Years ago I learned to make supper soups from Pamela Anderson's "How to Cook Without a Book." This is a terrific collection of recipes using rules of thumb for every dish, like stir fry, or pan-seared proteins, or supper soup. She offers a basic recipe, variations, and memory aids so you don't have to crack open the cookbook. You can also look in your pantry and see what you have, adapting the recipes accordingly.
Supper soups include a pound of veg, a starch, a pound of protein, a quart of stock, a can of tomatoes, an onion and other flavorings.
Today I didn't have a pound of protein - I had one Polish sausage. I didn't have a quart of chicken broth so I threw in a Knorr bouillon cube. I used a bunch of kale and lots of garlic - we were out of onions! (horrors. How can I say I'm ready for the Big One if there are no onions in the house?)
Saute garlic and peeled diced carrot in olive oil. Add a 14 oz. can of tomatoes, half pound of green beans, snapped, and a bunch of kale with ribs removed, chopped. Add water to cover, bring to boil, then simmer until the greens are tender. This is going to take a while. Towards the end I sliced the sausage and drained a can of garbanzo beans and added those. Tasted the broth, decided to add the chicken cube.
Hubby says he really liked it - he sprinkled parmesan cheese on it, which added a fillip of flavor and mouth-feel.
I wouldn't serve this to company but on the other hand, it was flavorful and warming on a rainy winter's night. I also made a couple of quesadillas to fill the children's hungry bellies, while I scarfed down a couple of homemade wheat rolls left over from last night.