I am so lucky that soup is one of Dom’s favorite meals. It is so quick and easy. A boon to both the frugal housewife and the frazzled mother. And a great way to recycle leftovers.

Take tonight’s entree, for example. It was already 4 pm and I needed to get dinner together quickly. I chopped up a couple of carrots, a few stalks of celery and half an onion and put them in a pot on medium heat with some oil. Then I defrosted the leftover black beans and rice that we’d made the week before we went to Texas. I threw in a bit of ham, some canned tomatoes, a potato, a can of navy beans, a bit of cabbage, some green beans and some homemade chicken stock. I added a minced jalapeno and some lime juice for extra flavoring and in about an hour we had a delicious soup.

You can throw almost anything into a pot and make a soup out of it, so long as you have some basic idea of how the flavors work.

We try to make up big batches of stock and keep them on hand in the freezer. Additionally, I usually have some chicken broth in a box in the pantry, just in case. I also have the pantry stocked with some basic soup ingredients: small pasta, barley, beans, canned tomatoes, etc. I try to keep carrots, onions, celery and potatoes on hand. They tend to last quite a while and are great bases for so many recipes. And in the freezer I try to have ham and sausage and various vegetables.

Throw in whatever leftovers I have on hand and whatever fresh veggies are lying around and I can usually make up a soup on any given night when I’m hard pressed to think of something for dinner.

And the other great thing about soup is that Dom and I can have the leftovers for lunches, usually about two day’s worth from one big pot.

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