Have a "SOUPER" Day!

The weather is turning chilly! Why not whip up some homemade soup for dinner tonite? It's easier then you think!

I know the title was a little corny, but in all seriousness, who doesn't LOVE soup?  Soup is one of my favorite foods. It evokes memories of crisp fall air, crackling fireplaces, apple picking and glittery snow. Soup is a one bowl wonder guaranteed to soothe the soul and fill up a hungry appetite. Scoffing at soup? Say it's not filling nor delicious? Then you haven't followed one of my recipes or purchased MY soups! Which by the way are for sale ALL year round at www.ccbyjenny.com

And now that my shameless plug is over, I am going to share with you some of my favorite fundamental tips for soup making since the weather is turning chilly and truthfully, my recipes are being shared on facebook faster then the cold germs from your school age kids! If there is a need or a want, I am here to fill it!  So here we go, and take it from the chick who eats soup in July, I know what I'm talking about!

Soup can be extremely nutritious, filling, and made in so many different ways.  It's a proven fact that those who start their meal with a broth based vegetable soup eat less then those who sit down and immediately start eating their meal. I don't shy away from canned soups, however they are definitely filled with extra sodium and ingredients I can't pronounce so whenever possible I reccomend making your own soup. Soup lasts in the fridge for several days and freezes beautifully. However I just learned this past weekend that carrots tend to get a little mushy when frozen in a soup so carrot lovers beware. Most of my soups start out with a chicken stock. 

This can either be made completely homemade (boiling chicken in a pot filled with water until the water takes on the flavor of the chicken, then straining the chicken out to be used later) OR my way!  Purchasing ready made chicken boullion cubes, stock, or powder and adding it to water and boiling!  Once again, not here to judge but read lables! Some are low sodium, others have no MSG (that's a good thing!) so choose your stock carefully! Might I add that ready made stock comes in a variety of flavors to suit all my friends! Vegetable, beef, shrimp, turkey, etc.  The soup varities you can create are endless!

Once you have your stock bubbling, the soup world is your oyster! You can add meat, veggies, pasta, rice, cream, fat free milk, pretty much anything you have in your fridge and turn it into a soup of some sort. My FAVORITE tip on making soup is this. By using a hand blender or a food processor, you can create a creamy and thick soup out of simply veggies and stock that tastes like it has a billion calories but probably has less then a cup of coffee per serving! And by using veggies you are getting nutrients and vitamins that are disguised as a creamy soup you may even get your kids to eat something green! Or orange. Or yellow. Or doesn't come out of a package in the shape or a cookie or chicken nugget. Try it, it's like magic!  And now onto some of my favorite soup combinations :-)

If you don't fear the cheese, fresh broccoli cheddar soup is amazing. Blend it up really good so it's not lumpy and tell the kids if they taste it you'll give them a dollar. No, I'm SO kidding but encourage them to dip a cracker or play a little game of floating oyster crackers in soup and see if that enocurages them to taste! Pasta fagioli is also a big hit with kids. It's a tomato based broth with dittalini pasta and white garlicky canellini beans. Love mushrooms?  Mushroom barley is the thick, creamy, holy grail of fall soups. My cooking tip for mushroom barley is to be aware that barley expands as it sits in the soup! You may put a quart of this soup in the fridge, only to find a quart full of barley the next time you go to take it out!  DO not fear the barley.  Simply add a little stock or water to the soup when re-heating and I promise it will be delicious!  I try and use what I have on hand to make soup. Leftover roast chicken and rice? Boil up some stock, throw the chicken and rice in, add some carrots and onions and simmer. At the very end?  Add a cup of half and half or milk and turn it into a cream soup! Or serve it broth based with some whole grain bread and a salad on the side for a complete meal.

This is the best season to get your soup making on and try creating some new recipes in your own kitchen. Created a new favorite you'd like to share with me?  Want to post your recipe for the patch audience to try at home? We love to read your comments and I'd love to pick a new soup recipe from a reader and create it.  I'll share comments and pictures of the soup in my next blog post and I'll post the recipe too!

Here's your chance to be a "souper-star."  Have a "souper" day!

Ok, I'm really done now. GO MAKE SOUP!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Gerson December 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Jen makes the most incredible Pasta Fagioli soup.... Warm, filling and healthy!!


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