Fall officially started several days ago, and the weather feels like it. Trees are starting to change color, a long sleeve shirt is needed in the mornings, and the days are getting noticably shorter. All this means that the season for soups is upon us again.
Now, I have to admit, this year I didn’t stop making soups. Yes, even in the heat of July we had chili. Why? Well, it sounded good and I rationalized that we were eating it in air conditioning so that made it okay.
However, I haven’t done soup cooking for the freezer in a while. I did just pull out a chili to have this week that was dated the end of July. It was the last soup in the freezer, which means either that was the last time I made soup for the freezer or it had gotten lost at the bottom of the pile. But that never happens here.
This makes such an easy supper. There have been times I forgot to thaw the soup. In those cases here is what I do: I take it out, remove the frozen square from the bag, place it in a large pot, cover with a lid and turn on the heat. Depending on the soup I may add some liquid to help it steam a bit and not burn. Then I make a batch of corn bread. If the soup had filled the bag, then the heat gets turned up more and may cook a bit beyound the corn bread. Otherwise, the soup is usually heated up by the time the corn bread is ready to come out of the oven.
Here are a few soups that I either made this week for the freezer, took out to use or am going to make before the weekend is over.
Black Bean Soup – I first tried this for two reasons. 1. I was looking for meatless dishes. 2. I was looking for crockpot recipes. We find that we like it better with a bit of lemon juice added to the bowls. I also like this with sour cream and shredded cheese.
My husband was not sure about this recipe at first. It isn’t exactly the most attractive dish sitting in the pot. However, once he realized that it needed just a bit of lemon juice he became a huge fan of it. As he doesn’t like melted chesse, he doesn’t normally add it. However, wheat rolls also make a great side to this.
I’m not a huge fan of beans. There is something about their texture, and some of them it is just down right their flavor, that I don’t like. However, I have found that I like black beans. You’ll notice that in some of the recipes below; I often substitute black beans for whatever bean the recipe calls for.
- chocolate chipotle chili – this has become our favorite chili recipe. It is easy and quick to make. The link is not actually the recipe I use, but it is close. The one in the link uses about twice as many beans as the recipe I use. It also calls for chipotle sauce as opposed to chipotle salsa. Also, I substitute in black beans for all the beans called and reduce the liquid as we prefer a less soupy chili. To freeze, make and cool. Don’t add the chocolate square till you warm it back up. I also like to add sour cream, but it is good without it.
- turkey and pinto bean chili – I also use all black beans in this. Are you surprised yet? This recipe is a nice change up in chili recipes. It has a less intense flavor than the chocolate chipotle chili. The bacon, though, adds something nice. I never get the ‘diced small’ part of cutting bacon. So it gets cut like it gets cut and we all live with it. Something I have learned is that it is easier to cut bacon when it is still partically frozen. Yes, I buy and freeze bacon too when I see a good price or a sale.
- “regular” chili – for those times when I don’t have time to make a complicated supper, or am just not in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I say ‘regular’ because there is usually nothing as involved as adding bacon or chipolte salsa or chocolate or whatnot. Usually it involves me opening the pantry and freezer, throwing in whatever and however much of what I find. The basic principles are there, but there is no set recipe
As a side note, I grew up with noodles being placed in my chili. I tried that one or twice but always ended up with extremely large noodles and no sauce. Instead, I make it sans noodles and have a bread on the side instead. Or supply crackers to crumble up in the soup.
Beef Bourguignon – this was a recipe that my husband requested I make. At first I wasn’t sure, as it is more involved that what I prefer. However, it tastes great. Just don’t overcook the meat at first. If/when you freeze this, make sure there is enough liquid to it. I actually tend to freeze the ingredients ahead of time instead of afterwards. One of the main reasons is that it doesn’t last long here once made.
Pre-cutting the meat and pre-measuring ingredients is a time saver for a recipe that is not exactly on the “30-minute Supper” list. Add some heavy bread to soak up the extra juices.
Red Lentil Dal – I don’t have a link for this as I got the recipe from the grocery store where I bought the lentils. There are many variations to this recipe that you can find if you look.Ingredients: 2 c long grain brown rice 2 T canola oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 1-1/2 T curry powder 1/4 t ground cumin 1 t ground coriander 3 large garlic cloves, minced 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced 1 3/4 c (about half of a 28 oz can) diced tomatoes 1 c red lentils Salt Preparation: Rice – place the rice in a medium saucepan with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 40 minutes. Dal – Heat the canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, curry powder, cayenne pepper cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two, then add lentils, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a strong simmer and cover halfway. Cook for 15 lminutes, or until the lentils are very soft. Taste for seasoning. Variations: Carrots and/or zucchini: after cooking the onions, garlic and ginger, add the carrots and cook three minutes. Add the zucchini. Follow recipe instructions.
My variations: I use broth instead of the 3 cups water called for. I think it add just a bit more flavor and nutrition.
To freeze: let cool, then divide as needed into labeled freezer bags. Lay flat in the freezer, on a cookie sheet to catch any bags that may spill or to keep the bottoms flat. Once frozen they can be removed from the cookie sheet.
What have you made this week to place in the freezer? Please, share your recipes or links to them. Perhaps we’ll all find something new to try.