By Lydia Bolen

January 2015 rings in another new year. This month marks fresh beginnings. We all need this time of renewal to reflect on better health, new goals, and how we spend our time.

This is typically a very cold month when we all tend to stay indoors more. Enjoy this time of year to refresh and reflect.

Kitchen Tune-Up

I love comfort food, especially comforting soups of all kinds. Grab a cup of soup, sit by the fire, and remind yourself of all your blessings and many more to come.

Blessings to you all in 2015!




  •  4 large baking potatoes
  • 2 /3 cup butter
  • 2 /3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups milk
  • 3 /4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 /2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 and 1 /2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1- 8-ounce container sour cream

Wash potatoes; prick with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until done. Cool.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp and discard skins.

Melt butter in large pot over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly for one minute.

Gradually add milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Stir in potatoes, salt, pepper and 1 cup cheese, 1 /2 cup bacon, and 2 tablespoons green onions.

Cook until heated. Do NOT boil!

Stir in sour cream and cook just until heated.

Serve with remaining cheese, bacon and green onions as garnish.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.






  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 /2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 cans (14.5-oz) chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked, cheese-filled tortellini (frozen. fresh, or dried)
  • 1 can (14.5-oz.) petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 package (10-oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (use about 1 /2 of package)
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt for individual serving, if desired

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add broth immediately and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions until tender. Do not drain.

Stir in tomatoes, basil, and spinach. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Allow to cook on very low heat and covered until ready to serve.

Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over individual servings of soup. Have each person salt to taste, if desired.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

(Adapted from






  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 /4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1 /2 pounds crawfish tails, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook about 8 minutes

Stir in flour until smooth, and cook until mixture turns a pale golden color.

Whisk in chicken broth, stirring constantly.

Mix in the half-and-half cream, salt, crawfish tails, Worcestershire sauce, and cayenne pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-low and continue whisking as soup comes to a simmer. Let bisque simmer for about 5 minutes to slightly thicken. Do NOT boil!

Yield: 8 servings

Pro-Life Mississippi