Almost Free Mystery Soup!
I was thinking I would share my soup method with you. This stuff is so yummy that I have friends who actually request invites to dinner on 'Mystery Soup' night! Anyway, my mom always did this and now, I do too so I thought I would share it with you. Here's what we do...
Keep a large plastic container in your freezer. Mine is a 7 1/2 cup tupperware container. (You can use a few smaller containers too). When you have leftovers that you just know that no one will eat or there is only 1/2 a spoonful left, don't throw them out. Cut them into small chunks and put them into this container. When someone is feeling the flu coming on, or when the container is full, make some soup.
I put the contents of the container (usually still frozen) into a large pot, and add about 2 cups of water. Cover and cook on low or medium heat until it simmers (stir occasionally). Taste it! If it's too salty, add more water, if it's bland, add some soy or worchestershire sauce (a little at a time). You can add some boillion cubes, canned broth, french onion soup mix, herbs, garlic or spices to taste, if you need more flavor - but I rarely need to do this- see below. Also, check the contents of the pot, if you think you need more veggies, add whatever you have on hand.
About 1/2 hour before dinner, I usually add some pasta, rice or chunks of potatoes. (my mom adds pasta and potatoes- but I usually pick one or the other!) Just use your judgement- this is a very free form thing -add what you like. If you add uncooked rice or pasta, add a couple more cups of water. If the broth is thinner than you like add some corn starch or mashed potatoe flakes.
Serve it up--- and impress everyone! It is never the same twice- but it's always delicious! I'm telling you, if you like 'real' soup--- this is the way to go! My husband grew up on Campbell's soup... he didn't think anyone EVER made their own soup anymore--- now, he knows better and loves mine! The best thing is this is made primarily out of things that were headed to the trash and now you have a delicious meal! (and nothing is stinking up the trash can!) Usually the only additional thing I add is the pasta or the rice... so for less than 20 cents, I've made a huge pot of soup! If I add pototoes... it might be 50 cents or$1!
Here are some examples of what goes into my 'soup container'...
VEGETABLES such as carrots, peas, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, chopped spinach, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, mashed potatoes, (even if they have sauce or cheese on them-toss them in!) Oh, and don't forget that little bit of juice from the serving container-- add that too- the water that vegetables are cooked in is filled with the vitamins from the veggies- don't pour that down the drain!
MEATS - beef, chicken, pork, ham - I don't put breaded meats in there, but I guess you could. Sometimes I remove breading, but I don't usually add breading to my meats- we only have it if it comes that way from the store!
RICE any kind- even the instant side dish stuff! (don't forget the leftover fried or white rice from the local chinese restaurant)
MEAT GRAVY- canned, packaged, or homemade- doesn't matter- You know there is always just a spoonful left-swish a little water around in there to thin in out and toss it in the container!
MEAT DRIPPINGS- Again, there is always a little bit of that marinade left in the pan. That made your meat sooo yummy--- add a little water to swish it around and add it to the container- this is what most soup stock is made from- so don't waste that!
What I DON'T put in to the soup container...
fish (gets yucky when re-frozen)
noodles (but you could- my little one will eat every last one!- but also they tend to get mushy when recooked later)
cabbage - I guess you could- but I don't like cooked cabbage.
saurkraut- I think the flavor might take over the soup.
Salsa or hot stuff, but, I don't like spicey hot things--- but if you like that--- go for it!
Oh, and when you only have 1/4 cup of this soup left, put it into the freezer container and start the process over! (I have to admit though- this never happens! No leftover soup in this house!)
It really is amazing how quickly the soup container gets filled (and how much of that yummy good stuff would have gotten thrown out).
Try it and see how quickly your soup becomes the best soup you ever had!