This is for all you busy busy people out there! The ones who are lost for dinner ideas or feel like they lack time to cook. It’s not a solution but you can decide to make a slow cooker soup once a week. By having at least one meal idea planned per week it’ll take some pressure off. It will also feed more people and may even provide you with leftovers. It will also teach you how to cook and mix flavours which is ultimately how we learn just by practicing!
For me personally I don’t like to follow recipes. I love to get creative and have cooked long enough now to know how things are generally made. I know this isn’t the case for most people. A lot of people actually feel quite lost in the kitchen or even feel anxious about cooking dinner.
I’ve been trying to come up with a lot of slow cooker type meals because I know life is busy and slow cookers I’m sure were invented for this reason! They make dinner easy and really delicious as foods that are cooked long are more “marinated”.
Now, I can post a million and five different recipes for different slow cooker soups that I make but to be honest the majority of the time I make up this shit on the fly! I throw whatever I have from freezer, fridge, or pantry in there and season like a mad woman. Boom dinner is ready and hot when I get home from work!
The hardest part I believe is knowing what goes well together but this is just something that you learn over time and sometimes with a little bit of trial and error (sorry family). They’ll forgive you when you become the soup master! All we can hope for when beginning is something that is edible haha.
Here is the process step by step:
Step One: Chop your veg the night before!!! This is the most important step because it saves you a whole lotta time in the morning when everyone is moving at high speed (or slow speed whichever is you lol). Go through your fridge and see what you could potentially chop up. Look for veggies that may expire soon so you can use them up. Stems that you may just throw out anyway are great for soup as they soften up and go with most flavours of soup for example broccoli stems or celery leaves even. Don’t forget to look in your freezer for options (frozen corn, peas, green beans etc). Often I will have other chopped veggies up in the freezer as well because they were on the edge of spoiling. Chop up an onion if you have it because onion just goes with everything and also if you’re a garlic person, it’s a great flavour option as well. Chop up any fresh herbs you have in the fridge as well. Put your chopped veggies and herbs in a reusable container and store in the fridge.
Step Two: Protein. Another great thing about slow cookers is that meat from the freezer can go straight in! If cooking for long enough throughout the day it will always thaw and cook with the rest of the soup. So check your fridge first for anything that may expire soon. Then check your meat from the freezer and pick. My go to is normally chicken breast but this week I tried italian turkey sausage and yum! You could try stewing beef but stay away from anything ground as normally it’s best to brown this before hand. IF your vegetarian or vegan get your best legumes out! You can mix and match with beans or chickpeas. If you decide you want lentils in there do NOT put them in to cook throughout the day as they will go mushy. (You can stir them in afterwards). I will usually always do some sort of meat AND a legume but this is totally a preference thing.
- Step Three: Pantry items. Check your pantry for some extra things you can throw in there such as diced tomatoes, a can of tomato or mushroom soup (goes well with chicken), or other creative soup packages such as french onion or knorrs vegetable soup mix. Coconut milk is another great option to add some creaminess and flavour. And for this time of year pumpkin puree is also a creative idea! If you want to do noodles or rice in your soup do NOT put these in to cook all day either because they will go mushy. Pull out what you want to use and either prep that the night before too or cook it quick right when you get home to throw in.
- Step Four: Broth. Consider what you have picked from the pantry when deciding on broth. If throwing in a dry soup mix then you may only need to add water. If not you can essentially do any broth (chicken, beef, bone, or vegetable broths). Whichever you have on hand. Or if you have broth powder such as chicken in a mug then that mixed with water will work too. If using coconut milk you may not need any other liquid either. Another idea or kicker… Don’t do broth at all and make it a stew… #mindblown Just make sure to add a little bit of liquid in the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn.
Step Five: So now that you have gathered everything you might find it helpful to make a little list to remind yourself in the morning OR just put everything you can out on the counter (Including the slow cooker). So now everything is ready for the morning.
Step Six: The morning. So now you’ve dragged your butt out of bed you’ve made your coffee and breakfast is in the making. This is where you pull your freezer items out. If your doing meat put that on the bottom of the pot. Take your veggies and herbs out and toss er in. Take your pantry items open them up and toss er in. Take your broth and decide how thick you like your soup keep in mind it will really thin out as everything cooks and releases it’s water. Add your broth (I usually do about 2 cups or so). You can always add more later. Then you take your spice rack out and just get creative and go to town. Don’t overly salt as you can ALWAYS add more later. Stir everything, put the lid on, and set your slow cookers timer. Set higher if it will be less time cooking and lower the longer it will take.
- Step Seven: Time to eat. So you get home from work now set all your stuff down, do what you have to do, then suddenly remember supper is ready yessss! Fish your meat out from the bottom of the slow cooker and either shred, dice or chop your meat and throw back in and stir. Do a taste test to check for flavour or saltiness and add things as needed. Some great additions can be fresh lemon, lentils, rice or noodles. This is where you would throw them in if pre made the night before or cook a quick pot of it now to toss in.
Now dinner is ready to eat so you can carry on with the rest of your day! Comment below on any creative ideas you have had or that I have missed!