Loyal readers know that I love to cook. And I prefer to make things from scratch. But given my crazy schedule, many days I have zero time to get a meal on the table—not even 30 minutes (sorry, Rachael Ray). I’m always on the lookout for the fastest food.
I need quick and easy meals that are also delicious. If something is fast and tastes good, it’s so much better than eating out. And way cheaper, too. The five recipes that follow (presented as recipe cards so you can easily print them) are my family’s favorite homemade soups!
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 quart butternut soup (See NOTE 1)
- 1 10-ounce frozen butternut squash cubes
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pour the soup into a medium saucepan or soup pot and add the bag of frozen squash.
- Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Allow to cook very gently, uncovered, until the squash is tender (15 minutes or so should do it, but check from time to time as you don’t want this to turn to mush).
- Stir in maple syrup.
- Puree in a typical blender or use an immersion blender right in the pot. Add salt and pepper, if any, to taste.
- You’re done, Einstein. I call you that because this soup, served with a dollop of sour cream and croutons, will make your friends and family think you’re a genius.
- Serving suggestion: Serve with a dollop of sour cream and croutons
Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- 6-qt or larger slow cooker
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 1.25-oz packet taco seasoning mix
- 1 16-oz can chili beans, with liquid
- 1 15-oz can kidney beans with liquid
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, with liquid
- 1 15.25 oz. can whole kernel corn, with liquid
- 2 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
- 2 cups water
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup tomato juice 8-oz. can
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook and stir beef until crumbly, evenly brown, and no longer pink. Drain and discard excess grease.
- Transfer beef to a slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to slow cooker and stir to mix.
- Cover and cook on Low for about 8 hours.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, small diced
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 3 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon each thyme and garlic powder
- salt, pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups light cream, half and half is good
- 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pan over medium heat, saute butter, carrots, and onion for about 3 minutes or until softened.
- Add seasonings, broth, and broccoli. Allow simmer until broccoli is soft—about 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend vegetables and broth, as desired—from very smooth or semi-chunky, the way that you prefer your broccoli cheese soup! Optional: Before blending remove about 1 cup of broth and vegetable mixture, then blend what remains in the pot.
- In a small bowl, place the flour and cream. Stir until smooth.
- Bring the blended mixture back to a boil and quickly whisk in the cream mixture. Continue whisking until soup is thick and bubbly, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the cheddar and parmesan cheeses and the optionally reserved vegetables. Serve immediately.
Potato Ham Soup
- 1 pound potatoes peeled and diced
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onion
- ⅓ cup finely diced celery
- ¾ cup diced, cooked ham
- 3 ¼ cups water
- 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
- 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper or to taste
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- Place the potatoes, onion, celery, ham, and water in a big pot over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the bouillon granules, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute.
- Slowly add milk, stirring constantly so that lumps don’t form. Continue stirring until all of the milk has been added and until the mixture is nice and thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and allow to cook for a few more minutes until heated through. Serve immediately.
Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 4 cans chicken broth, 14.5 ounce size cans
- 1 can vegetable broth 14.5 ounce size can
- 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
- 1 ½ cups dry egg noodles
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- salt, pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a large pot.
- Add onion and celery and saute until just tender, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving. And just like that, homemade soup!