Bits and Pieces Soup
You know how there are days when you want something real for dinner, but you just don’t have it in you to cook for hours? I feel like this has more days than not lately. A mess of holiday and homework and different work hours and trying to finish phot sessions and kids ready for bed early and a crazy bout of bronchitis that’s been hanging on since September have all combined to make things feel a little more cumbersome lately. I love having something legit in the fridge that will last a couple of days for lunches or dinners without hours of cooking each day. A pot of beans, some rice or pasta, roasted veggies. They’ll all last a few days and help to make meals a bit easier and all work well to throw into a pot for soup if you only have a bit left.
I felt like making soup last week, but I wasn’t feeling excited about anything specific, so I put up a post on Facebook to see if any friends had any suggestions for amazing soups. There were some really great suggestions: Asparagus, Outback’s Baked Potato, Leek and Potato, Sausage Kale and White Bean, PW’s Corn Chowder with Green Chiles, Butternut Squash, Irish Potato, White Bean Chicken Chili, Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice…they all sounded amazing. But you know how sometimes you don’t want a recipe and you want to just use up what you have? I wasn’t feeling creamy and I had some sausage thawed in the fridge and a few veggies and we were going to the market, so I decided to just gather a bunch more veggies and throw it all in. Beans that had simmered for a while. Sausage sauteed with some shallots and garlic and leeks. A jar of tomatoes and the last of the frozen cherry tomatoes. Some chicken stock. A few potatoes and carrots chopped up small. Some rice from a big pot cooked earlier, thrown in at the end.
It’s the easiest way to make a soup, I think, so I thought I’d share in case you’re feeling overwhelmed with the season and uninspired for dinners. Cook a protein of some sort (usually beans, sausage, chicken or beef for us) + throw in various veggies, almost always starting with onions and garlic at the bottom of the pot in a bit of oil or butter + Some stock (usually chicken here because it’s always around in the fridge or freezer) + A grain or pasta or a few extra potatoes for some heft. It also almost always freezes well if you want to set aside individual portions for lunches.
This week a soup will be made at some point again, especially since I’m working more nights than not and it’s nice for John to have something to just heat up quickly when they’re all tired. Rice again, or farro, since I’m cooking a pot of something today. Kale + Celery + Onion + Carrots are all in the fridge, as is chicken that I’ll roast tomorrow. Potatoes again, because I love potatoes. A can of beans and a can of tomatoes, too, perhaps? Or, maybe not and just a little lemon juice to brighten it up a bit.
What are your favorite meals to throw together and still feel good about?