Last week I told you how great tasting and budget friendly homemade soups were during fall. Well, that got me thinking about canned soups too. Companies like Campbell’s have been heavily promoting the fact that soups make a tasty budget meal. I’ve been seeing varieties such as tomato, chicken noodle, lentil, all on sale. So I when Walgreen’s was selling Campell’s tomato soup for just 69 cents a can, I set myself a goal. I’d take the soup and excuse the pun, soup it up. I’d think about what specific ingredients could be added to either boost the flavor or turn the canned soup into a meal. And I’d used items that you can find in just about any pantry. Here are some ideas I came up with-
Mexican Style Soup
You can make the tomato soup with water and then add about half a cup of salsa. When I made mine, I also added a dollop of sour cream just before I served it.
Another idea is to make the soup with milk and then serve it with a blended mixture of avocado, sour cream and chili powder and placed in the center of the sop and serve tortilla chips on the side.
I found this one just by accident. As you know, I hated wasting any food, so some leftover corn gave me idea. I’d made a recipe for sweet and spicy corn the night before. All you need to do is add some butter to cooked corn and then add some garlic powder, brown sugar, crushed red pepper flakes and chili powder and stir until the corn is coated. I had about a cup of this left over and stirred it into the soup. The combination of the spices and tomatoes were really good.
Italian Tomato Soup
One great addition is pesto sauce stirred into the basic recipe. And I also thought about using the soup as a base for a minestrone. Just add some pasta, beans, veggies, like zucchini and it looks almost completely homemade.
Basic Tomato Soup
And here’s one I really liked. Plain old tomato soup made with milk and served with a generous serving of shredded cheese and spiced croutons. You can use brand name croutons or cubed bread you have sitting around. Just toss it in some oil and add a sprinkling of cumin, coriander and chili powder and bake on a cookie sheet for about ten minutes in a 350 degree oven.
I think any potato soup fills you up quickly anyway, so you don’t need much to make it a complete meal. A couple of ideas I had were to add chopped vegetables, like carrots, maybe even sweet potatoes. Another idea is to stir in shredded cheese for cheesy potato soup. Serve it with a salad and some bread and it’s a complete and quick meal.
I have to say homemade lentil soup is one of my favorites, so I’m picky when it comes to the canned variety. Lentils, like potatoes, are filling, so you don’t need much to make it a satisfying meal. When I think of lentils, I often think of bacon. Most have some bacon already added to them, but you could add more chopped bacon. And another idea is to add sausages and maybe some more vegetables, like carrots and make a sausage and lentil stew.
The most obvious thing to add to plain chicken noodle soup is veggies. Peas, carrots, celery. And what a great way to use up leftover vegetables that have been sitting in the refrigerator.