My Recipes: Twice-Good Soup

So yesterday I posted about some yummy eats I'd found on the net, including a very pretty minestrone soup. Inspired, and in the mindset for some soup of my own, I checked the pantry and fridge drawers to see what I had on hand to whip up my own recipe.

Over the weekend I'd bought two squash. I had a can of corn, tomato sauce and chicken stock... but no beans. Wait a second, I thought, as my eye spotted some Ranch Style pinto beans with jalapenos. Hmm, that'll work. I pulled out a can of artichokes while I was at. What the heck.
Once I find a couple key ingredients, I'd rather avoid a trip to the store and substitute other things I've got on hand. 
And that's where I come up with my oddball mix of soup I tossed in a pot and then deliciously devoured. It even got a thumbs up from the husband! Then today, I found a way to revive it a little with an additional ingredient sitting lonesome on a refrigerator shelf.

Here's the soupy lowdown...

1 can of corn, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained (with or without jalepenos, doesn't matter... you can use any type of beans you want!)
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1-3 squash chopped (zucchini or yellow squash)
1 onion chopped (all I had was 1 shallot, so I used that)
A palmful of basil
A palmful of thyme
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Once-Good Soup
Swizzle about two circles of olive oil in your pot and heat on med high. Sautee your squash and onion in the oil until they start to get tender and soft. Then ceremoniously pour in all your remaining ingredients, including basil, thyme and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer (a very light boil) for about 20 minutes over med low heat. Top a steaming bowl with some low-fat mozzarella cheese (or any kind of cheese you like) and serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Twice-Good Soup
Dig around in your fridge for any items that might have been forgotten or are close to expiring. I had a bag of shredded chicken that needed some attention, so I topped off a bowl of soup leftovers with the chicken and some cheese and reheated in the microwave. You could add more vegetables, beef or pasta to your leftover soup to revive it with a new look and improved taste.

The whole point to today's recipe post is to remind folks that you don't need a tried-and-true recipe, you don't need every single ingredient (unless you're baking), you can cook to taste, and it's all about using what you got. 
"Waste not, want not," as my mom always says.
If you're not an accomplished cook, or feel a little timid when it comes to banging pots and pans in the kitchen, start out with easy stuff like soup. You can throw just about any mixture of stuff into a pot, let it simmer on low for about 30 minutes and come out swinging full of good flavor. Veggies are easy to use - chop up your favorite... onions, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, squash, potato... and sautee them in a pan with a little olive oil for a couple minutes. Then add any meat or canned beans, tomato sauce and/or chicken or beef stock and some seasonings, then clap on the lid and you're good to go!

Basil and thyme are good go-to seasonings. They compliment an awful lot of dishes, from chicken to soups to pasta to beef. If you're cooking fish, don't be shy with the lemon juice - it cuts the super fishy taste and makes it taste fresh and a little citrus-y.

I tend to plate my meals following a standard rule: a little meat, lots of veggies and a little bit of carbs. I give the husband a bit more carbs on his plate than mine, since it doesn't seem to stick to his waist like me. Carbs come in the form of whole grain rice, steamed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes or whole grain pasta. And I usually steam my veggies with lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper -  no butter, no olive oil! That way I can eat as many helpings of vegetables as I want, knowing it's healthy for me and I can get full without overloading on fatty foods. When it comes to meats, I usually stick to pork chops (a great lean meat), lots of chicken, fish (tilapia, salmon or shrimp) and the occasional steak or ground beef for pasta.

So with that little cooking and pairing lesson, I hope I inspired you to pop in the Julie & Julia DVD, then click on My Recipes and find one that'll get you started! Just remember, the kitchen is your friend and you are in charge.

1 comment:

  1. Great post and good advice! I have a mostly eaten chicken from the grocery store....after reading this I am now going to toss that baby complete with the seasoned drippings it is sitting in (that I have taken teaspoon by teaspoon and put July's rx in! She loves it!) and simmer it up with some pasta .....drain...cool....add salad stuff and some Caesar dressing....I'll figure it out as I go.


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