Warm up with a bowl of soup

There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold day. I love making soup all year long, but when the temperatures start to drop, soup becomes a regular part of my meal planning. Soup can be a simple meal, but if you load it up with the right ingredients, it’s also very satisfying.


Here are some reasons why I love throwing together a big pot of soup:

  • You can usually make it in one pot, making clean up easy.
  • You can use leftovers and other pantry staples, for a quick meal.
  • It’s a great way to add vegetables and legumes to your diet.
  • You can pack leftovers for lunch or freeze for another time.
  • It tends to be a budget-friendly meal, helping you stretch food dollars.


You can find a variety of great soup recipes online and in cookbooks. Most soup recipes are very simple, even for a beginner cook. At the end of this blog, you can find the recipes for two classics – minestrone and chicken soup. I like these recipes because they are inexpensive and you can customize them using ingredients that you like.


Once you’ve made a couple batches of homemade soup using a recipe, you can get creative and start making your own recipes. When there are sales at the grocery store, stock up on pantry and freezer items that you enjoy and can use to make a pot of soup. When making soup, I usually pick at least one item in each category from the table below: grains, vegetables, beans/legumes, and liquid. Then I supplement with items in my fridge that are leftovers or need to get used before spoiling. Some favorites include leftover chicken, ground beef or turkey, spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots. Add in spices and dried herbs for an extra flavor boost.


Grains Vegetables Beans and Legumes Liquid



Canned – green beans, diced tomatoes

Frozen corn, mixed vegetables




Split peas

Canned beans – black, kidney, navy, pinto

Low sodium broth – chicken, beef, vegetable

Tomato juice



Coconut milk



Minestrone Soup

Makes: 6 servings

Total Cost: $6.51

Serving Cost: $1.08



1 10-ounce packages frozen vegetables, any type

2 cans stewed tomatoes, canned, low-sodium (14.5 ounce)

2 cans broth, any flavor, canned, low-sodium (14 ounce cans)

1 can beans, canned, any type (15.5 ounce)

1 ounce pasta, dry, any type (1 cup)




This recipe is developed for a child to help an adult in the kitchen. Directions are written to different audiences:


  1. Adult and child: Wash hands well with soap and hot water.


  1. Child: In a large pot, combine frozen vegetables, tomatoes, broth and beans.


  1. Adult: Bring the soup to a boil and add the pasta. Then reduce to low heat. Let simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are tender.


Chicken Soup

Makes: 8 servings

Total Cost: $5.84

Serving Cost: $0.73



6 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)

1 cup chicken (cooked)

1 cup rice (uncooked)

1 3/4 cups vegetables (fresh chopped, such as potatoes, carrots, celery, or cabbage)

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon parsley (dried)




  1. Use leftover cooked chicken, or cook enough chicken to make 1 cup of chicken pieces.


  1. Place the cooked chicken in a large saucepan.


  1. Add the broth and uncooked rice. Cover the pan.


  1. Bring the broth and rice to a boil.


  1. Cover the pan, and turn the heat to low.


  1. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes.


  1. Add the chopped onions, chopped vegetables, and seasonings.


  1. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.