Your Goals
Our Mission

Special Tree Staff Put Their Best Soup Forward at 4thAnnual Soup for a Crowd Contest


Special Tree's 4th annual Soup for a Crowd contest saw fierce competition and more than a few tasty bowls of soup!  Staff from Special Tree’s community residences and the NeuroCare Campus (NCC) in Romulus crafted their finest, healthiest soups for a crowd of in-house tasters who gathered at the Troy Outpatient Center and NCC to vote for their top two favorites on February 13, 2013.

With 19 delicious and healthy soups to judge, it was tough to name a winner.  In the end it was a tie for first for Westwood’s yummy Taco Soup and Webster Court’s hearty Stuffed Cabbage Soup. Not only were the winning soups deemed the tastiest, both soups also received high marks from Special Tree Dietician Jill Prisza for high nutritional value. Both staffs will receive a very nice prize selected specifially for their kitchens.  Recognitions also included Honorable Mentions for Royal Oak’s Mexicanish Chicken & Rice Soup and NCC’s Chicken Shrimp Gumbo Soup and a “Best Presentation” honor to NCC and Moravian West for their Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Soup.  “Kudos to all of our food service staff, RSTs, clients, and managers who made this year’s soup contest the tastiest and most successful one yet,” said Jill.   



The soup contest is part Special Tree’s ongoing effort to maintain the highest quality food service and safety standards at our Community Residences and NCC.  Jill along with Mary Jo Hall, Learning System Trainer, conduct quarterly training sessions for direct care and food service staffs which focus on healthy meal planning, food preparation, and food safety skills, as well as increasing understanding for how brain injury effects a client’s taste, smell, and eating.  A food contest is always held in conjunction with training sessions.

Westwood’s Slow Cooker Taco Soup
1 each; red, yellow, and green bell pepper chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, undrained
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
32 ounces low sodium chicken stock
3 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
2 Tbs. minced garlic
3 (1.25 ounce) packages low sodium taco seasoning
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. ground black pepper
6 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
fat-free sour cream (optional)
tortilla strips (optional)



1.     Place the onion, peppers, black beans, tomato sauce, chicken stock, garlic, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker.  Add taco seasoning, cumin, black pepper, and stir to blend.  Lay chicken breast on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook 5-7 hours.
2.     Remove chicken breasts from soup and cool long enough to be handled, shred with 2 forks.  Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours.  Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and tortilla strips.


Webster Court’s Stuffed Cabbage Soup

½ pound lean ground beef
½ pound lean ground pork
½ pound ground veal
2 cups brown rice
1 quart plus 4 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. coriander
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1 large sweet onion chopped
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 fresh carrots, thinly sliced or chopped
¾ head of savory cabbage
1 head of savory cabbage for garnish
Fresh diced tomatoes, about 24 ounces
1 cup of low sodium tomato sauce
Handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
3 tbs. of fresh dill, finely chopped



Cook Rice:  Heat saucepot over medium-high heat, coat pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Add rice and toss to coast in oil.  Add 2 cups of chicken stock, bring to a simmer, cover for 16-18 minutes or until rice is tender.
Heat a deep pot over medium-high heat.  Add the remaining olive oil, once hot add meat and begin to brown,
2 – 3 minutes.  Season meat with allspice, coriander and smoked paprika.  Add bay leaves, onion, garlic, and carrots.  Cook veggies for 2-3 minutes until softened, then add cabbage until wilted.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and remaining stock and cover pot.  Raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add cooked rice to soup and continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add parsley and dill.  Enjoy!