When I was fresh out of college, I moved (followed my then-boyfriend-now-husband) to Columbia, MO and took my first job as a pediatric occupational therapist with a small private company. I mostly did home visits, and I really connected with my first little client's mother. She was a fantastic homemaker, great mom, and kind soul. She shared this recipe with me for freezer vegetable soup, and I have made it every summer since. If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden (or can get your hands on some good ones at the farmer's market), this is just the way to use them up. We planted our first vegetable garden this year, so I was pretty excited to use my own tomatoes when I made a batch this afternoon. I almost always double or triple this recipe...might as well make the most of your time and dirty dishes.
Freezer Vegetable Soup
- 4 c. chopped fresh tomatoes (You don't even have to peel them! Big points in my book.)
- 1 c. diced celery
- 1 c. diced onions
- 1c. diced carrots
- 1 t. sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/4 t. pepper
- 1/4 t. dill weed
Combine all your ingredients in a large soup pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Your soup base will go from looking like this...
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place 2-cup portions into freezer containers (you will get two), and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you are ready for some soup, thaw one container of the base in the refrigerator (I have done it successfully in the microwave, and have even started with it mostly still frozen--both totally fine). Brown 1 lb hamburger or meat of your choice (we prefer turkey Italian sausage), then add thawed base, 2c. water, and 2 c. diced potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. This year I am going to try omitting the meat and adding some kale and white beans with the potatoes. I also think zucchini or sweet potatoes would be a great addition, or whatever is in your fridge really. Your options are endless. I know it's hard to think about soup when it's still warm out, but trust me, you will thank yourself in October for making the effort now.