As college students, we are always running out of time. Often, it is easy to neglect ourselves simply because there isn't space for your personal needs in a busy schedule. Prioritizing a delicious meal full of sustenance provides fuel for your hectic life. From just some canned soup and simple ingredients you most likely have lying around your kitchen, you can cook up some satisfying hot food.

1.) Add Some Flavor

farmer's market, Fresh, natural, Green, Herbs
Caroline Ingalls

Canned soup is notoriously high in sodium and lacking in real flavor. One way around this dilemma is to stock your pantry with low-sodium canned soup in order to provide room to add the flavors you want.

If you're into hot and spicy, toss in chili powder, cumin, some cayenne, and a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Your corn chowder will be brought to new and invigorated life.

If you need something homey, like grandma would make, add a tidge of rosemary, thyme, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. This works really well with simple beef barley or chicken vegetable soups.

If you're craving that curry flavor, saute up some onion and garlic in coconut oil, splash in some milk (any kind), plop on a generous amount of curry powder, some turmeric, and just a little lemon (zest or juice). This will bring another layer of depth to any pureed soup.

2.) Add Some Texture

pepper, carrot, tomato, vegetable
Christin Urso

No one looks forward to the mushy vegetables and noodles in canned soup. One way to make the texture more invigorating is to put some of your favorite items of top, or in the soup itself.

Maybe you added a bunch of beans, spice, and some canned tomato to your Southwestern soup, which now resembles a type of a chili. To pick that up even more, use corn chips to scoop its deliciousness into your mouth.

To combat those mushy canned vegetables, add some frozen or fresh ones to chew on. The same concept can apply to the noodles, maybe cook in your favorite kind of noodle. Crumble in crunchy crackers, fresh chopped onions, or crispy chunks of savory bacon.

3.) Mix and Match

garlic, pumpkin, broth, vegetable, lobster bisque, parsley, cream, bread, soup
Hui Lin

Some canned soups work really well together, and when combined create an even better soup. Tomato and beef soup, bean and barley soup, cream of mushroom and tomato soup, truly whatever sounds good to eat. 

This also applies to what you decides to put into your dish. Don't be afraid of creating a fusion cuisine, if that's what you're hankering. This type of experimentation leads to truly unique dishes that reflect your creativity.

Be sure that you are also mixing and matching flavors. If the soup is already extremely rich, cut that with some citrus or bitter herbs. If you accidentally made it too spicy, just add some cream or a bit of sugar. There is almost always a solution to your flavor woes.

4.) Build a Base

vegetable, mushroom
Jocelyn Hsu

To build up a flavor profile, you can caramelize mushrooms or onions to instantly make any soup better. Add some cream or milk to your soup to create a richer mouth-feel; or if you're feeling ambitious create a roux. 

Roux is quite easy to make, and acts as a thickening agent. It is simply combination of equal parts flour and butter cooked together. The butter or flour can be browned and cooked longer depending on how dark or light or want your roux to be. Once the roux is made, simply stir is some of the warm liquid from the soup, or a bit of milk prior to adding it all into the soup.

5.) Put In What You Want

beef, sausage, pork, meat, bacon
Andrew Zaky

You can mix in frozen vegetables, ground beef, shredded chicken, precooked wild rice, and anything else you would like to eat in your soup. Maybe you want Greek yogurt on top, or some cheese. Maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar is more your style.

The point is you can make your boring canned soup into the meal you actually want to eat with a few simple touches. This gives you the power to create what you've been craving all week: something home-cooked and made with love. It also gives you the ability to add nutritional content and bulk to a meal that otherwise might not have provided sustaining energy.

What better way to enjoy the brisk fall air, then to cozy up with a steaming bowl of aromatic soup?

For more soup inspiration, check out these articles:

3-Day Soup Only Meal Plan 

Decent Mushroom Soup