Monday, January 9, 2012

Easy Vegetable Soup

Warm soup for those chilly or downright cold winter days.

Ingredients
8 cups of water
8 tsp (or 2T + 2tsp) Better Than Bullion concentrated vegetable base

Variety of fresh and/or frozen vegetables
Pictured above I have frozen green beans and broccoli. Sweet potato, russet potato, zucchini, sweet onion, parsnip, rutabaga, carrot & celery.
**I also added spices like garlic, thyme, rosemary and pepper to taste. I also added 3 dried bay leaves. Be sure to remove the bay leaves before eating or make sure they don't make their way into your bowl. They are great for flavor but not so good to munch on.

Basically I added the water, broth base and spices to a large pot and brought it to a simmer.
While the broth was warming, I cut up all the veggies.
I placed the harder veggies in first to simmer as they need a longer time to cook (potatoes, carrot, rutabaga and onion).
Next I added the frozen and soft veggies (green beans, broccoli, celery and zucchini).
Let that simmer for maybe 5 min at the most then turn the heat OFF. Over cooking can happen quickly and the veggies will get mushy...you don't want than. Those softer veggies don't need a lot of cooking time and they will soften up more in the hot broth even with the heat off.
The spinach gets added to a bowl then topped with the hot soup, that's enough warmth for spinach to wilt and incorporate into the individual bowl of soup.
 This was my final product...I forgot to add the spinach for this pic.

This is a veggie soup but pre-cooked chicken or beef can be added. Also, white beans would be a good addition. Or throw in some cooked brown rice or quinoa. For a spicy mexican version you can add 1-2 seeded jalapeno peppers, chili powder, cumin, diced tomato, black beans or corn. Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Also, remember cooking grains and meats ahead of time will make it easy to add to just about anything. I don't like rules in cooking...I just throw in what I like, what I have on hand or what sounds good at the time. You can always ADD more spices/flavor but you can't take them away so add slowly, taste and add more spice/flavor as you'd like.
I hope this gives you a great place to start and then you can add and modify as YOU would like!

MAKE TODAY COUNT!
Slow and Steady wins the race...so take baby steps as you make lifestyle changes!