Over the last year or so I’ve been heating up a small kettle of soup every day. I never have to spend much time making it because the main ingredients are pre-cooked. Each day I select whichever vegetables are available, add the desired seasonings, and into the soup base they go. I can save money, be well nourished, indulge in a bit of creative cooking, and have time on my hands. All without worrying where my next meal is coming from, because I know it will be from that kettle of soup, that Everyday Soup.
The soup base is made by combining various legumes and whole grains. They get cooked separately because they vary somewhat in length of cooking time and I store them separately so I can recombine them in the desired amounts for the soup base of the day. I practice safe food handling when storing for refrigeration and I’ve had no problem with spoiling since I use what I cook within a couple of days. Last night while reading the Safeway brand package labels, I learned that the legumes I currently have on hand: black-eyed peas, lentils, pinto beans, and split peas may also be frozen after cooking. The grains I like to use right now are brown rice and oat groats. Over the last few days the favored combination has been lentils, black-eyed peas and brown rice. Two days ago I cooked the lentils, brown rice, and black-eyed peas all within about 2 hours while doing other chores in the kitchen.
I bought the one pound packages for about $1.50 each at Safeway supermarket. A serving size is 1/4 C. (dry) and depending on the size/weight of the beans there are 10-14 servings in each one pound package. There is 4 gm of protein in the brown rice per serving, 9 gm in the black-eyed peas, 8 gm in the lentils, 11 gm in the green split peas, 7 gm in the pinto beans, and 8 gm in the whole grain oat groats packaged by Bob’s Red Mill. The smaller size packages are nice because they have cooking instructions, nutrition counts, and even recipes. Wikipedia dot org has informative articles on whole grains and legumes.
I am currently experimenting with reducing the cooking time by rinsing, pre-soaking, rinsing again, then covering the beans with the right amount of hot liquid (water or broth) to begin cooking. I make my own vegetable broth and always save any cooking liquid from other vegetables for the soup. Vegetables to be added can be cooked right before serving or at any other time and refrigerated until ready to use. I like to fine chop cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, garlic, onion and squash to speed cooking time. These get cooked or stir-fried in a separate pot and then added to the heated soup pot. At this point the soup can be flavored with a small amount of spaghetti sauce and further seasoned with spices such as garlic powder, curry powder, and poultry seasoning. Vegetable broth or water may be added to thin the soup, or it may be as thick as a chowder.
Warm, tasty, nutritious, delicious, Oh, how I love you my Everyday Soup.