Cut Ahead And Season!!

Here’s a fantastic vegetable soup that I made in 15 minutes. 15 minutes?? Yep.Fast, Fresh Vege Soup

Learn to cut your veges ahead of time, and keep soup stock on hand.  The froo-froo french words for prepping ahead are mise en place.  Also, season the crap out of the soup, you’ll want to really enjoy some textures.  Two large servings of this soup come in at just 110 calories and it’s loaded with fiber. It’s easier than you think.

I do all this stuff on Sunday, in preparation for the week.

When you go to the store buy small and medium plastic containers with lids, a rotisserie chicken (or some cooked, cut chicken),  organic chicken broth, greek yogurt, organic lettuce (we like the spring mix), bell peppers, carrots, onions, celery, leeks, cherry (or ‘grape’) tomatoes; fresh ginger and at least one head of garlic.  Before you go to the store, check and see if you need any of those things.  Always have all of this stuff on hand.  Always.

Roast the garlic – I do ours in the toaster oven… Remove the outer ‘paper’ from the head, cut the top to reveal a bit of the cloves and place head upright in an ovenproof ramekin.  Pour 1-2 ounces of chicken broth over the head, cover loosely with foil and put it in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.  You can leave roasted garlic on the counter for the week, it’ll be fine.  When you need some tasty roasted garlic (great in salad dressing and soups), pull off a clove and squeeze it like toothpaste into your food.  Put this stuff in everything!  Well, except on ice cream… don’t forget to lick your fingers, yum!

While your garlic roasts, get out your clean cutting board and your sharp knife.  As you work put on some music, whatever you’re in the mood for; or do what I do- sing all the parts to your favorite Bee Gees songs out loud by yourself.  That keeps pesky kids and spouses out of your work area.

Thoroughly wash your veges and have them ready.  Cut peppers, carrots and celery into small strips including the celery tops.  Cut onions and leeks into regular or small dice (your preference).  How much should you prep?  Well…

Plan ahead.  Will you eat two salads this week?  Would you enjoy some soup three times this week?  Will other people be tucking into your stash?  Don’t worry too much, the prepped veges will hold very well for a week.  If you under-shot, don’t panic.  Get out that board and knife and carefully prep some more.

Tear up that cooked chicken.  Nibble as you do it.  Put the cut carrots, celery and leeks into one plastic sealable container.  Put the diced onion in another container (or else it’ll make all your other veges taste like onion).  Place the pulled chicken into a separate container.  Toss everything into the fridge.

Need a salad fast?  Wash some lettuce, toss in some cut veges.  Grate some ginger on top.  Need some protein (hey, we’re hungry here!) – toss in some chicken and greek yogurt mixed with roasted garlic, herbs de provence and pepper.

Need some soup fast?  Heat up the chicken broth and drop in what you want.  Take the vege strips out and dice them small – this will soften the veges more quickly.  Season the soup with what you like- I like a dash of hot sauce, salt and pepper, fish sauce, soy sauce, herbs de provence, fresh parsley – any and ALL of these are great!  When the veges get a bit soft and high in color, pour that tasty goodness into a travel mug and go baby!

Want beef instead?  Keep organic beef broth and some really nice deli roast beef on hand.  Boom!

Making fish in a foil packet for the family tonight?  Preheat that oven, a little oil on the fish, and cover the fish with precut veges.  Dinner in thirty.  Boom!

Fresh, delicious, and you know exactly what you’re eating.  Enjoy!  ~TH~