Brrrrrr. Winter weather chills us to the bone. What better way to warm those bones than a cup or bowl of hot soup?

Probably the most familiar soup and sandwich duo is tomato soup paired with a grilled cheese sandwich. Dip the sandwich into the soup and enjoy. When not wanting to take the time to prepare a grilled cheese, I like to sprinkle some Cheez-Its onto the top of the soup. It’s not quite the same but is good and cheesy.

While we usually think canned soup is one dimensional, it can easily be improved with a few additions. Just be aware of the sodium in canned soup and rethink salting when warming it up.

Beans. Pasta. Leftover chicken, steak, ham, sausages or bacon. Fresh or dried herbs. Mushrooms. Crackers. Onions. Garlic. Jalapenos. Rice. Hot sauce. The addition of vegetables adds flavor and helps increase your daily vegetable servings. There are lots of options to make canned soup your own.

Topping your soup with croutons and/or cheese is a simple way to add flavor and texture. Garlic croutons and pepper jack cheese will really change up things.

Tomato soup is easy to dress up. Simply adding cream adds decadence for a bisque. Pesto or basil will give you tomato basil soup, which is a current popular restaurant choice. Fresh or canned diced tomatoes add a homemade touch.

Nothing says comfort food like chicken noodle soup. Like many growing up, it was a staple in our cupboard and made an appearance when anyone was under the weather. Add sauteed celery and cooked carrots to a can of chicken noodle soup and it just might be even better at curing what ails you.

The tomato soup recipe, from Taste of Home, lives up to its name. It is flavorful. I would measure the milk into the soup can and swish it around to clean out the can. Garnish with fresh basil if you wish.

Inside.com gives us the easiest egg drop soup ever. Requiring a good broth base, the canned soup fits the bill. Omit the mushrooms if you prefer.

Stay warm and happy eating.

Flavorful tomato soup

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 can tomato soup

1 cup milk

Saute onions in butter until soft. Add basil, paprika and garlic powder. Stir in soup and milk; blend well and heat through. Yields 2 servings.

Egg drop soup

1 can chicken noodle soup

1 small can mushrooms, drained

2 eggs, whisked

Bring soup to a boil; add desired amount of mushrooms. Stir soup in circular motion with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring and drizzle eggs into soup. Let sit, unstirred, for 2 minutes, until set. Yields 2 servings

Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.