Over a cup of coffee for May 18

Recently I've enjoyed two telephone conversations with Willi Daniels of Craig.

On Memorial Day, she'll have lived at Sunset Meadows for eight years. Willi told me about her recipe for "Mexican Soup". It's tasty and easy to make.

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For "Mexican Soup," you'll need: 4 slices of bacon (diced); 3/4 cup chopped onion; 3/4 cup chopped celery; 1/2 cup chopped green pepper; 1 clove garlic (minced); 1 (16-ounce) can refried beans; 1/4 teaspoon chili powder; several dashes of Tabasco sauce; and 1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth. For the soup topping you'll need: shredded Cheddar cheese; fresh, chopped tomato; and crushed Fritos chips.

In a 2-quart pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Then add the onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic. Cook covered on low heat for about 10 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally.

Add the beans, chili powder, Tabasco, and broth. Boil for a while. Willi says not too long.

Serve in bowls. Pass around the cheese, tomato, and crushed Fritos to be sprinkled on each serving.

Yum! Thanks, Willi. Willi also has a luscious dessert recipe to share with us soon.

One of my favorite soups is "Beef Shell Soup". The ingredients for the soup are: 1 pound ground beef; 4 cups water; 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian style tomatoes (un-drained); 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables; 4 teaspoons instant beef bouillon granules; 1 cup uncooked shell pasta (or elbow macaroni); 6 ounces uncooked beef sausage cut into 1/2-inch pieces; and salt and pepper to taste.

First, brown the ground beef until it's no longer pink. Meanwhile, combine the water, tomatoes, mixed vegetables, and bouillon granules in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the drained beef and the pasta. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Stir in the sausage and simmer another 2 to 4 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

A while back, I decided to get serious about organizing my recipes. Those written on cards are filed and easy to find.

The problem has been with clipped recipes and those written on a variety of papers. They have been stuffed into cookbooks, stacked on the kitchen counter, and poked back in a cupboard. It has taken more time to find a recipe than to cook it.

So I gathered up the whole mess of them and spent several nights sorting them into piles (casseroles, cakes, soups, etc).

Then I slipped each category into a see-through sheet protector or pocket (the kind used in scrap booking). I labeled each.

The pockets can be put into a loose-leaf notebook, too. It's time saving!

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