Homemade Soup and Bread Week

It was homemade soup and bread week around here.  We are finished with our first week of January 2012.   I spent an enormous amount of time in the kitchen cooking and creating and not so much time on the rest of the house.  Not only are homemade soup and bread the ultimate home comfort foods, but it is very inexpensive to put together a hearty meal on the cheap while providing something filling and healthy.

Our meal menu this week consisted of a lot of soups and breads.  Here are some of our lunches and dinners this week:

  1. Vegetable soup and cornbread
  2. Sausage Vegetable soup and rolls
  3. Chicken and dumplings with rolls
  4. Chicken and rice with steamed broccoli and rolls
  5. Pizza calzones and minestrone soup
  6. Tomato Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

I started by making a basic starter soup from which I created the vegetable soup, the sausage soup, the minestrone soup and the tomato soup.

In the “Tomatoee” soups  used:

  1. Broth:  vegetable and chicken broth that I made.  The vegetable broth was made from the vegetable scraps and added vegetables and the chicken broth was made when I boiled the chicken for the chicken meals.  After the chicken was finished cooking, I took as much meat off of it as possible and put the bones and skin back in a pot of water with more vegetable scraps and lots of herbs to simmer over night.  I used this broth for the minestrone soup I made the next day.  Save your vegetable scraps and turn them into broth!
  2. Garlic:  I buy a big bag of garlic at Costco a couple of times a year.  I mince the garlic and take the scraps from the minced garlic and throw them in the vegetable broth pot.  No waste!
  3. Onion:  I use a lot of onion.  For soups… I chop it.  I also throw the scrap onion pieces in the broth pot.
  4. Tomato paste:  I buy tomato paste cans for under .25 cents a can and keep it stocked in the pantry.  It’s very versatile and useful when making soups
  5. Parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper:  I use a large amount of herbs and seasonings into my soups!  Tasty and Yummy!

For the vegetable soups, I added chopped carrots, potatoes and celery.  I added a bag of frozen corn and peas or green beans.  I chopped cabbage and added it near the end of the cooking time.

For the sausage soup, I took the leftover vegetable soup from the day before and chopped up more vegetables, added more broth and added 2 lbs of sausage!  The sausage flavored the soup fabulously!

For the minestrone soup, I made the same vegetable base, but added noddles, garbanzo beans and kidney beans.

TIP:  I usually add a little bit of maple syrup or sugar to cut down on the sharpness of the tomato.

In the Chicken Soups, I used:

  1. Chicken broth
  2. Spices:  salt, pepper, sage, bay leaf
  3. Garlic, Onion
  4. Chopped carrot and celery
  5. pinch of cayenne, cumin
  6. Chopped chicken

I made a big pot of chicken soup for lunch and then turned it into chicken and dumpling soup with rolls for dinner.  The dumplings in chicken soup are always a hit around here!  I used organic, pastured whole chickens and the broth off these birds was amazing.  The meat was great too.  I chopped up the meat for the chicken soup and the dumplings.

I used a variety of recipes for different yeast rolls and cornbreads that I found on Allrecipes.

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