First of all, I hope you had a nice holiday season and an amazing start to 2016!
I have to admit I love winter, well, maybe California winters! One of the reasons I like cooler weather is we get to eat soups.
Not that you can’t make them during summer, but they’re somehow extra comforting on cold winter days. A soup is such an easy meal to make and it’s probably safe to say that most home made soups are healthier than almost anything you could get as a take-out meal.
Just cook some veggies, puree them (or not!), and you’ve got an almost instant meal. I sometimes add lentils or beans to add some protein and texture! Did you know that if you puree some navy beans along with the veggies it makes for a really creamy yummy soup? Just remember to soak them (ideally overnight), so they don’t take too long to cook.
I stayed away from soups for a while when my kids were too young to eat them with a spoon, but then I found out that they actually enjoy drinking their soup from open cups and, when I’ve made a soup that’s not pureed, I strain it and let them eat it with a fork. Just a suggestion for those of you with toddlers!
If you’re lucky enough to have a slow-cooker, use it to make soups! It’s an amazing appliance for anybody that doesn’t have too much time to cook. Sometimes these life-savers can double as pressure cookers or even rice cookers, and they can make everyday meal preparation much easier. Mine has a sauté option, so it’s literally the only pot I use when making soups (not much to clean up afterwards either!) Try one of our family favorites below. Let it simmer and then taste the soupy goodness.
Slow Cooker Bean soup with vegetables
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 lb dry navy beans* presoaked
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
*Be sure to use navy beans (it’s a smaller white bean), and not kidney or cannellini beans which can cause an upset stomach if not cooked thoroughly.
- If you’ve got the time, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a pan or in your slow cooker if it has a sauté option. This step gives the soup more depth of flavor but it’s not necessary.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs or high for 4 hrs.
- Once it’s done, blend the soup or use a potato masher and you’ll have a creamy delicious meal!