Our family enjoys soup year round. For most of my married life, I made soup from a recipe. Then my daughter, Anna, introduced me to making soup with a general plan but not specifics. Isn’t it great when our children become our teachers? I’d like to share today how to make healthy, simple soup.
General Soup Plan
meat (ham, chicken, beef, ground beef)
chopped or frozen veggies
seasonings—salt, garlic salt, pepper, beef or chicken broth base (those are our basics but we use basil, thyme, marjoram, and other spices)
Any time I have meat bones, I put them in the instant pot with at least 8 to 12 cups of water and make broth, more if it will fit in the Instant Pot. Generally, I am not making the soup right then so I put the broth in containers, label, and freeze them for a soup-making day.
Onion, Garlic, and Celery
On soup making day, I dice an onion or two and several cloves of garlic depending on the size of the soup batch. Usually I make as big a pot of soup as I can so I will have plenty of leftover soup.
Then I sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes in the soup pot, add the broth and chopped celery (usually 1/2 head of celery) bringing it to a simmer for a couple of hours.
Other Soup Vegetables
For the soup vegetables almost anything goes that you like.
Here are some of our favorites:
I try to keep a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables and another one of corn (we get them from Costco) on hand for when I have less time to chop and dice vegetables. Then all I need to do is dump the vegetables into the soup pot from the bag. If I ever have extra time and extra vegetables I put the vegetables through the food processor, flash freeze them, and then bag them for the freezer and future easy use.
Carrots (for our soup this might be 1-2 lbs) and potatoes (4 or 5 or more) go into the soup an hour or two before serving depending on how big the diced chunks are and how long I think it will take them to soften. The green beans usually take longer than I expect, too, so they go in with the carrots and potatoes.
Store-bought frozen mixed vegetables only take as long as the bag directs, usually 5-10 minutes.
Whatever kind of broth I am using, that is kind of meat I use. When I initially cook the meat, if there is any extra after that meal, I cube the meat and freeze it for the soup. Sometimes, I will have enough meat for two or even three batches of soup, such as from a ham. Other times, it is just a small amount of meat, and I need to cook more meat to put into the soup.
When I make the bone broth, I pick any meat off the bones that were left on it, put it in a ziplock, and label it for soup use.
If I don’t have any soup meat stored in the freezer, I can always brown a couple of pounds of ground beef as the meat.
I generally add the meat near the end.
We put in at least 1/2 tsp of pepper
2 tsp salt
and several shakes of garlic salt
Then we add more of those and other spices based on taste testing.
Anna is our best taste tester. She seasons the soup at the end by tasting, adding spices, and tasting again.
Sometimes for variety, we add tomato sauce or paste.
When we serve our soup, we have rice or pasta to go in it. We add those to individual bowls of soup, allowing each person to choose how much he wants in his serving. By doing it this way, the noodles are not soggy when we have leftover soup like they are if we add the pasta to the soup pot. And the rice doesn’t absorb all the soup broth in the leftover soup like it does when we add the rice right into the soup pot.
Maybe I can do another post on the bean soups that Steve and I eat. I don’t do them for the girls because one of them doesn’t do well eating beans. But if no one in your family has that problem, beans are another great soup addition or simply making beans the main part of the soup rather than meat.
Complicated or Simple?
If that sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Once you have done the process just a few times, it becomes automatic and simple. Often I plan soup based on my supply of vegetables. If I bought a big bag of potatoes for a good price, and still have several left as they are getting older, I will probably make some soup to use them up.
What about your soup making? What tips and tricks can you share with me? I would like to learn more about soup making from you!
Trusting in Jesus,
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust,
so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the
flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).