Chest Freezers and Creamy Spinach Soup

Don’t worry about the fact the title doesn’t make sense. There is a point. I promise.

The time of my life has come where appliances and other household items are what I look forward to for Christmas and birthday presents. Never in my life did I think I would ever drool over someday having a double oven in my kitchen or my new high efficiency washer and dryer.  Yikes. But it’s true. My husband and I invested in a chest freezer to put in our lower level and I could not be more excited. Why you ask? I’m on a kick of buying things in bulk, cooking things in bulk and storing them for future use. It’s quite helpful considering my hubby tends to work crazy hours and I’m never really quite sure when I can expect him home for dinner. Last night I told him he has Entrepreneurial ADD. Meaning, he calls to tell me he’s packing his stuff up and coming home…and an hour later has trapped himself at his desk because he had a thought and HAD to research it…for another hour and loses track of time. I guess I mostly feel bad for our puppy who waits and waits, until he finally takes her home 🙂 I got to the point where I was getting a little tired of trying to time my cooking so that it was hot and ready when he walked in the door. When dinner is done, it’s done, and risottos do NOT take well to late husbands. I love how incredibly hard working he is, but we had to figure out this dinner thing. Soups work well, because they can sit on the stove, but one cannot possibly eat soup for every meal. My New Year’s goal this year is to every Sunday, make 2-3 entrees that can be cooked, frozen and stored, and popped in the oven when I know he’s actually in the car. This takes away all the prep work and guess work during the busy week (and saves me from the Lund’s rush at 6pm) and guarantees a hot dinner upon arrival.

The first dinner I made to eat and store was a spinach soup. We needed to start eating healthy meals to kick start the New Year after all the high fat high cal meals we’ve been eating since Thanksgiving. The amazing thing about soups is that you can mix just about anything together in a stock pot, puree it and have a fabulous soup. The other amazing thing about them is that depending on your ingredients, you can disguise vitamins and other healthy delights into an unassuming entree. Then, of course, you can freeze leftovers for lunch and future dinners. I LOVE spinach. I could eat an entire container of baby spinach on my own for a snack. But, if you don’t like spinach, I really think you’ll still like this one…like I said, good things in disguise. This recipe for Spinach Soup is good…really good, and there are so many ways to personalize it you’ll never have the same soup ever again. Enjoy!

Creamy Spinach Soup

Ingredients

I doubled the ingredients to have leftovers, but you can cut it in half if you want to make sure you’ll like it first. But you will.

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves ( Calls for 2, I add 3…B loves garlic)
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 4 slices of day old baguette. I used same day baguette and it worked just fine
  • 8 cups or 8 ounces of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (don’t use half and half…there is so little needed that you want the extra thickness)
  • Lemon zest (not going to lie… I left the lemon on the counter and completely forgot to add it) but it will add a fresh tasting zing
  • Salt and pepper, freshly ground

Directions

  • In a stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Tip: Never saute garlic as long as the onions, it will burn and develop a bitter flavor.
  • Add the chicken broth and the slices of bread and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and continue to simmer about 5 more minutes until the spinach is wilted and bright green. Pretty!
  • Remove your soup from the heat. Remember what I told you about an immersion blender? Did you go and buy one like I told you to? You can get a Cuisinart one for as cheap as $30 and you won’t regret it. Because here’s where it comes in handy yet again. Puree the ingredients right in the pot until smooth. Soup will be a lovely green color.
  • Add the cream and lemon zest and return the soup to the stove and heat until serving temperature.
  • This is not a thick soup. You can thicken it up using more bread slices, or, add in some potatoes and puree for a spinach potato soup, which would be wonderful. You can add chicken, pasta, rice, carrots, beans, leeks, anything you like to this healthy base, but it’s light and refreshing on its own. I served it with fresh bread, goat and brie cheeses and olives.

-Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast: Soup

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