Friday, October 18, 2013

Favourites on Friday- Soup Time

Brrr.... it's flipping cold! I guess 7 in October is par for the course at this time of year but we've been spoilt these last couple weeks.... the perfect time for some soup!

Our family of four loves soup in these colder months. I'm always trying new recipes. We've done broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin and hot and sour  to name a few but there are a few I come back to. I thought I would share those with you.

A few things to mention before:
1- I always do a big batch at the beginning of the week- say Monday or Tuesday. That day we usually have the soup for dinner and then Darin can usually take it to work for lunch the following day (in a thermos) and Anjali and I can have it at lunch time for two or even three days at a time.
2- I usually keep both chicken and vegetable stock  (MSG free) on hand as well as a variety of fresh and dried herbs  and spices that I can use.
3- As I am usually on some low cal meal plan, I try to cut the fat and calories when I can. I don't use fat free but use low fat stuff and sneak veggies in whenever I can. Hence the reason point #2 is so important.

So here we go, my favourite soups through the fall and winter:

Butternut Squash soup

Photo taken from Sun Warrior

I  made my own recipe for this after mixing and matching different recipes online.

BASIC Ingredients:
1 butternut squash
1 yellow onion (and whatever else you have on hand, I've used leeks, celery, older apples and pears)
32 oz. chicken (or vegetable) broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste-- and other flavours
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice butternut squash in half, poke about five or six holes  and place face down in a large pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Leave for 40 mins. Remove from oven, peel, deseed and cut into chunks. 
Saute the onion and other veggies in vegetable oil in a large pot.
Add the roasted squash. Let this simmer for awhile, add the broth ( I usually go veg)  and then have some fun with the flavours. Examples of spices you can use are cinnamon, sage, rosemary, curry powder, nutmeg, freshly grated ginger, parsley, chili powder etc. I've mixed and matched to my taste and usually use about 1 tsp to 1 tablespoon. I'm usually tasting as I am going though. I also added some other flavours like light sour cream, cream cheese or lite coconut milk-- but not all of the above at the same time. After about a 1/2 hour, puree using an immersion blender . I usually either serve these with rosemary crisps or some artisan bread. If you're really splurging, you can also add freshly grated parm cheese to the top.
As a sidenote, cauliflower, mushrooms, pumpkin and carrots are great add on vegetables that don't alter the taste significantly but add a nutritional boost. 

Chinese Chicken Corn Soup
Photo from

I used to make this soup weekly when I first got married and eat it for days on end. I found this recipe online on Best Recipes that virtually mirrors mine.  A few changes:
  • I don't usually use the skin but instead use two chicken breasts that are pre-seasoned with soy, cilantro, garlic and onion. I save about 1/3 to 1/2 the shredded chicken for Anjali as part of a meal or for Darin in a chicken salad sandwich. 
  • I omit the cube to reduce sodium
  • I add mushrooms and sometimes cabbage to increase the vegetable content. 
  • I use four eggs-- maybe the 4 whites and 2 yolks
  • Fresh cilantro (if you like it) compliments the green onions as a topping really well.  

Trinidad Corn Soup

Photo taken from Caribbean Pot

Okay another corn soup technically but this one is filled with lots of veggie goodness and brings D and me back to having a cup of corn soup during the Carnival season at the side of the road after a fete. Love, love, love this soup but I don't make it often as it requires a lot of prep and takes a long time without a pressure cooker. This recipe also makes a lot of soup so I usually do it when we have company.  I found a recipe online on that works. My changes are:

  • I add my potatoes and also a couple sweet potatoes at two stages- the first is the initial stage they speak about in the recipe. The second is in tiny cubes when you put in the corn as I like to bite into the potatoes.
  • I  use vegetable stock and only 3-4 pieces of corn.
  • Soak your split peas in hot water for a few hours before to cut down on the cooking time. 
  • I use whole wheat flour for my dumplings and make them into one inch flat pieces as my family likes it like that. 
  • You really don't need the coconut milk if you don't have it. 

Happy Soup Making!!

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