When I stumbled upon "Cooking with Trader Joe's", a website devoted to "all things Trader Joe's", naturally, I was hooked. Readers of this blog know of my affinity for TJ's, so I was thrilled to discover there are other foodies out there who are as crazy (or crazier) about it than I am.
A number of weeks ago, they ran a contest for Best Brown Bag Lunch Recipe. The recipes were to be "healthy, satisfying, creative, easy, and keep well on the go." Oh, and the ingredients all need to be available at Trader Joe's. Considering my pantry is a Trader Joe's in miniature, I figured it was my obligation to enter.
My kids have recently become big fans of soup, so rather than opening a can, I've been experimenting with different ingredients to create a few simple, homemade versions. By starting with a basic, organic chicken stock, I add various vegetables (either fresh or frozen, depending on what I have on hand), meats (chicken, turkey, or mini-meatballs), and pastas (orzo, egg noodles, alphabet shapes, etc). So far they've liked them all. It also just feels better to make my own soup. I can control exactly what goes into my pot, making the finished dish lower in sodium and preservatives than the canned varieties. Naturally, opening a can is very easy, but using a few shortcut ingredients, homemade soup literally takes about 15 minutes or less to cook.
I decided to submit one of my kids' favorite soup recipes, which they love to bring to school for lunch in wide-mouthed themoses. It uses all Trader Joe's ingredients, is almost entirely organic, and most importantly, the kids gobble it up. Try experimenting with some of your favorite ingredients to create a signature soup your family will love.
I didn't end up winning the grand prize, but I was one of two runners up! Click here to see my submission for "Souper Fast Alphabet Soup with Mini-Meatballs". Your kids will love it!
Thanks to Cooking with Trader Joe's for taking the top photo of my soup!