Bellies

Several bowls of different soups

As winter enters its coldest months, there's nothing quite like the comforting embrace of a steaming bowl of soup to thaw the chill and fill your home with the aroma of wholesome ingredients. Whether you're seeking solace from the biting cold or simply yearning for a delicious and nourishing meal, our curated list of favorite winter soup recipes is here to elevate your culinary journey. 


We invite you to review the list of soul-warming soups and chilis that will not only tantalize your taste buds but also bring a sense of warmth and contentment to your winter days. From hearty chilis that stick to your ribs to vibrant, veggie-packed soups that invigorate your senses, our collection spans a spectrum of flavors and textures to suit nearly every palate. 


And did you know that January is National Soup Month? So, grab your favorite pot, dust off those ladles, and let's dive into the heartwarming world of winter soups that promise to bring both sustenance and joy to your seasonal table. 


White Chicken Chili  

Bowl of white chicken chili in a white bowl

Shared by Pamela Warren – Pamela has been a guest blogger for Friendsville Square and has been friends with Heather since their high school days. 

Serves 6.


1 ½ cups diced onions 

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced 

3-4 cloves garlic, minced 

2 tablespoons canola oil 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

4 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken (4 chicken breasts or 1 large rotisserie chicken) 

3 cups chicken broth (low sodium or unsalted) 

12 oz beer (your favorite, Dos Equis, or Main & Mill Green Chile Blond Ale) 

1 can chopped green chiles, drained or 1 fresh Anaheim or California green chile, seeded & chopped 

2 cans Great Northern beans, drained 

Juice of 1 lime 

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional) 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder 

1/2 teaspoon chili powder 

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice 

1 teaspoon ground black pepper 

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 

1 cup Half & Half, whole milk or heavy cream 

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 


For Garnish: 

Sliced avocado 

Fresh cilantro chopped 

Low-fat sour cream 

Mexican blend or sharp cheddar cheese 

Crackers or crusty bread 

Tortilla chips 


  1. In a large skillet, place canola oil and butter. Add diced onion and diced apple and sauté until onion is translucent and apples are soft. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. 

  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, place all ingredients except the Half & Half, cilantro and garnish ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 50 minutes. 

  3. After 50 minutes, add chopped cilantro and Half & Half. Turn heat to medium, stir and cook until heated through. 

  4. Serve with your choice of garnishes. 



Pasta e Fagioli  

Pasta e fagioli soup in a white squarish bowl with a spoon inserted into the soup

Shared by Kathy Brockgreitens – Kathy is a great cook and finds wonderful recipes to share with family and friends. She and Heather have been friends for 30+ years. 

Serves 8. 


1 pound ground beef 

1 cup onion, diced 

1 cup carrots, julienned 

3 stalks celery, chopped 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes 

1 15 oz can red kidney beans, with liquid 

1 15 oz can great northern beans, with liquid 

1 15 oz can tomato sauce 

1 12 oz can V-8 vegetable juice 

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt 

1 teaspoon oregano 

1 teaspoon basil 

1/2 teaspoon pepper 

1/2 teaspoon thyme 

1/2 pound ditali pasta 


  1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat. 

  2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes. 

  3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. 

  4. About 50 minutes into the simmering, cook the pasta in 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente or slightly tough. Drain. 

  5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more and then serve.


Zucchini Cream Soup With Crispy Bacon  

Bowl of zucchini cream soup in a bowl topped with prosciutto pieces, with sliced zucchini and potatoes in the background
Photo used with permission by Una Famiglia Non Solo In Cucina.

Shared by Marzia Carlizzi – Marzia, who currently lives in Milan, Italy, is Jodi’s Italian tutor and friend. She says this soup is one of her favorites, which she personalizes a bit from the recipe linked below. Buon appetito! 


Serves 4. 


4 zucchini, washed and chopped 

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped 

1 medium onion, chopped 

27 oz. vegetable broth 

6 thick slices of smoked bacon, cut into small cubes 

Toasted crumbled bread 

Extra virgin olive oil  



3.5 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated 



  1. Brown the chopped onion with the olive oil in a saucepan. 

  2. Add the remaining vegetables to the cooked onion and sauté for a couple of minutes.

  3. Cover the vegetables with the broth, add salt and pepper to taste, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes. 

  4. Blend everything with an immersion blender. If the soup is too runny, continue cooking for a few minutes. 

  5. In a non-stick pan, cook the bacon pieces until they are crispy. 

  6. When ready to serve, add the bacon pieces into the soup together with the toasted crumbled bread. 

  7. Cover with the grated Parmesan cheese. 

Recipe source:  Note: This recipe and the site are in Italian, but you can copy and paste the text into a translator like Google Translate to use the recipes. Use the Convert Recipe site to convert the ingredient measurements. 


