Frugality meets nutritious and delicious.
You can make a great pot of soup using up left-overs and staples from your pantry all while keeping your fridge free of ghastly discoveries that come from foods left too long.
Here is what I had left from the pot of soup after two medium-sized bowl were eaten.
So, before your carrots grow roots and your celery goes limp, the onions start sprouting and your leftovers mold, pull out a pot, chopping knife and cutting board and see what yummy soup you can come up with.
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups stock/broth (chicken, beef, vegetable, homemade or store bought)
1 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes (cut up), or crushed tomatoes
1-2 (or more) teaspoons chili powder
1/2-1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8-1/4 tsp. black pepper
salt (as needed)
1 Bay leaf
1 15 1/2-ounce can cannellini beans, navy beans, or beans of choice.
Chicken, beef, ham or other meat left over and cut into bite-size pieces (optional)
1/2-1 cup of (cooked or frozen) vegetables you have on hand like corn, green beans, snap peas, asparagus, etc.
1/2-1 cup cooked grain such as pasta, noodles, or rice can be added to the broth, if desired.
Fresh parsley, chopped
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium; add celery, onions and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook one minute more. And chicken stock, and tomatoes.
Stir in chili powder, cumin, black pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, partially cover with lid tilted, simmer gently, 30-45 minutes. Stir in beans, additional cooked vegetables, pasta, rice or noodles and meat if using. If you have salad greens or fresh spinach in the bin, these can be added a few minutes before serving.
Stir in parsley, adjust the salt and pepper and you're done!
Remember, this is a use-what-you-have recipe, so it will look and taste slightly different depending of what goes into it. If you roast a chicken earlier in the week, make stock from the carcass and save some of the meat for your soup (or use purchased stock). If it is a beef roast, choose beef broth. The soup is just as tasty with no meat at all. The flavor of the soup comes mainly from the tomatoes and the stock. Use a good stock and all of the herbs and spices will just tweak the final results.
If you think your soup needs a flavor boost, add a bouillon cube or a tablespoon of ketchup. If it is thinner than you like, stir in some tomato paste.
Fresh or dried herbs can be substituted for the chili powder and cumin.