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Soup keeps you warm, healthy this winter

Although January’s National Soup Month has just passed, soups and stews offer quick nutritious meal options throughout the year. For those of us here in the Midwest, the timing is perfect. Colder days bring out the desire for something nourishing to the body and warming to the soul. Additionally, they are easy to prepare, inexpensive, and require minimal effort and cleanup. Soup is a true one-pot meal!

This nutritious elixir can serve as a main dish, an appetizer or even a side dish. Additionally, you can choose your texture with the ingredients. Perhaps you enjoy a thick savory stew. Or maybe you prefer a thin flavorful broth with chunks of veggies. Whatever your preference, soup has an option for you.

To keep soups tasty and healthy, choose a low-sodium broth, stock or soup base for the foundation. Flavorful herbs and spices are a great substitute for salt. The most effective replacements are savory flavors with “bite,” such as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds, basil, ginger, coriander and onion. Use minced or powdered garlic and onion rather than their salt form. When substituting minced or powdered garlic and onion for the salt version, use about half as much.

While these are only a few suggestions, ideally choose herbs that mix well with the soup base and veggies. For example, a tomato base will do well with Italian style herbs — garlic, basil, oregano, thyme. While a chicken base is more in tune with parsley, chives, onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme.

Arthritis acting up? Throw in a sprinkle of turmeric. Feel a cold coming on? Add the garlic. Looking to clear a weary mind? Rosemary is a great choice.

Besides the ability to add nutrient dense veggies and lean proteins to a quick meal, soups and stews offer multiple meals. You can simmer up the tasty flavors and store it in the refrigerator for three to four days. Fish or seafood soups, stews and chowders have a shorter refrigerator time. Another option is to freezer a portion of the healthy elixir for future use. This is a great option for small families or single persons. No time to cook? Just pull the soup out of the freezer and set in refrigerator for the day. Make sure to bring it back to a boil before serving. The following recipe increases in flavor sitting in the refrigerator. If gluten-free, substitute gluten-free flour in this recipe.

Dr. Dianna Richardson has been serving Jefferson City and the surrounding communities for more than 20 years. She has worked in the field of health and nutrition as a wellness practitioner for more than 30 years. Core to her practice remains use of nutrition to improve health, vitality and quality of life. Richardson holds a doctorate in naturopathy, along with degrees in nutrition and a master’s degree in public health education. She may be found at the Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center, LLC on Dix Road in Jefferson City.

STEAK SOUP

Makes: 8 servings

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ pounds lean round steak, cut in cubes

½ cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon sea salt

¼- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

4 cups of beef broth

2 cups water

1 teaspoon parsley

3 ribs bok choy chopped

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

1 ½ cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes

1 ½ cups sliced carrots

1 (6oz.) can tomato paste

1 (15oz.) can whole corn drained.

Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the steak cubes and onion. Cook and stir until the meat and onion are browned. While beef is cooking, mix together flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the browned meat, and stir to coat.

In a large pot, pour in the beef broth and water, and stir in the parsley, bay leaf, and marjoram. Stir in beef mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender.

Mix in the potatoes, carrots, celery, tomato paste, and corn; bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the soup is thick, 15- 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve hot.

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