As I learned at the beginning of our hotel stay, I need to keep others’ appetites in mind when cooking. This concept doesn’t just apply to hotel cooking, so I’m not sure why I spaced it when making that first hotel meal of loaded sweet potatoes. Either way, the next meal I made was just me. My husband and I had different work demands, which required him to travel and me to be in state. With this in mind, I crafted a meal that worked for just me.
Deep into fall, I love making soups and stews to warm both house and humans. Unfortunately cooking in a microwave doesn’t allow the soup to simmer and fill the room with the delicious aromas, but it still could provide a warming, flavorful meal. Since it needed to feed only me, making it vegetarian was just fine.
Shopping for ingredients, I kept my pantry, or lack thereof, in mind. No spice rack. No real knives. Limited prep space. Even with these disadvantages, I was pretty sure I could make a decent soup. The key to this was keeping a realistic view of how much cooking I’d be doing.
To make this soup in my current setting, I made sure to do the following things:
- Use canned tomatoes that are seasoned. Although I typically like to add my own seasoning, using pre-added seasoning is better than having none.
- Choose veggies that cut easily, if using fresh. You don’t want to fight a carrot with a plastic knife in order to transform it into bite-sized pieces.
- Invest in a hard cheese (pre-shredded), such as parmesan. It doesn’t have to be refrigerated and can add flavor to a number of dishes.
- Buy a bagged green, such as kale, that can be an addition to soup and a base for salad. You now have two hotel-made dishes!
Yes, it’s another real photo of my dinner, as this dish was served in my very fancy, disposable plastic-ware.
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 14.5 oz. can basil, garlic, & oregano seasoned diced tomatoes
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1/2 5-oz. bag baby spinach
- Place diced zucchini in a 4-cup resealable container and cover with 1 cup broth.
- Microwave for approximately 3 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender.
- Divide zucchini and broth among 3 4-cup resealable containers.
- Divide tomatoes among the 3 containers.
- Add baby spinach to all 3 containers.
- Microwave individual containers for 2-3 minutes, or until soup is hot and spinach is wilted.
- Add a sprinkle of parmesan to soup, and stir.