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Helpful Hints: Soups & Salads

For Soups:

  • If the soup is not intended as the main course, count on 1 quart to serve 6. As the main dish, plan on 1 quart to serve 2.
  • Instead of flour or corn starch, use instant potatoes to help thicken soups and stews.
  • A leaf of lettuce dropped in a pot of soup absorbs fat; remove the leaf before serving. You can also make soup the day before, chill, then scoop out the hardened fat that rises to the top.
  • To save time soup making time in your kitchen, use canned or frozen broths or bouillon bases. Canned or frozen vegetables packed in water such as peas, green beans, and corn, also work well for broth.
  • After cooking vegetables, pour any water and leftover vegetable pieces into a freezer container. When full, add tomato juice and seasoning to create a homemade money-saving soup base. Store in your freezer in a labeled container.
  • To cut down on odors when cooking cabbage or cauliflower, add a little vinegar to the water and don’t overcook.
  • Three large stalks of celery, chopped and added to about two cups of beans (navy, brown, pinto, etc.), make the dish “less gassier” in your digestive system.
  • Ideally, cold soups should be served in chilled bowls.

For Salads:

  • Perk up soggy lettuce by spritzing it with a mixture of lemon juice and cold water.
  • You can easily remove egg shells from hard-boiled eggs if you quickly rinse the eggs in cold water after they are boiled.
  • Your fruit salads will look better when you use an egg slicer to make perfect slices of strawberries, kiwis, or bananas.
  • The ratio for a vinaigrette is typically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
  • For pasta salads, cook pasta al dente (slightly chewy to the bite). This allows the pasta to absorb some of the dressing and not become mushy.
  • Fresh vegetables require little seasoning or cooking. If the vegetable is old, dress it up with sauces or seasoning.
  • Chill your serving plates to keep the salad crisp.
  • Fruit juices, such as pineapple and orange, can be used as salad dressing by adding a little olive oil, nutmeg, and honey.