I write you from the comfort of my bathrobe, snuggled up under a thick comforter. Next to me is my daughter Valentine, whose throaty cough shakes the bed and my laptop about twice a minute. Yes, it’s cold and flu season. The other girls are off ice-skating with their cousins, but Valentine and I are homebound, sucking on homeopathic little pastilles every 15 minutes, trying to head off the virus that seems to have hit us overnight.
What I’m craving, appropriately, is a broth-y chicken soup, and so is Valentine. I read in a journal somewhere (or was it my grandmother who told me this? Details are fuzzy when I’m under the weather) that there is actual evidence to support broth-based soups as a treatment for the common cold. Good enough for me.
Hearty, warming and simple to prepare, soup may be the ultimate answer to year-end gatherings; after all, just one batch can feed a crowd, and most recipes come together in a hurry. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is no exception, as The Pioneer Woman’s satisfying tomato soup boasts the full, rich flavor of diced tomatoes, rich cream and fragrant basil, and, perhaps best of all, the soup can be on the table in only 40 minutes. Follow Ree Drummond’s lead and add a bit of sugar to the tomato soup as it simmers — this will help balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
If you’ve ever gotten home on a particularly draining Monday and wished dinner would just cook itself, then this recipe for Slow-Cooker Bean and Barley Soup is just for you. After all, what better way to celebrate Meatless Monday than with a recipe that’ll hit the spot and save you some precious time?
This no-hassle meal can be prepped in merely 15 minutes, with minor work involving some chopping and squeezing. Once that’s done, you put the sorted-out ingredients together in the slow cooker before work, and by the time you’re home about eight hours later — voila! Your dinner is nearly done. All you have left to do is add in the cheese, stir in the spinach, season and serve.
Last week FN Dish revealed that The Kitchen is preparing for its first-ever episode dedicated to one of fall’s favorite comfort foods — soup — and we asked for help in learning how you make and enjoy soup at home. (Click here to vote on last week’s questions.) This week The Kitchen wants to know more about your personal tastes when it comes to filling up on a warm bowl of soup. Read on below to cast your vote in the polls, and be sure to look out for The Kitchen’s upcoming soup show.
With the days shorter and the weather turning chilly, you’re likely setting your sights on the warm, comforting flavors of autumn. Just in time for fall, The Kitchen is getting set to dedicate an entire episode to one of the season’s most-satisfying dishes: soup. From rich, creamy purees to simple broths studded with noodles and veggies, the co-hosts want to help you make your best bowl yet this year, and they need you — the fans — to tell them how you enjoy soup and what you’d need to make your soup recipes better. Answer the first round of poll questions below, then check back on Monday to cast the rest of your votes.
The key to making soup a meal is ensuring it goes beyond basic broth and vegetables with hearty, satisfying ingredients that will fill you up. That’s where lentil soup comes in. Satisfying and good for you, lentils are packed with protein, and they pair well with a variety of flavors and textures, from hot sauce to tangy tomatoes and nutty Parmesan cheese. Check out Food Network’s top lentil soup recipes below to find a mix of classic and creative renditions from Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten and more chefs.
5. Spicy Lentil Soup — A serrano chile and a bit of grated ginger add heat to this quick-fix soup, but the spice is balanced by a final mix-in of cool, creamy Greek yogurt.
4. Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup — Rachael mixes Tuscan kale into a base of sausage, carrots and potatoes before adding a splash of white wine for flavor, and then adds the lentils.
For an easy weeknight meal, soup is your best bet. It is also extremely versatile and can be made with any number of ingredients, depending on your mood. For a warming and comforting treat that’s as perfect for summer as it is for winter, look no further than Ree Drummond‘s Best Tomato Soup Ever. The heavy cream, sherry and sugar give the recipe a pop of flavor and balance the acidity of the tomatoes. This relaxing recipe is the ideal pick for this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week.
For more feel-good recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.
Last week I shared tips on stocking the fridge with some of my favorite waistline-friendly foods. Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for my secret weapon: a fast, healthy and flavorful meal in just about no time. I call it All-Purpose Broth. The star ingredient? Miso paste.
Before I dive into the greatness that is the All-Purpose Broth, let me start by giving you a very basic miso primer: Miso is fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cuisine and it has a salty, savory, slightly nutty flavor and is full of glutamates, which imparts umami (savory flavor). The lighter the color in miso paste, the milder the flavor. White miso paste is milder than yellow, red or intense brown varieties. I usually buy white or yellow, which are both mellow and delicious — and readily available at most neighborhood supermarkets. (But try other versions, too, for a deeper, more intense flavor, and try out the miso soup at high-end Japanese restaurants to explore artisan miso pastes that you won’t find on your average grocery store shelf.) The exact health benefits of miso paste are somewhat debated, but proponents tout its levels of vitamin B12 and antioxidants, as well as its positive impact on the immune system. Others swear by its ability to alleviate common cold symptoms. In any case, I love it as an easy go-to pantry item for lean and tasty meals on the fly, which brings me back to my All-Purpose Broth.
Here’s how it works: Basically I load up each individual serving bowl with whatever I have on hand (leftover chicken breast, a spoonful of quinoa, shredded veggies, a piece of grilled fish or maybe I’ll cube up some tofu). I make a quick broth and then pour it over the contents of the bowl. And then I eat it, with a smile, patting myself on the back for making a meal that is thrifty, fast, delicious, healthy and versatile.
While some soups and stews require hours of slow simmering to achieve their fullest flavor, long cooking times aren’t always required, and it’s indeed possible to turn out a ready-to-eat bowl in well under an hour. Guy Fieri’s big-batch recipe for Ginger-Carrot Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is one such fuss-free dish, as it can be simply and quickly prepared on a weeknight.
The flavors of fresh carrots and subtle spicy ginger naturally complement each other, and in Guy’s family-friendly soup, they’re combined with sweet caramelized onions and garlic for added depth of flavor. Thanks to a few russet potatoes, Guy manages to make the texture of this soup creamlike, although there’s no heavy cream used; when the potatoes are cooked and pureed along with the rest of the vegetables, their starch will naturally thicken the broth. Just before serving, top each bowl with a tangy mixture of Greek yogurt and thyme, and finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts for welcome crunch.
I’ve always had the dream of being that mom on the block who just always happens to have a big kettle of brothy soup simmering on the stove, on the off-chance that the neighborhood kids playing kickball in the street want to come in out of the cold and warm up to a steamy mug of goodness. Word would spread, and perhaps some neighbors would drop by, lured by the savory smells wafting out of our always-opening front door. I’d smile warmly (I’m certain I wouldn’t be on a work deadline of any sort), and I’d hand them a bowlful of liquid heaven, along with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping.
Turns out, though, my four girls don’t play kickball, and I don’t allow them in the street anyway. Plus, as I type, just days from November, I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Soup is a year-round affair, if you ask me, but even here in San Diego, fall and winter seem to call for it all the more. Everyone loves soup this time of year, right? It makes us feel comforted and cozy. But in case you needed them, here are six more reasons to love soup:
1. Soup’s a no-brainer way to lose weight.
Yes! Did you know there are studies showing that simply starting meals with a healthy soup promotes weight loss? I love habits that do the work for me. All you have to do is adopt the habit. Why not start with my White Gazpacho or the Roasted Tomato Winter Gazpacho in my cookbook?