I started boycotting canned soup several years ago. The sodium content, not to mention that greasy film across the top of the soup when you open the can (ewww)….well, it wasn’t a hard choice to make. I got into the habit of making big pots of different kinds of soup and then freezing single portions for myself. Unfortunately, a lot of soups don’t hold up so great in the freezer. Anything with pasta, for example, gets very mushy when you reheat it (and most of my favorite soups have noodles!). I learned to live with it, but Bob wasn’t into it – he continued on with the canned soup path.
A couple months ago I got the idea (and I know it wasn’t mine but I can’t remember where on earth I got it from – not sure if Bob suggested it or if I saw it online or what!) to make just the soup base. So, for example, I made a pot of chicken broth (including the chicken shredded up after it was cooked), and that was it. I portioned THAT up into single frozen servings. Then, when I want soup, I pull out the base, thaw it, and add whatever I want to it. I still get a bowl of soup in about 10 minutes, but now it tastes like I just made it – not like I microwaved the heck out of it and now it’s mushy and disgusting.
I am really hooked on this now and I’m having a hard time finishing off the other frozen soup that I already made 🙂 Bob has also decided to join my canned soup boycott now that he can have his own personal serving just the way he likes. See below for some ideas!
To make a pot of chicken broth – add 6-8 chicken legs to a pot of water 3/4 full. Add 10 chicken bouillon cubes and salt and pepper to flavor. Bring to a boil, then simmer for approximately 1 hour (until chicken is cooled). Remove chicken, cool, and skin/debone. Break cleaned meat into small pieces and return to broth. Then, freeze into single serving portions. Remember – you’ll be adding the bulk of the ingredients later, so start small.
When you reheat, you can add:
Dried herbs/spices work great. I usually add parsley, dried onions, and dried celery right off the bat. The onions actually reconstitute themselves so it’s like you cut up a fresh onion in your soup!
Fresh or frozen veggies are simple to add. If I’m making a chicken corn noodle type of soup, I’ll dump in a handful of frozen corn (I keep a bag in the freezer for just such an occasion), and cut up part of a carrot (remember, this is single serving so you don’t need a lot). I prefer my veggies firm vs. mushy, so in the time it takes me to boil whatever pasta I’m adding to the soup the carrots and corn are plenty cooked for me.
You can add any sort of pasta. I use noodles, alphabet pasta, small shell pasta…anything that is relatively small.
If you like Italian Wedding Soup, make a bunch of tiny meatballs ahead of time. I made several pounds, cooked them off, and froze them in single batches (10-12 tiny meatballs per bag). When I reheat my soup base, I add a bag of meatballs and some acini de pepe and I’m ready to go!
You can see that you will only be limited by your imagination. You could do the same with a beef broth base (which I intend to do next!) and have it on hand for vegetable soup (just add a handful of frozen veggies from a bag in the freezer and some noodles). It’s amazing how easy it is to do and how delicious it tastes vs. freezing the entire soup pre-made. Also if you have fussy eaters in your house, everyone can have their own little pan with whatever THEY want in it.
Hope you love it just as much as I do 🙂