I love starting a meal with a delicious bowl of soup. It's extremely satisfying, and I like the way it takes the edge off your hunger and keeps you from overeating. Many nights I make soup as the main meal and accompany it with a great salad. My favorites are what I call "balanced meals in a bowl," where you get your servings of vegetables, meat for protein and carbs. Minestrone is a great example of this kind of soup.

When I make soup, I make double portions and freeze them. That way I always have something ready to enjoy at any time or in an emergency when I haven't had time to prepare anything in advance. I always make sure to have homemade chicken stock available at all times too. I use it in soup, sauces, stews, risotto, roasted veggies, turkey, stuffing and many more recipes that require chicken stock. I purchase roasted chickens from my market every time I go so I can make a hearty and rich chicken stock. I find that using roasted chicken bones gives the stock a richer, fuller flavor. Of course, buying the chickens already roasted saves you so much time and is economical because you can take one chicken and make two, maybe three, meals from it.

Tip: Pour any leftover stock in an ice cube tray and freeze it. Whenever you need chicken stock, just pull out as many cubes as you need for whatever dish you're preparing. 

Sending "Big Bowls of Love,"

Get Cristina's recipe for vegetable minestrone soup


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