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MOMS-SOUP-SWAP-PARTY-MCT

Host a soup-swap to get some great leftovers that will last through the week. (Mercedes Leon/FamilyFun Magazine/TNS)

A party that supplies you with fully prepared dinners for busy weeknights to come? Sign us up! Hosting a soup swap is a genius way to spend time with friends and fill your freezer. Plus, there’s big payoff for minimal effort: Each guest makes only one batch but leaves with four meals. It’s a total win-win! Here’s how to plan the ultimate swap, with four crowd-pleasing — and kid-friendly — soups to bring to the soiree.

1. Invite a handful of friends over with plenty of notice!

2. Ask each guest to bring a few quarts of cooled soup in freezer-safe containers. (A quart usually makes dinner for two adults and two kids; each recipe here makes three quarts, plus a little extra for tasting at the party.) Adjust the tasting amounts based on your number of guests.

3. Ask everyone to bring a copy of their recipe to share.

4. At the party, put out small cups or glasses and spoons for soup sampling. And offer cheese, crackers, fruit, other nibbles, and some wine so it’s festive and filling.

5. Let friends take home as many containers of soup as they brought!

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TEX-MEX CHICKEN & NOODLE SOUP

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Makes 3 quarts + 1 1/2cups

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups celery, diced

1 pound carrots, peeled and diced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 quarts reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped

8 ounces spaghetti, broken into bite-size pieces

2 cups frozen corn

1 cup jarred salsa verde

Avocado, sour cream, cilantro to garnish

1. Warm oil over medium. Add celery, carrots, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the broth, cover, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

2. Remove lid, reduce heat to low, and stir in the chicken. Cover. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Remove lid, raise the heat to medium, and add the spaghetti. Cook 6 to 7 minutes or until pasta is just tender. Do not overcook. Stir in the corn and salsa verde. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with desired garnishes.

PER SERVING

312 calories; 25g protein; 10g fat (2g sat. fat); 31g carbs; 3g fiber; 5g sugar; 949mg SODIUM

TIP

For the best texture, make sure not to overcook the pasta!

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MINI MEATBALL SOUP WITH FARRO

Prep time 25 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Makes 3 quarts + 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

Nonstick cooking spray

11/2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2/3 cup grated Parmesan

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup lightly packed spinach, finely chopped

11/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)

2 medium bell peppers, cored and chopped (about 2 cups)

8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 quart reduced-sodium beef broth

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

3 cups prepared farro

1. Heat oven to 375 F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, spinach, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Form into tablespoon-size balls and transfer to baking sheet. Bake until cooked, about 16 minutes.

2. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium. Add the onion, peppers, and green beans, stir, and cook about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except farro. Cover and increase heat to medium high. When simmering, add the meatballs and farro. Warm through. Top with Parmesan.

PER SERVING

412 calories; 22g protein; 21g fat (7g sat. fat); 35g carbs; 7g fiber; 6g sugar; 647mg sodium

TIP

You can use brown rice or barley in place of the faro if desired.

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SWEET POTATO CARROT SOUP

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Makes 3 quarts + 1 1/2 cups

INGREDIENTS

4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped

1 (10 ounce) bag shredded carrots

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon turmeric

6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk

1. Warm the oil over medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add the carrots, potatoes, salt, spices, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Puree soup and whisk in the coconut milk.

PER SERVING

234 calories; 2g protein; 12g fat (10g sat. fat); 29g carbs; 4g fiber; 8g sugar; 646mg sodium

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CHEESY BROCCOLI & SPLIT PEA SOUP

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Makes 3 quarts + 1 3/4 cups

INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large leek, rinsed and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled, and smashed

2 quarts reduced-sodium vegetable broth

2 cups green split peas

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to season

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 pounds broccoli, chopped

1 cup whole milk

3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Melt the butter over medium.

Add the leek and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir.

2. Add the broth, split peas, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook, partially covered, about 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the broccoli and milk. Simmer, covered, about 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then puree. Whisk in the cheese until completely melted. Serve topped with additional cheese.

PER SERVING

440 calories; 23g protein; 22g fat (13g sat. fat); 40g carbs; 13g fiber; 9g sugar; 895mg sodium

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TIPS

— Leave at least an inch of headspace in your quart-size freezer container to allow for expansion. And be sure to label each to avoid mystery meals!

— To thaw frozen soup, place in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Thin soups with broth or water as needed.

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