Teachers Need Soup

Teachers, you need soup.

Good soup. Immune-system-bolstering soup. Vitamin-rich, high-protein, thick-with-veggies, bounce-back-from-long-days soup. Homemade soup.

If you think you’re too busy to make soup during the school year, think again. This over-scheduled, corner-cutting working mom makes a vat of soup every Sunday afternoon (and lives off of it all week long).

First, one caveat: quick soup is still slower than boxed pasta or a frozen meal. You soup will be ready about an hour after you start cooking it. Fortunately, you can grade papers for most of the soup’s cooking time.

Second, please don’t expect gourmet soup. I’m an over-scheduled, corner-cutting working mom. This is survival soup, people. If you want foodie soup, come see me over winter break.

Third, all soup is pretty much the same. Soup recipes follow a similar 3-step template. There are many delicious permutations – this one is really simple and will perk your immune system right up.

WINTER ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP!
Ingredients
1 onion
1-2 teaspoons dried herbs, like rosemary or basil
2 stems celery
2 cloves garlic
3 carrots
4 potatoes
About 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast OR 1 can navy, Northern, or cannellini beans
8 cups water
3 bouillon cubes – I use Rapunzel vegetable bouillon with sea salt
1 package frozen corn
1 package frozen green beans
½ cup fresh parsley or basil (optional)

Step 1: Gently sauté some veggies. Pour a little olive oil in your soup pot and turn on the stove. While the olive oil heats, chop up an onion and throw it in there. While the onion starts cooking, crumble in some herbs: about a half teaspoon of dried rosemary, oregano, sage, basil, and/or thyme. (Don’t overthink it. It’s soup.) Now that your onion is getting soft, chop up a couple stems of celery, a couple cloves of garlic, a carrot, and 4 potatoes. Add each thing right after you chop it, and stir up the veggies whenever you add something new.

Step 2: Chicken (if you eat it) and broth. I usually slide about a pound of Amish-raised chicken breasts right on top of the veggies, whole – because cutting up raw chicken is gross and slow. Then I add 8 cups of water and 3 bouillon cubes. Let that simmer for 15-30 minutes, depending upon how distracted you get grading papers. Then spear the cooked chicken breasts with a fork, pull them out, and chop them up on a cutting board you can put through the dishwasher. Because chicken is gross.

Step 3: Tender stuff. If you aren’t into chicken, this is when you put in your beans (I like Northern beans). Add packages of frozen corn and frozen green beans to introduce brighter flavors and up your veggie count. Chopped fresh basil or parsley sprinkled on top is nice, too.

Step 4: Eat & store. Have a nice big bowl of soup and then put the rest in lunch containers to eat lunch for the week.

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