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Archive for the ‘Soups’ Category

Soups

Soups can be tasty, varied and wholesome. At the toddler stage, soups provide the best basic nutrition. Tasty and creative combinations add a new dimension to eating out of jars, jars and more jars. Moreover, it is better to develop a liking and taste for veggies at this early stage. A 2002 survey tells us that one in five babies is “eating candy every day. And the #1 vegetable for toddlers isn’t pureed carrots: its French Fries.”

For older kids, soups are good comfort foods. Soup bases and purees can be used in many interesting ways with pastas and meats to provide wholesome meals. Even if some foods have to be avoided, there’s plenty which one CAN have and enjoy,and pack in lots of nutrition too.

Homemade, fresh/frozen soups have many nutritional advantages over canned/packaged soups—

  • The high heat typically used in making canned and jarred foods softens veggies and causes them to lose color, flavor and nutrient value, while meat can shrink and toughen.
  • The thickness of canned soups often comes from added thickeners.
  • Many of these soups are loaded with sodium.
  • The main additives of canned foods are salt and sugars, as in the case of fruit.

All Soups recipes in this section yield 4 adult servings.

The whole family can enjoy these soups—in fact, it is essential to have part of a meal at least in common with the child who has food allergies. This reduces the sense of exclusion that food sensitive children may develop.

I like to double the recipe and freeze at least half of it, in such a way that even small portions can be taken out right after that soccer game, or to satisfy hunger pangs on a cold evening.

To Freeze Soups

  • Remove the portion to be kept aside, before diluting the rest with milk, broth or additional water.
  • Pour the thicker portion into ice trays.
  • Cover with plastic foil and freeze for at least 6 hours.
  • Remove ice trays. Invert, hold slightly above the plastic foil that will come off the tray, Twist the tray so that frozen cubes will drop onto plastic foil.
  • Pack in Ziploc freezer bags taking care to eliminate as much air as possible before sealing the bag
  • Only the required number of cubes can be removed as and when needed. Microwave and dilute with milk, broth or water, or add creamed silken tofu for a dairy free alternative.

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This delicious soup is a meal by itself!

Although parmesan cheese is great to add, I avoid using it, as it is an aged cheese, and likely to have high levels of MSG, or mono sodium glutamate, which could trigger an allergic reaction.  Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses are safer to use.  Of course, if Parmesan works for you, then go ahead.

 

Easy Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce can of pureed or strained tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken / vegetable broth
  • 2 precooked Italian sausages (optional)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small can (about 7 ounces) small navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ( I like to soak dried beans in a large bowl of water for 4-6 hours, or overnight, cook them in a pressure cooker, then use them)
  • 1 cup small elbow shaped rice or quinoa pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, or a few fresh basil leaves, washed and torn roughly
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup finely cubed mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add garlic.
  2. Allow garlic to sizzle and brown a little, then add onions.
  3. Saute onions for a minute or so, till they soften.
  4. Add cubed potato and carrots, and saute to coat them with oil
  5. Stir in pureed / strained tomatoes, and chicken / vegetable broth
  6. Gently toss in sausages and beans
  7. Cover saucepan, and let the soup simmer on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, or till vegetables are tender
  8. Add cooked pasta, parsley, herbs, salt and pepper and let simmer for a minute.

Serve hot or warm, whichever way you like it, and garnish with cheese.

Note

For a dairy free serving, use finely cubed firm tofu instead of the cheeses.  Add tofu along with the cooked pasta.

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The whole family will enjoy this hearty soup. It is wholesome and satisfying and adds good nutritional balance to a gluten free pasta or rice meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth / vegetable broth/ water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk/ soy milk (optional)
  • 4 Tablespoons grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
  • a few sprigs of parsley for garnish

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add the cloves and bay leaf
  2. Add sliced onions and sauté for a minute or so, till onions become soft and translucent.
  3. Add cauliflower florets and potatoes.  Sauté to combine all ingredients.
  4. Pour in broth and water.
  5. Bring to a boil, and allow soup to remain on rolling boil for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and remove clove and bay leaf
  7. Gently spoon out 1/2 cup cauliflower florets and keep aside for garnish
  8. Turn on heat, cover pan, and allow vegetables to cook for about 3-4 minutes more, or till tender.
  9. Add evaporated milk / soy milk and allow soup to boil for a minute
  10. Remove pan from heat, and set aside to cool.
  11. Puree cooled soup in a blender.
  12. Add 1/2 cup more milk or water for a thinner consistency.
  13. Heat to reach boiling point, if more liquid has been added.
  14. Remove from heat.

Pour into individual bowls and serve hot, garnished with cauliflower florets, grated cheese and small sprigs of parsley.

Enjoy!

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Vegetable Broth

Call it broth or stock, the difference is minimal.  What is important is that you create a flavor enhancer to add to soups, stews, casserole dishes, and any other recipes that you want to add further taste to, in place of just water.

Since the vegetables used are cooked over a longer period, some nutrients are lost, but the basic broth does have some nutritional benefits in the form of micronutrients.

