Soup recipes for low cost meals

There are many good soup recipes. Always a favorite with economical cooks, soups can be made with a variety of ingredients, so feel free to change the following recipes to suit low cost meal ingredients.

1. Middle East Chicken Soup

A delicious soup but perhaps a bit spicy for kids.

Simmer the broth, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, and cayenne and simmer for 10 minutes. If using raw rice, add now. Add the cooked rice, if using, the chicken, and the tomato and simmer 10 more minutes.

2. Chicken and Corn Chowder

Heat the bacon grease and cook the onion and half the red pepper about 10 minutes, until soft.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes or so.

Add the broth, squash, potato, and thyme and mix. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 10 minutes, until the squash and potato are soft.

Stir in the corn, milk, and the rest of the bell pepper and cook about 10 more minutes. Stir in the chicken, green onions, and parsley and simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the bacon and more green onions for garnish if you like.

3. Leek and Potato Soup

There are many variations to this and I've loved almost all of them. Sometimes the broth is half water and half milk, sometimes it's all chicken broth, sometimes it's chicken broth and milk. Sometimes there are just leeks and potatoes; other times I add a cup or two of chopped celery when sauteing the leeks and garlic.

Leeks can be hard to clean. What I do is cut the really tough top part of the greens off, but leave the root (bulb) intact at first. Slice the leek from the top down to the root, not cutting all the way through. Turn it and do this again so you've opened it up into fourths. Then hold under running water and separate the pieces so you can rinse all the dirt out. Finally, slice the root end off and slice the leek.

Melt the butter and saute the leeks and garlic about 10 minutes, until very soft. Stir it all up frequently and keep the heat low enough so the garlic doesn't brown.

Add everything else except the milk and bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then. Basically, you just want to make sure the potatoes are cooked. If you like, blend parts of the soup in the blender or using a handheld mixer, but you can skip this step and just have chunkier soup. When the soup has cooled just a bit, add the milk or cream, stir and serve.

This soup is just as good cold--at which point you can call it Vichyssoise.

4. Broccoli Mushroom Cream Soup

Combine broccoli, mushrooms, onion, bouillon and water. Cover and simmer until tender. Stir in undiluted soup. Add sour cream and light cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat to steaming. Do not boil. Can be garnished with parsley or croutons.

5. Split Pea And Ham Soup

Empty package of split peas into a colander or bowl. Sort through well, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well. Soak for two hours in 2 cups water.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic golden, but not brown in color. Add ham bone, water in which peas have been soaked and 2 extra quarts of water, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil for 1 minute; reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and simmer an additional hour or until soup is desired consistency. Add baby carrots during final 20-30 minutes of cooking (may be roughly chopped, if desired, or leave whole).

If you prefer a pureed soup, process using a hand blender before adding carrots.

Taste soup one half hour before serving; add additional garlic or garlic powder and salt and pepper, as desired. Bring a separate pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.

Stir in milk or cream 10 minutes before serving. If you have any leftover ham, add at this time. Stir in spaghetti. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Note: Kids like to use the leftover soup the following day for an after-school snack by adding hot dogs sliced into 1 inch coins boiled briefly in a saucepan and stirred in. The soup thickens up overnight in the refrigerator, so stir in more milk or a pat of butter before serving.

6. Corn Chowder

Cut salt pork or pancetta into 1/4 inch dice and brown in bottom of a saucepan. Add onion, garlic and pepper; sauté 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, celery and boiling water or stock. Add salt or bouillon cube. Cover and simmer over low heat until potatoes are tender. Add corn and evaporated milk (Fresh milk or Cream may be substituted for evaporated milk). Blend together butter and flour evenly and gradually add to chowder.

Cook, uncovered over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until soup is thickened. Be careful not to scorch bottom (it's best to use a heavy bottomed pan and watch heat carefully).

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with milk crackers.

Note: Creamed corn may be substituted.

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