Kitchen Tricks Everyone should know about

Kitchen TricksI’m getting to be known as a bit of a trickster in the kitchen. Not with practical jokes per se, but in a ‘you-don’t-know-what-I-snuck-in-there’ kind of way. Nick has gotten used to my antics, but I try to keep them at a minimum when we have guests for dinner. Last night I only served one dish that included an unexpected ingredient: chocolate pudding with silken tofu!

I used Jenna’s recipe for Vegan Chocolate Pudding (mine wasn’t exactly vegan because of the brand of chocolate chips I used) and of course I used my food processor to get things silky smooth.

I think everyone enjoyed the pudding, but there were some eye-rolls at the table when I revealed what was in the dish. In my opinion, any recipe that features an entire bag of chocolate chips can’t be bad, even if you are skeptical about tofu.

Even thought the original recipe is vegan (and my version is close to it), it doesn’t mean that it is healthy or good for you necessarily.

The recipe I’ve got for you today though is super simple and healthy: vegetable soup. This is a perfect cozy dish for me today– it is dreary and I’m feeling the onset of a cold. Since we just stocked up on vegetables at the grocery store and farmer’s market, I had a lot of options to include in my soup.

Feel free to substitute ingredients based on what you like and what you have on hand.

Vegetable Soup:

Ingredients

– 1 sweet onion, diced

– 4 large carrots, sliced into thin rounds or half moons

– About 3 T tomato paste, based on your taste

– Cooking spray + olive oil

– 4 cups vegetable broth + 4 cups water

– 2 bouillon cubes (I used beef)

– 2 cups fresh (or frozen) green beans, sliced into bite-size pieces

– 2 turnips, peeled and diced

– 1/2 bag of shredded cabbage (or plain coleslaw mix)

– 1 cup frozen corn

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Directions

Spray a large pot with cooking spray and a drizzle of olive oil; place over medium heat. Add in onions, carrots and tomato paste. Allow the vegetables to soften.

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in the water, and then add that and the vegetable broth into the pot, stirring to combine. When the mixture reaches a boil, add the green beans and turnips and lower the heat to medium.

When the turnips have started to soften, add in the shredded cabbage and corn. Stir well.

Lower heat to medium-low and let simmer until the vegetables have softened. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste, and additional seasonings if desired. Go pretty light on the salt at first because there is a lot of sodium in the bouillon cubes. Enjoy!

I love recipes like this because the only kitchen tools you need for success are a large pot, a knife and a cutting board. Plus, this soup just gets better the longer it sits and simmers, so you can let it cook for as little or as long as time allows.

I had a big bowl of it with lunch today, probably about 2 cups, and I still have many more servings left in the pot.

Tips:

Whenever I open a can of tomato paste, I always wind up with extra paste leftover. Instead of just throwing it away or letting it go bad in the refrigerator, I put it into a small resealable bag, flatten it out, and place it into the freezer until I need it again. For this recipe, I just broke off a few pieces of it and let it defrost in the soup mixture.

I used the shredded cabbage this time because it is much simpler and quicker than chopping a whole cabbage. Normally I just chop up cabbage because it is a lot cheaper that way. Because this cabbage is shredded so small, it takes next to no time to soften up. It might take a bit longer if you are using chopped cabbage.

Bouillon cubes are salty, so be light handed with the salt at first.

Turnips really sweeten this soup up. If you don’t care for them or you don’t have them, I’d suggest adding a pinch of sweetener to the soup to bring out the flavors, but that is just me.

If you are looking to bump up the protein in this soup, consider adding cannellini beans or other small white beans. For another protein option, sometimes I’ll put a serving of quinoa in the bottom of my bowl and then add a ladle of this on top. That way, the quinoa won’t absorb all of the moisture in the soup the way it would if you just put in the pot at the beginning of cooking.

The recipe produced about 12 one-cup servings of the soup. I packaged the rest of the soup into tupperware so I can have soup throughout the week. Anything that I don’t think I’ll eat this week is going straight to the freezer so I can enjoy it later.

What is your favorite simple soup recipe? Feel free to leave links if you’ve got them.

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