Tag Archives: soup

Monday 117: Lettuce Soup, Anyone?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Last month we replenished our food stores by buying bulk amounts of meat, coffee, and other staples, such as flour and beans.  Because we seldom eat out, we like to eat well at home.  There are times when we eat stuff just because we are too busy to do anything too elegant.  That is when a grilled hamburger takes its place at the dinner table.

Other times, we have more freedom in our lives to make meals, and that is when our stores come to good use, as well as making large amounts of a fancier meal so we can add to the frozen food supply.  As the internet is full of great recipes, it is an excellent resource for recipes using stores on hand, fresh or frozen.

At times, leftover vegetables become something of an issue.  This is where soups step in.  All you need are vegetables and water and herbs at a minimum, but other goodies, such as chicken broth (home-made from leftover chicken, or a box from Trader Joe’s), cream, butter, onions, garlic, herbs, lemon, tomatoes, and grains or pasta add to the mix.  I’ve made soups from wilting lettuce and leftover sweet potato fries.

My standard approach to making a soup is to survey the vegetables in the refrigerator.  Is the lettuce ok?  Do I have a small amount of cooked vegetables that are too small to make a serving for anyone?  What do I have on hand, what do I need to go buy?  Most importantly, what do I need to use up????

All these are considered.

Let me give you an example of my thoughts for today’s soup:

Sweet Potato Fries Soup

-Leftover sweet potato fries (made by roasting fingers of sweet potatoes in olive oil and pepper for about 45 minutes @ 350 F)
-Chicken stock
-Cream / yogurt
-Butter

Combine leftover fries with some chicken stock; use immersion blender to puree. Add more stock and cream to serve amount of people being fed. Add a few blobs of butter as it warms up. Sprinkle with hot chili powder; garnish with fresh parsley and a dollop of kefir cheese or sour cream.

I have also made lettuce soup, though not recently.  It’s easy!  Same principles as above apply.

Leftover Lettuce Soup

-Old lettuce that is not spoilt
-Broth
-Seasoning of your choice

Saute an onion with some garlic in a sauce pan. Blend some broth and lettuce in a blender till smooth. Add to onion and garlic. Heat, serve, eat. Season to your preferences.

A leftover lettuce soup is green and tasty. Heck, add other vegetables, like corn, carrots, broccoli. Whatever.

The whole point is to not waste food – just put it into new and edible forms. Making soups is often quick and easy.  You can freeze them, too, for those days when you could use them – or just freeze them to get them out of the way so you can move onto the next meal.

Creative usage of leftovers and not-so-fresh produce is a great way to save money as well as stock up your frozen food supplies.

Recipe: Kitchen Sink Soup

eat-72478_1280

Toward the end of the month, and with $0.02 left in the food budget, we have to get creative.  I don’t think you can even buy a gumball for that price.  Yeah, we could go shopping, but the point of the Uber Frugal Month Challenge is to re-think frugality.  Hence, Kitchen Sink Soup!

During the week, Mr. 182 makes dinner for sure on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  These are the nights I don’t get home until 7 p.m.  He likes to cook, and in all the time he has been doing this, he has only made one meal I didn’t like too much – it had boiled brussel sprouts, which are just gross.  When I have time, I like to cook, too.

Yesterday, in the spirit of uber-frugalling, I rummaged around the house and the internet to come up with a variation of minestrone soup.

In the freezer, I found a cut-up chicken. I put it in a stew pot, added water, celery, onion, tomato slices, bay leaves, peppercorns, a carrot, and some herbs. I brought it to a boil, turned it down to a low simmer, covered, and cooked the chicken. I pulled out the chicken, and set it aside for a pot pie or something else for tomorrow (after all the soup is gone). I ran the broth through a sieve, set it aside, discarded the cooked veggies (put them into your compost if you have it), and washed out the kettle. From there, I did this:

Kitchen Sink Soup

2-3 T. olive oil
1 andouille or other sausage or leftover meat (or none), chopped
4-6 cloves grated garlic
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced,
1 zucchini, diced
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes (I used Cento’s San Marzano Plum Tomatoes)
1 15-oz can Great Northern Beans
1/2 c. pasta (I used orecchiette)
broth from the chicken I just stewed (you can use regular broth, about 6-8 cups)
salt, pepper, etc.
Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat stew pot, add olive oil. Place chopped onion in pan, saute over low heat until clear and golden. Add meat (if using) and saute a bit. Stir in grated garlic. Add remaining diced vegetables, saute until cooked. Once the vegetables are at the desired degree of being done, pour in the can of tomatoes. Mash up the tomatoes (I used my potato masher), and cook a bit more. Put in the chicken broth or whatever stock you are using. Bring to a boil, add pasta and beans. Drop to a simmer and cover pot. Watch to make sure the pot does not boil over from the cooking pasta. Check pasta for al dente. Ready to serve!

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle grated cheese on top, and eat with good bread. (We used our homemade sourdough.)

Enjoy!