So if you live in the Midwest, May has so far felt very reminiscent of March. We’ve seen less than three sunny days, and every day that isn’t outright pouring is bleak and grey. Last week I even pulled on my flannel pants and slippers from the closet and spent a night wrapped in blankets on the couch. We decided then that with no end in sight, it was perfect crock pot soup weather.
We love our crock pot. Put away your notions of ’80′s potluck and your grandma’s ghastly bbq meatballs, and you’d be amazed what you can make in it. They are the must-have tool for foodie’s who have great but demanding work schedules, definitely us this past week. We love our crock pot so much we even received a miniature as a wedding gift. We have a few awesome crock cookbooks, this one by far being our favorite. I’ve also been eying a few new ones, mainly this and this. My lust for cookbooks is another topic altogether.
Aside from being easy to make in the crock, soup is a great frugal dish that isn’t lacking in flavor or nutrition. For under $50, we made two different soups with nearly the same ingredients. One crock feeds Neil and I for 3 days. That’s a whole week of ready-made meals that enable Neil and I to make the most of our limited weeknights! We’ve been working this month on creating menus that maximize ingredients across several meals, allowing us to save money and waste less. The benefit is that most of these ingredients have been vegetables, which are not only super fresh and healthy but enable us to build up our compost with peelings, ends and scraps. Long story short, we’re working to maximize, while minimizing.
The first soup is a Hearty Chicken Vegetable, but the only chicken is in the broth, making it easily made vegetarian.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 cups sliced carrots
- Two 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
- Three 14-ounce cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
- One 15.5-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch cleaned and chopped Rainbow chard- leaves only- leave thick ribs out (about 5 ounces total) woops! We forgot this, so we put it in batch 2.
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or oyster crackers
1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion to pot & sauté for a couple of minutes, until softened a bit. Add oregano & garlic; sauté 1 minute.
2. Assemble all ingredients (except Parmesan cheese) in crock pot. Take note that canned ingredients are drained of their juices before being added.
3. If you want soup in less than five hours, set crock to high. If you have more time (preferred), set to low and simmer for 6-8 hours. If you assemble before work and set as you are walking out the door it will be ready when you come home!
4. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan or oyster crackers on top of each individual serving.
Our compost for the garden!
This soup is hearty, delicious and super healthy. Each serving is around 200 calories and is bursting with vegetables and flavor. Unlike a stew or cream soup, it fills you up without knocking you down. Soup is also a perfect pairing dish, so this is great to serve with sammiches (yes, I spell it sammiches, I’m a nerd) or salads. Stay tuned for a second helping as we unveil our next crock-soup tomorrow. I feel silly saying this, but it’s the most beautiful soup I’ve ever made!