Eat Better, Spend Less: Soup in Honor of Starving Idaho Students

by Julie Davis

One of my favorite things about autumn is the return of soup to the dinner table. If I was a poet, I would write an ode to soup. On a cold fall or winter day, there is no food more satisfying than a hearty bowl of your favorite soup. Soup can often be a complete meal in itself. Or, if you prefer, serve soup with your favorite homemade bread or muffin. Another great thing about soup is it takes little preparation time, just mix the ingredients in a pot and let simmer away. Homemade soup is more delicious and nutritious than the canned variety so serve it often in the cold months ahead. There are so many recipes, and you can create your own simply, that you could eat soup weekly until spring without growing tired of it. So here is to the first of a month of soup recipes, all under $2.50.

Soup in honor of starving Idaho students

I will admit, I ate potato soup before I attended the University of Idaho, but it really did become a staple of our family's winter diet there. It is so nutritious, low fat if you are modest with the toppings and warms the body and the potato loving soul. This version is quicker to prepare than your typical version.

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 T. margarine
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 t. pepper, according to taste
  • 3 cups milk, regular or non-fat (can substitute 1 1/2 cups chicken
  • broth for 1 1/2 cups milk, cheaper, fewer calories but less creamy)

Optional Toppings
-sour cream
-grated cheese
-crumpled bacon

Cook potatoes in microwave on high for 16 minutes, turning over after 8 minutes. Set potatoes aside. Melt margarine in large soup pot over medium-high heat; add onions and sauté until soft. Add flour and stir well. Peel potatoes and add to pot, breaking them up into a lumpy mashed potato mixture. Add milk, salt and pepper and stir well. . Stir until well blended, or leave slightly lumpy if you like. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. (non-fat milk will scald quickly so be very careful) Turn burner to low. Cover pot, and allow flavors of soup to blend for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Garnish individual servings with optional toppings, if desired. Serves 5.

Total cost is $1.45. Cost is calculated based on prices in Southwest Washington at a "bag your own groceries" type supermarket.

Serve with cheese bread or favorite muffins
Substitute 1/4 pound potatoes with other root vegetables such as cooked carrots or turnips.
Potatoes will soak up moisture if kept overnight, so add more milk or chicken broth when re-heating leftovers.

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