Soup Season – Spicy Thymes

From Anna: There’s a bit of snow on the ground and the temperature has dipped into the twenties here in Des Moines, which can only mean one thing… it’s soup season!

I think soup is one of the greatest foods around. You can put darn near anything in it and it’s tough to make a soup that doesn’t taste good.  In fact, soup is so amazing other meals try to imitate it (I’m looking at you, cheeseburger and taco soups).

From all-day stews to simple broth bowls, over at AllSpice we’ve been giving soup the love it truly deserves. Last week Rory made an Easy Beef Stew, and this week I’ve been enjoying a simple vegetable soup. I enjoy making a large batch on Sunday and dining on the leftovers for most of the week.

To keep things interesting throughout the week, I simply warm up only what I’m going to eat at that meal, and add something a little different to jazz it up each time.  Here’s how Soup Week typically goes:

Sunday: I usually start with a basic vegetable broth, along with carrots, broccoli, corn, potatoes, onion, and a bay leaf.  Our leek flakes or freeze-dried shallots are also a good addition to any basic soup.  This serves as a simple, quick dinner for the evening, and a great base for the remainder of the week.

Monday: I’ll bake a loaf of bread or grab a fresh loaf from a local bakery on the way home.  This dense rosemary bread is a great one to enjoy with your soup.

Tuesday: I roast a few more veggies in the oven to add to my soup.  I typically use whatever I happen to have around, but potatoes, squash, turnips, and radishes all make a tasty addition. By roasting them beforehand, I won’t have to cook them in the soup as long. Adding pre-roasted vegetables prevents the vegetables already in the broth from becoming overcooked, yet still adds a lot of flavor.

Wednesday: By Wednesday, I’m usually in the mood for some additional protein. Chickpeas and lentils are typically my go-to ingredients, but if it’s a meat week I might add some leftover rotisserie chicken.

Thursday:  Thursdays are for sandwiches. If you like dairy, you can’t go wrong with a classic grilled cheese as companion to a bowl of hot soup. I also love some fresh hummus and peppers in place of the cheese. With just a few minutes on the griddle, your sandwich is good to go.

Friday:  If there’s anything left, it’s fridge clean-out night. Pretty much any fresh produce I have left gets tossed in the soup pot. There are no soup mistakes. Don’t be afraid to use items you’d typically not include. It typically turns out to be pretty good, and you might even discover a new favorite ingredient for future soups!

A few more tips…
Another simple way to change things up is to use different spices in your soup. My soup base is really simple, so one night I might add Paprika and Garlic. Another night, you could add Taco Seasoning and a little extra Cumin. My goal is for each night to be a little different, so it doesn’t feel like I’m having leftovers.

Your soup base can be anything! If tomato soup is more your style, you could add pesto and pine nuts one night, and Curry Powder and rice another. Potato soup? Bacon and cheddar on Monday, sautéed peppers and onions on Wednesday. This basic idea really works with any soup you come up with.

Nine out of 10 soups are freezer-friendly, too, so if you truly find yourself growing tired of something, freeze it! I like to portion out single servings in zip-lock bags, and lay them flat on a cookie sheet to freeze. (Once they’re frozen, you can put the cookie sheet back in the cupboard, and just stash the single-serving bags, flat, in the freezer.)  I found this takes up the least amount of space and makes for an easy meal to grab on a night I don’t feel like cooking.

Want to browse more soup recipes? We’ve got a whole bunch of soup and stew ideas in the AllSpice recipe database.

How do you leftover?  Share your tips on making a meal that lasts all week or keeping your leftovers interesting on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #AllSpiceMeals !