Soup Shortcuts – All the Comfort; A Fraction of the Time
By: Esther Pransky, Lubicom Marketing Staff
You know fall is here when you start reading about comfort foods.
And the king of comfort foods is a hot bowl of soup.
Just thinking about a pot of lovingly chopped fresh veggies and homemade stock simmering on the stove for hours makes you feel warm all over.
But while we’d love to give that to our families, the time-consuming prep and hours of cooking aren’t practical for our busy lives.
So, let’s cheat a little. Here are ways to get your family that “soupy” goodness without hours and hours of work.
Cut the prep time
The veggies make the soup, but washing, peeling, and cutting them takes time you may not have.
So, don’t. You can get all those vegetables into the soup in no time by using:
- Frozen veggies such as carrots, corn, green beans, peas, peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, or sweet potato.
- Gefen cubes of frozen garlic or herbs
- Cut fresh veggies like carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms. Check your local produce section to see what else is available.)
Cleaning and prepping raw chicken bones are also labor-intensive. Instead, save the bones and leftover meat from cooked or rotisserie chicken. (Of course, not what was on individual plates!) Freeze in portions and throw into your soup as needed.
Easy prep soup recipes:
Cut the cooking time:
Sometimes, cutting the prep time isn’t enough. Those are nights when you need to have soup ready FAST. No simmering for hours on a low flame; the troops are hungry!
For faster soup, use as many pre-cooked elements as possible.
Fresh or frozen vegetables, for example, take time to soften. But canned veggies start soft and can be boiling in 10-15 minutes. Think tomatoes, corn, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, beans, or green beans. If it comes in a can, it can go into your soup.
Broth also takes time to simmer and absorb flavors. Instead, use a precooked base for your soup:
- Canned vegetable juices like tomato juice, V8, or carrot juice
- Boxed or canned soup broths
- Powdered soup mixes
Keep in mind that any pre-cooked option already has salt added, so adjust your seasonings accordingly.
Quick-cooking soup recipes:
Cut the serving time:
What if you need dinner hot and ready as soon as you walk in the door?
A crockpot (with a liner, of course) is the way to go.
Prep the soup the night before, put the crockpot in the fridge overnight, and then set it in the base in the morning. You’ll come home to the taste and smell of hot, nourishing soup.
Crockpots also work well if you have multiple dinner times. You can serve your first shift and then put the crockpot back in the base to stay fresh and warm for the next crew.
Easy crockpot soup recipes:
Who doesn’t want to save even more time? Here are some more tried-and-tested soup shortcuts:
- Use mesh bags for chicken, meat bones, or anything you want to strain out of your soup.
- Spice blends can save you time measuring individual spices.
- Sauté onions in a large batch. Then divide into portions and refrigerate or freeze. (About 3/4 cup equals one onion) You’ll have sauteed onions ready to go whenever you need them. Or save yourself the trouble and use Gefen Sauteed Onions instead.
Do you have any “souper” time-saving tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.