Our last soup recipe of the month is probably the easiest, cheapest, most versatile, and contains the most unique blend of flavorings that are up for the chef to invent. Yes, you get to make this recipe up as you cook, and I guarantee, you will never have the same soup twice!
Here is the step-by-step method for making this healthy, simple, scrumptious soup:
1. Every day as your family finishes dinner, rather than throwing one or two spoons of vegetables away, toss it into a freezer safe container. As the days and weeks continue, add little bits of leftovers to this container. Within a month or two, you should have a large (or several small) freezer bowls full of bits of corn, green beans, carrots, tomatoes or tomato sauce, possibly some mashed potatoes, rice, peas, or beans. Make sure to include the juices from these veggies as well!
2. Set your freezer bowls in the fridge to thaw the night before you plan on eating your soup. The next morning, plop them into a soup pot to begin cooking.
3. As your veggies blend together and warm, add more of a variety of veggies to “round out” the soup. Meaning, if you have a soup pot full of tomato pieces and green beans, it may be good to chop up a few carrots and potatoes to throw in. Maybe open a can of corn. Or perhaps your soup is heavy on corn and carrots already, so you add a cup of chopped fresh or frozen broccoli and a can of peas. You want to make sure that you have a good range of colors and textures for this soup! I always add one diced onion, some celery, garlic, and, if I have it, bell pepper. You can also add meat if you don’t want a strictly “veggie” soup. I’ve added browned ground meat, turkey, and browned breakfast sausage before.
4. Continue to simmer your soup. If it appears too thick, add some chicken, beef, or veggie stock.
5. Once soup has simmered for an hour or so and all the veggies are soft, taste your soup. It will probably need spices. This is the fun part! Grab some spices that you think will taste delicious. My standards tend to be: salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and/or parsley. I just shake a little of each of these over the soup and stir. Occasionally I will add dry chicken or beef broth seasoning as well.
6. The longer this soup simmers, the better it tastes. After another hour or so, I taste the soup again. If it’s still “missing” something, I revisit my spices and shake a little more of one or another over the top and stir.
7. By dinner time, I have a delicious, easy, and cheap meal to serve my family. Plus, I have used my leftover veggies for the last month wisely.
The best freezer soup I made was a couple of years ago. When I dumped my containers in the pot, I realized I had a LOT of tomato products with green beans. I took an Italian twist then! I added Italian sausage, Italian spices, some zucchini, and a couple handfuls of small shell pasta. The result was better than Olive Garden!
Try this soup on your family soon. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll have fun and feel good knowing you’re feeding your family well!!