Quick And Easy Vegetable Soup Recipe

Brought up on my mothers home cooked traditional meals, I am no stranger to soup… honestly, I can ramble a good 20 odd straight off the top of my head at any given time. However, it seems to me there are a lot of people around me these days who don’t know how to make soup, or hold of a lot of misconceptions about soup. Despite what people may think soup doesn’t have to be labourious or take hours to make, instead, soups can be one of the simplest, easiest, heartiest things you can make.

Vegetable Soup

Bonuses

  • Great for bulk cooking
  • Freezes well
  • One-pot cooking
  • Versatile
  • Healthy
  • Quick and easy *ready in approx 15 minutes

Ingredients (per serve)

  • 200 grams of cauliflower (approx. 1/3 of a large cauliflower or packed 2 cups)
  • 50 grams (about ½ a medium) carrot
  • 50 grams of frozen peas
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper
  • ½ medium tomato
  • ¼ medium onion
  • 500ml vegetable or chicken stock – or water with a stock cube added
  • Drizzle of oil – for cooking
  • Other recommended ingredients that can be included include – green beans and/or corn; replacing a portion of stock with canned/pureed tomato for a richer soup; and/or adding shredded chicken, beans or red lentils (which will require additional liquid) for a protein boost.

Herbs and Spices *Please adapt the spices to your taste preferences. You can simply double the quantity of spices/herbs if you like them.

  • ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder – you can use fresh garlic if you prefer
  • ½ teaspoon of Italian herbs – I used oregano, basil, thyme and marjoram
    *You can also use herbs like dill, rosemary or fennel to suit your taste preferences
  • ¼ pepper
  • Pinch of salt – if your stock is salty you might not need this
  • Other recommended spices/herbs that can be included include – cumin, turmeric, chili and/or cayenne or bay leaf, dill, rosemary and/or fennel.

Equipment

  • 1 small pot with a lid – if you’re only making a single serve. If you don’t have a lid, you may need to use more stock/water
  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Blender – I used a handheld blender
  • Spoon
  • Knife or fork

Nutrition

  • 200g or cauliflower is approx 50 calories
    A great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.
  • 50g of carrot is approximately 20 calories
    A great source of vitamin A
  • 50 grams of peas approx 30 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, B1, K, Manganese and fibre.
  • 50 grams red capsicum/bell pepper approx 30 calories
    A great source of vitamin C as well as B6 and A
  • ½ medium tomato approx 10 calories
    A good source of vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum, and vitamin K
  • ¼ medium onion approx 10 calories
    A good source in vitamin C, was well as dietary fiber, and folic acid
  • The nutritional content and health benefits of the remaining ingredients including stock, herbs and spices will depend on the type you use.
    However, according to my research, 500mls of the average supermarket stock will set you back approx 40 calories.

Process

  1. Chop cauliflower, capsicum, onion and carrot roughly. The size of your cutting will determine the cooking time, the smaller the quicker it will cook so I recommend small florets for the cauliflower, 1.5cm cubes for the carrot and ½ cm strips for the capsicum and onion.
    Note: To speed up the process, I cut my onions, and whilst sautéing them I cut the rest of my vegetables.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, herbs and spices and sauté until onions are transparent, approx 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add stock. When the liquid boils, add the carrot and cauliflower. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the capsicum and tomato. Cook until the carrot and cauliflower is tender. This should take approx another 3-5 minutes depending on how small you cut your vegetables.
    Note: To test of vegetables are tender, simply taste a vegetable or place a sharp knife on a vegetable, and applying very minimal pressure, the knife should enter the vegetable with little give. If the knife meets resistance in the middle of the vegetable, more so than the outer portion of the vegetable it is not quite ready.
  4. Once tender. Turn off heat, and add peas.
  5. Vegetable SoupBlend soup to desired consistency. I use a handheld blender and simply give it a quick 5-10 second buzz.
    Note: Be careful of any splash back if you are blending the soup whilst it is still hot.
  6. Serve immediate, or let cool and pack away in the fridge for tomorrows lunch, or freeze for an evening you can’t be bothered cooking.
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Butter Chicken & Potato Curry

Butter Chicken & Potato Curry

$2 – $2.50 per serve
Will keep for a couple days in the fridge
Can be frozen for a later date
Easy way to feed a large number of people

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Serving size: 14
Time: >1 hour
Course: Dessert
Difficultly: Easy
(Great for winter dinner; comfort food; eating over 2 days)

Ingredients

12 small potatoes (or 8 medium) 1.74
6 Large chicken breasts 15
6 cups of rice & 6 cups of water
Butter chicken spice mix 1.49
-or you can make your own using a combination of: paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, onion powder, mixed spices (try to avoid any pre-made jar sauces; the flavour you get from cooking real fresh spices is worth it.
3 heaped tablespoons of Curry powder
½ bulb of garlic 50c
2 small onions 90c
2 800g cans of tinned tomato 3.00
100g butter
300ml cream
Drizzly of olive oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Fresh parsley or coriander to serve


