Soups and stews

Child Caring Online - information about the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Soups and stews – enjoy them year around!

A steaming bowl of soup sounds great on a cold, cloudy day, doesn’t it? And a thick, rich stew is a delicious centerpiece for a winter meal. Add some homemade bread or crusty rolls, some fruit and milk and you are all set.

Here in Nebraska we have developed our own ideas about the types of breads and desserts that we expect to be served with particular soups. Homemade chicken noodle soup is a favorite, especially with pie for dessert. Ham and beans with cornbread is another combination often seen and enjoyed here. A hearty vegetable beef soup accompanied with fresh bread are other popular dishes during our long, cold winters.

Sometimes mistakes are made in menu planning when soup is the main dish. You need to be careful how you credit the ingredients in the soup. If you chicken noodle soup recipe does not have enough chicken or noodles to count either as a meal components, you can end up with a meal that is not reimbursable under the CACFP.

You need to determine if you are including enough of any ingredient to count as a meal component when you plan your menus so that, if necessary, you can serve a sandwich or more fruit/vegetable with the meal to insure that it is reimbursable. Homemade soups most often contain enough of at least one ingredient to count towards the required meal components. If you use canned soups, you will most likely need to add more meat, noodles or vegetables. In other words, “doctor it up” quite a bit for it to count as a meal component.

Let’s look at an example. Your vegetable beef soup recipe calls for two pounds of cooked beef pieces. This recipe says it yields 50 8-oz portions. Two pounds of cooked beef equals 32 oz of meat/meat alternate. So in 50 portions you will have only .64 ounces of meat per portion. That will not meet meal pattern requirements. You can either increase the amount of meat in the soup or serve another meat/meat alternate along with the soup. To provide a 2 oz serving of meat for everyone, you would need 6.25 pounds of beef in the soup. Obviously, this would change the appearance and consistency of your soup and might not be satisfactory. You might prefer to add a sandwich, cheese sticks or a cottage cheese salad to the menu.

A traditional version of chili usually has enough meat, beans and tomatoes to count as both the meat and a vegetable components. The beans in chili can be counted either toward the meat/meat alternate component or the vegetable component, but not both in the same meal. Serve a bowl of chili with a dinner roll, fruit and milk and you have a very popular, reimbursable meal.

Updated October 22, 2019 9:06am