Food

Soup, Chili and Stew

Manage a busy life by cooking ahead of time.

Life can get hectic. With so many priorities to juggle unfortunately what we choose to eat often takes a back seat to other concerns. For instance, after you help the kids with their homework and shuttle them back and forth from soccer practice, it might be 7:00 before you have a chance to even think about dinner. What's the number for that new pizza place?

Change your dinnertime fate. This Sunday, take the time to prepare several weeks' worth of soul-warming soups and stews. By stocking your freezer in advance, you can have delicious, nutritious meals on the table in minutes.

Why soup, chili and stew?

  • They're easy to cook in large quantities and recipes tend to double or triple well.
     
  • They keep well for several months in the freezer in portion-controlled, microwavable containers.
     
  • Many are complete meals in themselves. Others pair up nicely with a side salad or simple starches like low-fat corn bread, brown rice, homemade fries or even baked chips.
     
  • Equipment needs are minimal. All you need are basic measuring and chopping tools, a long-handled ladle and a big stock pot.
     
  • Varying textures is a cinch: A vegetable-based soup can be made chunky or it can be pureed for a creamy taste without all the fat. Hand-held immersion blenders that you submerge in a pot of soup make pureeing especially easy. If you're pureeing soup in a blender, however, cool it slightly and puree it in small batches to prevent scalding liquid from splattering.
     
  • They're easy to modify. White beans can be swapped for black beans in chili, and a stew that calls for butternut squash should work well with acorn squash, too.
     
  • Getting in lots of vegetables doesn't get any simpler.
     
  • Soup liquids tend to absorb the flavours of herbs, spices and seasoning packets so obtaining great flavour takes minimal cooking effort and requires little to no fatty ingredients.
     
  • Clean-up is breeze: Most chilies and stews are one-pot meals. Some even work well in a slow cooker so you don't have to sweat it out over the stove.

Fabulous make-ahead meals
Try these delicious recipes and you'll have dinner ready for tomorrow, the day after that and even the following week!

Ginger-Scented Apple Squash Soup
Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy Potato-Leek Soup

Chili Mac
Turkey, Bean and Vegetable Chili
Beef and Bean Chili
Lentil and Black Bean Chili

Senegalese Peanut Stew with Spinach and Sweet Potatoes
Tomatillo Chicken and Hominy Stew
Beef and Beer Stew
Lamb Stew with Leeks and Carrots