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Soup is in season

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

It seems like I have been making a big pot of soup almost every weekend lately.

It makes a quick supper for those nights when I get home later than usual, or I can pack it for lunch. And if we get tired of it, I can always freeze the leftovers for future meals.

There are many other reasons to enjoy soup at this time of the year and to make it yourself.  

Less sodium: Too much sodium in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and also put you at risk for other health problems like heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, kidney disease, kidney stones, and an enlarged heart. Many canned soups have enormous amounts of sodium. You can control this by making your own.  

Lower in calories: Broth-based soups are filling and satisfying, and can help you to control your weight. Be careful of creamy or cheesy soups, as these will usually contain quite a bit more fat and calories.

When eating out, a small serving of hot, clear soup as an appetizer might help you to eat less overall.  

Good nutrition: Soup is a great way to load up on your veggies or hide them, if need be. In addition to extra vitamins, pureed vegetables can add body and fiber. See one example with the recipe link provided below.

Economical: Making your own simple soups is a great way to use up leftover bits of vegetables and meats.  It’s even cheaper if you make your own “free” stock as I do.

When the last Thanksgiving guest walks out the door, I break out my soup pot and throw in the turkey carcass, along with the leftover carrots and celery from the relish tray, an onion, and some peppercorns. I add enough water to cover the turkey, set it on the stove and let everything simmer away for a couple of hours.

After letting it cool, I strain out all the solids, and I am left with several quarts of turkey stock that I can freeze or use right away. 

This year, I used my turkey broth in this recipe for wild rice soup. Pureed white beans replace some of the dairy and provide a creamy texture while adding fiber and reducing the fat content.

Here is the link to the recipe: www.mayoclinic.com/health/cream-of-wild-rice-soup/RE12372.

I increased the vegetable content by adding a couple of chopped red bell peppers and 8 oz. of sliced button mushrooms.  

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