BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP + ROASTED CHICKPEAS
You know that show "Semi-Homemade" hosted by Sandra Lee? My mom and I used to watch that and make fun of her obsession with tablescapes. Little did I know back then that semi-homemade is the easiest way to have a delicious, healthy-ish meal with real ingredients—even on a busy weeknight.
Trader Joe's (and most other soup brands like Campbell's and Annie's) make boxed soups. They come in similar packaging to broth cartons. You honestly could eat the soup as is, but I like to doctor it up a bit. In this particular rendition, I stared at my pantry and fridge for 30 seconds and this is what came out. I had some chickpeas, leftover chopped onion, and a whole host of delectable spices like garlic, basil, rosemary, sea salt, and cracked pepper.
I used my trusty chickpea-roasting method—rinse, pat dry, toss with oil + spices, then pour on a pan and bake for 20 min, shaking the pan halfway through. I like to toss with oil + spices in a liquid measuring cup, because it makes it super easy to pour onto your baking sheet. Also—line your pan with foil for the easiest cleanup ever!
I also cooked down some chopped onion in a skillet to add more texture to the soup. Beware: if you're cooking in a tiny apartment, it will smell like onions all night. Burn a candle.
The soup obviously only takes a few minutes to heat up, so toss in your spices and start that last.
Rinse, dry, and toss chickpeas in oil + spices. Roast for 18 min at 400°, shaking the pan halfway through. Meanwhile, sauté onions and prep the soup. For a filling meal for one, use half the carton and add spices to taste. When onions are cooked, add to the pot, and only add chickpeas after pouring into bowls. (Remaining chickpeas make a delicious snack.)
1 carton butternut squash soup
You can make this with any soup base! Try doctoring up plain black bean soup or roasted tomato + red pepper soup! Let me know your favorite "semi-homemade" meals in the comments below.