This is the time of the year when the weather is chilly outside and it is often cold and gray. Nothing warms you up at the end of a long day like a delicious, bowl of homemade soup. I love cooking soups at home during the week, because more often than not, they are quick, make a complete meal and there are left overs to take to work for lunches.
Perks To Preparing Soup From Scratch:
- Healthier - I love that you can find just about any type of recipe online and you can make a traditional soup recipe even healthier. There are so many substitutes you can make to any recipe that you find. For example, if you need to watch the amount of sodium in your diet then you can consider using fresh tomatoes or no salt added canned tomatoes. You can make your own broth or use a lower sodium broth option. You can choose fresh or frozen vegetables compared with their salter, canned counterparts. There are so many easy ways to tweak and make recipes even healthier. If you need to increase the amount of fiber in your soup and your overall vegetable intake, consider adding kale or spinach to the recipe. This is also a great source of Vitamin K and antioxidants.
- More Cost Effective - Preparing your own soup from scratch will end up saving you more money compared with purchased an already prepared canned soup option or even a dried soup packet option from the store. There is obviously more prep work involved to make the soup from scratch, but you will get a larger volume of soup and you can use it for left-overs later in the week. This larger quantity is a perk if you have a large family to feed as well. You can pair other sides with the soup as well to make it a complete meal - have bread on the side with another fruit or vegetable offering.
- Customization - When you take the time to put together a recipe from scratch there is a lot of areas where you can change the recipe to fit what you or your family likes. If someone in your family really dislikes corn, then in your minestrone soup recipe, make sure that you avoid adding corn and instead use another vegetable like squash or lima beans. If you have a family member with a food allergy, then preparing your own soup from scratch can allow you to accommodate their specific diet needs.
My Favorite Soup Recipe - White Bean and Sausage Soup
1 cup baby carrots, cut in half
1 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
7oz turkey sausage/keilbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth, fat free and reduced sodium
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (15.8oz cans)
1 bag of spinach, fresh (6oz)
- Heat a saucepan, coat with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook until tender. Add the onion, garlic and the sausage. Saute the vegetables for 3 minutes and stir occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, Italian seasoning, pepper and the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place 2 cups of the soup in the food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Return the pureed mixture to the pan. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove soup from the heat. Add the spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.
- Substitutions - You can substitute the spinach for kale if you would prefer.
This is a great recipe, because you can easily make this in about 30 minutes. I enjoy having dinner together within 30 minutes during the week, because after working all day, walking the dog, and exercising, I hate spending way too much time in the kitchen cooking/cleaning. Cooking Light has a great assortment of soup recipes that you will have to check out!