The winter season brings a lot of joy with its holiday festivities along with the delightful aroma of peppermint, hot chocolate, mulled wine, etc., you name it. These things invite warmth into one’s house, and for those who live in the colder regions, keeping oneself warm is probably the number one priority when it comes to gearing up for full-blown winter.
Soups are lovely in that they are not only delicious but also pretty easy to make in large batches. The slow, simmering concoction of an array of ingredients lead to something magical–and I’m not talking about witch’s brew here–that can warm your body inside out.
Although deceptively simplistic in appearance, as soups were meant to stretch one’s meal back in the day, the robust, rich flavor can be irresistible. After all, cooking is an all-sensory experience, and the process of making soups is no exception.
So here are some basic soups that you can quickly make in a pot or even a Crock-Pot over the weekend for the week ahead. You can also freeze them in tupperware to make them last longer.
Chicken Noodle Soup
You can improvise so much with this soup. When I do have time, I get myself two cornish hens or just a regular young chicken and make my chicken stock with veggies and boil the chicken. But if you are not up for that, you can buy a rotisserie chicken. The perk of using a rotisserie chicken is that it is already favored so you don’t need to add much to the stock other than chicken broth. Here is a basic quick and easy chicken noodle soup recipe that you can tailor to your liking.
I love this soup because it’s packed with veggies galore! You need all the nutrients you can get, and this soup, with its tomatoes, beans, carrots, you will no doubt get your full serving of recommended veggies per day and more. I have to say, I first fell in love with this soup when I frequented Olive Garden as a teenager, so this recipe is a copycat of Olive Garden’s famous minestrone.
Broccoli and Cheese
Who can say no to cheese? Broccoli and cheese soup is more on the decadent side, but hey, it has broccoli in it, so it’s still healthy, right? For those who’ve been to Panera’s, it’s not surprising that one of their most popular soups is broccoli and cheese. Now you can recreate their signature version right in your kitchen!
This is another comfort food from childhood memories. You can’t go wrong with tomato soup paired with a grilled-cheese sandwich. Although I don’t mind the straight up basic tomato soup, I tend to prefer mind a little bit creamier by adding some cream. A small dollop of cream can make anything taste infinitely better. Martha Stewart’s recipe is simple enough that you will have your fixing of tomato soup and grilled-cheese sandwich in no time.
Where can I even begin? There are so many recipes out there that it’s tough to pick one over another. I tried using different protein over the years, but I think using ground beef (maybe mix in Italian sausage) is the best in terms of intensifying the taste. In terms of beans, I used to be a no bean in chili person, but to accommodate my fellow vegetarians, I’ve started adding beans and hey, they’re not bad at all! And Chili is one of those soups where I prefer to cook in a slow cooker.
Note that recipes are a great way to get yourself started, but sooner or later, you’ll be adding your personal touch here and there so don’t get too stressed out if you don’t have specific ingredients or tools. Cooking is one of those rare instances where you don’t have to exactly stick to the said recipe. You might even surprise yourself by using your creativity, so don’t be afraid to use it.