Friday, January 4, 2013

Vegetable Soup 101

Dare to cook. Dare to eat healthy. A bread machine and a crock pot can make your home smell warm and cozy after a long day. Turn on some music and light a candle, even if it's just for you.  After all, you're the only you we've got! C'mon. Dare to cook.  And, if you get confused, send me an email or, better yet, introduce yourself to that good cook in your church or workplace. Chances are, you'll make a new friend as well as figuring out the "whole cooking thing".

1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c chopped peppers (red, green, yellow, orange or combination)
1 carton or 1-2 cans of vegetable broth  
2-3 cups of mixed vegetables
1 can diced tomatoes (add a small can of tomato sauce for a richer tomato flavor)

salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t spices*, or to taste 
Fresh herbs*, or to taste

Optional: Lentils, Pasta, Barley

In a large saucepan, saute onions, celery, sweet peppers in olive oil until tender.  Add the broth, tomatoes, vegetables and seasonings*. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Yields about 4 servings.

Notes to Beginners: 

*Mixed Vegetables: frozen or fresh, any of the following: carrots, peas, potatoes, corn, green beans, spinach, collard greens, cabbage, broccoli,  mushrooms, sweet potatoes, canned beans....any combination you like! 

*spices: Thyme, Tarragon, Marjoram...This is a good place to try out new spices one at a time.  Most beginners are disappointed in their soup because of using too many different spices at once. Thyme is  a good choice to start with or to use if adding beef or chicken.  I always add tumeric to my soups because it's a detoxifying spice ~

*herbs: It will take more fresh herbs than dried herbs. I toss in about a 1/4 cup of herbs. I choose from chives, oregano, basil and rosemary. Stems will not get very tender, so use mostly leaves. I always add parsley because of it's detoxifying power~

Beef or Chicken: When not making vegetarian soup, I use homemade stock and add chopped beef or chicken. A carton of purchased stock would work just as well, but will have more sodium.

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