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Five fast soups for this cooler time of year

Just because it's soup season doesn't mean you have to get out your big stockpot and set aside a whole afternoon. But you don't have to just resort to opening a can, either.

With the help of a few products and fast tricks, you can have a bowl of soup about as fast as you can order a pizza.

I came up with a list of five easy soups that all take less than 30 minutes with the help of a few good cookbooks on fast cooking.

And how about cutting a little fat? Cooking Light's new cookbook Amazing Recipe Makeovers (Oxmoor House, 2016) has a handy trick for replacing heavy cream in creamy soups by making a replacement from nonfat milk and overcooked instant brown rice. It takes about 25 minutes, but you can do it in advance and keep a batch around for chowders.

Keep these handy

Any of these will help you make soup fast enough for a weeknight.

Wonton skins: Find them in the produce section of most supermarkets. Cut them into thin strips, drop them into simmering broth and you'll have instant noodles.

Almost-instant meatballs: Get Italian sausage or brats, cut open the casings and quickly roll the meat into balls for fast meatballs, already seasoned and ready to go.

Tiny pasta: Orzo and acini de pepe cook in 10 minutes or less. Bonus: They don't soak up so much broth that you end up with stew.

Canned beans: Add one can's worth to the soup and puree the second to use as a fast thickener.

Flavor boosters: You sometimes need something to add a little depth. Try a bit of balsamic vinegar, Asian fish sauce or toasted sesame oil. Start small, with ¼ to ½ teaspoon, and see if you like it before adding more.

Fast bases: Frozen hash browns and frozen corn can both be turned into a fast chowder.

Fast vegetables: When a soup would work with cabbage, stir in shredded coleslaw mix.

>>EASY

Quick Beef Pho

You can save a step making the broth with a frozen pho brown, such as Nona Lim, which is available at Whole Foods..

6 cups beef stock

2 star anise

1 (½-inch) piece of fresh ginger, cut in 4 slices

12 ounces flank steak or

tri-tip stack

8 ounces medium rice noodles

1 ½ cups bean sprouts

4 or 5 green onions, sliced

½ cup fresh basil or cilantro

2 red fresh chiles, thinly sliced

Lime wedges

Combine the beef stock, star anise and ginger in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (If using a frozen pho stock, you can skip this step.)

While the stock is simmering, place the steak in the freezer so it's easier to slice thinly. Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water.

Cut the steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Remove the ginger and star anise from the broth with a slotted spoon. Add the rice noodles and return to a simmer. Add the beef and remove from the heat.

Ladle into bowls and top with bean sprouts, green onions, basil and/or cilantro, chiles and a lime wedge.

Serves 6.

Source: Dinner A.S.A.P., from the editors of Cooking Light (Oxmoor House, 2016)

>>EASY

Lightened-up Broccoli Cheese Soup

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided

½ cup uncooked instant brown rice

1 cup nonfat milk

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ¼ pounds broccoli florets, coarsely chopped (or about 3 cups from a salad bar)

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Make the brown rice cream: Combine 2 cups stock and rice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 25 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place rice mixture and milk in a blender. Remove the center piece from the lid and cover with a dish towel to keep it from splashing. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion and saute about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add broccoli and salt. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until broccoli is just tender. Add the brown rice mixture. Simmer 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place 2 cups of the soup in a blender and process until smooth. (Remove the vent from the lid and cover with a dish towel.) Return to the pan. Add pepper and 1 cup of cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Serve topped with a little more cheese.

Serves 6.

Source: Amazing Recipe Makeovers, from the editors of Cooking Light (Oxmoor House, 2016)

>>EASY

Greek Lemon Soup With Chicken

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

cup orzo

6 large egg yolks (save the whites for another use)

1 ½ cups cooked shredded chicken (leftover or from a rotisserie chicken)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the orzo and cook 8 to 9 minutes, until tender.

Beat the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the hot broth. Whisk the egg mixture into the soup and cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and lemon juice and heat until warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.

Source: Dinner Made Simple, from the editors of Real Simple (Oxmoor House, 2016)

>>EASY

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

4 cups chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated tortellini, any flavor

3 cup baby spinach, chopped

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, until onions start to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook about 30 seconds.

Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and their juice, oregano and 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add the tortellini. Reduce heat and simmer until tortellini are cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook just until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with cheese.

Serves 4.

Source: Adapted from Damn Delicious by Chungah Rhee (Oxmoor House, 2016)

>>EASY

Asian Noodle Soup With Shrimp

6 cups chicken broth

½ red or green fresh chile pepper, seeded and sliced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ small head of Napa cabbage, chopped

About 10 wonton wrappers, cut into ½-inch-wide strips

½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup snow peas, halved

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

½ cup fresh basil, sliced

Bring the chicken broth, chile pepper and soy sauce to a boil in a large pot.

Stir in the Napa cabbage, wonton strips and shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp are pink and noodles are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the snow peas and rice vinegar. Serve topped with basil.

Serves 4.

Source: Real Simple

Five fast soups for this cooler time of year 12/12/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2016 10:54am]
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