Now that turkey day is behind us, the pedal is to the metal for all things December.

There will be decorating, shopping, making, wrapping, mailing, baking, church, social events, school programs — and sigh, hopefully a few afternoons with a good book, hot drink and warm slippers.

The thing you don’t need to fuss about is weeknight meals after a chaotic day.

Bring out the slow cooker and experience its trusty worth.

Here are three soups designed for the slow cooker. It will be great to walk through the door and have supper ready, whether you’ve been at the office, shopping, or trying to figure out why some clear outside lights are “blue” and some are “yellow,” when you really just want WHITE.

One is an old standby, another is a bit more interesting for those of us who love sausage and sauerkraut, and the third is meatless. Choose one, or keep all three on hand for the busy weeks ahead.

Chicken Noodle Soup

5 cups hot water

2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules or 2 chicken bouillon cubes

46 ounces chicken broth

2 cups cooked chicken

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups “homestyle” noodles, uncooked (frozen noodles, thawed as instructed on package, would be great here)

¹⁄³ cup thinly sliced celery, slightly pre-cooked in microwave

¹⁄³ cup shredded or chopped carrots

Dissolve bouillon in water. Pour into slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Cover. Cook on Low 4 to 6 hours. Serves 6 to 8.

Sauerkraut Soup

1 pound smoked Polish sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces

5 medium potatoes, cubed

2 large onions, chopped

2 large carrots, cut into ¼-inch slices

42 to 45 ounces chicken broth

32 ounce can or bag sauekraut, rinsed and drained

6 ounce can tomato paste

Combine all ingredients in large slow cooker. Stir to combine.

Cover. Cook on High two hours, and then on Low 6 to 8 hours.

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Serve with rye bread. Serves 8.

Black Bean Soup

1 pound bag black beans

2 10-ounce cans Rotel tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

14-½ ounce can vegetable broth

Water

Cajun seasoning to taste

Cover beans with water and soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain well. Place beans in slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, onions, pepper, garlic and vegetable broth. Add water just to cover beans. Add Cajun seasoning.

Cover. Cook on High 8 hours. Mash some of the beans before serving for a thicker consistency.

Excellent served over rice. Makes 6 servings.

Recipes courtesy of “Lazy Day Cookin’,” Phyllis Pellman Good & Dawn J. Ranck

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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