Easy soup recipes for the cold winter weather

Soups are always on the menu in January because they are hearty, soothing, easy to prepare, tasty and cheap. There’s a soup to suit every taste bud. However, this year there is an additional bonus: they are perfect for the freezing cold temperatures we are having.

Cheers for the best winter soups ever – you just need some wonderful bread to round out the meal and you are sure to feel ready to handle the coldest day.

Grandma Cargill’s Corn Chowder

This is one of my favourite cold weather recipes from my Grandma Cargill. We loved it as children and even more so as adults. It meets all the criteria of a popular soup: easy to make, tasty, cheap and just the thing on a freezing day. Enjoy it with an oatmeal or whole grain bread or muffin. If you make an apple crisp to round out the meal, it makes a perfect supper by the fire

Barley used in this recipe can be either pot or pearl barley available in supermarkets. The evaporated milk in the recipe has double the calcium (available in cans) because some of the water from the milk is evaporated from it – thus the name. It also has a creamy taste without the extra fat calories of whipping cream or coffee cream. Do not confuse evaporated milk with sweetened condensed milk used for desserts.

1/4 cup (50 mL) pot or pearl barley

2 medium onions, peeled and coarsely grated

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

2 potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated

Water to cover

1 (19 oz / 396 mL) can creamed corn

1 (354 mL) can evaporated milk, 2% or whole milk

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine barley, onions, carrots, potatoes and cover ingredients with enough water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer until barley and vegetables are tender about 25 – 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Stir in creamed corn, evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer a few minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently. Serve immediately or cool; cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Spicy Instant Tomato Soup

A friend reminded me of this low–cal, speedy recipe recently. She was talking about the constant problem of feeling hungry and trying to lose weight without nibbling on the wrong foods (think: cookies). This is especially true when you arrive home from work hungry but dinner still has to be prepared. This soup fills the bill. It is nutritious, warming, fills the inner self and is super fast to make.

1 can (48 oz/ 1.5 L/ 6 cups) tomato juice or tomato vegetable cocktail

1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 lemon slice

1 cinnamon stick

1-2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce

In Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine tomato juice or vegetable cocktail, celery, onion, bay leaf, lemon slice, cinnamon stick and Worcestershire sauce.

Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Ladle into mugs to serve or make ahead, refrigerate and reheat. Soup keeps well for several days. Makes 6 – 8 servings.

Quick Oatmeal Bread

A great accompaniment to a soup, this is a super simple quick bread. It keeps well and it can be sliced and toasted, too.

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 mL) whole-wheat flour

1 cup (250 mL) quick oats

1 cup (250 mL) natural bran

2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk, OR 2 cups milk soured with 1 tbsp/ 15 mL vinegar, OR 1 cup (250 mL) natural yogurt and 1 cup (250mL) milk

1/4 cup (50 mL) liquid honey or molasses

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (3 L) loaf pan with parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, oats, bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt together until well mixed. Stir in buttermilk or mixture milk and yogurt and honey just until dry ingredients are dampened.

Spoon batter into loaf pan. (Optional: To give the bread an appealing appearance, sprinkle oats on the top surface once you have the batter in the pan and pat lightly with your hand.)

Bake about 50 – 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool before slicing. Keeps well for up to a week. Makes 1 loaf – 12 slices.

Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer. Connect with her at janmainskitchen@gmail.com.

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