December. Winter seems to be in full swing, but in typical Oklahoma fashion, yesterday reached nearly 80 degrees F while today wind chills were below freezing and little snowflakes fluttered from the sky only to meet their demise on windshields. That’s how winter rolls in Oklahoma!
But even though temperatures have been even more mild than usual, the first hint of cold weather has me craving soup. I am a sucker for a bowl of hot, homemade soup. You? So I thought I’d share my favorite soups with you and my attempts to make them “clean”, using products without added sugars, that are organic and non-GMO, and use as little processed ingredients as possible.
Besides just tasting good and warming your insides on a cold day, making a pot of soup is all the meal prepping I need to do for a week. I know. Being single I don’t have to make as much food as a family would need for a week, but a pot of soup can make several meals. That’s one thing I like about soup. It’s also very forgiving to make, easy to reheat, easy to take to work, and generally tastes better after it sits for a day or so! And if you avoid heavy creamed soups, a bowl of soup can be a fairly low calorie meal or snack.
These are some of my favorites I’ve been enjoying over the last few weeks. And since I cook soups by taste, I don’t have specific measurements to follow. Sorry!
- Chili. Who doesn’t love a bowl of chili, right? And chili has the added bonus of being comfort food for me. My mom would make a pot of chili on the first cold snap of the winter, so it’s one of the first things I think about when leaves start to fall, and temperatures take a nose dive. One thing about chili–it’s the Fritos, cheese, and sour cream that make it not so good for you!
I start by browning lean ground turkey and minced onion in just a tad of olive oil if your turkey is very lean. Add in one or two cans of organic red beans or kidney beans, depending on your preference. Season the meat and beans with salt, chili powder, and ground cloves. Add a can of organic tomato juice (I had V8 on hand this time, but I definitely prefer just plain tomato juice). Heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup boils. Simmer until the flavors blend (the longer the better!) Season to taste with additional salt, chili powder and cloves. I also add just a bit of coconut sugar to tame the acidity of the tomato juice.
2. Chicken noodle soup. Ahh, you can’t go wrong with chicken noodle soup, right?! I always make sure I have baked or grilled chicken ready to use before I begin making this soup.
I start with pouring boxed or canned organic chicken stock into my pot and then, adding chicken broth to get the right amount of soup you want to make. (I found that adding stock gives it more chicken flavor). I read labels to make sure the broth I am using doesn’t have added sugar and lots of other ingredients I can’t pronounce. Season the broth with basil, marjoram, salt and pepper to your taste. Once the broth boils, add brown rice pasta (I like the spiral noodles). When the pasta is nearly done, add the chicken, and frozen peas and carrots and continue cooking until the pasta and veggies are tender.
3. Vegetable beef soup. This takes me a bit longer to make because I start by roasting the cut of beef in the oven. I like to add salt and pepper to the roast and toss in a bay leaf before I place it in the oven.
Once the roast is cooked, I cut up the amount of beef I need for the soup. Brown it in a soup pot with just a bit of olive oil. Add beef broth (again, I read labels to make sure I’m not adding a bunch of unnecessary ingredients), enough to make the amount of soup that you want. Once the broth boils, add your vegetables. I use whatever I have on hand. Usually that’s a bag of frozen mixed vegetables (the kind with green beans, lima beans, peas, carrots, etc) and maybe a sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper. After the soup simmers for a while, I like to add in just a bit of tomato juice. It seems to enhance the beef flavor.
4. Butternut squash soup. This is one of my all time favorites, but it does require a little more prep. The extra prep time is so worth it, though! Unlike the other soups that I tend to make most frequently, I do follow a recipe for this one. Get the recipe here.
I don’t make the parmesan croutons to cut calories, but I don’t feel I’m missing anything. This soup is delicious!
Cutting up a butternut squash is a bit difficult. I have visions of cutting off a finger because the skin of the squash is not easy to cut through. One thing I did this time to make things easier was to roast the squash in the peel before I cubed it. It worked wonderfully, I didn’t lose a finger, and it tasted amazing! You could also buy frozen, cubed butternut squash which would significantly cut down your prep time if you are in a time crunch.
So there’s my list of favorite soups. As you can see, I tend to just use what I have on hand and mix broths, veggies, and spices to make it taste like I want it to. That’s what I mean about soups being forgiving. Just add a little of this or that until it tastes “right”!
Mmmm…now I’m thinking I should make a pot of soup for the rest of the week…
Talk to me:
Soup eater or not?
What’s your favorite soup recipe?