This is the second “Out of the Pantry” teen cooking lesson. You can find the first HERE.

These recipes use ingredients that do not use refrigeration so it allows us to easily distribute ingredients to participants. The recipes can also be cooked in a dorm room and great for for people who do not have access to fresh foods.

The lessons are intended for beginners; it’s narrated to teens and young adults.  Participants will gain practical skills to apply to other cooking adventures.

Wild Rice and Squash Soup with Cornbread

Serving Size: 6-8


  • 1 Acorn squash (substitute potato if preferred)
  • 1 Large potato (we’re using russet in the lesson, but any will work)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 box of Rice-a-Roni wild rice + seasoning pack (can substitute with 1 cup of wild rice and dried seasonings – 1/4 tsp each of garlic powder and dried parsley)
  • 4 cups chicken or veggie broth
  • Bouillon cubes $2-4 cups (equivalent of 4 cups) —if you’re vegetarian, you can substitute 4 cups of veggie stock)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 box cornbread mix (we use the Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix in the lesson, but any is fine. Making from scratch is fine as well.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3c milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil 
  • About 2T-8T cornstarch


  • Stove or burner or crock pot
  • Oven 
  • Large pot (also called stock pot or soup pot)
  • Lid (or foil and towel)
  • Cooking spoon or spatula
  • Ladle
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon
  • Spatula for mixing
  • Whisk or fork
  • Small offset spatula (optional)
  • Cutting board
  • Peeler 
  • Large knife
  • Bowl or tray for holding chopped ingredients
  • Can opener
  • Spoons 
  • Fork 
  • Timer
  • Baking tray (We use an 8×8 tray in the lesson, but any size will work. Adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Before you begin: 

  • Preheat oven at 400 degrees
  • Wash and dry produce
  • Open box of rice
  • Open can of corn and strain
  • Open can or container of chicken or veggie broth


Prep ingredients: 

  • Peel and slice squash
  • Peel and slice potato
  • Roughly chop garlic


Cook soup: 

  1. In stock pot on medium heat, add 1T oil and garlic. Cook about 30 seconds.
  2. Add rice and stir until rice is coated with oil and is shiny. 1 minute.
  3. Add broth and bouillon. (Bouillon is made with the cubes plus water. Add water and cubes into the pot along with the broth.)
  4. Carefully add potatoes and squash.
  5. Add corn.
  6. Add the rice’s seasoning pack.
  7. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Stir and heat on high until the liquid boils (about 212 degrees).
  9. Lower heat to medium or until liquid remains at simmering (about 185 degrees).
  10. Cover and cook until potatoes, squashes, and rice are done. About another 15+ minutes. It’s okay to simmer longer.


Bake cornbread: 

  1. Follow directions on box to mix. For the Jiffy mix, we will mix the egg and milk together, then add the corn muffin mix and combine.
  2. Lightly grease baking tray
  3. Pour batter into baking tray
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until done. The top should be lightly brown.


Thicken soup:

When potatoes and squashes are cooked through, the soup is done.

If you’d like to thicken the soup, you can do this by one of the following methods: 

(a) Taking some potatoes and squashes out, mashing them, then putting it back into the soup.

(b) Let the soup continue to cook on low temperature until the liquid dissolves a bit and the potatoes and squashes start breaking down naturally. (Or store the soup and wait to eat the next day.)

(c) Make and add a roux. Instructions here:

(d) Use the cornstarch thickening method. This is the method shown in the lesson.

The ratio is: 1T cornstarch + 1T water.

In the lesson, we use 4T cornstarch mixed with 4T water (1/4 cup each).

Mix together until it becomes slushy.

Add slowly in increments into the soup and mix together. (Avoid cornstarch jellies!) Let dissolve in soup. Repeat steps until the soup achieves consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


Storing leftover soup: 

  • Store leftover soup in closed container in the refrigerator. Use within 4 days.
  • If you need to keep the soup longer, it can be stored in the freezer up to 6 months. To freeze soup, refrigerate it until it is cool and gelatinous. Then place in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap on the top of the gelatinous soup. Close the container. If the soup is really thick and can be wrapped in an airtight bag, that’s fine too. Before freezing the soup, remember to write the date on it either on the bag or on a piece of tape.


Reheating leftover soup: 

To reheat, place the soup in a pot and add some water. On low to medium heat, stir the soup until it is heated through.


Please recycle!

  • Compost produce scraps. If you don’t use compost, throw in trash.
  • Wash out the cans and recycle.
  • Recycle cardboard boxes.



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This recipe was created for Pasadena Public Library by Jane Gov, Youth Services Librarian. Any reference or adaptations to this recipe can be credited to Pasadena Public Library.