Soup is one of the easiest meals you can put on your dinner table. It’s easy to make because there are countless combinations of ingredients that can be used to make it. And because you can put just about anything into a pot of soup, it’s easy to find several kinds that you’ll enjoy eating.
Soup gives you the freedom to make a heathy meal out of whatever you happen to have lying around your kitchen and who wouldn’t love that?
I make soup often because it’s healthy, delicious and affordable. I define soup as a delightful medley of different foods grouped together in one pot with stock and seasonings tying it all together. Soup is easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to love.
Easy To Make:
There are several different ways to make soup. Some methods are faster than others, but they all are pretty easy to do. I divide soup into four different types.
- The Slow Simmer
This is the classic, old-fashioned way to make soup. These types of soups have ingredients that take longer to cook, like beef stew or wild rice and chicken soup. The ingredients are slowly cooked. A crockpot can be used for these types of soups but a large pot on your stove will work just as well. These take several hours to cook and the aroma wafting from your kitchen will be amazing.
- The Quick Boil
This is a much faster way to make soup. It involves boiling or sautéing (pan-frying) ingredients that have shorter cooking times. Most vegetarian soups can be made using this method.
- The Leftover
This is where you take whatever you made for dinner last night and make it into a pot of soup. For example, let’s say you had tacos for dinner last night. To make a leftover soup out of that you could sauté (pan-fry) or steam the vegetables, add in the hamburger, add some stock (like chicken, beef, or vegetable broth) and garnish with grated cheese and crushed taco shells.
- The Fancy Puree
This is a soup guaranteed to impress! It requires a blender or food processor and involves liquefying the ingredients. Generally, you would leave out meats and starches and would use large quantities of vegetables for these soups. An excellent example of this type of soup is tomato soup.
Easy To Eat:
The possibilities are endless! And it’s fun to experiment. I’ve found that broccoli and cauliflower pair well in soup. So does cabbage and hamburger, pumpkin and sausage, spinach and green onion, lamb and lentil, sage and winter squash… (I could go on and on). I break soup down into five parts.
The number one thing to put in soup! I have never heard of a veggie you couldn’t use. Carrots and celery are perhaps the most commonly used. But all the others are great too, like: green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers…. or anything else you can think of. Even leafy greens like spinach, lettuce and kale are great in soup.
Adding meat is optional since vegetarian soups are wonderful. But meat is good too. Soup meat can be anything including: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, venison, lamb, goat…. you get the picture. Cheaper cuts of meat like shanks or round steak are great for soup making.
- Stock (liquid)
The liquid part of soup can be broth, which you can make yourself or purchase. Or it can be the water you used to cook the vegetables and/or meat in. Milk can also be used at the liquid part of soup, as well as pureed vegetables.
Here again, anything goes. You can do a lot with just salt and pepper of course. But don’t forget about fresh or dried herbs like oregano, basil and parsley. Or spices like curry, nutmeg and cumin. Hot sauce, Worcestershire and soy sauce are great options too.
This is also an optional ingredient, but it can make your soup more filling. Examples of good starches for soup are; pasta, rice, barley, potatoes, lentils and beans.
Easy To Love:
An easy, healthy meal is hard not to love. There are many benefits of soup.
- Stretch Your Food Dollars
Making soup is a great way to take a small amount of food and make it into a whole meal.
- It’s Healthy
As long as you don’t put a ton of salt or fat into your soups, they are very healthy for you, especially if you incorporate lots of vegetables into them.
- It’s Portable
A thermos of soup makes a wonderful packed lunch.
- It’s Good for Parties
Got some friends coming over? Make them a pot of soup!
- You Can Experiment
No two pots need to be the same. You can put in whatever you like. Cookbooks are optional.
Recipe: Winter Squash Soup
_ Several small or one large winter squash
_ 2 cups water or other liquid of your choice
_ ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
_ ¼ teaspoon pepper (to taste)
_ 1 tablespoon fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Peel and chop squash.
- Place in pot and add liquid until the squash are just covered.
- Simmer until tender.
- Add fresh or dried sage and salt and pepper to taste.
- Eat and enjoy!
Variations: Winter squash soup can be pureed (liquefied in a blender) for a fancier type soup. Another idea is to simmer some mild or spicy Italian sausage with the squash. A third way to make this soup is to cook some apples or pears with the squash. Pumpkin can be substituted for winter squash.
Recipe: Spring Vegetable Soup
_ 5 to 10 green onions
_ 5 to 10 radishes
_ 2 Tablespoon butter
_ A handful of spinach or lettuce, or 3 to 5 leaves of swiss chard and/or kale – your choice
_ About 2 cups milk
_ About 2 cups of stock (liquid)
_ Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the green onions and radishes.
- Melt butter in a pan and add the green onions and radishes. Saute (fry) them until tender.
- Add your choice of greens to pan and give it a good stir.
- Add the milk and stock to pan. Turn burner to low heat and let simmer until all vegetables are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Eat and Enjoy!
Variations: Add ham or potatoes (or both) to this soup to make it heartier.
Share your favorite soup recipes, as well as pictures of your creations with us on our Facebook page!
About the Author
Renee is a food enthusiast. She lives in a farm in West-Central Wisconsin where she grows vegetables and creates her own recipes for bread. She shares the farm with her husband, two sons, a small herd of cattle, six sheep, 50 chicken, and two ducks.
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