Quick and easy winter soups

By Leslie Savage

Five Minute Corn Chowder
Ten Minute Thai Chicken Rice Soup
Thirty Minute Bean, Veggie and Sausage Taco Soup
Five Minute Oyster Stew

When fresh vegetables are scarce and expensive, frozen ones are a good substitute. Along with a few tinned items the freezer section offers soups that are homemade but very quick. One fresh item ensures homemade flavour.

About stock: regular tinned stock is as high in salt and potassium as tinned soups. Avoiding the salt (sodium chloride) and potassium is mandated for those with heart or kidney disease. The antidote: buy low-sodium stock, or make your own with chicken bones, necks, wings and gizzards.

Five Minute Corn Chowder

corn chowder

1 tin creamed corn
1 cup fresh, not tinned, milk
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes
1 small container medium salsa
Nuke the hash browns in a bowl with ¼ cup water for 4 minutes.
Mix the milk, creamed corn and cooked hash browns in a saucepan. Heat to boiling then turn off. Stir well.
Serve with salsa on top and stirred in.


Ten Minute Thai Chicken Rice Soup

rez Thai chicken rice soup
Good use for turkey stock from Christmas; turkey meat can sub for chicken. You can also use prawns, or any fish in chunks.

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1-2 cups diced and sliced chicken, cooked or not
1 litre chicken stock, low salt
1 can low-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1 package Asian Gourmet Hot and Sour Soup Mix paste (Asian shelf in the supermarket)
1-2 cups cup Asian Style mixed frozen veggies
1 cup finely sliced and diced fresh cabbage
¾ cup well washed rice
juice of 1 lime and 1 lime leaf, minced (available frozen at Le Marche)

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry 2 minutes until chicken is just cooked.  Add the Hot and Sour Soup Mix paste and stir fry another 1 minute.
Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice and minced lime leaf. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Cook 8 minutes.
Add the fresh cabbage and the frozen veggies. Bring to a simmer. It will take about 4 minutes for the veggies to cook. Serve immediately topped with cilantro and lime wedges.

Five Minute Oyster Stew
Ah the oyster. Always available in R months, at the near end of the fish or meat counter, helpfully removed from shells and packed in 8 oz. containers. Watch the best before date—the freshest ones are always at the back of the counter.

Note: a bad oyster is remarkable for smell and sight. If in doubt, throw it out.
2 tbsp butter
1 pack oysters, fresh, shelled and uncooked
2 cups milk
2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper
Nuke the hash browns in a little of the milk for 4 minutes.
While the spuds cook, melt the butter in a saucepan. When it is hot, throw in the oysters, who will object by sputtering a little. Don’t overcook—a minute in the butter will do. Pour the milk over them and heat until the milk is not quite boiling. Add the hash browns, by now nicely softened.
Serve with salt and pepper and some hot buttered toast for a soothing, luxurious supper.

Fifteen Minute Bean, Sausage and Veggie Taco Soup

The taco part is in the seasoning, but you could serve this with tacos to sop up the juice, or crumble natcho corn chips on top. Omit the sausage and it’s a veggie chili soup.
The taco part is in the seasoning, but you could serve this with tacos to sop up the juice, or crumble natcho corn chips on top. Omit the sausage and it’s a veggie chili soup.

1 jar cherry tomato sauce (330 gms) (Le Marche)
1 tin fire-roasted tomatoes and garlic
1 tin black beans, well rinsed under cold water to remove preservative
1 tin red kidney beans, well rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
1 package taco seasoning – hot or mild according to taste
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp sugar


1 lb cooked sausage (I like hot Italian, but any will do, or use pepperoni or salami.)
2 cups Veggies for Chili, frozen. (mixed corn, onion, pepper, carrot)
2 cups chopped fresh celery
1 cup frozen grilled sliced yams
½ cup freshly chopped parsley
1-2 tsp salt

Put the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, chicken stock, taco seasoning, vinegar, and sugar into a stew pot with a thick bottom. Stir well, and heat to boiling. Turn heat to simmer and add the fresh celery, frozen veggies, the yams, parsley and the salt. Continue to simmer just off the boil until all the frozen veggies are cooked and the beans are beginning to be tender.
This soup will be even more yummy the day after, but can be eaten right away, alone or topped with one or more of

  • sour cream or Greek Style plain yogurt
  • salsa
  • taco chips
  • grated cheese
  • fried onion bits
  • avocado slices
  • guacamole