Twenty Tips to Avoid Soup Powder or Canned Broth

It’s funny to be writing a post about substitutes for soup powder or canned broth. Soup powder was invented as a shortcut to making soup the good old-fashioned way. With apologies to my vegetarian readers, the best soup is made by simmering bones or meat in water for a good long time.

Why not use powder or cans? Processed soup may contain monosodium glutumate, starches, artificial flavors and preservatives and excessive amounts of salt. Monosodium glutumate adds flavor but gives some people stomach problems. And while we do need starch and sodium in our diet, it’s better to have control over how much and in what form.

Soup powder is meant to add flavor and texture. But we can do that with simple foods that we have at home. Try one of two of these techniques the next time you make soup. Adjust flavors along the way, write down your successes, and soon you will find yourself making great soup from scratch.

Lentil Bake

Wednesday is Recipe Day at Cooking Manager.

Reader Aviva-Hadass sent me a recipe for a vegetarian lentil casserole that can be mixed right in the baking pan. It bakes 70 minutes, or use your oven for something else at the same time. Or make it in the crockpot.
Lentil Bake

A Look at an Efficient Cooking Session

As a challenge, I decided to see if I could prepare two Shabbat (sabbath) meals in an hour, not including cooking time.

Here’s the menu:

  • Roast chicken with garlic, lemon juice, and oregano
  • Potatoes in the pressure cooker
  • Roast vegetables: Turnip, onion, garlic, beet, sweet potato, yellow pepper, rosemary.
  • Cholent (a stew in the crockpot)
  • Techina (sesame paste dressing).
  • Cake, challah and soup from the freezer. I try to separate baking from cooking when I can, because they use different ingredients and tools.
  • Salad, made by my kids closer to the meals.

Simple Microwave Recipes

In my recipes, I like to include instructions for using a variety of cooking methods. Some people don’t own microwaves, but in a dorm or hotel room, that may be the only cooking tool available. Different methods work better for different people and situations.

Reader Ilana-Davita’s stovetop broke, and in the absence of a crockpot she requested microwave recipes. Here are a couple of simple ones. They all require microwave-safe utensils, like toughened glass, ceramic, or silicon.

Vegetable-Barley Soup

I make rich winter soups all the time, with whatever I have on hand. I even have a couple of varieties in the freezer, but they have been there so long I can’t remember what they are. Why deprive myself of the joy of hot soup cooking on a cold winter afternoon?