Its great for the vegetarian palate as a substitute for chicken or meat broth in a recipe, and thickened with a little corn-starch/tapioca starch can also be used in place of dairy.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic (use double the quantity if garlic cloves are very small)
  • 2 leeks, thoroughly washed, white and light green parts only, chopped (use 2 medium onions, chopped, if leeks are not easy to obtain)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of parsley stems (use cilantro stems if parsley is not available)
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 10 cups water.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Method

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  1. Add garlic cloves.
  2. When garlic is slightly browned, add bay leaf and peppercorns
  3. Add leeks / onions.
  4. If using leeks, stir fry to coat with oil, then add carrots, sauté for less than a minute.
  5. When using onions, sauté for a minute or so, or till onions are soft and somewhat golden, then add carrots and sauté a little
  6. Add celery and parsley.
  7. Add cold water and bring to a boil.
  8. Add dried thyme, lower heat and allow broth to simmer for at least half an hour.
  9. Let water reduce to about 7-8 cups. (simmer a little more if required).
  10. When cool, strain and use.

Pour extra broth into ice cube trays and freeze as directed in introductory write up in “Soups” section.

Make into a soup, by adding finely cut vegetables of your choice, along with rice or any other gluten free pasta and boiling till veggies and pasta are cooked.

Thicken with corn starch or tapioca starch as desired.

Add salt and pepper if required.

Variation:  Add a 1/4 cup quinoa to 2 cups broth.

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Serve this soup with a salad of your choice, and you have a great meal!

Ingredients

  • 3 large red potatoes
  • 3 cups milk / soy milk / chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter / olive oil
  • 2 level Tablespoons corn-starch
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese / soy cheese
  • 1 cup cubed cooked ham
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Drain and reserve liquid.
  4. Set potatoes aside
  5. Melt butter / heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Add onion and cook stirring frequently till onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
  7. Gently add in potatoes and reserved cooking liquid
  8. Add two and a half cups of milk/ soy milk / chicken or vegetable broth
  9. To remaining 1/2 cup milk / soy milk / broth, add corn-starch and mix well
  10. Add corn-starch mixture as soon as the potato-onion-liquid in saucepan comes to a boil, stirring all the time till soup thickens.
  11. Add sugar, cheese / soy cheese and ham.
  12. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

 

Vegetarian variation– if soy cannot be used 

When soup is simmering, stir in 1/2 cup cooked quinoa for added nutrition, texture and taste.

Chef’s tip:

Use chicken / vegetable broth instead of soy milk, and add tofu cubes to soup

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This is an interesting variation of the traditional leek potato soup. The squash enhances its nutritive value, makes the soup light in texture, and gives it a fresh taste.

Ingredients for 4 Adult Servings

  • 3 cups yellow squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup potato peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup leek, washed thoroughly and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter / olive oil
  • 1 cup milk or 4 ounces soy or rice milk
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Saute leek in butter / olive oil
  2. Add potato. Saute for ½ a minute.
  3. Add ½ cup water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add yellow squash and ¼ cup water.
  5. Cover and cook on medium heat till vegetables are fork tender.
  6. Remove from heat, Cool and blend.
  7. Add milk or soy/rice milk

For a richer soup add ¾ cup half and half, or 4 ounces of pureed soft silken tofu.

Fact File

Squashes are rich in antioxidants and beta carotene.

Leeks, which are close cousins of onions and garlic, have a unique combination of flavonoids and sulphur containing nutrients. They are especially rich in Vitamin K. Leeks also have a more delicate and subtle flavor than onions.

The Potato is nutrient dense. It is rich in potassium, the B group vitamins, namely niacin and riboflavin, and contains significant levels of iron and vitamin C.

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Broccoli-Carrot Soup

Adding carrots reduces the heavy flavor of broccoli and gives a lighter, sweeter, taste.

Ingredients for 4 Adult servings

  • 1lb. broccoli cut into florets
  • ¼ lb carrots, peeled and roughly cut into pieces.
  • ½ medium onion, thinly sliced.
  • 2 Tablespoons white unsalted butter / olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, or one garlic clove crushed
  • 1 bayleaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk or 6 ounces soft Silken Tofu
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Place saucepan on medium heat. Add butter/oil, bayleaf and thinly sliced onions.
  2. Saute onions for a couple of minutes, till golden. This converts the raw onion ‘smell’ into an aroma!
  3. If using fresh garlic, add at this stage.
  4. Add carrots. Saute for half a minute, lower heat, add ¼ cup water, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli florets, then add the remaining water. Cook till fork tender.
  6. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. (if fresh garlic has not been added)
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. When cooled, add milk/ tofu and blend in food processor on high speed till smooth.
  9. Warm, pour into bowls and garnish each serving with grated cheddar cheese.

FACT FILE

Broccoli is rich in calcium, vitamin A and antioxidants One cup of cooked broccoli contains as much calcium as 4 ounces of milk and gives us 10% of our daily iron requirement. It is also a good source of folic acid. though dairy products are rich in calcium, they offer very little of the other element that is required for calcium absorption—magnesium. Broccoli contains magnesium.

Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene and the protective antioxidants. Beta carotene is better assimilated by the body when carrots are cooked, but there is some goodness in raw carrots too.

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