Soup is one of those simple, comfort-food type meals that can be so tasty. While good anytime, it seems especially good when the weather is dreary, or you’re just not feeling your best. It can fill you up and load you with liquids without feeling like you’re having to force yourself to drink water.

I’m posting one of my favorite soup recipes, along with several variations I’ve tried. It’s potato-based, and while the 12 cloves of garlic it calls for may sound excessive, it really isn’t. It gets absorbed in with the other flavors. Note that I don’t have salt as one of the ingredients, and the “Free” part of the Pendery’s “Free” Spaghetti spice means sodium free, so the only salt comes from bacon and Rotel. I find it doesn’t need any, but feel free to add some if you wish.

Dale’s Potato Garlic Soup

12 cloves garlic, chopped
4 strips thick bacon, chopped
6 potatoes of indiscriminate size, 1″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 tbsp Pendery’s “Free” Spaghetti spice
2 cans Rotel tomatoes & chiles, chunky
1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Brown bacon, and saute garlic and onion in  bacon  fat until onions are translucent.
Add potatoes, and stir to coat potatoes with remaining fat.
Add 1qt water, cilantro and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for at least 1 hour.
Add more water if needed.

If you don’t have access to the Pendery’s “Free” Spaghetti spice (though it can be ordered online), try this:

1/2tsp dried sage
1tsp dried rosemary
1tsp dried basil
1/2tsp dried oregano

For vegetarian, leave out the bacon and use olive oil for the saute.
For meatier, add 1/4lb to 1/2lb of Polish sausage, sliced at the start.
For less spice, use Rotel Mild.
For more spice, use Rotel Hot and/or chop up a fresh jalepeno and put in the saute.

Broth can be used instead of water, if desired.

If desired, when serving have the following:
1 can chopped green chiles
grated sharp cheddar (or Mexican style) cheese

When serving, place some chopped green chiles in the bottom of the bowls,
then sprinkle the cheese on that.
Finally, ladle the soup over the chiles and cheese.

Yum! Enjoy!