Need a quick bowl of soup for a vegetarian? Try really cheap beer. One can of cheap beer equals about one bowl of soup. Add veggies, blend with tofu or cheese, throw in some fresh herbs. The alcohol cooks out of the 'broth' but the grain flavor remains. Remember, the cheaper the brand, the better the broth. I buy it when it's on sale and just store it in the cupboard for a quick lunch.
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I make very low-fat soups and stews by cooking the meat and broth one day, taking out the meat and putting the broth in the refrigerator overnight and taking off the hardened fat the next day before adding the vegetables and finishing the dish. The Hearty and Chunky Chicken Pumpkin Soup I am making this afternoon has 1 g. fat per 2-cup serving.
If you have a wegmans nearby, you need to pick up their "thai" veggie broth. It's vegetarian, and can be used in place of any vegetable/chicken/beef broth, but it has an explosive flavor - lemongrass, spice, etc. I use it to make simple dishes like lentils or rice taste out of this world!
(and when they are so tasy, it becomes easy to turn a side dish into a cheap, easy meal)
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