Cooks Exchange

Try these easy soups to calm your hectic days

As with most parents, children, yes, even adult children never cease to surprise.

While my 24-year-old can cook, she usually prefers to let me do the cooking. Her daughter would rather have a slice of turkey or a hot dog than anything either of us prepare.

After having dinner with friends, I came home to a house that was filled with wonderful garlic and onion smells and a slow cooker teeming with Italian chicken soup.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Oh, I found this recipe on Facebook and thought it sounded good, so I went to the store and came home and made it,” said my daughter. “I am letting it cook overnight. We can have it for lunch tomorrow.”

She liked all the ingredients and thought maybe she could entice her daughter to eat some. No such luck.

This soup is definitely a keeper. It is quick to fix, and the ingredients are placed in the slow cooker to let the appliance do its thing. With football games, dance, gymnastics and karate classes and club and church meetings, most home cooks are pressed for time. The soup can be put together in a matter of minutes and left to cook on its own.

Our schedules have been crazy. I have been in and out of town, at meetings or being a grandmother while Elyssa is working or running Lilly to dance or preschool. While Elyssa made the soup for lunch, she was in a rush and didn’t eat any until dinner. I had some for lunch — delicious.

If our household sounds as hectic as yours, this soup is just right and reheats well in the microwave.

Elyssa’s soup started me thinking about other quick soups that can be done in the slow cooker or microwave, which can be used for more than reheating or defrosting.

A bean soup done with cornmeal dumplings makes a hearty one-pot meal and also is done in the slow cooker. This also is a diabetic-friendly recipe.

The microwave does justice to an acorn squash soup made with maple syrup. Pumpkins, acorn or butternut squash work well in soups and usually contain no gluten or meat, but provide a tasty, satisfying dinner or lunch. Squash is a perfect vegetable for the microwave, which cuts the cooking time from more than an hour to just minutes.

As readers know, I love having at least one meatless meal a week. It just seems healthier.

Now that October is more than half gone, the rush to the holidays begins. Give these no-fuss soups a try when there are not enough hours in the day.

Readers, if you have some easy-does-it soup recipes, please send them to me to share with our readers.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.


1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium onion. diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 stalks celery, diced

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

2 cups cheese tortellini

Chopped parsley, optional if desired

Salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to slow cooker, except tortellini. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the cooked chicken from slow cooker and shred or cube. Add back to slow cooker.

Add in the tortellini and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaves. Serve immediately and serve with chopped parsley if desired.

From Chef Savvy


15 1/2 -ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

15 1/2 -ounce can black beans, pinto beans or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

14 1/2 -ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup chopped onions

4-ounce can chopped green chilies

2 teaspoons sodium-free instant bouillon powder (any flavor)

1-2 teaspoons chili powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

For the dumplings

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

1 egg white, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon oil

Combine all soup ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-5 hours.

Make dumplings by mixing together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Combine egg white, milk and oil. Add to flour mixture. Stir with fork until just combined.

At the end of the soup’s cooking time, turn slow cooker on high. Drop dumpling mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls to make 8 mounds atop the soup.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Do not lift lid.

From “Fix-It and Forget-It Diabetic Cookbook”


2 acorn squash (1 1/4 pounds each)

1 large onion, chopped

3 tablespoons butter

2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth (I use the reduced sodium kind)

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Dash of cayenne pepper


Pierce each squash several times with a long-pronged fork. Cook on high 10 minutes in microwave. Turn over, and cook 7 to 10 minutes longer, until squash is soft to the touch. Set aside and let cool slightly, then cut in half.

In a 3-quart microwave-safe casserole, place onion and butter. Cook on high 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, cover and cook 6 minutes.

Get squash and scoop out flesh. Working in batches in food processor or blender, puree squash with broth and onion until smooth. Return soup to casserole. Whisk in cream, maple syrup and cayenne. Cover with waxed paper and cook on high 5 to 7 minutes, until simmering. Season with salt to taste.

‘365 Quick & Easy Microwave Recipes’