Soups On! January Meal Plan Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure here.

After the indulgent months of November and December, it is perfectly fitting that January is National Soup Month — warm and soothing comfort in a bowl, and the focus of this month’s meal plan ideas. Bonus: January is also National Oatmeal Month! Enjoy a piping hot bowl of goodness both morning and night.

January Meal Plan

This month’s soups, stews, chilis, and chowders promise to be not only tasty and filling but nourishing. We’ll also focus on frugal and easy. Win’s all around! We’ll utilize several of my favorite tricks to reach our goals of frugal, easy, tasty, filling, and nourishing.

Bring on the Broth

The basis of most of our soups will be nourishing broth. And since we’re eating soup every day, we’ll need a lot of broth this month. For most people, chicken bones are the easiest to acquire, in the form of a whole bird. We’ll cook the meat to use in our soups, then turn the bones into broth. Pastured and free-range chickens can be expensive. Look for stewing hens instead. You’ll still get a decent amount of meat, bones for broth, and (usually) pay less than if you buy a free-range roasting bird.

Leftovers?

It’s definitely possible you’ll have leftovers.  Sometimes these leftovers, or as I refer to them planned-overs, will be the basis of supper for the next day (or in the near future); I’ll be sure to note that. If not noted to be used for a future meal, store in a mason jar or other container in the fridge and enjoy for lunch the next day. (Need to stretch the soup? Here’s a great idea for poaching eggs in soup.) Or, for longer storage, move them to the freezer.  Use these tips to prevent your mason jars from breaking in the freezer.

You’ll love the ease of preparation with this month’s meal plan ideas. In many cases, we’ll utilize the crockpot, filling it up in the morning and letting it cook all day. Just add a salad or other side for dinner and you’ll be good to go. Other times, the soup will quickly cook in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop.

Toppers

If you’ve read my book Design a Dish, you know I love to add toppers to my meals. This is especially true with soups. Some recipes will specify the perfect topping accompaniment. If not, here’s a few ideas.

Need More?

I’ll link you directly to recipes whenever possible. Sometimes, I’ll make a note about how I’d alter a recipe to accommodate budget or nutrition. You’ll find these notes in the To-Do List and Notes further down in the post. Even though I’m sharing some scrumptious recipes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct you to this post on how most of my soups and stews are created. Instead of a recipe, I use a method. This gives me the most bang for my food buck.

Special Diet?

If you are on a healing diet, you’ll love my friend Megan’s new book, Eat Beautiful Secrets From a Bone Broth Kitchen.

This book is a unique collection of 80 recipes. These recipes are for anyone who wants easy and delicious soups! These soups also meet the needs of several wellness diets, allowing patients to focus on just the recipes for their own protocol or to switch from one diet to another as needed. Many of the recipes cross over among the diets and include allergen-free options that are suitable for most people. Diets represented are GAPS, GAPS-Intro, AIP, Paleo, Keto, VAD, gluten-free, and more.

The Details

This collection of meal plan ideas serves four or five average eaters. You can make needed adjustments based on your family size and personal desires. And also, these meals often build off of each other. This plan features whole, real, and traditional foods. Foods are often (but not always) fermented, cultured, soaked, sprouted, or soured. Don’t have a sourdough starter? Learn how to catch a wild starter. Be sure to scroll down to find a To-Do List and Notes. You’ll find valuable information in this section!

Soups On! January Meal Plan Ideas

Partial Week

Wednesday: Southern New Year’s Day Soup
Thursday: Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Soup
Friday: Salmon Curry
Saturday: Warming Beef and Cabbage Soup

Week 1

Sunday: Tom Kha Gai
Monday: Zesty Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
Tuesday: Great Northern Bean Stew
Wednesday: Nourishing Pastured Chicken Stew
Thursday: Sauerkraut and White Bean Soup
Friday: Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup and Fluffy Cornbread
Saturday: Creamy Instant Pot Sweet Corn Chowder

Soups On! January Meal Plan Ideas

Week 2

Sunday: Middle Eastern Lamb Stew
Monday: Pinto Bean Chili
Tuesday: Egg Roll Soup
Wednesday: Taco Soup
Thursday: Onion, Leek, Carrot, and Broccoli Blended Soup topped with shredded chicken
Friday: Pizza Soup
Saturday: Chicken Rice Soup

