For the first time since starting this blog nearly a year ago, I find myself sitting here in front of my empty blogger post page, struck mute. It seems that the wake of NaBloPoMo has left me speechless.
A friend suggested I check out WFMW, just for fun. I'd seen the buttons all over bloggy land...and, honestly, I'm not usually much of a joiner.** But seeing as how I've nothing else to offer you today (but tomorrow IS another day) and I didn't want to let too many days go by, I thought I'd break with my tradition and join WFMW, if only for today. Or maybe forever...who knows!
So the question is - do you have a go-to back up meal you fix when it's near dinner time and you find yourself unprepared? Well, confession time here...I probably cook dinner four or five times a week, on a good week. Wait? What was that snorting sound? I think it was my husband shooting Diet Coke out of his nose reading this at work tomorrow. Okay, three
On those rare evenings that I don't have something planned (*sarcastic*), I do have some tricks up my sleeve (*honestly*). Sometimes they are even super yummy.
We always have produce on hand, because we belong to a CSA. From that weekly box full of locally and sustainably grown fruits and veggies I've actually learned to enjoy cooking, something I didn't think I'd ever do.
So I give to you my yummy and easy and healthy and adaptable soup recipe (I'm not one to really measure when I cook, so these are just guidelines):
Christine's Yummy and Easy and Healthy and Adaptable Soup Recipe
*2 T Olive Oil
*1-2 QT stock of some kind (I try to always have some of those boxed types on hand, and the amount depends upon how much veggies you are using)
*one chopped onion (or leek)
*few minced garlic cloves
*two of whatever veggies you have on hand, chopped bite size (I figure people I am feeding have big mouths, so I chop larger...but remember, the larger the size, the longer it will take to cook): carrots, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, spinach (or kale, collard greens, chard, any cooking greens are fab...frozen is fine, too), celery, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, whatever
*salt & pepper
The thing that's wonderful about this soup is that it's not only delicious and full of nutrients, but it's so forgiving. Keep that in mind as you read these instructions:
Pour olive oil in soup pot. Heat on medium high a bit and toss in chopped onion/leek. Stir it a few times, throw in some salt and pepper. My general rule of thumb from there is to add veggies according to their hardness. The harder the veggie, the earlier it is to the party. Carrots go in early; they need time to soften up. If you're using green beans, they will need more time than zucchini. Make sure you stir often so that nothing gets burned.
Once whatever veggies you have on hand have had a chance to be tossed around in the olive oil and browned just a bit, add the stock to cover your veggies.
Okay, now you should be maybe five to ten minutes into the cooking process. Let the stuff simmer until it can be easily pierced with a fork. As long as the pieces aren't too big and they had a nice go at the browning process this should be done in fifteen or so minutes.
If you have cooking greens, chop them up as finely as possible...ideally, puree then in a food processor until they are barely still solid and then add them to the simmering mixture. My kids don't notice them any more than they notice parsley. Woohoo!
Easy additions bonus round...If you've got 'em, add 'em in the last ten minutes:
Canned Garbanzo Beans
**(Yes, I know I post ABC Wednesday photos...I give myself a pass on that one because it's photography.)