My friend Denise recently came over to visit and showed me how to make a simple soup base; it was so enjoyable to spend time in the kitchen with her – it felt like an adult playdate! This recipe will spur your imagination because you can add just about anything to make a delicious and hearty soup. Mix and match the ingredients with freedom and ease to your heart’s delight. And you won’t have to spend much time cleaning up since you can make it in one pot. You can make any quantity of this as long as you use the recommended proportions and have a big enough pot.
Simple Soup Base
One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
One tablespoon Italian herbs
3 cans water
3 big cubes or 3 tbs. of beef or vegetable bouillon concentrate
1 diced onion
We cubed some steak and cooked it along with the onion until the meat was browned. Then we added a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and using the can as a measure, added three cans of water, the bouillon and the Italian herbs. Then a 12 ounce bag of mixed frozen vegetables. After it came to a boil, we reduced the heat, and added a package of frozen egg noodles and simmered the soup on the stove for about an hour. The noodles made the soup a bit too thick, so we added some V-8 until it was the right consistency (don’t dilute the soup with water because then you will have watery soup). The flavor needed to be kicked up a notch so we added a Maggie vegetable seasoning cube and then it was exactly right. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes.
The possible combinations are endless and you can make this soup any way you like it. If you want to add noodles or rice cook them first. Other additions could be potatoes, couscous, beans, or lentils. For the protein you could use beef, pork, chicken or even tofu. Maybe even try Asian style with shrimp (make sure to add them at the end instead of at the beginning to avoid overcooking them); shrimp would taste yummy with peas, carrots, water chestnuts, and rice noodles. Or, make classic minestrone. I like to call these basic recipes that serve as a springboard for enormous creativity “un-recipes”. Maybe another name for this could be “the-one-pot-anything-soup”. Try it!
Cooking with a friend was so pleasurable. Women often cooked together like this in the “olden days”, didn’t they? This recipe came from Denise’s mother-in-law. I wonder where she got it. Perhaps a good friend gave it to her when she went visiting one day.