Soup can be a quick and economical meal idea depending on what ingredients you use. Homemade soup is not as difficult to make as you may think. It can be a way to use up meats, vegetables, beans and pasta you may have leftover from other meals. Many can be made by putting ingredients into a crockpot and left to cook while you are gone. Leftovers can be frozen in individual serving sizes that can be used for future lunches or quick meals. Some people keep a container of leftover ingredients to use to make soup.

I have started making my own broth in the crockpot. You can use vegetables, leftover chicken or turkey carcasses. This recipe says to cook for 24 hours but I usually cook on low for 10-12 hours. I have also started cooking dried beans in the crockpot and store in the freezer instead of buying canned beans.

The other night I made three batches of soup and the only thing that came from a can was the cheddar cheese soup. The corn I used was frozen from my CSA last season and the salsa was canned by a friend of mine.

I recently bought broccoli, cabbage, carrots and celery. After peeling and cutting them up, I used the ends and some of the vegetables to make vegetable broth overnight. I was going to store it in the freezer for future uses but ended up using it to make the three batches of soup.

Once you get used to how to make soup, you will be able to make up your own recipes, using what you have on hand. Following are descriptions of the soups I made.

I was planning on making broccoli and cheese soup and ended up also making a bean/vegetable soup and Mexican soup For the broccoli/cheese soup, I combined 2 cans of Cheddar cheese soup and 2 cups of broth, added chopped broccoli and Minute Rice. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the broccoli and rice are tender. You could also add cooked chicken to this recipe.

For the bean/vegetable soup, I combined, pinto beans, broth, cut up carrots, celery and cabbage. You could add ham, bacon or sausage to this.

The Mexican soup consisted of broth, black beans, corn, salsa, taco seasoning and a little Minute Rice. You could also add ground beef or pasta to this also.

In less than an hour in the kitchen I had 15 individual servings of soup which will be frozen to be used for lunches.

With our recent weather and the forecast, it may be the perfect time to make soup.

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Nancy Kvamme

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