10-Second Recipes: Shortcut Soups Trim Time and Money This Fall
October 17, 2011
10-Second Recipes: Shortcut Soups Trim Time and Money This Fall
(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)

By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate

Hearty soup is one of the most economical, easy and tasty treats of autumn. The contents of soup pots, however, don't have to be either homemade or store-bought. Halfway homemade can equal some super spoonfuls that start with a foundation of canned soup, like low-sodium chicken and rice, that gets a kick from quick-cook brown rice, a variety of diced mushrooms, minced scallions and fresh-pressed garlic, and corn chowder to which you add fresh corn kernels, diced red bell pepper, jalapenos and Cajun seasoning blend before topping with crumbles of cornbread.

Food preparation at any time of year can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast - as the following split-second sensations prove. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare. The souped-up combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for tasty home cooking and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since there are no right or wrong amounts. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations, so whatever you - or your kidlet helpers - choose to use can't help but draw "wows" from both family and guests.

Chicken and Rice that Rises to the Occasion
To store-bought, preferably low-sodium, chicken and rice soup before heating add quick-cook brown rice, a variety of diced mushrooms, diced celery, diced carrots, minced scallions, freshly ground black pepper and fresh-pressed garlic.

Butternut Squash That's Even Better
Before heating, add canned pumpkin puree to store-bought butternut squash soup, as well as freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Just before serving, top with croutons prepared by cutting cubes of well-toasted cinnamon-raisin bread.

Making Room for Mushroom Barley
Barley is one of the healthiest whole grains, therefore ensuring this popular type of store-bought soup is always a good choice. Improve it even more by adding before heating minced tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro and dill, from both of which stems have been removed, toasted garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper.

Tomatoes that Will Tickle You
The lycopene that's best released in processed tomato products, like paste, ketchup and canned soups, is an added nutritional bonus to the wonderful flavor of tomatoes. To store-bought tomato soup before heating, add chopped fresh basil and oregano, onions that have been caramelized and vanilla soymilk for a creamy effect.

Turn Up the Heat on Tempting Tortellini
Even some "healthy" brands features tortellini or ravioli in a variety of their soups. To that before heating add small torn pieces of fresh spinach, the leaves of celery, diced mushrooms and chopped sauteed garlic.

Beef Up Vegetable Beef Soup with More Vegetables
Store-bought vegetable beef soup, preferably the low-sodium variety, can be made more vibrant. Before heating, add small chunks of unpeeled sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli, onion, quinoa (the whole grain often referred to as a super food that's now widely available at major supermarkets) and a few dashes of powdered barbecue rub spice

Creative Corn Chowder
Before heating store-bought corn chowder, add fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels, diced red bell pepper, diced, seeded jalapeno that you wear latex gloves to chop and don't touch your eyes during or afterward and Cajun seasoning blend. Just before serving, crumble pieces of store-bought or homemade cornbread on top and drizzle with freshly chopped parsley.

QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:  The date stamped on many supermarket products is often the one best sold by as long as it is unopened and can be months ahead in the future. Once opened, resealed and refrigerated, though, many products - like milk and soymilk, cream cheese, pasta sauces and nondairy whipped toppings - should be used within seven to ten days. Think about taping your own paper on the product noting the date you opened it in order to keep track of the multiple products in your refrigerator.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. 

Posted by Staff at 12:30 AM