Campbell's Soup cans were a staple in my family’s pantry growing up. While my mom usually cooked homemade meals, these soup cans were always there for her when she was in a pinch. If someone in the family didn't feel well or it was too cold to leave the house, those cans in the pantry came alive.
Soup for me became a creature comfort and, when I started my own family, I decided to carry on the tradition—but with homemade soup instead of canned. I always keep my pantry, refrigerator, or freezer filled with necessary soup ingredients. One of my favorite tricks is to freeze vegetables that have become overripe for future use in a soup. And even after I’ve made a soup, I’ll put it in jars or storage containers in the freezer.
These soups have always come into play at unexpected times. On a boating trip with friends, I brought a container of my frozen chicken soup on a whim. When a friend of ours on the trip became ill with a virus, unable to hold down any food, my soup settled her stomach. By the next morning, she was feeling better and my soup continued to help her for the next few days.
A few months later, another friend called out of the blue, sick and home alone, wondering if I had any soup. I had just made some split pea soup, so I brought it over to her and she liked it just as much as the chicken!
Here are some of my favorite soup recipes. I hope they bring warmth and nurturing into your lives!
Yellow and Green Zucchini, sliced
Tomatoes, any kind, cut into one-inch cubes
Carrots, peeled and sliced
Potatoes, one inch cube
Any other leftover veggies
Fill a large pot with filtered or bottled water. Cover all vegetables with water by one inch. Cover and boil, then simmer. Add salt to taste. Mix occasionally. Take top off pot and simmer to desired doneness and thickness.
This soup can be used as a base broth for other soups or I personally love to serve it with some cheese or hot sauce sprinkled on top.
Small Red or White Potatoes (cut larger size potatoes in half to meet size of smallest potatoes)
Russet Potatoes, cut into one-inch pieces
Or any potato of choice
Put in a large pot. Cover with filtered water. Boil over stove top, then simmer. Stir and crush potato as it thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.
Leave as chunky or mash as much as you like. I add in butter and milk to taste. If the mixture is thick, add more water and continue to simmer.
Serve or freeze in container. If you reheat, you may want to add more water or milk to thin it. I love to treat the potato soup like a baked potato and top with sour cream, chives, cheese, bacon.
Split Pea Soup
Place bag of frozen peas (about two cups) in a bowl. Pour warm water over peas, swish them around. Water will become murky. Drain peas into strainer and pick out any dark or white peas.
Pour strained peas into a large pot. Add six to eight cups of filtered water. Heat to boil and then simmer. Add cut-up precooked one-inch cubes of ham (optional, but I use this as my salt flavor). If you do not use ham, salt to taste. You can add in slices of celery, chopped garlic, sliced carrots, and/or potatoes in small cubes for texture.
Simmer for a few hours, stirring occasionally and tasting occasionally to check for soft texture of peas. When they’re soft, they’re done. I smash half the peas, so the soup mixture is part blended, part whole peas.
Four to five large stalks of broccoli, cut up into pieces, with stems removed.
Place broccoli into large pot, fill with filtered water one inch above top of broccoli. Heat to boil, then simmer. Salt to taste. When broccoli softens, mash or blend. Add cup or so of milk if you would like soup to have a creamier taste or more water depending on the texture you prefer. I love to add a tad of cheese on the top of each bowl when served.
This same recipe technique can be used for cauliflower.
Time and time again, these soups have brought me and my loved ones comfort and are one of my very favorite simple joys!