 

Week 3

Sunday: Chinese Chicken and Wild Mushroom Stew
Monday: Starlene’s Husband’s Soup (double recipe for family)
Tuesday: Philly Cheese Steak Soup
Wednesday: Coconut Curry Black Bean Soup
Thursday: Nourishing Detox Chicken Soup
Friday: Creamy Black Bean Soup topped with chunks of chicken
Saturday: “Get Well Soon” Chicken Noodle Soup

Week 4 (almost a full week!)

Sunday: Cod and Mushroom Soup and salad
Monday: Barley Soup with chicken
Tuesday: Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
Wednesday: Creamy Coconut Meatball Korma
Thursday: Egg Curry
Friday: Italian Parmesan Sausage Soup

Soups On! January Meal Plan Ideas

To-Do List and Notes

Partial Week To-Do

Wednesday:

Ideally, you took a peek at this menu plan yesterday and started soaking your black-eyed peas (the recipe does not call for this, but we do it to improve digestion. Read more here.) If not, put them on to soak early in the morning.

Do you have chicken broth left from last month? Or maybe broth stashed in the freezer? Use this in place of the vegetable broth in the recipe.  No leftover broth? You can make a simple vegetable broth using vegetable scraps (ends of onions, celery, potato skins, carrot skins, etc. and (washed) eggshells. Put everything in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Skim as needed. Then lower to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Strain out veggies and eggshells. I’ve done this many times when money and broth bones are in short supply. It works!

Thursday:

No advance prep needed for tonight’s dinner.

Start a batch of sauerkraut.  You’ll need it for next Thursday’s soup, plus it is a wonderful item to keep on hand to add probiotic goodness to your meal. We’ll see sauerkraut in future meal plan ideas.

Friday:

No advance prep needed.

Saturday:

No advance prep needed. This stew utilizes stew meat, so it will need several hours to simmer on the stovetop.

Week 1

Sunday:

Early in the day, start two whole chickens in your crockpot. When they are falling-apart tender, remove the chickens and let cool. Move the accumulated meat broth to a stock pan (this is the base for tonight’s soup). Use the breasts from one of the chickens for tonight’s soup.

Divide the rest of the chicken as follows:

Put the carcasses back in the crockpot to begin your first batch of broth. In the morning, you should be able to pick off a small amount of additional meat. Store this in a separate glass dish and use for week 2 Chicken Rice Soup, along with the rest of the saved meat. Put the bones back in the crockpot. Make two more batches of bone broth. You’ll need lots and lots of broth for this month’s meal plan ideas.

Tonight’s soup, I’ve made this soup several times, but have yet to use the lemongrass stalks, galangal, or kaffir lime leaves. I’m sure it would be even better with these things, but I can’t find them where I live! So instead, I add a splash of lime juice at the end and serve with lime wedges. Still delicious! I also use regular mushrooms instead of oyster, and red pepper flakes (about 1/2 tsp.) instead of bird’s eye chili.

Monday:

No advance prep needed. Instead of using raw chicken, we’ll use the two chicken breasts from last night in this soup. Simply omit adding them at the cooking stage and add them at the shredding stage instead.

Let’s start some white beans to soak! Clean and sort two cups of beans, then put in water to soak overnight.

Tuesday:

Usually, I cook beans in broth. But since most of our soups are broth-based, let’s just use water for cooking the beans this week. If using your crockpot, start the beans at least 5 hours before dinner.

You’ll use 4 cups of beans in tonight’s stew. Save the rest for Thursday night.

I’ve made this dish omitting the ground meat entirely. It is still delicious. Use your budget as a guideline to use anywhere from zero to two pounds of ground meat in this recipe.

Get a jump on tomorrow’s soup by cooking the acorn squash tonight. If you don’t cook the squash tonight, allow two hours prep time tomorrow.

Wednesday:

No advance prep needed.

Thursday:

No advance prep needed.

Friday:

No advance prep needed.

