This Quick and Easy Dinner Recipe is the Ultimate in Easy Soup Recipes:
As in, “everything but the kitchen sink soup.” In other words, this is another super-flexible recipe that can help clear out your fridge and eat up your leftovers. Throw together a round of these on the side, and you’ve got dinner on the table in 20-30 minutes. With a few extra minutes, add this scrumptious salad and you’ve got a veritable feast.
I first started making soups like this when I was a student, short on funds and time and looking for comfort food.
As a mom, I still find myself starved for time and comfort food on occasion, especially when someone in our family is under the weather.
Fortunately, my family finds this soup as yummy and comforting as I do – no matter what random ingredients we have on hand to throw into it.
With the days getting shorter, the temperatures dropping, and the holidays and flu season rapidly approaching, you may find yourself in need of some quick comfort food some evening soon.
When you do, give this a try.
Serves 4 ; prep time 10  minutes; total time 20  minutes
Note: I’m including two quantity options for this soup in the basic recipe, so you can make more or less depending on whether you want leftovers to eat for lunch or freeze. The larger-quantity recipe info is included in [brackets].
What you’ll need:*
*Remember, the point of this recipe is that you can really use whatever you have on hand! However, this is usually what I start with, at a bare minimum, because these are staples I always have in my house:
- Olive oil
- 1  medium onion, chopped
- 1  large stalk celery (including leaves), chopped
- 1  large carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1  packet noodle OR chicken noodle soup mix
- 1  can kidney beans, undrained/unrinsed, OR 1  c. cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
- 4  c. water
The basic idea:
- Chop onion first. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion to saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, while you chop the celery.
- Add celery to pan and continue to cook while you prep the carrot.
- Add all remaining ingredients (including liquid from beans) to pan. Increase heat to medium-high; bring soup to a boil, and reduce heat just until soup is simmering. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread if desired.
My little ones don’t do well with soup per se, so this is how I serve it to them:
- Instead of ladling it into a bowl like one would do for grownups, I scoop out a small bowl of solids for them to eat.
- Then I ladle out a small cup (one of my husband’s espresso cups, though any kid-sized mug or small cup will do) of “broth” for them to drink on the side.
- They LOVE drinking their broth this way, and feel very grown-up having their own little mugs of warm beverage to drink.
Mix it up:
This is my actual pile of ingredients the last time I made this soup.Try one or more of these add-ins:
- Want a vegetarian/vegan soup? Use a packet of vegetable soup base instead.
- Want a gluten-free version? Choose a noodle-free base, and skip any pasta add-ins (or use cooked rice instead).
- For the larger recipe, use two different types of beans (one red, one white).
- Or use a can of beans AND a cup of cooked poultry
- Or add some extra pasta: try macaroni, little rings, or little matchstick noodles. Use 1/2-1c. dried pasta, and add some extra broth or water if your soup starts to get too thick. If the pasta is already cooked, add at the end.
- Got some red onion, green onion, or a random leek lying around? Swap these in for the regular onion.
- One of my fave add-ins: Greens – spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip or beet greens, savoy cabbage, or whatever you’ve got. Use 2-4 cups fresh, less if using dried or cooked. Toss them in toward the end (1-2 min. before serving). I even threw in some leftover kale chips last time.
- Or chop and add whatever other random veggies you have lying around: zucchini, summer squash, green beans, etc. Last time I made this soup, I chopped up a few small turnips from our last CSA share of the season.
- Some extra seasoning, especially if you’ve added lots of other stuff. Try some chicken or veggie bouillon, garlic salt, black pepper, or herbs: chopped parsley, oregano, or thyme, fresh or dried.
- Topping with Parmesan is totally optional, but especially good if you’ve added zucchini or green beans.
See why I call it kitchen-sink soup?
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