With all the cold weather we have been having, a bowl of steaming soup brings us back to our mother's and grandmother's kitchens. Soup is a labor of love. Even if you don't like to cook, most of us can heat a can of soup and magically be brought back to that time and place. Even better, when you make your own soup, you can make a pot and freeze the leftovers. Now when you need a quick and fast dinner, all you have to do is reheat the soup, make a salad or a sandwich and dinner's on! Heat some and take it in a thermos to work and you have a good hot lunch. Most medical professionals are also encouraging us to eat more "real foods", not processed foods. Homemade soup is real food, so it has health benefits too. Most people are encouraged to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week and soup fits the bill here also. Chunky vegetable soups can be very satisfying.
Summer and fall, when fresh vegetables are plentiful and cheap, are the best times to make your soups. Any one of these, even the ones using your leftovers, can be frozen to eat later in the winter. Soup will last frozen for anywhere from 3-6 months.
Making soup is quite easy and it is not time consuming either. Crock pots can be a great way to make soup while you are away at work. On the weekends, soup made on the stove fill your house with wonderful smells. A good Dutch oven or small stock pot is really the only equipment you will need. Making soup is quite economical too. Here you will find recipes for fresh vegetable soups, from that stash you just got at the farmer's market. You can make a pot of soup from what is in your pantry, when you don't want to go to the store and the fridge is empty. And you can make soup when you have lots of leftovers that need using up. Soup is a great way to stretch your food budget dollar. It is also great when you have unexpected company, just add some more vegetables or noodles to stretch it to feed however many you need to feed.
First we are going to talk about stock. Stock is the base to a lot of soups. You can make stock and keep it frozen in your freezer for up to three months. Most soups can be made from three kinds of stock, chicken, beef, or vegetable. Once you have stock frozen in your freezer, it is then just a matter of throwing in some vegetables or meat and you have a hardy bowl of soup. Chicken stock, or turkey for that matter, can be made the next time you have a roasted chicken. Save some of the meat and the bones, throw them in your stock pot with about 4 cups of water. Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Let this cook for several hours. Remove bones. Freeze your stock. Now, some people remove the cooked vegetables but I don't because I usually add these same vegetables to the soups I am making so why waste them?
Beef broth can be made from soup bones, these are very cheap at the market, and I can get huge bones for around $2.00. I also buy short ribs and other cheap cuts of beef. Whatever is on sale and dirt cheap. You could even cut up tough pieces of beef to add to the flavor. Just make sure you brown them first. To make a good rich brown stock, I bake or roast the soup bones for about one hour in a 350 degree F oven. Then you can refrigerate the bones or put them in your stock pot with onion, carrots and celery. Cook down until meat is tender. Remove the bone and fatty pieces. I chop up any non-fatty meat and put back in my broth, just to give it a little head start. I also leave the vegetables in it and freeze. Or you can take out all the vegetables and meat and just have plain beef stock. I sometimes do this when I know I will be adding hamburger or taco meat to a soup. I usually have some with meat and some without. I just strain out the vegetables and meat and add to the containers with meat and then freeze.
Vegetable stock is the easiest broth to make. Save all those little bits of leftover veggies, with the exception of broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. These can make your stock bitter. When you have collected enough vegetables for your stock, open one large can of whole or stewed tomatoes. Put these in your stock pot and add your leftover vegetables. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Let simmer for half an hour then freeze.
All of these can also be made in a crock pot, with the exception of the vegetable stock, which you don't want to over cook. For a non tomato stock, just add your leftovers or fresh vegetables, using potatoes, carrots, onion, leeks, and any vegetables that you like. Ok, now you have stock in the freezer, what are you going to do with it? This is where your pantry or leftovers come in. Here you will find a list of all the add-ins you can use to make great soup.
Now on to made from scratch soups. There are lots of made from scratch soup recipes on the internet that you can find and use so I am just going to give you a few of my favorites. These are great to use when you find a great buy at the farmers market or when your garden grows way too many veggies.
There is nothing like fresh from the garden tomato soup
In stock pot over high heat, cook tomatoes, onion, celery, and seasonings for about 10 minutes. Puree in blender and then stir in baking soda. Set aside. Melt butter in skillet with flour Add the milk, stirring constantly. Simmer until thickened. Add thickened sauce slowly to tomatoes in stock pot. Heat for about 1 minute and serve.
Put split peas, carrots, onion, and celery in stock pot and cook slowly on medium heat. Add cloves and nutmeg. When split peas start to soften, add the ham hock. Turn heat down to low and cook slowly all day until peas have dissolved and then remove ham hock. Remove any fat and put meat back in stock pot. Watch your liquid level and add water when necessary. The peas will absorb water. Serve hot with cornbread.
Cook summer squash, carrot, celery, and onion in olive oil until the squash is cooked and falling apart. Puree in blender until smooth. Return to pan and add chicken bouillon. Right before serving, add milk and heat soup until warm. Serve.
About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 7 grandsons. She is a published author and poetress. Born in California, she now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and many pets. Her hobbies include crocheting, reading, arts and crafts and bargain hunting.
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What time is dinner?
I'm off to the Green Market
I am getting ready to make a batch of Vegetable Beef soup tomorrow. I made a roast and potatoes the other night. Tomorrow, I am going to chop the left over roast up into chunks, boil it in the juice from the roast (with a little beef bouillion and more water added) and then throw in the veggies left over plus some fresh ones.
Usually, when I start making soups, I tend to make 2 or 3 different kinds and freeze them all. My husband LOVES having a selection in the freezer!
God Bless and good night!
Sheila in Titusville, FL
Thank you so much for these recipes!! I plan all year for a special Christmas gift for our great aunt, who is not only diabetic, but a strict vegetarian and refuses all onion or garlic. I can 2-3 dozen jars of our home grown organic vegetables and fruits and could only think up one kind of soup for her. She LOVES soups and now I can fix several different kinds. The summer squash soup looks very promising, and very different.
Years ago I made huge pots of soup, using whatever was left over in the fridge, and cans of whatever I'd found on sale. It was okay and a lot of folks had something to eat. But I've since learned my mothers secret to vegatible soup: nothing canned except the tomatoes. Everything else had to be either fresh or frozen. Beans, peas, whatever... nothing canned. That's the only way to do it.
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