Got 30 minutes? Maybe a bit more? You can make any of these 25 soups in that time. They're so fast and easy to prepare, many having just five ingredients. Still more fit health-conscious diets.
You'll have to check your cabinets and the refrigerator to stock up on broth, spices, vegetables, pasta or rice. There really aren't many shortcuts here, just good food simply prepared that requires just a bit of your attention, a pan, a pot, a food processor and maybe a whisk.
These recipes came from a variety of sources, including Cooking Light magazine, "Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast" (Oxmoor House 2009), Taste of Home, Cooks.com and Campbell's Soup. Take note that some recipes leave the amount of spices and oil/butter up to the individual cook. So, add to taste, and taste often while cooking.
Chicken Noodle Soup
To 4 cups each boiling chicken broth and water, add 1 large diced onion, 2 sliced celery stalks, 1 cup each sliced carrots and sliced parsnips. Simmer for 15 minutes and add 6 ounces egg noodles, cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Beefy Corn and Black Bean Chili
Combine 1 pound ground round and 2 teaspoons chili powder blend in a large Dutch oven. Cook 6 minutes over medium-high heat or until beef is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and return to pan.
Stir in 1 (14-ounce) package frozen seasoned corn and black beans mixture, 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth and 1 (15-ounce) can seasoned tomato sauce for chili; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle chili into bowls. Top each serving with reduced-fat sour cream and onions, if desired.
Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each with 193 calories, 3 grams fat, 20 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 40 mg cholesterol, 825 mg sodium.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 pound of bite-sized pieces of pork tenderloin evenly with dried chipotle pepper seasoning blend; coat evenly with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned. Stir in an undrained (15.5-ounce) can of white hominy an undrained can (14.5-ounce) of Mexican-style stewed tomatoes with peppers and spices (such as Del Monte) and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until pork is tender. Stir in chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.
Note: Posole (poh-SOH-leh) is a thick and saucy Mexican soup that's hearty enough for a meal. Set out bowls of garnishes: chopped lettuce, radishes, onions, cheese, extra cilantro.
Makes 4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each, with 233 calories, 5 grams fat, 24 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 68 mg cholesterol, 610 mg sodium.
Corn and Bacon Chowder
Cook 2 slices bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble and set aside. Add half-cup mix of celery, onion and bell pepper and 1 (16-ounce) package corn to drippings in pan; saute 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
In a blender, add another package corn and 1 cup low-fat milk in a blender, and process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to vegetables in pan; stir inanother cup milk, salt, black pepper, and 3/4-cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. Cook over medium heat (do not boil), stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Ladle chowder into bowls. Top each serving evenly with reserved crumbled bacon. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired.
Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each with 215 calories, 6 grams fat, 11 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 15 mg cholesterol, 402 mg sodium.
Canadian Cheese Soup
Combine one each quartered onion, carrot and celery in a food processor, and pulse until chopped. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add vegetables; saute 5 minutes, or until tender. In a medium bowl, gradually add 2 cups chicken broth to 3/4 cup flour ; stir well with a whisk. Add to pan. Stir in 2 more cups broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes or until thick. Stir in 3 cups milk, salt, paprika and pepper; cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add 1 1/2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese and stir until cheese melts. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with croutons. Makes 8 servings.
Creamy Tomato and Tarragon Soup
Saute 1 medium diced onion in olive oil until soft. Add 28-ounce and 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes and 1/4 cup water. Simmer 10 minutes and then puree in a blender or use an immersion blender in pan. Return to pan over low heat and whisk in 1/3 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried. Season with salt and pepper.
Lemon Egg Drop Soup
Bring 8 cups of chicken broth to boil. In a bowl, whisk together 4 large eggs, the juice of 2 lemons and a few shakes of lemon pepper. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot broth. Reduce heat and add egg mixture, stirring constantly. Do not boil or eggs will curdle. Heat through and serve with lemon zest and shaved curls of Parmesan.
Italian Wedding Soup
Bring 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil with rind of Parmesan (optional). Add 1 pound mini frozen meatballs, 1 cup orzo and 3 cups torn greens (escarole or spinach). Simmer until orzo is tender and meatballs are heated through.
Butternut Squash Soup
Saute 1/2 sliced onion in 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme and 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add 5 cups chicken broth and 2 pounds peeled and diced butternut squash. Simmer until tender and puree. Whirl in creme fraiche or sour cream and scatter with chives or parsley to serve.
Asian Dumpling Soup
Puree two cloves garlic with 2-inch piece peeled ginger and fry in oil with one bunch sliced scallions. Add 3 cups each chicken or vegetable broth and water, 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and sherry, and pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and add frozen dumplings, julienned carrots and snow peas.
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Add 1 pound peeled, diced and cubed sweet potatoes to 4 cups boiling water. Simmer until tender. Meanwhile, saute 2 cups chopped yellow onions in 1 tablespoon butter until golden. Puree drained potatoes with onions plus 3/4 teaspoon curry powder, 1 cup skim milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return to pan; add another cup skim milk and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat through. Serve with a dash of cayenne and sour cream.