Saturday:

No Instant Pot? No problem. This chowder is easily made on the stovetop. And I’m not going to lie, I’ve made it with canned corn before. Turns out fine.

Week 2

Sunday:

The sauteing stage can be prepped the night before or the morning of. Let this simmer all day in a crockpot or make it in your Instant Pot.

Let’s start some pinto beans to soak! Clean and sort two cups of beans, then put in water to soak overnight.

Monday:

Again, I usually cook beans in broth. But I’m just going to use water since most of our soups are broth-based. If using your crockpot, start the beans at least 6 hours before dinner.

You’ll need 4 cups cooked pinto beans for tonight’s chili. Save the rest of the beans for Wednesday night.

Tuesday:

No advance prep needed.

Wednesday:

No advance prep needed.

Thursday:

No advance prep needed.

Friday:

No advance prep needed.

Saturday:

No advance prep needed.

Soups On! January Meal Plan Ideas

 

Week 3

Sunday:

This is a lovely dish! But, as Megan notes in the recipe, wild mushrooms are expensive. And not abundant where I live. I’ve made this using only regular mushrooms easily found in my grocery store. It’s still delicious!

Monday:

Early in the day, start two whole chickens in your crockpot. When they are falling-apart tender, remove the chickens and let cool. Move the accumulated meat broth to a stock pan (this is the base for tonight’s soup). Use the breasts from one of the chickens for tonight’s soup. You’ll need to double the recipe as written for a family meal. You can use half broth (4 cups) and half water (4 cups) since the meat stock will be so rich.

Divide the rest of the chicken as follows:

  • both breasts together (for Thursday night)
  • two hindquarters with bones removed (for Friday night)
  • the other two hindquarters with bones removed together (for Saturday night)
  • pick as much remaining meat as possible off of the first bird and put in glassware then move to freezer (for next Monday night)
  • repeat with the second bird (put in freezer for a future meal not included in these meal plan ideas)

Put the carcasses back in the crockpot to begin your first batch of broth. In the morning you should be able to pick off a small amount of additional meat. Store this in a separate glass dish put in the freezer for a future meal not included in these meal plan ideas. Put the bones back in the crockpot, then make two more batches of bone broth. We still need quite a bit of broth to finish out the month.

Tuesday:

No advance prep needed

Let’s start some black beans to soak! Clean and sort two cups of beans, then put in water to soak overnight.

Wednesday:

Since most of our soups are broth-based, let’s use water again for cooking the beans this week. If using your crockpot, start the beans at least 6 hours before dinner.

You’ll need 4 cups of beans for tonight’s soup. Save the rest, including all bean broth, for Friday.

Thursday:

No advance prep needed.

Friday:

No advance prep needed.

Saturday:

No advance prep needed. Skip step 1 since the chicken is already cooked.

Week 4

Sunday:

Several years ago, we did GAPS diet to help with some lingering tummy troubles. I found this recipe during that time. It’s still a favorite.  Serve cups of this rich soup alongside a main dish salad for a filling supper.

No advance prep is needed.

Monday:

In the morning, put barley on to soak for today’s soup. Take already cooked chicken (from last week) out of the freezer. Add chicken in the final 20 to 30 minutes of cooking to heat through.

Tuesday:

No advance prep needed.

Wednesday:

No advance prep needed for tonight’s soup.

Hard boil eggs for tomorrow night’s curry soup.

Thursday:

No advance prep needed if you hard-boiled the eggs last night.

Friday:

No advance prep needed.

 

Looking for more menu ideas? Check out the meal plan archives here.

Millie Copper
Millie Copper is a Wyoming wife and mama. After reading Nourishing Traditions in early 2009, her family began transforming their diet to whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods—a little at a time while stretching their food dollars. Millie is passionate to share how, with a little creativity, anyone can transition to a real foods diet without overwhelming their food budget. Millie began blogging in late 2009 and has amassed a collection of frugal recipes and methods. Her specialties include cooking with wild game and creating “Stretchy Beans”. Discovering a love of writing, she has penned four books focusing on healthy eating on a budget and is trying her hand at fiction writing. Learn more at MillieCopper.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *