Be honest here. When you eat alphabet soup, do you check your letters before you eat them? Do you eat them one at a time? Try finding words on your spoon (extra bonus points for your name)? Saving all the vowels for last?

It doesn't matter how old you are or how many bowls of soup you've eaten in your lifetime. Alphabet soup is ageless. It brings out the kid in all of us.

Here's a recipe for a super doubly nutritious soup made with a nutrient- and flavor-rich stock. Yes, the stock is an extra step. But it is so worth it. You get double the nutrients and double the taste.

If you don't usually make stock, try it. You'll thank me. Here's my technique: All week long, whenever I peel a fruit or vegetable, I put the peels/cores/leftovers into a large ziploc bag that I keep in the door of the freezer. I save onion and garlic skins; celery scraps; peels from carrots, potatoes, turnips and sweet potatoes; and apple and pear cores and peels. I make sure not to put in anything too strongly flavored (think broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage), and I also try not to put in too much of any one vegetable.  (I use a pareve knife so I'm not 'committing' to dairy or meat.) When the bag is totally full, I rinse the scraps really well in a colander and then I cook it up with some chicken bones, for meat stock, or on its own for a pareve stock. (I add a splash of soy sauce and some dried mushrooms for the pareve version.) For tonight's soup, I added chicken bones that were on sale for less than $2. The soup was so richly flavored. Each of us had THREE bowls and we still have some left for tomorrow!

Alphabet Vegetable Soup
You can make this soup with water instead of stock, but it's worth trying it with stock if you can. I know it takes just a bit more effort, but you'll love the rich taste. Stir the pasta into the individual bowls before serving, rather than into the pot. This way you can serve it again the next night, if you have any left, and the pasta will still be firm and tasty.

1 onion
2-3 carrots peeled or scrubbed
3 stalks of celery
1-2 parsnips peeled or scrubbed
1 turnip peeled or scrubbed
1 large or 2 small zucchini, washed (not peeled)
1 tablespoon canola oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
paprika and/or black pepper, to taste
alphabet noodles

about 4 cups of vegetable scraps, such as onion and garlic skins; celery scraps; peels from carrots, potatoes, turnips and sweet potatoes; and apple and pear cores and peels
about 2 pounds of chicken bones or necks
8 cups water
3 bay leaves

First, start the stock. Wash the vegetable scraps very well in a colander. Combine the vegetable scraps, chicken, water and bay leaves in a very large pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 2 hours. (Less is okay, but the flavor does get richer as it cooks.)

While the stock is simmering, prepare the vegetables for the soup. Use the shredding disc of your food processor to grate the the onion, carrots, celery, parsnips, turnip, and zucchini. Heat the oil in a large soup pot (I use a Le Creuset) and warm the garlic for a minute or two, just till fragrant.  Add the grated vegetables and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the stock is finished cooking, strain the stock - discarding the vegetables and reserving the liquid. (I simply put the colander over the stock pot with the cooking grated vegetables. I pour the stock right through the colander, leaving the vegetables behind and putting the stock right in with the grated vegetables.)

Add the stock to the cooking grated vegetables and cook for another hour or so.

Stir the alphabet noodles into the individual bowls before serving.

Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s BeansHip HostessPillsbury and Westminster Crackers

Linking this up to Kitchen Tip Tuesday.