.

Solve your 6 o’clock dilemma of “What’s for Dinnerrrrr?”

It’s the perfect time to make delicious, healthy and budget friendly soups and stews. If you’ve never made a soup from scratch, don’t worry, it is much, much easier than it seems.



 By Nicole J. Straight


Hurricane Sandy and this weeks Nor’easter Athena have left many of us scrambling to plan well ahead for the family meals. Our personally busy days have been complicated by having kids home for days at a time, visiting the “other” parent out of scheduled times, and just trying to juggle life while dealing with fallen trees, broken hot water heaters, school scheduling changes...(the list of inconveniences goes on and on).  It’s the perfect time to make delicious, healthy and budget friendly soups and stews. If you’ve never made a soup from scratch, don’t worry, it is much, much easier than it seems.  Below is a list of what to stock in your pantry as well as simple recipes to make ahead and freeze or enjoy with (or without) the kids.

If you’ve never made a soup from scratch, don’t worry, it is much, much easier than it seems.  Below is a list of what to stock in your pantry as well as simple recipes to make ahead and freeze or enjoy with (or without) the kids.

Pantry List:

Olive oil

32 oz. containers of chicken stock or Better Than Bouillon Stock

Italian Seasoning- in the spice aisle

Chili Powder

Bag of lentils

Kosher salt and pepper

Frozen garlic, cilantro and basil

Frozen white or brown rice (available at most supermarkets)

Frozen diced onions

Frozen peas

Frozen cheese tortellini

Canned white beans

Canned black beans

Canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning

Boneless skinless chicken thighs

Diced carrots and celery (Mirepoix) is available from Trader Joe’s, but you can also
go to any salad bar and buy freshly chopped carrots and celery

2 limes

A nice chunk of Parmesan cheese for grating

Vegetable Soup (with our without chicken)

Heat
1 Tbs. olive oil in a large soup pot.  If using chicken, season chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper on both sides and add to pot.  Saute chicken for
2 minutes on medium high heat, then turn and add ½ C. each-frozen diced onions,chopped carrots and celery and 2 cubes each of frozen garlic and basil. 



Stir
to combine and continue cooking for another minute.  In a bowl, rinse ½ C, of lentils, drain and add to the soup pot.  Add a 32oz.container of chicken stock or 3 tbs. of Better than Bouillon and 4 cups of water.  Add 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning and 1 C. of diced tomatoes with liquid. Bring to a low boil, and add 1 C. drained white beans.  Continue cooking for at least 30 minutes.  Using 2 forks, pull cooked chicken apart( it will shred easily). Option-
add frozen tortellini if you’d like. Once tortellini float (about 2 minutes), the soup can be eaten with a generous grating of Parmesan Cheese and a simple green salad.

 

*Note- If you’re going to freeze this soup, don’t add tortellini. 
Let soup cool and freeze in 1 C. portions. 

Vegetarian Version-

Omit the chicken and add 1 C. frozen peas and 1 C. frozen rice for a
hearty soup.


Black Beans and Rice

Our family loves beans and rice, either eaten out of a bowl or rolled up in a
tortilla, this dish is a snap to make, freezes beautifully and can easily turn
into black bean soup. 



Heat
1 tbs. of olive oil in a medium sized nonstick pot.  Add 2 cubes each frozen cilantro and garlic.  Add ½ C. each- frozen diced onions and chopped carrots and stir to combine. Add 1½ C. black beans, ½ C. diced tomatoes and 1 Tbs. chili powder.  Stir and let cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes. 


Season to taste with salt and pepper and squeeze ½ lime over beans.  Microwave rice for 3 minutes before serving.  Can be garnished with sour
cream, shredded cheddar cheese or a few chopped jalapenos.

For black bean soup- add 24 oz. chicken stock and cook for at least 20 minutes on a medium boil.  Puree with an emulsion blender or enjoy
chunky.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a wedge of lime.


Note- This dish can easily become a vegetarian burrito by adding some chopped lettuce and tomato,and rolling the beans and rice in a flour tortilla.  These burritos can be frozen and microwaved for a later date. 


 "Divorce Information Now" is an ongoing column where readers can submit questions about divorce in the comment stream and we will respond in subsequent blogs. Find us at http://www.divorceinformationnow.com/ "

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something