Ham and Potato Chowder  

Bowl of ham and potato chowder in a light blue bowl and garnished with cheese, bacon pieces and parsley

Shared by Sally Boyd – Sally is one of Friendsville Square’s storytellers. She is an alumna of Truman State University where she met Heather and Jodi some 40+ years ago (ahem!). 

Serves 8. 


2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 medium onion, diced 

3 ribs celery, diced 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 

3/4 teaspoon black pepper 

2 cups carrots, chopped 

1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, diced 

1 sprig fresh thyme 

1 stem fresh rosemary 

4 cups chicken stock 

1 cup heavy cream 

1/2 pound ham, diced 

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 


  1. In a 6-quart stockpot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the celery and onion. Sauté the onion and celery until they are softened but not brown, about 4-6 minutes. Once the mixture is softened, add the garlic, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine and cook the garlic for 1 minute. 

  2. Once the garlic is cooked, add the red potatoes, carrots, thyme, rosemary, and chicken stock. Stir, and bring the soup to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer the soup until the potatoes are soft, about 35-45 minutes. 

  3. Once the potatoes are softened, remove the thyme and rosemary. Then remove 1 ½ cups of the potatoes, vegetables and stock, blend it until it is smooth, and return the liquid to the soup. Add the heavy cream, diced ham, and cheese. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the ham to heat and the cheese to melt. Once the soup has simmered, the potatoes will break down into the soup, and the blended portion will have thickened the soup slightly. 


Split Pea Soup 

Bowl of split pea soup in a white bowl with parsley garnish on top; next to small bowl of dried peas and an onion

Shared by Laurie Bergman – Laurie, another one of Jodi and Heather’s friends from Truman State University, has written three posts to date for Friendsville Square, and is known in our friends’ circle as a wonderful and adventurous cook.

Serves 8-10.


1 pound (2 1/2 cup) dried green split peas 

2 quarts (8 cups) cold water 

Ham bone 

1 large onions, sliced 

3 slices lemon 

4 carrots, sliced 

6 celery stalks with tops on, sliced 

Salt (to taste) 

Pepper (to taste) 

Milk, as needed 


  1. Rinse the peas. Then soak in 2 cups cold water for 5-6 hours or overnight. 

  2. Remove a little of the ham fat and sauté onion in it until golden. 

  3. Combine onion, peas, ham, lemon, carrots, celery, salt and pepper with the remaining 1 1/2 quarts of water.  

  4. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently for 3 hours until the peas are tender, and the soup is thick. 

  5. Rub through a coarse sieve. 

  6. Thin with milk, if desired. 

  7. Serve with crisp croutons. 

Note from Laurie: "I’ve adapted this recipe to suit my preferences. I’m not a fan of celery, so I just use a couple of slender stalks with tops rather than 6 whole stalks. I also add some cubes or shreds of ham in addition to the bone. Don’t leave out the lemon! It adds a welcome hit of acidity. I juice half a lemon instead of adding 3 lemon slices."

Old recipe card with strips of recipe taped to the card

Recipe source: From Laurie’s maternal grandmother, affectionately called Meemo, who cut it from the back of a plastic bag of Kroger split peas and taped it to a recipe index card.

In the 1970s, Meemo would have dinner ready when Laurie's mother pulled in after a long day of work. This soup was often on the menu.



Thai Chicken-Coconut Soup 

Bowl of Thai chicken-coconut soup in a round pan with handles and garnished on top with parsley

Shared by Michelle Gibson – Jodi’s friend Michelle is an awesome cook who loves to experiment with lots of different cuisines for her family’s and friends' enjoyment.

Serves 4.


1 small orange 

3 cups (24 fluid oz/750 ml) coconut milk 

1 1/2 cups (12 fluid oz/375 ml) chicken broth 

2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-sized pieces 

6 oz (185 g) button mushrooms, quartered 

Juice from 1 lime 


Freshly ground pepper 

1/4 cup fresh basil, preferably Thai, chopped 


  1. Make the soup base. Grate 1 tablespoon zest and extract ½ cup (4 fluid oz/125 ml) juice from the orange and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the orange juice and zest, coconut milk, broth, and fish sauce. Stir well and bring to a boil. 

  2. Cook the chicken and mushrooms. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken, and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Add the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with the basil and serve. 


Skinny Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup 

Bowl of potato soup garnished with bacon pieces and chopped parsley

Shared by Heather McDorman – Co-blog author Heather shares another blogger’s recipe that her husband recently found online. She tells us it’s a winner!

Serves 6. 


