A party that supplies you with fully prepared dinners for busy weeknights to come? Sign us up! Hosting a soup swap is a genius way to spend time with friends and fill your freezer. Plus, there’s big payoff for minimal effort: Each guest makes only one batch but leaves with four meals. It’s a total win-win! Here’s how to plan the ultimate swap, with four crowd-pleasing — and kid-friendly — soups to bring to the soiree.

A party that supplies you with fully prepared dinners for busy weeknights to come? Sign us up! Hosting a soup swap is a genius way to spend time with friends and fill your freezer. Plus, there’s big payoff for minimal effort: Each guest makes only one batch but leaves with four meals. It’s a total win-win! Here’s how to plan the ultimate swap, with four crowd-pleasing — and kid-friendly — soups to bring to the soiree.

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Mussels are the perfect choice for a weeknight meal. They're a terrific source of low-fat protein, they're inexpensive, they cook up quickly, and as they cook, they automatically generate tasty juices to whichever sauce you're making. Also, farmed mussels are pretty easy to clean. You just toss them briefly in several changes of fresh water and pull off any strings (also known as "beards") hanging from the hinge of the shell. Finally, bonus, if you buy farmed mussels — the most common variety available at stores today — you'll have chosen a sustainable seafood. Here I've dressed the mussels in green for St. Patrick's Day with a garnish of chopped scallions and cilantro.

No matter how many dazzling things we have the good fortune to eat in our lives, we often remember the simplest meals with as much power and affection as the fanciest. A humble, pureed vegetable soup is among those particular pleasures. Also, Proustian prose aside, if you're feeling lazy, you can get from a few ingredients to deliciousness in no time.

Mussels are the perfect choice for a weeknight meal. They're a terrific source of low-fat protein, they're inexpensive, they cook up quickly, and as they cook, they automatically generate tasty juices to whichever sauce you're making. Also, farmed mussels are pretty easy to clean. You just toss them briefly in several changes of fresh water and pull off any strings (also known as "beards") hanging from the hinge of the shell. Finally, bonus, if you buy farmed mussels — the most common variety available at stores today — you'll have chosen a sustainable seafood. Here I've dressed the mussels in green for St. Patrick's Day with a garnish of chopped scallions and cilantro.