No one who must prepare quick easy meals for a family every night has enough dinner menu ideas. That last meal of the day is when we must cater to staggered schedules, erratic appetites and finicky food preferences. Finding something that holds up well if eaten in shifts and offers enough variety to appeal to everyone is a challenge, but I think these soup ideas are the solution
What Makes Soup So Good?
Nutritious: The combination vegetables, grains and protein in a bowl is a nutritional trifecta, and the more vegetables, the better. Soup is an ideal place to introduce your family to less familiar whole grains, like hulled barley or wild rice, and to feature lean meats, fish and beans as a protein source. You can also significantly lower the salt content of homemade soup by making flavorful reductions of vegetable stock and seasoning it with herbs and spices to get the benefits of their special antioxidant properties.
Versatile: Given the huge number of different foods that make up the 3 core ingredients in soup (plus seasoning), the possible combinations are endless so there's no chance for boredom. Plus, soup can be eaten hot or cold, in cups or bowls, as a first course or main. The base can be thin, thick, clear or creamy, and the consistency brothy or chunky.
Satisfying: The fact that most soup is served hot means you must eat it slowly, and preferably sitting down, both keys to mindful eating. And according to the theory of Volumetrics, soup is one of those foods that provides more satiety with fewer calories. Not only is soup considered as comfort food that soothes the spirit, it has been used medicinally in many cultures.
Economical: Since soup can be made from pretty much any ingredients you have on hand - whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried – it's a great way to reduce food waste and recycle leftovers. One of the biggest ways you save money with soup is by using far fewer ounces of meat per person than if the meat is served as an entree.
Quick Easy Meals Begin With Soup
DIY Soup Bar: It's like a salad bar, only hot. Prepare one clear and one creamy base, like chicken stock and cream of mushroom, then provide an assortment of cooked and ready-to-eat items to add to them.
Get your dinner menu ideas here!
Vegetables Grains Protein Seasoning
Onions Brown rice Diced chicken Cilantro
Scallions Hulled barley Ground turkey Parsley
Peas Pearled Couscous Pulled pork Thyme
Mushrooms Whole Wheat Pasta Shredded beef Bay leaf
Lima beans Tortellini Black beans Garlic
Carrots Soba noodles Frozen shrimp Oregano
Corn Farro Canned clams Paprika