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Soups On! You In?

Soups On! You In?

Looking for an easy dinner idea that’ll warm you down to your toes? A simple bowl of soup can be the cozy answer on chilly evenings. From a soothing chicken noodle, perfect when you’re under the weather, to the undeniable cozy comfort of a hearty stew, every spoonful is oh-so-satisfying.

Save time and money by making your own soups and stocking your freezer. Use small kitchen appliances like a slow cooker or a food processor to speed up prep work. Want more tips? Try these ideas and you’ll be into a big bowl of delish in no time.


Assemble all of your ingredients before starting, and incorporate a few time-savers like these:
•Use a food processor for chopping vegetables and mincing onions or herbs
•Consider buying pre-cut or pre-trimmed meats and veggies if time crunched
•Wait to add green peas, pasta and herbs until about 10 minutes before serving
•Skip picking over and soaking dry beans and substitute the canned variety


Most soups that can be made on the stove top can go in a slow cooker, too. Assemble in the morning and come home to a ready-to-eat dinner.

•To increase your recipe using a slow cooker, double all ingredients, except the liquid and seasoning, which you should only increase by half.
•If the recipe calls for a thickener, use the suggested amount and then add more at the end, if needed.
However, there are a few perks when cooking soup on the stove top. It’s quick (usually ready in less than an hour) and you have the option of tasting along the way and adjusting seasonings.


It’s easy to make a large quantity of soup and save some for later, especially if you’re using a slow cooker or good-sized stockpot. In general, 1 cup of soup is considered a serving, which helps to determine how much to portion out for now and how much to store for later. For proper storage, follow these useful guidelines:

•Always cool soup to room temperature before covering/sealing and storing
•Airtight containers make it easy to store large amounts
•To freeze individual or two-person servings, try Snapware® Total Solution™ food storage containers, or Pyrex® No-Leak™ Lids.
•Some ingredients freeze better than others—avoid freezing soups with potatoes, fruit or dairy
•For noodle or rice soups, cook and store the pasta or rice separately
•Always label leftovers with the date they were made or frozen
•Leftover soup will last in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 days
•Most broth-based soups will last in the freezer for up to 3 months

Although great recipes abound, soup is also easy to improvise. With a base of broth or stock, you can have fun experimenting with different flavors and combinations of meats, vegetables, legumes, pasta, rice and seasonings. Whether you’ve made up your own or faithfully re-created Mom’s signature recipe, the comforting aroma of simmering soup will bring smiles of anticipation.

YOUR TURN: What’s your favorite soup to make in big batches?


YIELD: 8 servings
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 8 hours 25 minutes

1 carton (32 oz) chicken broth (4 cups)
4 cups spicy tomato juice
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)
1 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
Croutons (any variety)
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix all ingredients except peas, croutons and cheese.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.

Stir in peas. Increase heat setting to High. Cover; cook 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle each serving with croutons and cheese.


YIELD: 6 servings
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour

3 cans (10½ oz each) condensed chicken broth
2 cups water
½ cup uncooked wild rice
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ cup sliced green onions
½ cup butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups half-and-half
1½ cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry, if desired

In Dutch oven or large saucepan, stir together broth, water and wild rice. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 45 to 55 minutes or until rice is tender.

About 15 minutes before rice is tender, spray 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onions; cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peppers are crisp-tender. Add butter; heat until melted. Stir in flour, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Cook and stir 1 minute or until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in half-and-half; cook and stir until slightly thickened.

Stir in chicken, spinach, sherry and cooked rice. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until hot and spinach is wilted.


YIELD: 6 servings
PREP TIME: 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes

4 oz uncooked Japanese udon noodles
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks lemon grass, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5¼ cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 box (9 oz) frozen peas

Cook and drain udon noodles as directed on package. Meanwhile, spray 4-quart saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken; set aside.

In same pan, melt butter. Add onion, carrots and lemon grass; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in ginger and garlic; cook 1 minute or until fragrant.

Stir in broth, water, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, peas, noodles and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot.