Crazy Soup

September 04, 2022

 



Do you love making soups? Does your family love eating soups? Do you also love to be frugal in the kitchen? If yes, then this is the post for you! I got this idea from Ina Garten many years ago and since then have made many versions of what I alternatively call Crazy Soup, Leftover Soup, or Whatever Soup. Any name you give it, no soup is ever the same, and it is always delicious, easy and frugal.

I hate throwing out food. When we were young I was married to the human garbage disposal and nothing went to waste. If I had something left in the pan I put it on my husband's plate and he ate it up. But as he has gotten older his appetite is not what it used to be and he will protest to my plopping onto his plate an extra helping of anything. Oftentimes the bit of leftover ended up in the refrigerator, quickly forgotten and finally thrown out at the end of the week. But not now! If I can't encourage my husband to eat that last broccoli spear, I don't throw it out, I don't refrigerate it to be forgotten, I freeze it and make Whatever Soup! Here's how: Next time you have a tiny bit of leftover anything, such as a quarter of a baked potato, a paltry two spears asparagus, sliced tomatoes, a few tater tots, a half cup of cauliflower au gratin, salad, yes, even salad with the dressing, (so anything really!), put in in a large 8 cup freezer container and keep in the freezer. Add leftovers as you have them, a little at a time is how it works, and when the container is full it's time to make Whatever Soup. This takes me about 4-6 weeks to fill it up. None of these leftovers are really enough to actually do anything with, but put them together, you can make soup. You'll see. 



Now it's time to do some simple cooking. Empty the entire frozen contents of the container into a saucepan with a little water. I sometimes add a lonely carrot or the like from the refrigerator if I have something small that doesn't have a future plan.  Cook on low, and after it is fully heated through, blend it with a stick blender and give it a taste. It will most likely need to be thinned; add either stock, water or milk, whatever you think will work best for your particular mix of ingredients. Continue cooking and season with salt and pepper. Taste again and add an interesting complimentary flavor such as curry, dill, Italian herb mix or chipotle seasoning, again, whatever you think will be best. Here is where you can also add a little bit of leftover meat or rice or pasta if you have it. It's nice to chop up that leftover pork chop or chicken cutlet and toss it in (but most of the time I don't have that). Taste again and give it a final creative choice seasoning, dish it up and add your toppings. For the toppings: If you want color, top with chopped parsley, chives or finely chopped tomato. If you want a nutty crunch, sprinkle with either toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts. For a flavor burst, swirl in some pesto or sour cream, or top with grated cheese or diced bacon--a little goes a long way. I also love to add grated carrot or cucumber for a fresh crunch. Top it with whatever you have in your pantry and whatever you think will be great! This is a fun and frugal soup and is different each time, and honestly, we have never had one we have not loved. Sometimes the soup will be orange or red, sometimes it will be a shade of green or white, but sometimes it may be brown (like the time it was heavy on grilled onions and sauteed mushrooms). No matter the color, it will still taste great, but if it does look a little brown, I recommend you quickly sprinkle with cheese or something colorful so no one will notice, lol! Here are some of the soups I've made this year.



This was a beauty queen of my Leftover Soups.
There must have been a lot of tomato, carrot and red bell pepper in it. 

This one I purposely left slightly chunky. It was mainly leftover
 enchilada casserole and potato. At the end I added some leftover taco meat 
and topped with toasted pumpkins seeds.

This was the one with the leftover cauliflower au gratin casserole, half baked potato,
and tater tots of all things, then topped with crispy bacon and pine nuts.

This had a suspicious color of greeny brown. I'm blaming the grilled onions.
I quickly topped it with cheese, sour cream drizzle, chopped chives and shredded red cabbage.
It was delicious despite the color.


This one was mainly chard casserole, asparagus, potato and broccoli.
I topped it with grated Parmesan, chopped garlic chives
and some beautiful purple garlic chive flowers.

