Looking for hearty, delicious meals that fits your food budget? Something really tasty to cheer everyone up on a gloomy winter day? Try fragrant soups and stews: Easy to make with ingredients you may already have; fills the house with tantalizing smells; gives your family an delicious hearty meal of veggies, protein, vitamins and minerals. A great way to use left-overs; stretch your food $$ with beans or lentils instead of costly meat. Stews become soups by adding more liquid or soup becomes a stews by using less liquid. Any way you like, the warm hearty flavor satisfies and comforts.
Start with basic veggie soup:
Chop an onion, some celery and a couple of carrots. Cook in a tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is soft. Include some garlic if you want.
Add a few cups of veggie or chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add "hard" veggies like parsnips, cauliflower, leeks or turnips. Season with your favorite spices. We recommend a bay leaf and a pitch of thyme.
Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the vegetables are slightly soft.
Add soft vegetables like greens, broccoli or peas in the last 5 minutes.
Taste, season and enjoy!
More protein? Add protein-rich beans like chick peas or lentils or
cooked chicken or beef for the last 5 to 10 minutes before serving. No left-overs? Buy beef chuck or chicken thighs on sale. Add to the broth, cooking for 20-30 minutes before adding veggies.
Toss in a can of tomatoes for more flavor and nutrition.
Soup or stew, this is a meal you can play with to satisfy everyone's taste. Delicious warmth, a taste you like, hearty nutrition with a big dose of vitamins and energy.
PLUS more $$ left in your food budget!
RECIPE: Pinto Bean and Andouille Sausage Stew From Eating Well - Makes 8 servings
1 pound dry pinto beans ** See note below
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
12 ounces of Andouille sausage or Italian sweet sausage
2 cups diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup each of diced red and green pepper
1-3 teaspoons chile pepper (serrano or jalapeno)
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 14 oz can of tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons of grated lime zest and juice of ½ lime
Place beans in bowl, cover with 3 inches of water and soak over night or for 6 hours
Heat oil in large casserole or Dutch oven. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally (7-10 minutes) Remove sausage and store in fridge.
Add onions and garlic cooking until soft. (3-5 minutes) Add peppers to taste. Cook until mixture is soft (3 minutes).
Stir in paprika. Add tomatoes.
Drain the beans. Stir in beans with 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Add sausage with salt and pepper. Continue simmering until beans are very soft and start to break apart. About 30 minutes. NOTE: Add more water if bean are dry. Stir in lime
** If you don't want to cook beans use 3 cans of beans or 6 cups of cooked beans. Add enough water to make an easy eatable stew. Heat to combine flavors. (Skip long cooking time) Add lime.
TIPS: "Souping up" Soup
Add leafy greens to soup at the end. Cook just enough so the greens wilt.
A teaspoon of corn starch dissolved in a about 1/3 cup of broth can thicken your soup. Dissolving the corn starch before you stir it into the soup prevents lumps.
Use beans instead of chicken or beef for good protein without extra fat. Beans give you fiber for healthy digestion, help reduce blood sugar AND save you $$.
Add cooked rice or noodles to your soup for a heartier dish. Cook separately and add at the end so rice and noodles don't get "mushy."
Dippers for Soup:
Got some stale bread? Toast it up. Cut it in finger size strips and serve with soup. Delicious dunked into soup.
For a crunchy side dish, try fast and easy Carrot, Beet and Apple salad. Shred or cut into small pieces 1 large beet, 3 carrots, 2 apples. Mix with 1 tsp olive oil and 3 tsp apple cider vinegar. Tangy, crunchy full of healthy nutrition.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Comment below, follow up on social media and join our mailing list for healthy recipes and tips on how to prepare your meals!