Damp, chilly, often rainy days turning you into a gloomy mess? Don't despair! Cheer everyone up with a fragrant, steaming soup or stew. Soups & Stews: Easy to makewith ingredients you may already have at home; fill the house with tantalizing smells to warm you up on damp dreary days; give your family an easy-to-eat hearty meal chockful of veggies, protein, vitamins and minerals. A great way to use left-overs. Stews become soups by adding more liquid or soup becomes a stews by using less liquid. Any way you prefer, it's the warm taste that comforts.
Start with these basics:
- Chop an onion, some celery and a couple of carrots. Add in a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until the onion is soft. Include some garlic if you want.
- Add a few cups of veggie or chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Add "hard" veggies like parsnips, cauliflower, leeks or turnips. Season with your favorite spices. We recommend a bay leaf and a pitch of thyme.
- Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
- Add soft vegetables like greens, broccoli, green beans or peas in the last 5 minutes.
- Taste, season and enjoy!
Need more protein to satisfy your "meat-eaters?" Add cooked chicken, beef or beans for the last 5 to 10 minutes before serving. No left-overs? Buy beef chuck or chicken on sale. Cook ahead or add to the broth and cook pieces for 20-30 minutes before adding veggies. Toss in a can of beans or tomatoes for more flavor & nutrition.
Soup or stew, this is a meal you can play with to satisfy everyone's taste. Enjoy your creativity!
Recipe: Pollo Guisado
Recipe from DelishDLites.com
Chicken stew with a Puerto Rican flavor. Add more veggies like green beans or broccoli.
One pound of chicken, wings, thighs or legs
½ teaspoon adobo seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon of sofrito
1 packet of Sazon seasoning with annatto
1 tablespoon + one teaspoon of powered chicken bouillon
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 cups water
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup parsnips or potatoes, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 10-12 pimento stuffed olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Season the chicken with Adobo seasoning. In a large pot, heat olive oil, add chicken & brown for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken & set aside.
To the same large pot, add sofrito, Sazon, tomato sauce, chicken bouillon, Italian seasoning, water, parsnips, carrots, bay leaves and olives. Bring to a boil and add the chicken back in.
Lower the heat to a simmer; cook for 25-30 minutes until chicken is done.
Check seasoning. Stir in chopped cilantro and serve.
Serve with rice or crusty bread for dipping.
Note: Left-overs: Cook without chicken until parsnips are tender. Add chicken for the last 5 minutes. More additions: Add frozen veggies the for last 6 minutes, just enough to defrost & warm.
Tips: "Souping up" Soup
Add leafy greens to soup at the end. Cook just enough so the greens wilt.
Use beans instead of chicken or beef for good protein without extra fat. Beans have fiber for healthy digestion, antioxidants for better health, and save you $$.
- Add cooked rice or noodles for a heartier dish. Cook separately and add at the end so rice and noodles don't get "mushy."
Soup or Stew? A teaspoon of corn starch dissolved in a about 1/3 cup of broth can thicken your soup & make it a stew. Dissolving the corn starch before you stir it in prevents lumps.
Dippers for Soup: Toast up stale bread. Cut it in finger size strips and serve with soup. Delicious dunked into soup.
Fast Salad: For a crunchy side dish, try fast & easy Carrot, Beet & Apple salad. Shred or cut into small pieces 1 large beet, 3 carrots, 2 apples. Mix with1 tsp olive oil & 3 tsp apple cider vinegar. Tangy, crunchy full of flavor...and full of cold fighting Vitamin A & C plus potassium & magnesium.
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