Potato Leek Soup
Saute 3 cups each sliced leeks and cubed potatoes in butter. Add 1 sliced garlic clove and pinch each of salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg; cook 5 minutes. Add 5 cups chicken broth; boil until potatoes are tender, then puree. Reheat with 1 cup cream or half-and-half; do not boil.
Red Bean and Barley Soup
In a saucepan, saute diced celery, onion and garlic in olive oil. Add 7 cups beef or vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Pour in 1 cup quick-cooking barley. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 2 cans drained and rinsed kidney beans and 3 cups torn spinach leaves. Serve with grated Parmesan.
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Saute 1/2 diced onion in 1/4 cup melted butter until soft. Stir in 8 ounces frozen broccoli and add 2 cans chicken broth. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in 8 ounces processed cheese (like Velveeta). Mix in 1 cup milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder. To thicken, mix 1/3 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup water in a small bowl and stir into soup.
Sausage, Spinach and Lentil Soup
Bring six cups of your choice of broth to a boil. Add 10 ounces lentils, 1 cup diced carrots and 2 minced garlic cloves. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add 1 pound sliced cooked kielbasa and fresh or frozen chopped spinach.
Hamburger Rice Soup
Brown 1 pound ground beef. Drain fat, return meat to pan and add 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, 2 cups cubed potatoes, 2 sliced carrots, 1 chopped onion, 1/2 cup rice, 6 cups water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes.
Spicy Poblano and Corn Soup
Place 1 cup frozen corn and 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk in a Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. In a microwave-safe bow, combine poblano chiles, seeded and chopped (about 1 pound), 1 cup chopped onion and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave on high 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, place 2 cups corn and 1/2 cup milk ; process until smooth. Add pureed mixture to corn mixture in pan. Stir in chile mixture and salt, and cook 6 minutes over medium heat. Ladle soup into bowls, and top each serving with 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups soup and 2 tablespoons cheese) each with 239 calories, 4 grams fat, 13 grams protein, 42 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 13 mg cholesterol, 633 mg sodium.
Super Vegetable Soup
In a saucepan, sweat chopped onion, green pepper and minced garlic in 2 tablespoons butter. Add 6 cups broth of your choice. Bring to a boil and add 1 cup each diced carrots and potatoes, cook for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup each diced zucchini and trimmed green beans plus 1 or 2 cans of diced tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of thyme or Italian dried seasoning. Salt and pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with floating croutons.
Potato and Bacon Soup
Cook 8 slices of chopped bacon. Drain bacon and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons of grease in pan. Saute 1 small, diced onion in that pan. Add 6 cups chicken broth or water and 3 cups cubed potatoes. Bring to boil and simme 15 minutes. Puree and return to pan. Add 1 (14-ounce) can evaporated milk and cooked bacon pieces, stir. Serve with snipped chives.
Turkey Sausage and Gnocchi Soup
Brown 6 ounces bulk turkey sausage. To the pan, add 2 cups water, 16 ounces frozen gnocchi, 1 (14-ounce) can beef broth and 1 (14-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped and with juice. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Garlic Shrimp Soup
Make a garlic broth by smashing and peeling 2 heads of garlic and simmering on medium about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 8 cups of chicken broth and a bundle of fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano); simmer 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and strain solids. Return liquid to pan and add 1 pound of small, peeled shrimp. Other additions could include shiitake mushrooms, frozen, shelled edamame, fresh chopped mint or parsley.
Sweet Potato, Leek and Ham Soup
Saute 1 cup diced cooked ham in olive oil. Set meat aside. Add 1 large, sliced leek to pan and cook with 1 tablespoon water until tender.
Add 3 cups cubed, peeled sweet potatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 cups water and 1 (5-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk. Bring to boil, then simmer 15 minutes. Remove half and puree, then return to pan. Return ham and heat through. Serve with sliced leeks or scallions as garnish.
Tortellini and Pea Soup
Bring 6 to 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth to a boil and add a bag of cheese tortellini; cook for a few minutes until pasta is floating. Add frozen peas.
Cream of Crab Soup
Saute 1 small, diced onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 can cream of potato soup, 1 can cream of celery soup, 2 soup cans of milk, 1/2 soup can of water, 2 teaspoons Old Bay and 1 pound canned crab meat. Mix thoroughly and heat through, stirring frequently. (Substitute 1/2 pound of cooked fresh shrimp for crab.)
Mushroom and Brown Rice Soup
Saute 1 medium, finely chopped onion in olive oil until soft. Add 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms, 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms and 1 cup shredded carrots. Cook 10 minutes. Add garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add 4 cups vegetable broth, 3/4 cup quick-cooking brown rice and 2 cups water; cover and heat to boiling on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium; cook, partly covered, 5 minutes or until rice is tender.