Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fresh From the Garden: Hearty vegetable soup

I’m going to wrap up this year's Fresh from the Garden series with a recipe using those extra veggies you may have frozen or canned over the summer. You can’t beat a hearty, homemade vegetable soup when you start to feel that chill in the air! I had some okra and celery (received from the co-op) that I’d chopped and frozen just for this cause. Canned tomatoes? Frozen corn or butter beans? Green beans? Whatever you’ve got—toss it in. There’s a host of options and a lot of leeway to get creative. Think stew beef, barley, chicken or rice as additional options. My favorite way to cook it is in the crock pot because then I can say I’m cooking dinner while I’m at work! Plus the slow simmer blends the flavors that make you just want to cuddle up at home. What could be easier for busy families? Plus it's a dish that all can enjoy. Mix up a batch of cornbread to go with it…now we’re talking comfort food!

This is really very much of a no-recipe recipe, but here’s a base to get you going:

  • 1 pound meat
  • 6 medium potatoes, cubed (swap these out for soup made with barley or rice)
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 cups okra, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 carrots (2 cups), chopped
  • 2 cups frozen, cut green beans
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • 32 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 44 ounces (3 cans) diced or whole tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Stove recipe:
Lightly brown meat in an 8-quart pot. Drain off fat. Add all other ingredients, stir to combine, cover and simmer for at least one hour, or until vegetables are tender.

If you’re cooking it in the crockpot, brown your meat first on the stove. Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Makes approximately 28 cups (just 100 calories each!).

So that’s it for the summer harvest, but it doesn’t mean the healthy recipes end here. Subscribe to be a GoodFoodie and don’t miss a thing!

Are you interested in seeing how these recipes are used in a weekly meal plan? Need help with weight loss? Visit my website for more information about my services, including pre-designed meal plans, coming soon!