Back when Martha Stewart was peaking and famous for her ability to do everything perfectly—from hosting dinner parties to plowing fields—I decided I’d try my hand at being Martha for an evening. My plan was to invite a couple to our home for a gourmet dinner party.

I did what Martha would do: I went overboard. I set the table with china dishes and crystal stemware—loads of flatware, candles, and cloth napkins. It took a while but finally, I came up with a menu. First course:  French Onion Soup. What a pain. It took all day to prepare.


The friends arrived late and brought a little surprise with them—their kids! That was not in the plan. I hadn’t prepared anything for children! And if that wasn’t bad enough, the quite pushy husband started poking around the kitchen, lifting lids and asking what was on the menu.

Starting with French Onion Soup, he made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t eat that. Then one by one as I went down the menu, he responded “Nope!” to everything we would be having for dinner.

As it turned out, three of us ate the planned meal while the husband and children dined on peanut butter and jelly.

All painful memories aside, there’s nothing like homemade soup to warm body and soul on a blustery, fall day. But what if you don’t have all day to make soup? Don’t sweat it. If all you have is about 20 minutes (give or take), you can make any of these mostly-from-scratch soups.

They’re so easy and so delicious (and cheap, but let that be our little secret), you’re going to want to make it “soup night” at least once a week until spring. Read more