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Soups and salads go together like salt and pepper, chocolate and peanut butter – you get the drift! It’s a classic combo that’s perfect for cool fall evenings.

Up the comfort quotient of your weeknight suppers with a comforting bowl of warm, homemade soup. Pair it with a crisp, crunch salad to create a filling meal that won’t leave you feeling stuffed.

Punching up the plants on your plate can lead to better nutrition in your house, too, according to the American Heart Association. A survey from Aramark, the largest U.S. based food service company, found many people want to ease up on meat consumption, and 2 out of 3 want to eat more fruits and vegetables. Try putting vegetables and fruits center-stage with these heart-healthy salads.

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

This coconut milk-based soup has just the right amount of spiciness

2 tablespoons butter

1 large (1 cup) onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk

1 quart (4 cups) reduced sodium chicken broth

2 cups shredded chicken

1 cup sugar snap peas

1 medium (1 cup) red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 ounces thin rice noodles, broken apart

2 tablespoons lime juice

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, if desired

Melt butter in saucepan over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add onions; cook 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic sauce; cook 1 minute. Add coconut milk and chicken broth. Cover; cook until mixture just comes to a boil.

Uncover; add chicken, peas, bell pepper, fish sauce, and rice noodles; cook until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking 4 minutes or until noodles are softened. Stir in lime juice.

Garnish individual servings with cilantro, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Cheese Croutons

Smoked paprika and cilantro add unique flavor to this roasted vegetable soup. We suggest doubling the cheesy croutons — they’ll go fast!

2 large (2 cups) carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 tablespoons Land O’ Lakes butter with canola oil, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 small (2 cups) butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large (2 cups) sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium (1 cup)red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ medium (¾ cup) red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 garlic cloves, skin on

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

6 cups chicken stock

Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Cheese croutons:

16 thin slices baguette

2 tablespoons Land O’ Lakes butter with canola oil

4 (¾-ounce) slices American cheese, quartered

Heat oven to 425 F.

Place carrots onto 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Toss with 1 tablespoon butter with canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast 15 minutes.

Place butternut squash, sweet potato, red bell pepper, red onion, and garlic in large bowl. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons butter with canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Remove pan from oven and add vegetables to carrots. Place back into oven. Roast 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and caramelized. Remove vegetables from oven; reserve 2 cups. Set baking sheet aside.

Remove skins from garlic cloves; add to 6-quart saucepan with remainder of vegetables on baking pan. Add chicken stock and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil. Puree soup in blender until smooth, in batches if necessary. Return to saucepan. Bring to a simmer.

Roughly chop 2 cups reserved vegetables; keep warm.

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Spread 2 tablespoons butter with canola oil evenly among 16 slices of baguette, covering both sides. Place onto baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes; flip slices. Place 1 quarter cheese onto each bread slice. Broil 1 minute or until cheese is melted and golden brown. Remove from oven. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with ¼ cup reserved vegetables and 1 cheese crouton.

Tortilla Soup

Crispy tortilla strips add a little crunch to this flavorful south-of-the-border soup.

Tortilla Strips:

2 tablespoons butter

3 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Soup:

1 small (½ cup) onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can mild enchilada sauce

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles

2 cups chicken broth

3 ounces (¾ cup) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oven to 425 F. Lightly butter both sides of each tortilla with about ½ teaspoon butter. Cut each tortilla into ³⁄8-inch strips. Place onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake, turning once, 5-8 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from oven. Place onto paper towels; set aside.

Melt remaining butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until sizzling; add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2-4 minutes or until tender. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese and tortilla strips. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Top individual servings with cheese and tortilla strips.

Optional: Add 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken to ingredients, before adding cheese and tortilla strips.

Tangy Kale Slaw with Cilantro and Honey

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

1 ½ teaspoons cilantro leaves, washed and chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¹⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups kale leaves, washed, shredded and stems removed

½ cup red cabbage leaves, washed and shredded

½ cup carrot, trimmed and shredded

¼ cup green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

In bowl, combine vinegar, mayonnaise, honey, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended. Add kale, red cabbage, carrot and onion. Toss to coat. Cover and keep chilled prior to serving. Makes 6 servings.

Aramark recipe

Black-Eyed Pea, Corn and Rice Salad

2 cans (15 ½ ounces each) no-salt-added or low-sodium black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 can (15 ¼ ounces) low-sodium or no-salt-added whole-kernel corn

1 package (8 ½ ounces) brown rice, microwaved according to package directions and broken into small pieces

2 medium ribs celery, chopped

1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon water

¹⁄8 teaspoon black pepper

In large bowl, stir peas, corn, rice, celery, pepper, parsley, olive oil, water and black pepper until combined. Makes 6 servings.

American Heart Association recipe

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