Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Get-Well-Soon" Soup

School started last week, and all three kids are already battling a cold! The poor little guys looked so miserable today, then my throat started feeling scratchy too. My first thought was: we need soup!

Since I was also feeling under the weather, I wasn't exactly up to making an elaborate soup. But homemade soup is so much more delicious than canned soup – plus it makes the house smell great. I devised two quick and easy soups that can be pulled together to soothe sick family members of all ages.

Here's the base of the soup:

  1. Chop ½ an onion, 1-2 stalks of celery, and 1-2 carrots. Saute these veggies in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft (about 15 min).
  2. Add ½ tsp of dried thyme, ¼ tsp dried oregano, and about ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper (or any amount that tastes right for your family).
  3. Add 4 cups of chicken, beef, or vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Then I came up with two variations that worked for my family. Adding tortellini to the soup sounded comforting to me, but I knew my kids would flip for meatballs. So here are two variations we tried:

Add about 2 cups of frozen cheese tortellini to the boiling soup base. Simmer for 5 minutes to cook tortellini and serve.

Add about 1 ½ cups of diced potatoes and your favorite precooked frozen meatballs to the soup base and simmer until the potatoes are cooked (about 10 minutes). (I used small ½ ounce Italian meatballs and heated them in a separate pan of water first to drain off some of the grease before slicing them in half and adding them to the soup.)

Both soups hit the spot! You could add anything to the soup base to make your own variation: try any combination of vegetables, beans, meat, pasta or rice to make a soothing soup.

There's a reason soup is comforting when you are sick. Hot (or warm for small children) liquids help clear nasal congestion and soothe a sore throat. Volatile oils in thyme and oregano have been cited as having antibacterial properties. Plus the meatballs, pasta, and potatoes provide calories and protein to sick family members who aren't up to eating much.

Today's tip: Check your pantry and throw together a quick soup to soothe a cold.

No comments:

Post a Comment