Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This was my yummy lunch today.
Winter is here.  It's gray.  It's wet.  It's cold.  It's blustery.

Perfect soup eating weather!

Can you tell I'm trying to look for the positives in this winter situation we have?!

I tried a new soup for lunch today.  It's far healthier than my usual Campbell's kind of soup. I checked out the label before I bought it & was happy to see that it contained no weird things I couldn't understand, all the ingredients were organic, & there was no added sugar or salt.  Win!  Then as I compulsively placed it in my grocery cart I checked the price.  Fail!  So my pantry still holds several of those red & white cans.  When I read the labels I'm just blown away by the sodium & the sugar.  But the convenience is so fabulous...& their soups have the flavor my palette is accustomed to...their soup is fairly inexpensive & widely available...

But all those excuses do not really make up for the fact that these processed soups do not meet up with my intentions for this year.  I need to remember my 12 for 2012!  I was thinking that in pursuit of my goals regarding eating more healthful, unprocessed foods I need to try making my own soup.

I have tried soup making in the past with moderate success.  I make a mean chili (with pumpkin!), creamy vegetable chowder, & beef stew.  The problem is, all of these recipes make a huge batch & I know for certain that the vegetable chowder does not freeze well (you can take my word on it *shudder*).  I'm mostly interested in some soups that I can make a smallish batch (hopefully in the crock pot), portion out & then take to work for my lunch.

I am also interested in making my own stock for the soups.  I have a package of local free range chicken necks & backs in my freezer right now.  Doesn't that just sound awful - necks & backs?!  Anyway, I was assured they were great for making chicken soup.  Problem is, I don't really know what to do with it & what to add to it & how to do it...

And to take things even one step further into unknown territory for me, I would like to start using dried beans instead of canned beans.  Once again, I'm just not sure how to approach it.

I know that I can probably find all the answers I'm looking for plus a whole lot more if I just did a big swagbucks search & waded through the plethora of information out there on the internet.

But before I do that, I kinda just want to ask you guys instead *grin*
So hit me!  Tell me all that you know about soup making!


Karen said...

Broth is the easiest thing on the planet. It's just chicken-flavored water! Place the chicken pieces in your crock pot, along with some S&P, & maybe veggies...whatever you have! Old bits of celery, onion for sure, maybe carrots. I've also used squash pieces. They're just for flavor and nutrients anyway. I also add parsley and a bay leaf. Fill up with water and cook away! Strain everything out and discard all but the meat. (IF YOU WANT IT, that is!) And now you have a crock full of delicious broth!

TwoMuths said...

I agree with Karen, for chicken stock I personally always throw in a clove or two of garlic, onion, and carrots. Celery if I have it. I make it on the stove, simmering on low all day, because I don't have a giant crock pot. Then I strain off all the stuff and freeze the stock in 2-cup amounts in a a quart size freezer bag. Lay it flat before freezing or it will take to thaw.

As for dried beans, simply rinse, place in a bowl with water to the top of the bowl and soak overnight. In the morning, rinse again and put in your crock pot. cover with water + 2 inches. Cook on low all day. DO NOT add salt or it will take longer to cook. Salt the beans when soft. So easy, so delicious. I wish I had some, actually. And if you forget to soak overnight, there is a "quick soak method" for which instructions are on the package. *grin*

Steve n Vickie said...

Wow, you're really ambitious. You go girl. I looked up chicken stock/broth in 3 of my favorite Cookbooks : Crock-pot~The Original Slow Cooker recipe Collection, Bettter Homes and Gardens, and Betty Crocker Cook Book. All of them had a recipe. My vote would be Crock Pot, since I'm a big fan of fix it and leave it.

On another note, I started a new blog and would love for you to stop by and check it out. The link is on Quest for Common Sense.

Carrie said...

Karen & Jenny already gave you great tips on making broth/soup, but I wanted to let you know I just posted a new (to me) soup recipe on my blog. :) I think it might be one you'd enjoy! Glad you are back to posting again; I love reading your fun posts!

Joyce said...

Usually, I just cook the necks and backs covered in water for a couple hours. Then I can freeze the chicken broth or use as a base for any soup or additional liquid in other casseroles. Then, when I make my soup, I add my seasonings to be soup specific. :)

Sometime this winter, I am going to try canning dried beans to make meal time quicker.