Some say January is National Soup Month, and February 4 is National Soup Day. I can’t confirm that, but it sounds good to me. “Mmm Good!” But while you’re home for Snow Day #1 – 2011, consider a homemade pot of soup instead of opening the can. It’s so easy, and so Frugal!
Soups can be made, and made well, from bits and pieces of leftovers (like that half-serving of chicken or part of Little Joey’s hamburger), especially vegetables about to take a turn. They are the Ultimate Frugal Meal, imho, because they involve very little, if any, initial ingredient outlay. Usually around here, it’s all leftovers, including the pasta or rice.
I like to use a meat bone (ham! or Cheap beef bones, or a poultry carcass), and add a Tablespoon of white vinegar to the pot to draw out the calcium. I first read this tip in “The Campus Survival Cookbook #2,” no longer in print, and very “old.” But recently I’ve found the tip all over the Blogosphere. Add water or broth or stock to cover the bones, simmer for an hour or two, then slightly cool the bones and remove the meat, putting it back into the mineral-rich water.
Now you can add the vegs, noodles, rice, beans, seasonings, or whatever. But save dairy (cream, cheese) till the end. Simmer for another hour or until the vegs are cooked to your liking. Serve hot with biscuits, beer bread, or crackers. Oh, Yeah.
Most home cooks I know use their Crock Pots, and I do, too, most of the time. If you wrap your bones in cheesecloth, this is a great all-day solution. When you get home, just lift out the package, let it cool slightly, then pick the meat and add back to the pot; can serve right away, and not have to retrieve bones from the soup.
All you really need is a pot, liquid, vegs, maybe some meat, and anything else you like. HERE are some other great tips at about.com.
If you’re looking for step by step recipes, try what used to be Recipezaar.
What is your favorite soup recipe?