Winter Gloom Getting to You? Cheer Up with Bowls of Comfort

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

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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