I spent the entire morning shoveling and am going to have to go out and resume momentarily. Hope to get some pictures, too!
I came in tired and hungry and I hadn't been able to go to the store because of the weather, so I didn't have what I wanted for lunch. I like to challenge myself to make something both healthy and tasty from what I have on hand. And since I was cold from shoveling, I made a simple soup. I had made another different one earlier in the week I'd intended to write about but never had time. So today I thought I'd rest before resuming shoveling by writing this down. The soup came out great.
Basic 4-ingredient soup (with additions later)
- vegetable (s)
- protein (s)
- salt (and spices, opt)
Now, how to do it:
- measure about a cup of water per person, more if you're very hungry. (No that water won't make you satisfied by itself, but will provide space for the other ingredients.) Use a pan that is somewhat larger than the amount you want, but not a lot larger. (More energy efficient, quicker, more environmental, more economical). Bring to a boil.
- While the water is heating, choose one or more vegetables. If more than one, choose some you like that go well together. Cut them into bite-size pieces (any size you like--smaller ones cook faster.) Today I used spinach and zucchini. I often use broccoli. For each person, as 1/2-3/4 c vegetables (You can use more or less depending on whether you like your soup chunky or brothy), finely cut--or however you want them. Put them in the boiling water.
- Choose a protein. Tofu works. Beans. Fish, shrimp, chicken, or any combination you like together. I had chicken today. Cut into bite-size pieces (or any size you like). Add 2-4 oz about the amount that the palm of your hand would make if cut up. add to soup pot. Cook briefly, about 5 minutes.
- salt to taste. Pepper, garlic powder opt. (Sprinkle salt over the pan).
OK, for the additions.
- you can add a little wine or balsamic vinegar--I added vinegar to mine today, just a little--careful, not too much. 1 1/2 t vinegar or 2 T wine. Or you can add both. I like both, but BB does not.
- fresh onion and garlic--saute in butter or olive oil. add 1 rounded tablespoon flour. Add a little of the broth in, mix it in, then add the onion and garlic to the soup--presto--a thicker, spicier soup. Use one small to medium clover of garlic and or a few slices of onion. I did not use these today.
- Milk or cream--mmmm--cream soup. Use less water to start with and add the equivalent amount of milk or cream--near the end. If you put the cream or milk in a jar with a rounded T flour and shake, and then pour it into the soup, it will thicken the soup--or you can saute flour in butter or olive oil as above--don't do both. One or the other. I can have dairy, so I didn't do this, but I often do it for BB.
- starch: add any kind of pasta in small quantities, or rice--cook it first unless it's quick cooking, or use left-overs, or potato, or oatmeal--yes oatmeal--it's good in soup--or barley, or cous cous. I love little pastinas. I have many varieties, but used none today. Also beans, peas, garbanzos etc. (making pea soup or lentil soup is a little different).* But you can add some to your soup--best if they are already leftovers or if you precook them--otherwise they take too long to cook for this recipe
- aromatic herbs and spices--experiment. Start out with just a little. I like to add jerk spices or hot spices or basil, etc. Today I added none of those. I made a simple but yummy soup.
- gumbo: use chicken or fish, or tofu, add shrimp, and sausage. Be sure also to add Okra if you can get it. Just a few for authenticity, slices crosswise fairly thin.
- Leftovers--soup is a good way to use up small portions of leftovers! You can make a yummy kitchen sink soup with various things from the fridge--everything but the kitchen sink. A good stirfry or even a good salad can make a good soup later.
- au jus, broth--save your meat and veggie dripping and broth to add to your soup--mmmm!
- eggs: egg drop and egg flower soups are yummy, just drop an egg into the hot soup and cook till it's done for egg drop, or stir for egg flower.
- tomatoes, V8 juice, tomato juice. For a really quick tomato-based soup, if you're in a hurry, use V8 juice, or tomato juice. Other wise, dip tomatoes in boiling water and pull off the skins. This is easier than it sounds--use a slotted spoon for dipping them.
- I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Start simple, and when you're confident, experiment. It's tasty, nutritious, and warming on cold days!
And be "Creative Every Day " in everything you do!