Make Healthful Eating Fun!

January is Soup Month!

Makes sense, right? It’s cold, gray, and winter is in full swing. With all that, what could sound better than a warming bowl of soup? Plus, so many people are making health resolutions at this time of year — soup is the perfect resolution food. Choosing a soup that is loaded with vegetables is a low-calorie way to get tons of nutrients and fiber, and it’s filling too!

Here’s one of my very favorite soups, perfect for this time of year. Enjoy!

Soup Month SoupRoasted Winter Vegetable Soup

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 and 1/2 cups

1 butternut squash, halved, stemmed, and seeded
1/2 onion
1 yellow bell pepper
2 carrots
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup fat-free half and half
Dash black pepper
Dash hot pepper sauce

Place the vegetables in a roasting pan and roast for 90 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Puree the roasted veggies with the broth and fat-free half and half in a blender. It will take a few batches to puree all of the veggies until smooth. Don’t overfill the blender or the top may blow off!

Place puree back on the stove and bring to a simmer over low heat. Season with pepper and a little hot pepper sauce. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later use.

Nutrition Information:

This recipe makes 4 servings. Each 1 and 1/2 cup serving contains 194 calories, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 166 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 11 g sugar, and 9 g protein.

Each serving also has 561% DV vitamin A, 200% DV?vitamin C, 17% DV calcium, and 11% DV iron.

Chef’s Tips:

I love to show off the gorgeous color of this soup, so I serve it in onion soup crocks. Add a few whole grain crackers and a small salad for a perfectly light lunch or dinner.

Want to see more great January resources? Check out these options!

Take Control of Your Portions Poster

Phytochemical PowerPoint and Handout Set

Healthful Choices 1-2-3 Poster

I almost forgot! Here’s your free handout with this great soup recipe!

Soup Month Soup for Everyone

Introduction to Cooking Demonstrations

Now is a great time for a cooking demonstration or two. Are you ready to rock a demo of your own? If you’re not sure where to start, then check out this selection from our new book, Home Run Cooking and Demonstrations, by Judy Doherty, PC II. It has everything you need to know about putting together a successful and engaging cooking demonstration. Remember, those details matter!

Winter Green Super Soup Cooking Demonstration Guide:

Soup is Super!Get Ready: A Day or Two before the Demonstration

  1. Read the recipe through in its entirety and make sure that each step is clear and makes sense to you.
  2. Gather your equipment. Will you be able to puree the soup on site? How? Small batches in a blender work well, as does placing an immersion blender right in the pot. A food processor works well too. Practice with these machines so that you look smooth during your demo and so that the soup does not spray everywhere because of a lid that doesn’t fit.
  3. Purchase your ingredients. Any soup demo lends itself well to a discussion of the sodium content of canned soups. Homemade soups are fresh, healthful alternatives. Pick up a couple cans of different kinds of soup so that you can discuss sodium content during some downtime in the demo.
  4. Print any handouts or recipes that you want to distribute to the group.
  5. Practice your demonstration a few times. Try to get family or friends to watch you and offer feedback.

Get Set: A Few Hours before the Demonstration

  1. Visit your demonstration site and ensure that all equipment there is ready to go.
  2. If your audience is large and you want to provide tastings, you can precook a large batch of soup ahead of time.
  3. Pack up your ingredients and equipment.
  4. Review food safety information to be sure that you have proper temperatures and materials for hand-washing, area cleaning, and sanitizing.
  5. Pre-measure all ingredients and place them in small cups or bags on your demo table. Put them in the order they will go into the recipe, with the first ones closest to you.

Go: During the Demonstration

  1. Introduce yourself.
  2. Introduce your ingredients and talk briefly about any notable ones.
  3. Introduce your cooking equipment and each piece’s role in the recipe.
  4. Outline the process you’re going to use to prepare the soup.
  5. During the downtime in your demonstration (or before/after the presentation), you can discuss the sodium issue with soup.
  6. When the soup is done, puree it.
  7. If you’re distributing samples, do so now and discuss the recipe with participants while they eat.

Tips from the Chef

  1. The most important variables for soups are the texture and the temperature. Cooking properly will assure a smoothly pureed soup. Test the veggies with a knife or by tasting them to make sure they are soft and ready to puree. Make sure you serve a hot soup hot and a cold soup cold.
  2. Do not be afraid to adjust the consistency with a little more liquid if needed.
  3. Since this soup can take a while to cook, you can also prepare a batch ahead of time (batch A), and then demonstrate the recipe (batch B) during your session, stopping just before you get to the long simmer. At that point, you can reheat and distribute samples from your earlier batch (batch A). If you don’t want to miss demonstrating how to puree the soup, then you could leave your first batch of soup (batch A) un-pureed. You could demonstrate how to make the soup up until the long simmer (batch B), then reveal your first batch (batch A) and run it through your blender, immersion blender, or food processor before distributing it as samples.

Take it Farther!

  1. Use the Fooducate app or website to grade various canned and prepared soups. This can be a demonstration or a group activity.
  2. Garnishes can also make or break a soup. Brainstorm healthful topping ideas as a group, and consider bringing some options to class ahead of time.

Like what you see? Get the cooking demo guide!

Home Run Cooking

Cooking Demo Display Kit

Cooking Demo Toolkit