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Wear a sweater, make some soup (or stew)

Closeup of a pot of vegetable soup on a wood board on a table.
Colder weather means I can put a pot of soup on the stove to make something easy and delicious — and to warm my apartment.
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times)
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If you’re like me and live in an old apartment, then you might know that the heat coming from your stove or oven warms your living space better than a portable heater ever could. So when temps drop to where I contemplate having to turn my space heater on, I instead opt for a bubbling pot on the stove. It smells great, warms my apartment and arms me with multiple meals’ worth of delicious soups and stews.

Thea Baumann‘s Chickpea and Escarole Soup With Crispy Bread Crumbs is my favorite go-to since I seem to always have the ingredients on hand and the resulting soup is so delicious and nourishing, with or without the crispy breadcrumbs (though I implore you to make them — they keep well for days at room temperature).

When I’ve got nothing but a can of tomatoes and an onion in my pantry, I know Genevieve Ko’s Creamy Tomato Soup will be dinner. A few more seasonings and a splash of cream make it one of the easiest meals to bring together.

When I have a little more energy to prep, I love Jenny Dorsey‘s Mustard Greens and Beans Soup With Herby Pork Meatballs. I make the meatballs on a Sunday, then poach the amount I need for a bowl of soup each day in the broth that’s studded with white beans and mustard greens.

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My favorite soups are lentil-based since they come together so fast and are so economical. Deborah Madison‘s Red Lentil Soup With Berbere is outstanding for this reason too, owing most of its flavor to berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix that adds incredible flavor to the quick stew. If you don’t have all the spices to make it, many grocery stores now sell a premixed container that will work in a pinch.

Creamy Tomato Soup

The quality of canned tomatoes you have will directly affect the quality of your soup. If you prefer a smooth soup, puree all the tomatoes with their juices in a blender before adding to the saucepan.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour, largely unattended.

Closeup of a bowl of tomato soup on a white tablecloth.
(Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)

Chickpea and Escarole Soup With Crispy Bread Crumbs

Fresh, crunchy bread crumbs add contrast to this light soup that eats like a hearty meal. Use another type of canned bean if that’s all you have, and also feel free to switch the escarole for your favorite green, like Swiss chard or kale.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 50 minutes.

A pot of vegetable soup with a dish of bread crumbs alongside.
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times)

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Mustard Greens and Beans Soup With Herby Pork Meatballs

Dorsey makes bone broth and beans earlier in the week in this simple, comforting soup, but you can use store-bought broth and beans and it will taste just as great. If you want to add flavor to your rice, add some fried garlic before it cooks so the alliums perfume the rice.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes.

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Overhead view of bowls of soup with several hearty meatballs.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

Red Lentil Soup With Berbere

Red lentils, turmeric and ghee combine in this simple soup doused with homemade berbere, the addictive Ethiopian spice blend that colors the soup red and amps up the flavor.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 50 minutes.

A pot of lentil soup next to sliced limes.
(Erin Scott)

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