Well, what do you think? Will you give it a try? I hate throwing away perfectly good food and this has been a great way to avoid that. It's also a great way to value and honor the food supply and all the people who work hard to bring food to our family tables. 

If you live in the USA, I hope you are having a wonderful Labor Day holiday and are enjoying your long weekend. 

I LOVE to read your comments, especially if any tips on frugal cooking. xo Kristen

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20 Comments

  1. I often think of doing what you describe but never get around to it (some asparagus. spears have been there for months), Maybe this post will spur me on, Kristen. (Gotta start using my stick blender more:)).

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    1. I'm laughing thinking of that lonely asparagus. Yes, give some love to that stick blender!

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  2. Love this! I love making things from what others would normally throw out - from jean quilts to stock and bread pudding. And this summer we got chickens again, so now I get eggs from the leftovers we people wouldn't eat :) Love your posts! - E

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    Replies
    1. You are so lucky to have chickens! I envy you but my husband says no way to chickens. I'll bet with the kitchen leftovers your eggs are the best! And as for making things from cast offs--you are a gal after my heart.

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  3. I love this too! I love being frugal whenever I can, especially in the kitchen. Making use of things that are normally thrown out is something I love to do and this idea hits me in the right spot! I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for always sharing your good ideas.

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  4. It’s Labour Day here in Canada, too. Just a subtle difference…we add the “u” in Labour.
    I love this post about Crazy Soup! I make a lot of soup in colder weather, but this is a whole new level for me.
    Something I add to a lot of my soups is instant potato flakes, for a quick and delicious thickener.

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    1. It's nice to know our wonderful northern neighbors also have Labor Day, even if you do spell kinda funny! Your idea of potato flakes as a thickener is genius. I've put it on my grocery list and can't wait to try it out!

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  5. A very timely post as I was planning to prepare minestrone in a bit! Excellent idea for leftovers and all your soups look amazing.

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    1. Thank you! Minestrone is such a great soup. Everyone loves it and cooks like to make it. Bon appetit--I'll be right over!

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  6. This is a terrible idea. All 6 of protest vigorously. Signed, The hens of Carsten Acres.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry girls! What was I thinking? I'll delete this post pronto!

      Delete
  7. Kristen so far you have never steered me wrong. I love soup so will try this once it cools down.
    This is totally off subject but on some post I read about this miracle fabric cleaner and I have to say it works so well. One part regular Dawn (not the 4X or anything) to three parts hydrogen peroxide. If it doesn’t come out first time do again and scrub with a tooth brush. It is so amazing it’s a MIRACLE!!!

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    Replies
    1. Amazing! It sounded so crazy I had to google it and it's true! I'm giving it a try. THANK YOU!

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  8. Oops I forgot to say just throw in laundry basket over night, so it can work it’s magic.

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  9. Re-entering this space to say I forgot to add my name to my post ( the well-aged - aka rotting - frozen asparagus spears one) and to say thanks to the tips given by some of your other Commenters. This has always been such a useful as well as beautiful blog. Chloe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are too funny. The asparagus getting frost bite in the freezer has given me a chuckle.

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  10. I’ve been tossing veggie leftovers into my freezer soup bag for a while. Green beans corn carrots some zucchini broccoli but never potatoes. I’m going to expand my list of veggies and see what I can make! Geri

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  11. Your tips are great! Add this to your repertoire: Stir Fry Soup :). Can anyone make Just the RIGHT amount of stir fry??? Never! I make a generous wok full with soup in mind. I package up the leftovers (including rice or noodles) and in a night or two I add homemade chicken stock and bring to a simmer. You expect the veggies to have lost some of their crunch, but they still have all the wonderful flavors of the first night. (Disclaimer: I have never frozen the cooked stir fry veggies before making this soup.)

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    Replies
    1. Genius! I love the idea of stir fry soup! I want some right now. I also love the idea of making planned leftovers just so you can have soup! Thanks for the tip.

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