Giving Soup as a Gift

A few months ago when I was very sick, a good friend brought over a steaming pot of chicken noodle soup – homemade! It made my home smell so good and it was so nice not to have to cook a meal!!   It was the  nicest thing anyone has done for me in a long time.

There is something so comforting about soup, especially during the chill of winter. It’s definitely a food that asks to be shared, but it can be hard to come up with ideas for giving soup as a gift. There are some great ready-made soups and some you can make yourself.

Here are some ideas for giving this wonderful comfort food as a gift.

Chili Bean and Rice Soup  

In a small zip-top bag, place the following ingredients:

* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 2 teaspoons onion powder
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Once the spices are in the bag, zip it up and place it in the bottom of the jar. Then add the following dried, uncooked ingredients in this order:

* 1/3 cup black beans
* 1/2 cup brown rice (or use barley)
* 1/3 cup kidney beans
* 1/3 cup white beans (such as navy beans)

Use the jar’s proper top, but cover it with a pretty square of cloth tied with a ribbon. Include a card with the recipe instructions below, either attached with the ribbon, written on the top or side of the jar, or tucked into the mix.

To make soup:

Empty beans into a large bowl and cover with water (about 2 inches above the beans); cover and leave overnight. Drain. In a large pot, place beans and spice mix. Add 8 cups (2 quarts) of chicken broth or half chicken broth and half water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours. Add more liquid as it cooks if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste at the end of cooking time.

Vegetable Soup Basket

Give a lovely gift of soup with only a little assembly required!  Here is how to make a vegetable soup gift basket, perfect for someone who is under the weather – especially a mom who still has to feed her family!

In a nice basket (have a few extras that you’ve found at thrift stores!), place the following items:

* 2 cans or 1 one-quart carton beef or chicken stock
* 1 can mixed vegetables, canned or freeze dried
* 1 can petite-diced tomatoes
* 1 eight-ounce can tomato juice or V8

Include the directions below written on a pretty card.

Directions for soup:

In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1 small chopped onion and sauté until soft (about 3 minutes). Add 4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped, and pour in diced tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in canned vegetables (drain them first) and tomato juice; simmer another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Curried Lentils

This lovely soup can be served over cooked brown rice or eaten as-is.

In a 1-pint (2-cup) jar, place the following ingredients in this order (double the ingredients if you’re using a 1-quart jar):

* 1/2 cup red lentils
* 1 teaspoon salt (kosher salt looks nice in the jar)
* 2 tablespoons dried, minced onion
* 2 teaspoons curry powder
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/2 cup green lentils
* 1/4 cup chopped dried apples
* 2 teaspoons dried parsley

Directions for 1-pint jar (again, double for 1-quart jar):

Bring 7 cups of water to a boil and stir in entire contents of jar. Simmer for 25 minutes.

Spend a day making up some of these soup mixes – having these ready to share without a lot of notice will make sharing so much easier.  Plus, they will come in handy when you find yourself at a loss for dinner at your house!

Do you have a favorite soup to give away?

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