One of the easiest ways to eat healthier is to be intentional about your food choices and plan meals in advance. This is all great in theory but when life gets busy (I’m looking at you, Wednesday morning…) our best intentions can go out the window. Making a large batch of a favorite healthy food on the weekend is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Cold Sunday afternoons are a great time to make a big pot of soup or chili and divvy it up into small containers to stock the fridge or freezer. That makes it easy to grab a portion on the way out the door in the morning to heat up for lunch, or an easy dinner on nights when you get home too tired to cook.
We all love soupe du jour–the chef’s soup of the day–at our favorite restaurants. Why not try a soupe de la semaine–soup of the week–cooked chez vous. This week I made a big pot of white bean and kale soup. I’ve been enjoying kale in my smoothies for a few months now, but I confess this is the first time I cooked with kale. And I have to say I really like it in this soup. Kale mellows a bit when you cook it and has a bit more sweetness, a nice texture, and a little bit of a broccoli-like flavor. I used this recipe I found from the curvy carrot: http://www.thecurvycarrot.com/2012/10/17/white-bean-and-kale-soup/
I really liked the soup, and it made a nice big batch–at least 6 or 8 servings depending on your appetite. A few notes–I did not have red potatoes and substituted russet potatoes. Mistake. They are too starchy. Red potatoes would be much better. I still like it with the russet potatoes but the next time I make this soup I will definitely use red potatoes. Or I may try making it with no potatoes and substituting another veggie, like maybe zucchini. I also added some seasonings–I threw in 1/2 t dried rosemary, black pepper, and kosher salt, and 1 t each of oregano and thyme. Doesn’t this make a pretty soup?
I would love to hear how you all store big batches of food. I have some go-to 1.5 and 2 cup plastic containers that work well for single servings to take to work. But when I make really big batches–for instance, when I make veggie stock from scratch–I like to use larger storage containers. I had been using quart size mason jars. These work well in the fridge, but I rarely need to use 4 quarts of vegetable stock in a week so I need to pop it in the freezer. I had read somewhere that it was safe to freeze in mason jars as long as you leave enough head room. I did this successfully several times, but here’s what I was faced with from the freezer today:
Isn’t that crazy? Luckily no one got hurt, but it burned me that I had to throw the whole thing out. And I did leave headroom. It is a waste of my time and of food to have to toss things due to broken containers, so I am going to have to go back to storing in gallon size ziplock freezer bags… which are far less convenient to pour from. Unless there are plastic mason jars out there somewhere? Ideas?