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30-minute soup recipes to get you through the winter

Given all the wool hats, puffy down jackets, and rosy faces I’ve seen around campus lately—plus the fact that my gloved hands nearly froze off walking back from Davis last week—I think it’s fair to say that it’s been SUPER cold out lately. Ignoring, of course, that one day when it hit 60 degrees here, it seems that that “New England winter” everyone warned us about has finally arrived. Should you find yourself one night not wanting to leave your dorm for fear of the bitter cold (I’ve been there), here are some easy and delicious soup recipes that you can whip up in under 30 minutes. Not only will these soups save you a trip to the dining hall, but they’re also sure to keep you nice and warm from the inside out.

Mac and Cheese Soup with Ham

Photo credit:

Photo credit: I Sing in the Kitchen

This recipe couldn’t be easier; it’s pretty much glorified instant mac & cheese—but even tastier!


  • 1 packet microwavable macaroni & cheese (e.g. Kraft® Easy Mac, Annie’s®)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 7 oz. chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup finely diced ham
  • Salt and pepper, if desired


  1. Cook the packet of instant macaroni in the microwave, as directed, but do not mix in the cheese powder. Set cooked macaroni and cheese powder aside.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan until sizzling; stir in mustard and cheese powder from the instant macaroni. Add broth and half & half. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil (4-5 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cooked macaroni and ham. Cook until heated through (4-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

(From Land-O-Lakes®’s Ham, Mac & Cheese Soup recipe.)

Ramen Corn Chowder

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

This is a similar idea to the last recipe: taking a staple instant meal and spiffing it up. I mean, who doesn’t love Ramen? And as a plus, this one is vegetarian-friendly.

Makes 4 servings.


  • I package Ramen noodles (any flavor)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (16 oz.) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Colby cheese (cheddar also works)


  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add ramen noodles and the flavor packet and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add creamed corn, frozen corn, ginger, curry powder, and milk. Heat over medium heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 2-4 minutes; do not let the soup boil.
  4. Add grated cheese and stir until melted and the soup is blended.

(From Linda Larsen of’s Busy Cooks.)

Easy Vegetable Chili

This recipe makes 6 servings, so you can either make it to share with friends or store the extra in the fridge to heat up for later meals.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 28-ounce can plus one 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped, with juices
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 15-ounce cans red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, jalapeño, garlic, chili powder to taste and cumin. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and carrot are soft, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes with their juices, sugar and salt; cook for 5 minutes over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to low; stir in beans and bulgur. Simmer until the chili is thickened, about 15 minutes. Garnish with yogurt, scallions and cilantro, if desired.

(From EatingWell)

Pesto Bean Soup

Photo credit: Food Network

Photo credit: Food Network


  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil (for sautéing)
  • 2 cans drained cannellini beans
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup roasted peppers


  1. Sautee garlic and red pepper flakes in a skillet with the olive oil.
  2. Add the cannellini beans and water; simmer until thick, 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in pesto and grated parmesan. Add chicken broth and celery; cook 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in olives and roasted peppers, and voilà!

(From Food Network Magazine.)

-Sara Pantel

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