Soothing Soups

Ginger Chicken Soup
Ginger Chicken uploaded by satakieli
With snow almost coming down on my home town last week, it seems like no one can escape winter this year. And with February usually making me shiver (musical reference intended), it's probably the perfect time to explore some nice warm soups and stews.

Fact: drinking a bowl of chicken soup will help you overcome a little winter cold. Actually, most soups will probably help you battle that cold-- not for any magical ingredients in the broth, but the extra dose of liquid goes a long way in helping your body when you're sick. Sometimes there's really something to those old home-remedies.

Now how does something that has to sit on the stove for hours end up on OntheFly? Well...

They're Quick and Easy

A soup can cook in as little as 30 minutes ... or even less if your meat is pre-cooked or you're going vegetarian. And even if you opt to really simmer away your soup for a couple hours or more, it doesn't get much simpler than throwing everything in a pot and walking away for a few hours of television or Facebooking.

I just love to make a big 'ole pot of something on Monday night, seal up the left-overs and eat it again for lunch or dinner later on in the week. If you don't like eating the same thing more than once in a week, one easy way to mix things up is to add in rice or pasta on the second night or even add new vegetables or seasonings.

They Can be All-in-One Meals

What I really like best about soups is that you can really turn them into a whole meal. Once you've put in rice/pasta, meat and veggies, you're set! And if you really want to go low-impact, you can cheat and use a pre-made soup base like tomato, cheese, cream of chicken/celery/mushroom and just add to it. Remember the tomato soup stew?

Tomato & Basil Soup with Tortellini
Tomato & Basil Soup with Tortellini uploaded by nettsu
Make Quick Fixes with Basic 
Soup Mixes

Similarly, here are some ways to work with pre-made condensed soups or instant soups:
  • tomato soup +  spiral pasta, peperoni and mozzarella cheese
  • cheese/cream of broccoli soup + broccoli, onions, cubed chicken/ham, potatoes
  • cream of mushroom soup + frozen peas & carrots, cubed chicken, bacon bits
  • vegetable soup + potatoes or rice, cubed beef/pork, even more veggies

Embrace Ramen

Ramen uploaded by barron
I know I give ramen noodles a lot of crap, but they can be quite useful. Take your basic ramen and throw in shredded lettuce & cabbage and cooked chicken, then top it all off by cracking an egg into it. Suddenly the dorm room staple is actually dinner! You can do other cool things with ramen like turning it into a stir-fry, but that's a recipe for another day...

Go Homemade All-the-Way

And finally, once you become thoroughly convinced with the ease of jazzing up Campbell's and Ramen,  try your hand at making the entire soup, broth and all from scratch. Check out my best bud Rachel's very timely post this week on making homemade chicken broth using chicken and vegetable scraps that you pack away in your freezer and then put to good use making a yummy soup base.

Happy Cooking!
Alphabet Soup

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