Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shame on Me -- Not from Scratch, Not Local, But Still Good Soup

After a busy day (and a few full days of eating at the Fancy Food Show and Food Fete), I needed something light and vaguely nutritious today. My shameful, quickie answer -- another Trader Joe freezer soup special.

Don't get me wrong, I think soups from scratch are the best and I prefer not to base my cooking on a lot of processed foods, but sometimes you just need something quick. I also prefer to source as much as I can locally and not support a German-owned chain, but gosh darn, I love TJ's, so I try to use it in moderation. I don't need a Trader Joe's intervention, yet.

Another Trader Joe's Inspired Soup
Makes about 6 servings

Olive oil or olive oil spray
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 16 ounce bag of defrosted frozen Trader Joe's roasted vegetables in balsamic sauce (okay to microwave frozen to reach defrosted state)
32 ounce box of chicken stock (I like Pacific more than TJ's own brands, but either works) or veggie stock
14-16 ounces of diced, canned tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Oil or spray soup pot. Over medium high heat, saute onions until golden, add garlic, saute until just turning color. Add vegetable mix, saute a few minutes, until pats of seasoned butter melt into mixture. Add stock and tomatoes. Simmer and cover (lowering heat if needed) until vegetables are heated through and it tastes like soup. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.

No Trader Joe's? You can make this soup with any frozen, seasoned vegetables. Look for a mix that is roasted and maybe add a splash of balsamic vinegar to replicate the taste of this soup.

For a vegetarian option -- use vegetable stock. You need the stock for flavor in this soup, I don't advise using plain water.

To see my other lapses in soup making, check out my recipes for Trader Joe's Chicken Fajita Soup and Trader Joe's Green Chicken Soup.

We ate it with grilled provolone cheese and pesto sandwiches on the side (it's fun having a panini grill!), which perhaps negated some of the lower calorie aspects of the soup.

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