(WXYZ) - A warm, comforting pot of soup fills your home with memory making aromas. For centuries families have been making soups. Traditionally, the purpose of soup was to decrease cost and waste by creating a great meal while using up leftovers from your refrigerator and pantry. A delicious, comforting pot of soup offers so many benefits for you and your family, including a smaller waistline.
Researchers from Penn State University found that when study participants ate a first course of soup before lunch they reduced their total calorie intake by 20%, compared with those who did not begin the meal with soup. Eating soup at the start of a meal can lead to weight loss without feelings of deprivation. But, watch out for cream soups! To promote weight loss, the researchers stressed that soups must be low-calorie stock based soup, not those made with heavy creams.
Tomato-Cheese Ravioli Soup
Makes 4 servings
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can Meijer diced tomatoes
2 cups Meijer chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tsp. dried McCormick Italian seasoning
3 cups frozen Meijer cheese ravioli or fresh cheese tortellini
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 tsp. McCormick ground pepper
1. Combine tomatoes, broth and Italian seasoning in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.
2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add ravioli, zucchini, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook covered on low for 7 to 8 minutes or until pasta and zucchini are tender.
3. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired and serve.
Nutrition Information (per serving): 317 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 39 mg cholesterol, 653 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 15g protein
Serve with: Whole Grain Baguette and Dole Bag Salad
Sensational Soup Tips:
The best soup starts with a good stock. Keep quality stock on hand, such as Meijer Naturals, or make your own. When using a packaged or canned stock, pay attention to sodium content and avoid adding additional salt to your soup recipe.
Step by Step: When making soup, "layer flavors" for best results. Follow these steps to create a flavorful pot of soup:
1. Brown meat in a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Remove meat.
2. You can add vegetables right to the soup stock and simmer. However, to add another layer of flavor, consider sautéing your vegetables first. Add vegetables to the same stock pot used for your meat and sauté with a little salt and pepper, just until the vegetables wilt. Remove from pot and set aside.
3. Use about 1/4 cup stock or wine to deglaze the stock pot, creating a rich and flavorful starter for your soup.
4. Add your stock and vegetables to the pot and bring it to a gentle boil; reduce to a simmer. Add remaining soup ingredients, like pasta, rice or beans, along with the browned meat. Season with pepper and other dried spices.
5. Finally, add delicate herbs or greens during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Use Produce in-season:
January seasonal produce picks include vegetables that are perfect for hearty winter soups. Serve seasonal fruit for a healthy dessert.
Vegetables: root vegetables-rutabagas, turnips, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, celery, onions, tubers
Fruit: citrus-oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, avocado, dried fruits
Fast Prep. Soup: Brown meat. Add all soup ingredients into a slow cooker and cook four or more hours.
Simple Soups: When you're in a hurry you can pump up the nutrition value of any canned soup by simply adding frozen vegetables. For example, add 1 cup Meijer frozen mixed vegetables to one can healthier canned soup.