In honor of my sickly state I’ve dedicated this entry to all things soup. So soup, its probably one of the best and least expensive meals you can make. At its core soup is about taking a broth or any liquid and usually (not always) warming it and possibly adding some root veggies or even meat. Now my Hungarian roots have made me a good hearty soup lover, but sometimes you want a little less (like a rich tomato or even just some broth and noodles). As I’ve said, I’m a kitchen sink kind of cook so some of these recipes were created when I was cleaning out the kitchen on a cold day but that doesn’t mean they don’t taste good. Soups can be very budget friendly id you use canned ingredients like broth, tomatoes or other veggies. Fresh will always have a richer flavor but don’t steer away from the canned food aisle. In fact, canned foods are a great and affordable alternative. Another trick, go for the store brand label. The truth is, the food is the same and at the end of the day you are often paying for a name you know. I don’t say this for everything but when it comes to canned broths or veggies, even fruits, you can save a couple pennies by going with the store generic label. Still check if what you pick up is what you want (with fruit you will find that the store kind if often packed in syrup and not juice like Dole). Now you can always buy canned soup but they always seem to lack in flavor for me.
Below are 4 of my personal favorites when it comes to homemade soup. All are pretty easy, it’s a dump and simmer kind of world. The biggest trick to soup is finding out your preferences for flavors. If you like a richer soup, milk is a good thicken agent (NOT FLOOR as an old roommate of mine once tried). If you like a spicy kick, try red pepper flakes or even Tabasco. It’s all about experimenting with what you have before buying that high end ingredient you saw on TV.
Noodle, Beans, Spinach OH MY Soup
- 1 onion, chopped (HINT, you like a sweeter onion taste, go for the ones that flatter – that means there is more sugar packed in them)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can white beans
- 1 can tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 cup dried mini pasta shells
- Pinch of rubbed sage, thyme & white pepper
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Shredded mozzarella (for garnish)
1. Heat olive oil in stock pot and cook onions and garlic until tender
2. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese) and yes, that means uncooked pasta
3. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes
4. Taste for salt and pepper
Kitchen Sink Tortilla Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup corn (frozen)
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 red pepper chopped (or 3 small sweet pepper)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic diced
- ½ teaspoon lemon pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 1 can chicken stock
- 1 chicken breast from a store bought rotisserie chicken, shredded (great way to use leftovers)
- 1 handful of tortilla chips
1) Add first 9 ingredients (butter to salt) and cook in a 2 quart pot roasting all the vegetables over medium heat until the corn begins to caramelize.
2) Add tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a slow boil
3) Add chicken pieces, cover and turn down to simmer
4) Cook for 30 minutes
5) Add tortilla chips, cook for 5 more minutes
6) Serve and enjoy
Thick and chunky tomato Soup
- 2 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes**
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basilleaves
- 1/2 cup low fat milk (optional)
** While low sodium is healthy it will mean you just have to add more salt to your soup. Go for a non-flavored store brand of chopped tomatoes. It will save you some pennies and you can add your own flavors.
- Drizzle EVOO in bottom of sauce pan. Add garlic and onions, lightly sauté until tender, keep heat low, you don’t want to burn the garlic.
- Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes with juice and chicken broth. You can also add any fresh tomatoes if you’d like but the cans are a little cheaper and have some great juices in them already.
- Simmer until tomatoes are tender, about 15-20 mins
- Add butter for a richer texture
- If you enjoy a thicker, creamier soup add the milk (or cream if you really want it reach).
- Add basil right before surviving along with salt and pepper to taste.
Mama Wieder’s Matzo Ball Soup
My mom is a skilled Matzo ball soup maker and this is how I have learned how to make light and fluffy matzo balls – always good for a cold! Be sure you take time and make these with love
Makes 8 to 12 matzo balls
1/2 cup matzo meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons seltzer or club soda (VERY IMPORTANT)
2-3 quartz chicken broth – if you want to make homemade stock ALL THE POWER TO YOU J I like swansons broth in the box best, 2 of those should work for a big pot
3-4 carrot, thinly sliced
1 bag egg noodles
A few sprigs of dill
- Mix all matzo ball ingredients in a bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Bring 1 1/2 quarts of well-salted water to a brisk boil in a medium sized pot.
- Reduce the flame. Run your hands under water so they are thoroughly wet. Form matzo balls by dropping spoonfuls of matzo ball batter approximately 1-inch in diameter into the palm of your wet hands and rolling them loosely into balls. Drop them into the simmering salt water one at a time. Cover the pot and cook them for 30 to 40 minutes.
- About ten minutes before the matzo balls are ready, bring chicken broth to a simmer.
- Add carrots and noodles for a slow cook, about 10 minutes.
- Ladle some soup and a couple matzo balls into each bowl and top with a couple snips of dill.