Disclosure: This post was sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities as part of their Project Envolve Ambassador program. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Looking for a unique way to get friends together this holiday season? Actually, it doesn’t even have to be around the holiday, but it’s a great way to get friends together.
How about hosting a holiday soup swap? Not only will you be able to sample soups, you will be bringing home some of your favorite samples. If you are familiar with a cookie swap, the soup swap works the same way. You invite friends to cook their favorite soup and bring some extra to the party to swap. Let’s be honest, we are all very busy moms, so saving time and energy around the holiday season sounds pretty darn good. Since you will be cooking a large bulk, a great way to save time and energy is by cooking in either a crock pot or instant pot.
Tips for a Successful Soup Swap
At least four quarts of soup (less or more is fine, too; everyone goes home with same amount they brought).
- Bring the soup in separate containers that they don’t mind giving away.
- The soup should be frozen or refrigerated.
- Swappers should also bring a separate container of soup as a taster.
- When RSVP’ing, each guest should indicate what kind of soup they are making. While all kinds of soup (dairy-free, vegetarian, meat-filled, etc.) are welcome, you want to avoid having two kinds of the same soup.
- Each soup container should be clearly labeled with what kind of soup it is and the date.
- Ask your guests that they bring along copies of their recipe so that the other guests can make it again if they like it.
- On the night of the exchange, offering samples of the different soups that were made is a nice way to give guests a preview of what they will be bringing home.
- If you’re planning on serving samples of the soup, be prepared to heat up a variety of soups, maybe in batches, based on how many pots you have or the capacity of your microwave. We used the Elite Platinum EWMST-325 Maxi-Matic Triple Slow Cooker Buffet with Lid Rests.
Cooking tips for Soup Swap
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you need to spend your days slaving over a hot stove. Remember that slow cookers and pressure cookers use less energy than a conventional stove or oven. Also, clean-up’s a breeze when you use a slow cooker liner. We just love our Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot because it allows us to save time and energy. Think of recipes that will freeze well since you will be bringing home some extra soups. Whether you’re cooking holiday dinners for relatives or baking cookies for an office potluck, keep these tips in mind to minimize your electricity usage in the kitchen:
- You can save energy by using the smallest appliance for the job. A microwave oven uses less than half the energy required by a regular oven. Use your slow cooker or instant pot if you can. For about 20 cents worth of electricity, you can cook an entire meal.
- If you are cooking on stovetop cooking, use the smallest pan needed for the job and match it with the proper sized burner. I had no idea that a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the energy!
- Keep the inside of your microwave and oven clean. It improves their efficiency.
- Cook with lids on your pans. For example, cooking pasta without a lid on the pot can use three times as much energy than if the pot is covered.
Don’t be afraid of your slow cooker. Here are some slow cooker myths debunked. PPL offers a number of tips on Saving energy in the kitchen .
Favorite Crock Pot/Instant Pot Soup Recipes
Feel free to share your favorite recipe in the comments below.
PPL offers some unconventional cooking tips to help save energy when cooking and here are some tips for reheating soup after the swap.
Tips for Freezing/Reheating Soups
- Place liquids (soups, stews) in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before freezing
- Seal soups and stews in plastic bags or containers designed for freezer use.
- When defrosting soups, place frozen soup in refrigerator 24 few hours in advance to let the soup thaw on it’s own.
- If you forget to take the soup out the day it’s no big deal. Place your frozen food, still sealed in a plastic bag, in a bowl or sink of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes or until it can be broken into pieces.
Saving energy is a habit you should practice all year long – but the holidays can be the perfect time to start. Organizing a soup swap is an awesome way to get together with family or friends, plus you will have some extras to take home. Plus, utilizing some of the cooking and reheating tips above, you’ll watch your energy bills drop even as you use less of our precious energy resources – just one more thing to be thankful for this holiday season.
“PPL Electric Utilities offers tools, tips and energy efficiency programs to help customers save. Visit pplelectric for more information.” And be sure to check out some of these tips from my friends below….