There is something distinctly different in the air – the days are shorter, the nights are cooler and leaves crunch with each step of my morning walk. It is fall, and I couldn’t be happier. After a summer of fresh fruits and vegetables, my palate is ready for something a bit more warming. Soup is the perfect food to usher in the change in season.
Before you start thinking, “I don’t have hours to spend simmering soup,” let me tell you soup can be one of the quickest and most versatile dishes in your recipe repertoire. Frozen vegetables, canned broth and even leftovers can make a delicious soup in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat a can of soup. But the results taste oh-so-much better. Add some bread or crackers for dunking, and your fast, satisfying meal is complete.
Take this Quick Vegetable Soup for instance. First, it is fast – 30 minutes and your easy dinner is done. Second, although delicious as written, it is also a great way to use up leftovers. Almost any vegetables in your crisper can be a supplement to or a substitute for the frozen vegetables in the recipe: green beans, zucchini or corn would be a welcome addition. Just keep the total amount of vegetables the same as in the recipe. Leftover cooked beef or chicken is a great way to make this into a heartier main dish soup – just stir it in with the pasta and allow it to heat through. And speaking of pasta, any short pasta shape would work here. Rotini is one of my favorites.
If your family is anything like mine, cheese is a welcome addition to any meal, and this Broccoli & Cheese Soup recipe is sure to please. Add some crusty bread and dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Leftover soup also makes a great lunch the next day.
If dinner just isn’t dinner without meat at your house, try this filling Italian Meatball and Noodle Soup recipe. Frozen Italian-style meatballs make this soup fast and add a ton of flavor. Try serving this one with garlic toast.
I must admit that though I love cream soups, I hate to think of all the fat and calories. This healthy Tuscan-Style Bean Soup recipe gives me all the creaminess without all the guilt. It is made with milk, not cream, and it has the benefit of fiber from the beans and spinach. Talk about stealth health!
The next time you’re looking for a quick dinner idea, remember a hot bowl of soup can fit the bill (and the belly).