A Fool-Proof Guide to the Perfect Bowl of Soup
By Life Time Foundation
Cold winter days are fast approaching, and there’s nothing like a comforting bowl of soup that will warm you all the way down to your soul. Follow these few steps to create the perfect batch of soup that will feed you and your family all week long.
1. The Base
Start your soup with a simple base of vegetable, chicken or beef stock or choose a zesty stew by using diced tomatoes or tomato puree.
2. Pick your protein
Every good soup warms you up and keeps you satiated throughout the day. A major key to creating a satisfying soup is to load it with protein. Choose a lean protein option like chicken, ground turkey, ground beef or steak.
Note: Always choose a protein that is free from hormones and antibiotics.
3. Bulk it up
Add some volume and fiber to your soup by including quinoa, wild rice, sweet potatoes, lentils or beans. These ingredients often take longer to cook than the rest of your soup, so be sure to test the tenderness before dishing up.
4. Add your veggies
Add your favorite veggies to boost the nutritional content of your soup. Vegetables are rich in fiber and various vitamins and minerals. They also add great texture to your soup, so you don’t want to miss this step! Choose seasonal veggies like carrots, onions, kale, zucchini, squash and peppers.
5.Add the flavor
Liven up your soups by adding fresh herbs and spices. Start with a little bit of salt and pepper. Add in various spices that are appropriate for your soup. For chili, some great Spices include cumin, paprika and chili powder. Use basil, oregano or parsley for Italian-styled soups, or try rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Other popular soup spices include ginger, nutmeg, garlic and onion powder. Start small with spices and add as you go to intensify flavor as needed.
To cook your perfect soup, start by prepping your ingredients. It’s important to chop your veggies roughly the same size, so they cook consistently and reach the same tenderness. Once your ingredients are prepped, brown and cook your protein by grilling, sautéing or baking. Once your protein is cooked, toss all of your ingredients, except your spices, in a crockpot or large soup pot. Simmer soup to cook it low and slow until your veggies, and grains or potatoes reach a desired tenderness. Add small amounts of spices as you go, and don’t be afraid to taste test along the way!
Freeze your extra soup in single serving freezer-safe bags for quick weeknight dinners.
Try the Life Time Foundation’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chili to get you started:
1 lb ground turkey
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
15 oz can kidney beans
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 yellow onion
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs cumin
2 tsp salt
3 cloves minced garlic
4 cup vegetable broth
1. Brown ground turkey on medium high heat
2. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks
3. Dice onion and jalapenos
4. Throw all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 8 hours (or until sweet potatoes reach desired tenderness).
For more information on the Life Time Foundation, to nominate your school district, or to donate please visit our website www.ltffoundation.org.