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Roasted meats, vegetables add an extra ladle of flavor to soups

Roasting is hands-off cooking with a big payoff. The time spent under high heat concentrates the flavors in meats and vegetables, which gives these hearty soups a deep, rich character.

Make ahead: Transfer cooled soups to freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, and then reheat. Add garnishes just before serving.

Everyday Food magazine offers quick, healthy solutions for everyday meals -- from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. For more recipes and additional tips, visit www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood.

Roasted beef, mushroom and barley soup

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, toss together 1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch pieces; 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps halved; 2 shallots, coarsely chopped; and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

2. Arrange in a single layer and roast until beef and mushrooms are browned, about 30 minutes.

3. Transfer to a medium pot and add 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water and 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is soft, about 12 minutes. To serve, season to taste with salt and pepper and top with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 415 calories, 19 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 5 grams fiber and 41 percent of calories from fat.

Roasted beet and potato borscht

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, toss together 2 pounds red beets, scrubbed, peeled and diced medium; 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced medium; 2 shallots, coarsely chopped; 3 to 5 sprigs thyme; and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Arrange in a single layer and roast until beets and potatoes are cooked through, about 45 minutes.

2. Discard thyme. Add vegetables to a medium pot, along with 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. With a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon, mash some vegetables until soup is thick and chunky. Stir in 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, top with sour cream, chopped fresh parsley and thinly sliced scallion greens if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 310 calories, 8 grams fat, 54 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 8 grams fiber and 23 percent of calories from fat.

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