Method

  1. Rinse rice. Place rice and water into a large saucepan. Place on high heat-bring to a boil. Once at a boil reduce heat to a medium heat and cook with the lid on until water is completely absorbed and rice is cooked. This should take about 15 minutes – though check instructions on your packet as this will vary between rice varieties.
  2. This step isn’t necessary but I prefer to do it. Bring a large pot to the boil. Large dice potatoes (roughly 1cm by 2cm). Cook potatoes for 2-3 minutes just to soften them a little. Potatoes should be still uncooked and maintain their space. Drain.
  3. Heat oil and butter in a large pot over a medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic.
  4. Add chicken, spice mix, curry powder and let the chicken brown.
  5. Add tinned tomatoes and potatoes. When the pot is back up to a medium heat turn it down to a low heat.
  6. Let the curry simmer uncovered for 1-3 hours. The quicker you want to eat it the higher the temperature will need to be to make the reduction process quicker. However the lower the heat and the longer the curry can cook the more flavour will develop, so it’s definitely worth the wait.
  7. Add cream and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Serve curry over a bed of rice, and garnish with parsley or coriander.


Tips & Tricks
-Make the night before and enjoy over a day or two.
-For variety change the variety or rice you use.
-Make this large serving, divide into containers and freeze for that night you’re just too tired to cook.

Clam Shortbread Biscuits (Clammys)

Clam Shortbread Biscuits (Clammys)

Less than .50c per serve
Can be made the day before

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Serving size: 10-12
Time: <45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Difficultly: Easy
(Great for dessert; or parties)

Ingredients

Shortbread
225g    Plain flour
115g    Rice flour
115g    Castor sugar
225g    Butter (salt reduced) – Room temperature

Icing (This will be trial and error & differ person to person)
~4 cups           Icing sugar 1.92
~200g              Butter (reduced/unsalted) – Room temperature
~1-2 Tbsp        Milk
~4 drops          Vanilla bean/Vanilla extract
~2 drops          Pink food colouring

Other
100s & 1000s


Method

  1. Preheat over on low heat 180°C (160°C fan-forced).
  2. Cover 2 trays with greaseproof baking paper.
  3. Mix plain flour, rice flour, castor sugar and butter in a bowl until dough is formed.
  4. Take a small portion of the dough and roll in your hand. The dough will soften as you roll it, so do this as quickly as possible. Place rolled ball onto tray. Do this until all the dough has been rolled into balls. Keep balls well-spaced as they will spread whilst cooking.
  5. Lightly flatten the balls with your fingers until they are 1cm thick and pop into the oven. Cook for ~15-17 minutes or until the cookies begin to brown ever so lightly.
  6. Whilst cookies are baking mix ~1.5 cups icing sugar, 100g butter, 2 drops of vanilla and pink food colouring. Mix until icing is spreadable (adding ingredients as necessary, icing sugar to thicken, milk to thin).
  7. Mix remaining icing sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix until icing is thick enough to roll into a ball (adding ingredients as necessary, icing sugar to thicken, milk to thin).
  8. Take out of the over and remove from hot tray to cool. Be gentle as they are still soft and will harden a little as they cool.
  9. Wait until cookies are cool, and icing the bottom of each with pink icing.
  10. Using the thick white icing, roll into small balls 5-10c in diameter. The icing will soften as you roll it, so do this as quickly as possible. Place the icing balls in the first third on top of the pink iced side on half of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top of the cookies with the white icing balls.
  11. Roll very small quantities of white icing (2 per clam) and place on top of the cookies to create eyes. Push 100s & thousands into the icing eyes for pupils.


Tips & Tricks
Substitute white icing balls ‘pearls’ with white candy
Make the night before, keep in an airtight container and serve the next day at a party.
For gluten free option try replacing plain flour with gluten free flour.

Stove-top Goulash Recipe

Stove-top Goulash 

<5 mins preparation 
≈2 hrs cooking time 
$3-$4.50 per serve *for cheaper option $2-$3 see Tips & Tricks 
Large quantity – can be eaten over a couple days 
*gluten-free

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Serving size: 8-10
Time: ≈2 hours
Course: Dinner
Difficultly: Easy
(Great for winter dinner; comfort food; eating over 2 days)

Ingredients

1.5kg diced beef *for cheaper option see Tips & Tricks
1 (800g) can tinned tomato
2 cups beef stock
1 green bell pepper/capsicum
1 red bell pepper/capsicum
1 large onion
3 garlic gloves
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 small dried chilli (to taste)
500g Spiral pasta or rice (to serve)
1/2 cup sour-cream or natural yogurt (optional)

Method

  1. Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot and bring to medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté. Add garlic.
  2. Add meat and cook until well browned. Whilst meat is browning, chop bell peppers/capsicums roughly and add to pot.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (excluding sour cream/yogurt) and bring to a boil.
  4. Turn heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes with lid on. Stir occasionally. Remove lid and continue simmering for a further 1.5 hours without the lid. Stir occasionally.
  5. Serve over rice or pasta.
  6. Stir in or serve on top sour cream/yogurt just before serving.

Tips & Tricks 
For cheaper option: Substitute 750grams of beef with potatoes.
Keeps well in the fridge, so you can eat over 2 nights.