Autumn is here and many of us find we are hungrier. This is nature’s way, just like bears hybernating. Fear not, simply honor the desire with the intention to be choiceful and plan “full.”

Soups are a great transition into Autumn. After all those Summer salads our bodies naturally crave more warming, soothing dishes. Creating brothy, veggie-laden concoctions with a bit of protein also provides nutrient dense nourishment without overdoing it on total calories.

Try this for a quick soup –

Groceries: chicken or veggie broth, garlic, organic veggies of your choice (onions, celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, dark leafy greens, and maybe red peppers for color). Fresh parsley is always a nice garnish (try Italian parsley – it’s the one with flat leaves). You’ll also want some protein: chicken, turkey, pork, beef, sausage, tofu, edamame, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, etc.

Make it easy: Use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for a speedy soup. Buy an already roasted whole chicken and just add bite sized pieces to the pot. You could even put the bones in for extra flavor and nutrients. Or open up a can of beans, or frozen edamame. Trader Joe’s sells an organic “Better Than Bouillon” reduced sodium jar of chicken base paste that is delicious. They also sell tiny frozen garlic cubes (made from fresh garlic) that you can keep in your freezer. While you’re at it,  their fresh frozen basil and cilantro is  worth having on hand as well.

Tip: Invest in a quality soup pot with a lid.

Here’s how: Put about 1 T of extra virgin olive oil in the pot, heat and saute a chopped onion until slightly browned.  If you are using carrots and/or celery put them in next so they have more time to cook. Then add garlic, maybe some basil, the meat of your choice, some water and chicken bouillion. Cover and cook until veggies are al dente. Then add the rest of the veggies and cook another 10-15 minutes. If using frozen veggies and cooked chicken, all ingredients may go in the pot at the same time.  Cook until veggies are thawed.  Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper to taste, and Voila! Serve with some fresh grated parmesan on top.

Tip: This soup can be stored in small glass containers to take with you to work the next day. Or, for something different, you can puree leftover soup for a light, creamy soup. You may want to use different seasonings such as 21 Seasoning Salute or even Taco Seasoning.

Tip: Trader Joe’s is a great place to stock up on essentials for your kitchen. I like their spices – TJs Taco Seasoning Mix, 21 Seasoning Salute, garlic granules, cumin, cinnamon, etc.  They sell a great pepper mill, too.  For canned goods I like their organic beans, tomato sauce, sun dried tomatoes, olives, capers, tapenades and many kinds of dips.

Don’t hesitate to be creative – add a touch of leftover wine while soup is cooking, or add some miso paste, tamari, sun dried tomatoes, capers, tomato sauce or paste. Or try tossing in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or lemon before serving.