Finished Crockpot SoupI know there are a lot of people out there who wish they could always have a home cooked meal, but feel they just don’t have the time to cook.  Instead, they resort to ordering take-out or running through the drive-thru on their way home from work.  I get it.  I mean, even I feel this way sometimes.  Somedays I love to have a real meal waiting for me when I get home, without having to do any prepping or cooking. Well, whether you fall into this category once a year or every day, I have just the “recipe” for you.  All you need is a trusty crockpot (pretty cheap and always a recommended kitchen appliance investment) and about 20 minutes in the morning to set yourself up for a healthy, cheap, and easy dinner.

You see, this “recipe” is not really a recipe at all.  It’s more like a fail-proof ratio of the ingredients that will make up a great soup in the crockpot, no matter what you have on hand. This is my number one favorite way to clean out the fridge and pantry, plus make sure dinner is ready to go when I know I have a busy day ahead.  It’s simple. Just throw a bunch of ingredients that you already have on hand into the crockpot.  Turn it on and go to work.  Then, come home, add your greens, and in just about an hour you’re ready to eat.

Crockpot Soup Any Way You'd Lik via @lttlktchnbigflv

The best part is that no matter what you choose, this soup is guaranteed to be delicious.  And, it will always be unique.  Just follow the ratio and guidelines provided below.  And, just in case you need some additional inspiration, I’m including some suggestions here for each basic component of the crockpot soup.  Just mix and match from the list based on what you have on hand and what you love to eat! (By the way, if you have some other favorite soup ingredients not listed here, leave us a comment below!  I’ll make sure it gets added to my list.)

Soup staples   Soup Staples

* onion * garlic * bay leaf * cayenne pepper * ground nutmeg

* onion powder * garlic powder * chicken stock * salt/pepper

 

Meat Options  Meat Choices

* ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken

* sausage (hot or mild, any flavor) * chicken breast * rotisserie chicken (shredded)

 

Vegetable Options Vegetable Choices  (anything you have on hand, really)

* peppers * broccoli * squash * carrot * leeks

* rutabaga * celery * parsnips * turnips

 

Greens options Leafy Greens Choices 

 * kale * swiss chard * collard greens

 * spinach * red kale * escarole

 

Starch Options  Starch Choices

* rice * barley * lentils * beans (any kind will do) * mini raviolis

* pasta (small shape) * potatoes (sweet or white)

 

I’m thanking my sister for this post. One day she told me the ingredients she had on hand and asked what else she would need to make a soup for dinner.  Of course, this got me to thinking about soup basics, and what components you absolutely need to make a great soup, hearty enough to eat for dinner.  Personally, anytime I see a recipe that combines beans, sausage, and some type of leafy green into a soup, it’s always (always!) going in the crockpot.  These ingredients can just simmer away all day without compromising their texture.  And after 6 hours of being in a crockpot, their flavors have infused into the broth.  Fail-proof, I promise!

Crockpot Soup – Your way!

Serves 6-8
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 20 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 64oz chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups vegetables (your choice, diced)
  • 1lb meat (your choice)
  • 1 head leafy vegetable (your choice, chopped into bite size pieces)
  • starch of your choice
  • loaf of crusty bread (for serving)
  • parmesan cheese (for serving)

Directions

1. Add meat of your choice to the bottom of the crockpot (I used chicken & feta sausage). If you decide on a ground meat, use a wooden spoon to break up into small pieces.
2. Add onion, garlic, spices, and bay leaf to the crockpot. Then, add any 2 cups of diced vegetables of your choice (I used rutabaga and carrot for the soup in the picture). If you choose diced potato or beans as your starch, add those in now. The key to the vegetables is to dice them at a consistent size, so they cook evenly.
3. Then, add broth, season well with salt and pepper. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cover crockpot and cook on high for 6 hours.
4. About one hour before serving, add chopped pieces of leafy vegetable (I used kale this time). Stir to incorporate the leafy vegetable. If you used chicken breast, remove from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Then, re-cover and continue cooking for one hour longer.
5. If you choose to add pasta/lentils/barley, add it to the crockpot about a 30 - 45 minutes before serving, If you choose to add rice, I suggest cooking it separately and adding it to individual serving bowls. Then, ladle the soup right on top.

Ok, so now I should never hear or have to utter the excuse that “I don’t know what to make for dinner”, ever again.  We broke it down and made it simple, now just follow the guide, pick your favorite ingredients, heat, eat, repeat.  Plus, with Old Man Winter looming a good bowl of home made soup will keep you warm and fill you up right.  Not to mention the healing powers and the nutritious foods you will be eating. I know! You’re so welcome!

Shared with: What’s Up Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Simple Living and Eating, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Weekend Potluck, Recipe RoundUp

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9 Responses to One Recipe Fits All – Crockpot Soup

  1. Cindy W. says:

    I just tried an easy soup recipe from a food magazine that called for a package of fresh (refrigerator case in grocery store) mini- cheese ravioli as the pasta.

    It uses a chicken broth as the base, a (grocery store) pre-roasted chicken that has been pulled apart and shredded and chopped spinach. Sprinkled with parmesan cheese once in the bowl, it makes a hearty main meal soup that resembles Italian Wedding soup. Its quick and yummy!( The mini- cheese ravioli can be added to your list above. ) As I am thinking this through, it would be great with a can of white beans (rinsed) and thrown in as well!

    • Great ideas, thank you! I’m adding mini cheese raviolis and store-bought roasted chicken to the list right now! I love how easy it is to customize soups to fit your preferences. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Jacklyn says:

    I will never go hungry again! Now all I need is a crockpot. Good thing Christmas is coming!

  3. Miz Helen says:

    It is a very cold fall day here and this soup would be just perfect for the crockpot, it looks delicious! Have a fabulous weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. Diane Balch says:

    Great soup that can be thrown together with what’s on hand. Thanks for sharing it on foodie friday.

  5. What a great post! I call this “Clean out the Fridge” Soup….YUM! =)

  6. Lauren says:

    Hey there! Love the concept of this recipe – very easy template to mix and match some yummy sounding soups!

    One question: when you use beans, can you use dry beans? or do they need to be pre-soaked?

    • I always used canned because that’s what we usually have on hand. But you shouldn’t have any problem using dried beans… Just make sure the soup is in the crock long enough for the beans to cook… 8 hours should be plenty.

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