I make soup (usually beans, sometimes minestrone if we have leftover veggies ailing in the fridge) and bread almost every Friday, and by the end of the week it is really nice to have the work done for me. Most weeks I make cornbread (my family’s favorite) or quick biscuits, but sometimes I’ll stir up a batch of dough from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day and we’ll have hot loaves of bread to share with our neighbors and enjoy with butter and honey that night.
I never measure when I’m making bean soup, and I often end up soaking way too many beans. Lately, I’ve started purposefully prepping too many so that I can freeze some soaked beans for later, thus cutting down my meal prep time by 24 hours. Last time, I threw all the fixings for that week’s soup into the bag with the pre-soaked beans and froze it all together. Now, when I’m in a rush (or forgot to soak the beans, which I sometimes do), I can just grab the frozen stuff out of the freezer, dump it in the crock pot, add boiling water, and be done.
As you can see, this is a really simple recipe. I let my kids choose a new heirloom bean to try from the bulk bins at Whole Foods (and since I never write the name down, I can’t remember what these are called), and I cook them up pretty similarly: a big spoonful of stock paste, a couple strips of bacon, two or three bay leaves. Sometimes an onion cut in half. Then I fill the crock pot up with water and set it on low for the day. When the beans are done, I add Worchestershire sauce or salt to taste, and that’s it.
Having a “bag of soup” in the freezer, ready to go at a moment’s notice is really convenient. And because I prepped one week’s meal with the future bag of soup, it didn’t take any extra effort on my part.