soup. I love to prepare it, I love when it simmers on the stove and
I especially love to eat it. Some of our earliest memories include
soup-our mothers may have served us chicken soup when we had the
sniffles or maybe as a hearty lunch. Whether it's prepared from
scratch or from a carton or can, soup has a lot going for it.
Soup can ladle up a lot of nourishment. It's an easy way to add
ingredients that provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber
and protein to your family's diet. You can even boost the nutrient
value of ready-made versions by adding beans or leftover veggies
like corn, peas, carrots, spinach or other greens.
There are so many different types of soup, you'll never get
bored. With chicken alone you have chicken noodle, chicken and
rice, tortilla, chicken barley, matzo ball or chicken vegetable.
Try preparing these with turkey for a heartier taste. Meaty soups
include beef barley, beef vegetable and split pea. Don't forget
vegetarian options such as vegetable, black bean, minestrone or
creamy potato leek. Favorite Chicago ethnic soups include Greek
avgolemono, Polish krupnik, Asian udon noodle, pasta fagioli and
fish soup. Hungry yet?
Soup night isn't hard to pull off if you're home during the day.
At mid-afternoon, grab your sharp knife, stockpot and soup
ingredients and start chopping. If you work outside the home or are
running your kids around after school, you can still serve soup if
you plan ahead. Either put your ingredients in a slow cooker the
night before or set aside some time on the weekend.
Cooking up a pot of soup can be a family affair on a cold
Saturday or Sunday afternoon. What's left over is like money in the
bank-you have a few more dinners just waiting there in the fridge.
Add a crusty loaf of bread plus salad and call it a meal.
Making soup is a time-honored way to stretch even the tightest
grocery budgets. Cooks have always turned little bits of this and
that into a tasty broth. In today's world, you can save the broth
from cooking potatoes and other vegetables in a container in the
freezer. A second container might hold dribs and drabs of veggies
too small to save for another meal that can be added to soup some
Cooking up a steaming kettle of soup can be fun. I find it
meditative and soothing when I'm chopping vegetables. Soup recipes
are the type where exact amounts usually aren't critical. Even kids
What about picking up some ready-made soup at the grocery store?
While you can't beat the convenience, consider their sodium levels.
Look for those with less than 500 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Add spices, such as garlic, basil, oregano, curry or Cajun
seasoning for extra taste. You can always toss in leftover veggies
to increase nutritional value. Or boost calcium and protein without
extra fat by adding skim milk, evaporated skim milk, dry milk or
calcium-fortified soy milk instead of water to condensed soups.
Nothing beats a bowl of hot soup on a cold wintry day. A soup
chock-full of vegetables that includes a small amount of meat or
poultry (or a bean-based soup) can provide a satisfying and
healthful meal. Every spoonful will make your family feel cared
for, nourished and loved. Consider serving soup to your brood more
often during these frigid, post-holiday weeks.
Sauté onion in the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until
soft. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, parsley, pepper, basil and
oregano. (If desired, lightly mash the tomatoes before adding
After bringing it to a boil, add the beans. Bring to a boil
again, lower the heat and simmer for a half hour. In the meantime,
boil water for the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente and drain,
reserving about two cups of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the
soup along with enough pasta water to thin to desired
Serve with freshly grated Romano cheese along with crusty
Italian bread. Makes about eight 1½ cup servings.
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is in private practice and teaches
nutrition students at Benedictine University in Lisle. Send your
questions and column ideas to her at (630) 369-8495 or [email protected]
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a nutritionist living in Naperville.
See more of Christine's stories here.
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