Make Soup Night a Success!

Soup night. It’s long been a weekly tradition for us — at least in colder weather. Years ago I read Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy as I prepared to quit my job and manage our home on one income. The book was amazingly helpful in making ends meet.

One of her recommendations for staying in the black was to have a weekly soup night.

Soup is quick, economical, and filling. You can make a meal from little bits of a few different ingredients. And it’s so cozy on a cold day.

However, some people have a hard time considering soup as a meal. They often mistake it as a side dish instead of a main course. Or they balk at the idea of vegetables and broth. My children would count themselves in the category of “some people.”

I’ve been working on some strategies to make soup night a little easier to swallow, for adults and children alike:

1. Offer a choice.

Whether you prepare two different choices of soup or variety of toppings to choose from, make some options available. Not only does this brighten up soup night, but it also allows reluctant soup eaters to have some power in the matter.

2. Provide some delicious breads.

My kids absolutely love Garlic Focaccia as well as popovers. By offering these on soup night, I’m giving the kids — of all ages — something to look forward to, in addition to the soup. In a pinch, cheese and crackers work, too.

3. Bake a great dessert.

It’s amazing to me how quickly the kids can scarf down a bowl of soup when they know there is a great dessert, like Slab Apple Pie to top off with. While I’m not necessarily bribing them, I am rewarding the good eater with a little treat. I figure that eventually, they’ll develop a taste for the soup in question and not need a little reward/

4. Serve it with a smile.

If your child or spouse isn’t quick to embrace soup night, never fear. Through trial and error, you’ll find ways to make it work. For our family, I’ve realized that chilis and stews go over better than thinner soups. The important part is for each of us to eat what we have with thanksgiving. And hopefully, my cheerful attitude (and persistence) will help make it an enjoyable experience.

My friend Lynn is hosting a weekly Soup’s On!Β every Monday. Check it out for more soup inspiration.

How do you make soup nights succeed?

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  1. Love soup! My five-year old actually said, the other night, “Can we not have soup for dinner tomorrow?”. Guess I need to change it up a little bit.

    Can you point me to the recipe for the slab apple pie you mention? I know I’ve seen it before but I don’t seem to be finding it in your recipe index, it IS early but…


  2. Soup at our house IS a meal. I usually serve some type of bread or sandwich with it, then raw veggies, pickles or olives, or crackers and cheese. My kids don’t complain at all. When its cold we like to have it once a week.

  3. I’ve declared Wednesday, Soup Night, at our house. It’s AWANA’s night and soup is a perfect go to meal so we can eat and head out the door. My oldest son actually asks for soup for dinner sometimes. This week is Beef Barley – will have to look into the slab apple pie too!

  4. We all love soup (my 3 boys included). I think soup is a success because I am sure to include some kid of hearty ingredient. Whether it’s the additional of little meatballs in the soup, thick hearty chunks of potatoes in their chowder , or just the addition of a few tortellini in the soup, it seems to make the difference.

  5. The college DH and I attended did bread and soup night once a week and donated the money they saved to charity. When we graduated and got married I kept up the tradition except now the charity is us. So, my kids are used to it, but I agree good bread or crackers and a bit of dessert help a lot. I also like to add a pitcher of lemonade or iced tea to make things seem even more special (we usually drink water or milk).

  6. We have Saturday night soup night here in the colder weather. I meet a lot of resistence with all kinds of soup I make. I try to have them on an 8 week rotation. But this past Saturday my mind was blown!! I served your recipe for Roasted Vegetable soup. And!!!!!!!!!!! I would have NEVER guessed a soup made of vegetables and pureed would be THE soup to serve! Thank you one million times!!!

    • @Kelley, Yeah! That makes my day!

      • @Jessica, I also made this soup! I had all the ingredients from my CSA as well. The kids had an aversion to the peppers, but both my husband and I L-O-V-E-D it. Not to mention its just pure veggies. This has given me a spring board to create similar soups – thank you!

  7. My 5 year old loves soup (especially tomato), but my 3 year old and 2 year old won’t touch the stuff. Maybe when they get a little older they’ll be more open to it.

  8. I love soup in the fall, so cozy. I like to double my recipes and freeze extra for a non-cooking night. I will reheat two frozen soups, one in the crock pot and the other on the stove-top to offer choices. Plus soup is such a frugal meal for company or give away! Ummm, cornbread or homemade bread hits the spot.

  9. Soup is a staple in my house! I take it for lunch most days as it heats up easily and, paired with a salad, is a cheap and sooo yummy! πŸ˜€ And with fresh bread it always hits the spot.

  10. Soup, beautiful soup! Turkey vegetable for dinner tonight, ham and bean soup in the freezer, and just finished up a pot of ham and potato soup. Umm, ummm good!

  11. i was going to ask for the slab apple pie but saw someone else already asked. I made a mexican dish the other night that used up little bits and pieces too. We like soup and toppings are always a must!

  12. Lynette W. says:

    Thanks for this reminder post Jessica! My kids are reluctant soup eaters too! Drives me crazy (though they don’t like the canned chicken and noodle stuff too – so that’s for some weird reason, encouraging to me!) I pretty much have followed all of your tips as well. I figure over time having crock-pot soup night ingrained in their brains and they’ll get it that soup is great and fun to eat! I can certainly hope πŸ™‚
    My oldest use to eat chilli as a baby (because, hey she was given a spoon! liquid drained of course!) than she went through what I call the picky 3 – 6 yr old years where they don’t like ANYTHING (even that chilli!) Now she is back to loving chilli (at 8 now, almost 9!) and even asks for seconds and says it’s her favorite! Glad I didn’t give up those foods on her during those years….Now I just have to wait patiently while my other kids each go through their picky years. Great Tips! Thanks for the reminder πŸ™‚

  13. I tried to look to see if I can find it but alas….. what is the soup in the picture in this post?

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