Introduction: Flavor Enhancers and Soup Coolers
Foods cooked from scratch are usually packed full of flavor and nutrition but we don't always have the time to cook them. I usually keep a small supply of canned tomato soup in my pantry for the days that prevent me from cooking a healthy meal. I recommend the organic brands but don't always buy them.
Here is a little trick that works for me when I need to fix a fast meal and must resort to canned tomato soup. I made some "home-made tomato soup and chicken stock from scratch and filled ice-cube trays with the soup and topped them with basil. These I froze in the freezer so I can add them to the canned tomato soup to improve the flavor when needed. Then I decided to make smaller ones to use for "soup coolers." I have not tried these for sauces or pasta but I plan to ~
Follow through and I will share . . . . how I flavor-up canned tomato soup and make it taste a whole lot better and how to make soup coolers for almost any kind of soup.
Step 1: Author's Time Saving Tips
I plan my menu a week in advance and if I have time I will do a quick clean in the refrigerator. I try to find recipes that overlap the ingredients so there is less food waste and food preparations and I don't over spend my grocery budget. I have saved myself from buying more of something that I already had; just by doing this one thing before I go to the store. The refrigerator is usually easier to clean the day of, or the day before I buy groceries, because it is kind of bare.
An example of planning my menu . . .
Chicken stock was one of my menu items for the week, so I decided to use chicken thighs to make "chicken and rice" stuffed peppers; for one meal and used the stock for soup enhancers and soup coolers. It is always a time saver for me when I do this.
Knowing this in advance. . .
I put on a pot of water and while it was heating up, I pan sear the chicken thighs with the skins and place them into the pot of water. I cut up different types of veggies to go into the broth. I use potato peels, onion pieces, and the tips and ends of vegetables in the broth.
I had some herbs that were not looking their best, so I added them and added some fresh ones. I like to add half of the vegetables in the beginning of the cooking process and the rest towards the end of the cooking process, so there is a fresher tasting flavor profile to the stock mixture.
I knew that I would be using carrots and bell peppers to make stuffed peppers, so I cut the bottom of the bell pepper and removed the insides. I threw them into the boiling water "whole" for ten minutes and then I removed them. I was getting low on soup flavor enhancers and soup coolers so I made them also.
Sometimes I will freeze a bag of soup broth measuring 1 1/4 cups to use in canned soup instead of water.
Step 2: Ingredients and Utensils
Home-made soup stock: chicken, tomato, vegetable, or beef
Fresh herb or herbs that compliment the soup stock ( I used basil. )
Seasonings; which ever one you like, I add pink salt because it has a lot of natural minerals in it that you don't get in table salt.
Freezable containers or freezer bags,kitchen scissors for cutting herbs, spoon or ladle,and ice cube trays. I used the jumbo size for the soup enhancers and small lip molds for the soup coolers.
Step 3: Heat
I put the stock into a pan on medium heat. Just before it begins to simmer, I add the herb and simmer the soup for a few minutes before removing the pan from the heat. I usually make several different flavors by making small batches enough for 2 trays of cubes. One for the soup enhancers and one for the soup coolers. I remove the pan from the heat and allow the stock to cool enough to pour the mixture into the ice cubes. Normally I add 9 basil leaves, the amount of ice cubes in the tray, but I forgot to take pictures of that when I made these; so I made a quick batch for the pictures.
Step 4: Freeze the Soup Cubes
I added fresh basil to the tops because this will be a gift.
Spoon the warm mixture into the ice cube trays.
Lay a basil leaf on the top or cilantro, bay leaves, parsley, or green onion.
Place in the freezer and freeze until solid.
Remove the ice trays from the freezer.
Remove the soup enhancer cubes from the trays.
Place the cubes into a freezer bag, write the flavor and date,and return them to the freezer until needed.
Step 5: Bon Appétit
Add a flavor enhancer to your canned soup when needed and use the soup coolers to cool the soup before eating. They definitely make a difference. Fresh ingredients served with a meal adds a homemade flavor to the profile. I often add fresh grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, tomatoes, or chives for a change. I hope you give these things a try.
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Thanks for stopping by and do have a safe and happy holiday season.
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