Soup can help keep your resolutions on track for the new year

Posted2/12/2020 6:00 AM

By now, you're deep into new habits that formed part of your New Year's resolutions, including eating better and exercising more, right?

Maybe not, if you are anything like me.


This year, I kept my resolutions simple: to cook more to bring real food to work for lunch and to rely on takeout less. I know that must sound funny for a food editor, but I'm as busy and short on time on weeknights as the rest of you.

It's about this time of the year, speaking for myself mind you, that my habit wheel gets a little shaky. What saves me is soup. It's soup weather, and it's so easy to make fresh homemade soup, packed with vegetables to fill me up.

When I have more time in the kitchen, I turn to Soupalooza columnist M. Eileen Brown's monthly contributions, such as her Moroccan Veggie Soup.

When I am stretched for time, I need something quick, but maybe not as fast as opening a can or as easy as logging onto Grubhub.

I found a recipe for bean and basil soup years ago in "Enlightened Soups" by Camilla V. Saulsbury that is a go-to for me. It's so quick: You pour all the ingredients cold into a blender, heat them up in a pot and -- voilà -- dinner is served. The recipe calls for a few shortcuts, including canned beans and a good-quality jarred marinara sauce, but it's ready in about 20 minutes.

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It's filling, hot and delicious. Opening a can of soup may be faster, but this recipe leaves leftovers for lunch the next day.

If you've got recipes or tips on sticking to your cooking and eating goals for 2020, please share them with me.

Valentine's Day: Today you can read in the Good Wine column about Mary Ross' choice of sparkling wines to cap your romantic plans for celebrating with your Valentine. It's an economical choice but it's still bubbly, whether you use it as a base for cocktail concocting, drink it on its own or fill your bathtub with it. I like how she touts drinking sparkling wines as a way to make celebrations, as well as laundry night, more special.

For Valentine's Day specials running at suburban restaurants, check out the listing from last Friday's Time out!

• Contact Food Editor Susan Stark at or (847) 427-4586. Be her friend on or follow her on Twitter.

White Bean & Basil Soup

2 16-ounce cans white beans, such as cannellini, drained

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 cup good-quality bottled marinara sauce


2 large garlic cloves, minced

½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, divided

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup purchased large croutons

Place the beans, broth, marinara sauce, garlic, ¼ cup of the basil and cayenne in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Transfer the mixture to a large saucepan set over medium heat. Cook and stir 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll the remaining basil leaves into a cigar-shaped roll. Cut crosswise into thin slivers. Serve the soup topped with the slivered basil and the croutons.

Serves 4

Nutrition: calories 157; fat 4.3g (sat. 0.6, mono 2.6g, poly 0.6g); protein 8.1g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 758mg; carbohydrate 23.1g

Camilla V. Saulsbury in "Enlightened Soups" published by Cumberland House, copyright 2008

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