Are we ready for soup season? The best thing about living in New England is the change of seasons and feeling that change by cooking seasonally. I love the fall and winter for slow cooker meals. Especially soups and stews. This one here is a soup-er adaptable recipe. I’m eating it for lunch as I write this, and I’m so happy to have this very healthy and very yummy recipe for keeps. I’ve made it with tortellini or egg noodles instead of potatoes, and chicken instead of chickpeas. This is the first time adding peas for some extra protein, and I love them in there. So it’s got all those veggies and chickpeas you see there in the photo, with some creamy oat milk and the most delicious base for a vegetable soup you could ever imagine. I think the white wine and all the herbs are key to this soup. I do find it to be more flavorful with the heavy cream instead of milk or non-dairy because of those fats, but my husband doesn’t do well with dairy, and we will be eating this for lunch everyday this week.
Side note: I am home now, waiting for baby to arrive in the comfort of this quiet house. This is an experience I have never had before as I worked right up until our first and second babies arrived. I was actually in school teaching when I went into labor with my daughter (second born). It was right around lunch time, and she was born by dinner. A little crazy and too close for comfort, so this time around, after a few days of false alarms in school last week, I decided to end a week or so early because I do not want that to happen again!
Being home has allowed me to clear my head, prepare mentally and physically for labor, get the house ready, and hopefully my freezer too. My students gave me some great advice that I have been listening to. Drink tea, relax, breathe, do what you love to do are some of their words of wisdom during these days of waiting. They also told me “Amazon will save you” (so true), “Give the baby to Mr. Wotherspoon” (yes, yes I will), baby name suggestions (one was Topper and another was Klaus (interesting!), Netflix suggestions, jokes and some recipes that they want me to try. Pretty keen thinking for 6th graders, wouldn’t you say?
So as I sit here, drinking my tea, eating my soup and writing (which is therapeutic for me too), I am trying to think of ways to cut corners in the kitchen when baby arrives because the dinner hour is sure to be very chaotic with a nursing baby and kids who want my attention after school. And those after-school hours just happen to be the fussy time for most newborns, so I am pretty sure, dinners will be a challenge. Let’s be real, the dinner-bedtime hours are the hardest hours of the day for parents and, for most, it’s the only hours with our kids on weekdays. For a year now, the slow cooker and Instant Pot have helped me, but I am ready to try some make ahead freezer meals as a saving grace. And maybe some chicken nuggets, grilled cheese and take out too!
This recipe along with the recipes coming up this season are mostly going to be clones of past recipes but rewritten as freezer meals or slow cooker meals, for my own purposes. Maybe they will help you out too. Be ready for lot’s of soups, lots of sheet pan, and one pan classics. So here is a big soup that may have 8 servings or more and can last you through the work week.
Slow Cooker Potato Vegetable Soup Freezer Meal
Do the hard labor ahead of time and freeze in a storage bag. When the time comes, add the frozen vegetables, stock and seasonings to the slow cooker, set it and let it go. Last steps are adding the dairy, kale and the frozen peas.
- 4-5 yukon gold potatoes, skinned and chopped or a bag of fingerling potatoes, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 6 carrots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced from the jar
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or white cooking wine
- 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 6 stems roughly chopped kale, leaves only
- 1/2 cup oat milk creamer or heavy cream
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Step 1 Prep the carrots, celery, onion, potatoes and chickpeas ahead of time and store in a ziplock freezer bag. Drizzle with olive oil and freeze.
- Step 2 When ready to cook, empty contents of the freezer bag into the slow cooker. Add the seasoning (2 tablespoons of jarred garlic, 1 tsp salt, a few cracks of pepper, 2 tsp of dried thyme, 1 tsp of fennel seeds, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste). Then add the liquids (1/2 cup dry white wine, 6 cups of vegetable stock).
- Step 3 Set the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. When ready, turn down to warm and add the creamy oat milk or heavy cream (whichever you prefer), 1 bag of frozen peas and kale leaves. Stir. Let it sit until kale is wilted and peas are thawed.
- Step 4 Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, if you’d like. Enjoy!
Recipe is adapted from Half-Baked Harvest’s Tortellini Vegetable Soup