Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy Home Made Soup (Recipe, Pics & Review)

I think I have told you all before that finding dinners for my family is often challenging.  The main reason being my 16 year old daughter has been a vegetarian for about 4 years now.  That means I have to make dinners for 4 carnivores and 1 herbivore, so I need recipes that are easily modifiable to vegetarian.

Tonight I was going to go straight vegetarian with a home made Vegetarian Vegetable Soup.  I told this to my husband, Jeff, and he says, "What?  No meat?"  *sigh*  I can never win.  Fortunately I had cooked up some chicken for tomorrow night's dinner yesterday, so all I had to do was cut it up and heat it.  Usually I wouldn't have had any defrosted if I wasn't planning on using it that day.  He just happened to luck out.

I made a recipe once for a Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, which I may post one day, but I changed a few things on that recipe to come up with the Vegetable Soup I made tonight.  Please note, when you read the ingredients, I did use canned corn, peas and green beans.  You could greatly reduce the sodium content by using fresh or frozen vegetables.  Also, my store doesn't carry low sodium vegetable broth.  If yours does, you should get that.  The nutritional values at the end are for the ingredients I used.  Here are the ingredients:

6-8 Servings

1 1/2 C (or 1 can) corn
1 1/2 C (or 1 can) peas
1 1/2 C (or 1 can) green beans
6.5 oz (about 2 bunches or 4 C) fresh spinach, stems cut off, leaves cut in half
1 small can diced fire roasted tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 C vegetable broth
1 med to large onion, chopped
3 C frozen hash browns or diced potatoes
2 C butternut squash, cooked
Real shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish

To cook the squash, cut in half length-wise and put face down in a baking dish.  Add about 1 inch of water to the dish and bake at about 400F for around 45 minutes to 1 hour, until fork tender.  Take out of the oven, seed it, and cut it up with the skin removed.  (Or just scoop it out of the skin.)
My daughter, Sara, helped me tonight.  She had fun seeding the squash.
1.  Put a little canola oil in a pan, heat it up and add onions and garlic.  Cook onions and garlic until they are golden.
2.  In a blender, put the can of tomatoes, 2 C of cooked butternut squash, onions and garlic.  Process until smooth.  Add to soup pot.

3.  To the soup pot add in the 4 C of vegetable broth.
4.  Add in all the vegetables except the spinach.  Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  If you know how to use herbs, this would probably taste good with a little oregano and/or basil.  I'm just not familiar with using them in recipes I create and wouldn't know how much to add for it to taste good.
5.  About 3 minutes before serving add spinach to pot and stir.

At this point, if you would like to add some chicken or beef, instead of adding it to the pot which would defeat it being a vegetarian dish, just add some meat to the bottom of the bowls for your carnivores.

6.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with a little bit of Parmesan cheese.

I really like this soup.  I am going to get more daring with a few herbs, though.  The fire-roasted tomatoes and the squash give it both a little zest and body.  I'm not a big fan of squash, but I like it in this recipe because it is not an overpowering flavor.  I'm sure that fresh/frozen vegetables would be much better than the canned I used...and way better on the sodium, too.  My family all liked it with the chicken, except Sami, of course, who liked it just vegetarian.  It would be really good served with a nice little side salad as well.  With the cooler weather coming (soon, I hope!) soups will probably be a good go-to meal for a lot of people.  This one is relatively easy and it's pretty quick to make.  It's not one of those that has to cook for hours and hours.  The longest thing is cooking the squash, but all that is is putting it in the oven and letting it go.  It's pretty difficult cutting a raw butternut squash, though, so use a large knife and please be careful!

Here are the nutritional values per serving (based on 6 servings):  209 calories, 1g fat, 1079mg sodium (remember, use fresh/frozen vegetables to cut this number way down!), 1052mg potassium (wow!), 45g carbs, 7.9g fiber and 7.75g protein.  (5 Points Plus) If you add chicken or beef, remember to add those calories and protein on to these numbers.

If you try this, let me know if you add any herbs to it, how you like it, how much of what you added, etc.  Then I can try it, too, and put out an update.  Leave me a comment here or drop me a line at happyfairylove@live.com.  PLEASE tell your friends and family about my blog.  I'd really like to get more readers, and if you mention it to people you never know who may thank you for hooking them up with some good, healthy recipes and info.

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