6-8 slices cooked turkey bacon, diced 

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced 

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock 

12-oz can low-fat evaporated milk 

2 tablespoons cornstarch 

4-oz reduced-fat cream cheese, softened 

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 

2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

Pinch ground celery seed 

Sliced green onions or chives, for garnish 

Additional shredded cheese, for garnish 

Additional bacon, for garnish 

Slow Cooker Directions 

  1. To a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add bacon, potatoes, onion and chicken broth and stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours, until potatoes are very tender. 

  2. Combine evaporated milk and cornstarch, whisking to combine until no lumps remain. The last 30 minutes of cooking, add cream cheese, cornstarch/milk mixture, shredded cheddar, salt, pepper and celery seed. Stir to combine, cover and continue cooking 30 minutes. 

  3. Remove lid and mash about half of the potatoes with a potato masher to thicken the soup. 

  4. Serve garnished with any of the toppings. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

Stovetop Directions 

  1.  Add a light drizzle of olive oil or butter to a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and cook for 2-4 minutes. Add in diced bacon, diced potatoes and chicken stock. 

  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a high simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk until no lumps remain. 

  3. Add mixture to pot along with the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, salt, pepper and celery seed. Stir to combine and simmer 5 minutes or so, until slightly thickened. 

  4. Mash about half of the potatoes with a potato masher, then serve with desired garnishes.  


30-Minute Broccoli and Cheddar Soup 

Broccoli cheddar soup in a white bowl that's sitting on a green and white checked napkin

Shared by Liz Cottrell – Liz is another member of the magnificent seven friends (from Truman State) who helped to inspire Friendsville Square (the blog site and the name). She is probably the most dedicated one of the group when it comes to getting a warm dinner on the table each night! 


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced 

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock 

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon paprika or ground nutmeg (optional) 

3 cups broccoli florets or 1 large head of broccoli, cut into small pieces 

1 large carrot, grated, julienned or finely chopped 

2 cups half & half, milk, or light or heavy cream 

8-oz. block of cheddar cheese (mild, medium or sharp), grated or 2 cups grated


  1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. 

  2. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened and light gold. 

  3. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. 

  4. Add the flour and which for 1-2 minutes or until the flour begins to turn golden in color. 

  5. Pour in the chicken stock, broccoli florets, carrots, and seasonings. 

  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are cooked through. 

  7. Stir in half & half and cheddar cheese and simmer for another minute. 

  8. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. 

  9. Serve with toasted crusty bread or in a bread bowl, if desired. 



Chili With Meat and Beans 

Bowl of chili with meat and beans and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream; bowl is sitting on a plate with a spoon and pieces of cornbread.

Shared by Jodi Blake – Co-blog author Jodi loves when her husband Dan makes chili from his own recipe. It’s one of their family’s favorite meals during the cold months.

Serves 10-12.



2 medium onions, chopped

4 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large pinch of salt

1 pound of ground beef

1 pound of spicy pork sausage

28-oz can tomato puree

15-oz can tomato sauce

2 15-oz cans black beans, drained

2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, drained

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon medium hot chili powder

1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

If needed to thicken chili:

6 oz tomato paste

Small can of tomato puree or sauce


  1. In a large skillet, brown the onion, garlic and salt in the olive oil. Cook on medium heat until onions are nearly translucent, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Cook the ground beef and sausage with the onion/garlic mixture. Drain off the excess fat. 

  3. Put the meat mixture into a large (6-7 quart) slow cooker. 

  4. Add the tomato puree, tomato sauce, black beans, and red kidney beans. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.  

  5. Add the seasonings and stir again. 

  6. Heat the chili for 1 hour on high. If the chili is too watery, add more tomato paste to thicken. If the chili is too thick, add more tomato puree or water to thin. 

  7. Either serve the chili when it’s heated through or use the low setting to keep the chili hot for serving later. 



Are you hungry yet? Which recipe do you want to try first for a tummy-warming winter supper or a special dinner? We’d love to hear your feedback after you make any of these recipes, so be sure to leave a comment below.

Profile photo of a woman in a burgundy shirt

I retired in 2021 after 32 years as a higher ed communicator. With my husband Bob, we raised our (now adult) son Liam just west of St. Louis. I love my family and our two Aussies, growing roses, winning fantasy football, going to movies, traveling, exploring new lunch spots with friends, and following Olympic-level figure skating.

Profile photo of a woman in a blue shirt

After 35 years in corporate instructional design and technical writing, Jodi retired in 2021. She and hubby Dan recently relocated from Chicago back to St. Louis. They have a daughter Rachael, who is a special education teacher, and a son Ryan, who is a senior at the University of Illinois. When not blogging, she enjoys quilting and cross stitch, studying Italian, and watching soccer and tennis.


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