Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Five Fall Soups From Your Pantry

After this post on toppings that you can use to make your soups great, I had a lot of interest in my favorite tried-and-true fall soup recipes. I am crazy about soups, so there are waaaay too many to post about here. I'll make any kind of soup from Cajun Gumbo to Egg Drop Soup, and everything in between -- year round!
But I know what you're after ... some ideas for comfort foods that are healthy and delicious, and help bring on Fall in all its glory. So, I decided to start with a list of what I consider to be your basic soup bill of fare. These are soups that I can put together with common ingredients found around my kitchen. No Chopped baskets here! With minimal effort and (time too!) you can put together an orchestra of harmonious flavors that will bring on the compliments and make you feel great about what you're feeding your family. Whether you work away from home or not, I suggest you make friends with your crockpot.  Paired with a salad and the easiest bread recipe in the world, you will have a full meal in no time.

Full disclosure: I didn't write down my own recipes.  I just don't cook that way ... besides, why re-invent the wheel?  Instead, I am linking you to recipes that closely resemble what I do as I dance around the kitchen with the music playing loudly, teenagers baking nearby, and little kids running through.  Who could read a recipe with all that going on?

Here goes:

Chicken Noodle Soup: I usually cook the chicken that I will use for this a day (or more) ahead of time in the crockpot. That makes this soup quick to put together and the chicken perfectly tender. If you want to use the crockpot for this recipe, I suggest you use uncooked chicken breasts and just throw everything but the noodles in (on low) before you leave for work. Don't forget to salt enough! Toss the pasta in a half hour or so before you serve.  My topping suggestion: homemade croutons, shredded parmesan, oyster crackers, herbs, I-could-do-on-and-on

Chicken Noodle Soup
Photo courtesy of

Cream of Broccoli Soup: I make this version with double the broccoli and broth, and typically I will lower the fat content by mixing a little flour with cold milk until blended, then adding to the soup. Again, don't forget to add enough salt! My topping suggestion: oyster crackers, broccoli florets, shaved parmesan

Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup
Photo courtesy of

Cheesy Potato Soup: I'd like to be all important and say that I usually make a potato soup like this one, but I wouldn't want to give the impression that I always have these ingredients on hand. ;) No, my potato soups are usually humble like Pillsbury makes it. But you can't beat it as far as comfort food and pleasing just about everyone on the planet. No worries if you don't have bacon on hand.  I usually don't, in spite of the fact that I have a hog in my freezer right now.  They'll eat it anyway.  My topping suggestion: scallions, bacon

Quick Cheesy Potato Soup
Photo courtesy of

Beefy Vegetable Soup: Otherwise known as Ground Beef Hobo Stew.  I make mine with a little more broth. Do you need one more recipe to use up that ground beef? (Did I mention that I also have a side of beef in my freezer?) Try. It. Even my veggie hater loves this soup. I will often keep bags of frozen "soup veggies" in my freezer, or just toss in the leftover veggies from the last couple of nights. Sometimes, if I'm feeling awesome, I make the meat into meatballs, add some pasta at the end, and call it Meatball Soup. They think they're getting a different dinner.  :-) My topping suggestion: oyster crackers

Beefy Vegetable Soup Hobo Stew
Photo courtesy of Deep South Dish

Black Bean Soup: Folks, it doesn't get easier than this.  If you always keep a couple of cans of black beans and a jar of salsa in your pantry, you always have a last minute dinner. My topping suggestion: sour cream, Crème Fraiche, scallions

Easy low fat lowfat black bean soup
Photo courtesy of

Lentil Soup: In spite of what this recipe says, it isn't necessary to soak lentils the way you soak other beans. Just be sure they are clean and free of debris.  These simple ingredients will make you something so delicious you will wonder how you can live without them at least once a week. If you really want a treat, fry some smoked sausage and add it to your soup.  Your heart will stop! My topping suggestion: Chopped parsley, Tabasco

Lentil soup sausage stew
Photo courtesy of

Enjoy!  #savesomeforme