It is said that the shoemaker’s children never have shoes. So it could be said for the chef’s children- they only eat (gluten free) toast! Thank heavens the Kitchen Divas in Training are no strangers to meal creation! Over the last month we’ve been working round the clock to bring our gluten free baking mixes to market. Since time has been at a premium and the weather has cooled off, we’ve relied on soups, stews, and the occasional take-out to stay well nourished.
Most soups can be on the table in 30 minutes and clean-up is easy. We’ve frequently found ourselves dumping our leftovers into the stock pot and coming up with a quick meal- preventing food waste and saving money. But- in order to do that and have the finished product taste delicious, we’ve learned there are a few essential ingredients to keep around the house. These are the basics- if you have these and nothing else, you’ll still have a great soup, but add these to any premade box soup, pile of fresh/frozen vegetables, or leftovers- you’ll be smiling all the way through dinner!
Here’s what we recommend:
Onions- Onions are a staple base flavor- throw them in raw to a box of tomato soup, add a little kale and you’ve got a zesty, nutritious addition that will liven your ‘cuppa’ soup. Carmelize them first for a sweet addition, or use them as part of a classic “mirepoix” (pronounced Meer-Ah-Pwah)which is the traditional french base for most soups and stews. Onions are also rich in quercetin- those same great immune boosters found in apples.
Carrots- reference the above for classic mirepoix. Carrots add a level of sweetness to any soup, and they’re rich in beta-carotene – an important anti-oxidant!
Kale- Most of us don’t get enough fresh green vegetables in the winter. Our secret? Chop up kale and put it in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour the steaming liquid over it. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale perfectly, preserving its nutrients.
Sausage- most of the time a pound of sausage (link or bulk) is the perfect protein addition to any soup. We use this on the days when our vegetable soup needs to be heartier, or when we want a bolder flavor. Go for the strongly flavored sausages like hot italian sausage, chorizo (not exactly a sausage, but you get the idea). We also like sausages that have plenty of fennel. (You could also use any leftover meat in the fridge- we’ve made soup with chicken, pork, potroast, hamburger…whatever’s on hand)
Starches- Could be a lonely forgotten potato, rice or quinoa, or even a handful of pasta. We use this when we need to fill out a thin soup.
Sea Salt or Chicken Stock- sometimes you want one- sometimes the other. If we’re adding sausage to a pot, the flavors might compete with chicken stock. If we’re using just vegetables, sometimes the chicken stock adds a richness.
Canned Beans- we always have a variety of canned beans on hand- our favorites for soups (When we’re not making chile) are the white beans. Red Kidneys come in a close second. High in fiber and protein, beans are an excellent addition- especially if you want to avoid meat.
What else is on hand? Really, that answer is up to you and your imagination. We just finished reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder..As a child, I thought it was the most boring book of the series. As an adult- the most captivating. We’ve been inspired by the Ingalls’ resourcefulness to not waste so much food in our fridge.
Need some recipe inspiration? Try one of these delicious soups on the Adventuresome Kitchen Soup Page