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Simple Soups

It’s fall and there’s no better time for a warm bowl of soup. But sometimes “soup” seems like an intimidating term, like it might take a lot of time in the kitchen. It doesn’t have to. Let these simple soups keep you warm and filled, while

Cream of Carrot, Pumpkin or Squash Soup

Looking for a light meal? Try this carrot soup, which can easily be turned into pumpkin soup. Serve this soup solo or with shredded Parmesan cheese or chicken, and always with yummy toasted bread or croutons.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups chopped carrots, about 1 ½ pounds OR 3-4 cups pumpkin puree

4 ½ cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (20 ounces) OR 2 ½ cups broth and 2 cups water

½-1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk (soy or almond milk can be used, too)

Fresh parsley as garnish

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, heat butter or oil and add onion and garlic. Cook until tender. Add carrots, broth, water and thyme. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until carrots are tender. (If using pumpkin puree, you don’t need to cook for 20-25 minutes.) Pour batches of mixture into a food processor. Blend each batch thoroughly and return to saucepan. Stir in milk and pepper. Cook on low for another 5-8 minutes.

Orzo and pea soup

For a light meal or appetizer try this easy soup.

4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth

2 cups frozen green peas (edamame could also be used)

1 cup dry Orzo pasta

3 tablespoons dry white wine

¼ cup chopped parsley

Pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium high heat, bring broth to a boil. Add pasta and cook for a few minutes. Add peas and cook for a few minutes. Add parsley and pepper to taste. Stir in wine. If chicken is desired, stir in chicken when wine is stirred in. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

To add chicken:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 boneless breast of chicken cut into bite-sized pieces (or cook whole and then shred into soup).

Heat oil on medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until brown on outside. Add to soup.

Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

Although this recipe talks about preparing this flavorful soup in a saucepan, you can also prepare it in a slow cooker. For the latter, don’t worry about browning anything first. Just put the first set of ingredients in the slow cooker before heading to school or work for the day and come home to a house filled with an amazing aroma. Then, throw in the remaining ingredients and you’re done.

Ingredients

1 package precooked, Italian chicken or turkey sausage — cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red or white onion chopped

1 stalk celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 cups chicken or veggie broth

2 small to medium-sized potatoes peeled and cubed

1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped

1 fennel bulb chopped (approximately one cup)

½ teaspoon dried fennel seed

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon marjoram

½ teaspoon basil

Pinch of rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

3 cups thinly sliced kale leaves with the center stems removed

1 can cannellini or garbanzo beans

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes

Optional: Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan (large enough to hold the entire soup), brown the sausage for a few minutes. Add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté together for another few minutes. Drain any fat from the pot.

Add broth, potatoes, carrots, fennel, fennel seed, and spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approximately 30-35 minutes. Potatoes and carrots should just be starting to get tender. Stir in cabbage, kale, beans, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

If you decide to use a slow cooker, simply put all of the ingredients up to the cabbage in the slow cooker and let cook for the day. Then, like the stovetop version, add the cabbage, kale beans and tomatoes for the last 30 minutes of cooking.