Now, if you’re like me, you may be wondering why on earth I am posting a soup recipe when it’s well above 90-degrees outside, even above 100-degrees in some places. Trust me, I understand your confusion, but to answer your question, to show you a way to get rid of left-overs and/or freezer clutter. In this case, I managed to get rid of a bit of both, and I have lunch for a few days, since My Honey doesn’t like soups and stews. 😉
I was raised to not waste food – ever. Period. No ifs, ands, ors, buts about it. You cleaned your plate and were more than happy to do so. Trust me, if you had helped raise that garden or take care of and butcher those hogs, you would be happy to eat the food, too. And we did our utmost to make certain we didn’t let food in the fridge go bad, but if something did go bad, they became scraps for the animals. NOTHING got wasted at home.
We had several ways of keeping food from going bad: left-over night (Not to be confused with fend-for-yourself night, where something new could be cooked. Left-over night, we ate left-overs.) and the ever popular “re-use.” That may sound strange, but I guarantee you that you’ve had a meal made with “re-used” food before. This particular soup/stew recipe is made almost entirely of “re-used” foods, a.k.a. left-overs that have been given a new purpose in life.
Recently, I have cooked a roast, a pot of pinto beans, and spaghetti. In the refridgerator, we had left-over roast, beans, and spaghetti sauce. In my freezer, desperately wishing to be used, I had a bag of mixed vegetables, and I had a can of diced tomatoes in the cabinet. When you mix all of that up in a crockpot with a bit of water to give it more liquid, you end up with vegetable beef soup (or stew, if you prefer). Trust me, this is incredibly simple to do. You can make soups and stews from almost anything. Left-over beef taco meat or browned hamburger meat; boiled, baked, or roasted chicken; pork roast, pork chops, shredded pork, or just ground pork; any kind of vegetables and/or beans you have on hand; noodles or rice, if you wish; peppers for some added heat. The possibilities are endless! Mix it together in a large cooking pot or a crock pot, season to taste, cook on low on the stove for a couple of hours or all day in the crock pot, and serve with fresh rolls or cornbread. BAM! Supper is served!
Another great thing about this is that you can put in as much or as little meat as you choose, and the same with vegetables. It can easily be made for vegetarians or vegans with no problem. And the best part is, you can freeze it and save it for later! Make as much or as little as you want. Freeze the extra for a later meal or share it with someone. Trust me, you can’t mess this up.
Ingredients (for the pictured soup):
- 1 regular size can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 small bag mixed vegetables
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked pinto beans
- About 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
- About 1 cup shredded beef roast
- About 1/2 can (tomatoes) water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dump all the ingredients in a crock pot*. Mix well.
- Season to taste.
- Cook on low about 8 hours or on high about 4 hours. Stir occasionally
- Serve hot.
- Freeze in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.
- Reheat in a saucepan or pot on the stove at medium-high heat.
*If you would rather cook it on the stove, then bring the soup mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally.