Homemade soup: It's mmm mmm good!

    As much as I love “falling back” on that extra hour of sleep, I don’t enjoy walking home from class in the dark. Thank you, Daylight Savings Time. By the time I get home, all I want to do is curl up in a blanket and enjoy a big ‘ol bowl of soup. Filling, nutritious and easy to prepare, soup is my ultimate lazy go-to. But who says you need to stock up on Campbell’s and Progresso to satisfy your fix? Instead, save some cash and make your own soup. I promise, soup is almost as easy to make as it is to heat up.

    Chickpea Soup

    Chickpea Soup. (Photo by avlxyz on flickr.com, licensed under Creative Commons.)

    Try this creamy and delicious chickpea soup! Chop one large onion and sauté in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add a ton (I’d probably go with five cloves) of chopped garlic to the pot and sauté for about two minutes. Next, add two fifteen-ounce cans of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) and sauté until they’re fully heated through or fork-tender. Season with salt and pepper, then allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes. Puree the mixture using a standing blender or an immersion blender and add vegetable stock until the soup is to your desired consistency. I usually pre-warm the stock in a pan before adding it to the blender just so that all of the components are about the same temperature. Add the entire mixture back into the pot and put over low heat until it is hot again. Right before serving, stir in freshly chopped parsley and more black pepper.

    For a twist, try adding these funky croutons to the individual bowls: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Divide pita pockets in half lengthwise and place on a baking sheet. Very lightly coat the pitas with olive oil mixed with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Place the pitas in the oven for a few minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and crumble the pita over your soup using your fingers. It will add a wonderful and salty crunch to your deliciously creamy soup.

    Potato Leek Soup

    Potato Leek Soup. (Photo by Special*Dark on flickr.com, licensed under Creative Commons.)

    Although potato leek soup is one of my all-time favorites, I find the pre-made varieties quite… gross. Call me a food snob, but with this one I’d just rather make it myself.

    Chop three large potatoes into small cubes and two or three large leeks, then add them to a large pot with one large container of chicken stock, about a tablespoon of dried herbs (parsley or thyme are good choices), salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for about half an hour or until the potatoes are very tender. Let the mixture cool slightly and then pour the soup, in stages, into a blender and puree until smooth. Once it is fully blended you can serve as is or you can add a touch of milk to give it an even creamier consistency. If you want to be really decadent, you can even add half-and-half or heavy cream. Make sure to taste before serving — potatoes tend to absorb seasonings so you will probably need to add more salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped chives and, if you so desire, make it special with this other variety of homemade croutons.

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice a sourdough loaf into roughly one-inch thick pieces and then slice each piece into cubes. Toss the cubes with a few tablespoons of olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Dust all the cubes with a light coating of garlic powder, black pepper and paprika. Place the bread in the oven and remove when the cubes are fully toasted. If you have leftovers, you can munch these croutons as a great snack or toss them in a salad!

    So the next time you’re in the mood, hold off on breaking out the can opener and take a few extra minutes to whip up your own batch of soup. Delicious, nutritious and oh how very cheap, soup is almost as fun to make as it is to eat!


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