Home Ec 101: Soup from Leftovers

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Soup is a wonderfully frugal, potentially delicious meal to serve your family. And it can successfully be made from leftovers. What a great way to exercise the “waste-not-want-not” mentality that will keep us all in the black these days.

Now, don’t go thinking you’re gonna throw everything in a pot, Pippi Longstocking-style. There’s a method here.

Use wisdom when making soup from leftovers. If your family didn’t like it the first time, chances are slim that they will like it better in its new form. You can make a good soup from what you have, provided what you have is still fresh and something you liked the first time.

A great starting point is Thursday Night Soup from A Feast of Soups by Jacqueline Heriteau. Read through that recipe and you should get a basic idea of the parts of soup: fat, onion, liquid, seasonings, fillings.

While the possibilities are endless, here are some suggestions:

• Chicken Noodle Soup is a great follow-up after a night of baked chicken. Bake a few extra breasts and save the drippings. Any cooked vegetables leftover can be added as well.

• Chili Bean Soup – only one or two portions of chili left? Add a quart of beef, vegetable, or chicken broth and a can of hominy or corn and simmer together. Serve with tortilla chips, salsa and grated cheese.

• Corn Chowder – leftover gravy, corn, and mashed potatoes? Combine the potatoes and gravy with chicken broth with a whisk. Stir in corn and simmer until hot. Season with dried dill weed and salt and pepper at the end.

• Beef Stroganoff soup – leftover beef stew? Thin with beef broth and bring to almost a boil. Stir in egg noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. Add a little cream or milk at the end.

Got another great soup idea? Share it with us.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. We are having soup tonight too!

    Tonight’s soup is Chicken Veggie Stew/Soup. This mixture is so versatile that just by decreasing the liquid you can have the insides to homemade chicken potpie. 🙂

  2. I was actually going to email you today and ask for a creamy tomato soup recipe. I hoped you’d have a good one. And here you’re posting about soup!

    Anyone with a rave/delicious recipe? I hoped to make it for a Christmas luncheon.

  3. Sonshine, great minds think alike.

    Courtney, sorry, but my fam doesn’t “do” tomato soup, but I bet someone out there has a great ine. Lynn? Danielle?

  4. I have a tomato soup recipe that we like a lot — http://jandbpiersma.blogspot.com/2007/07/fresh-tomato-soup.html

    It works best with tomatoes fresh off of the vine, but I have made it with canned tomatoes.

    I just made a soup the other night from leftovers. It was simple — onion, carrot, celery, potato, leftover rotisserie chicken, Better than Bouillon broth, dried basil & salt and pepper. I chopped all the ingredients pretty small, and I think it was one of my better soups.

  5. Leftover soup is a weekly meal at our house in the cooler months. I toss what ever grain (rice, pasta, quinoa), veggie (broccoli, green beans, squash) and protein (beans, roast, chicken) left overs we have from the week, and add frozen or boxed chicken stock and and a can of tomaotes and some chopped carrots, onion and celery. Serve the soup with slices of whole grain bread with cheese popped under the broiler. My oldest used to cry on soup night, the other day, he requested it! I haven’t made it this year yet, it’s just now getting chilly in TX. great post!

  6. Leftover soup has been a family favorite for years. I keep a gallon container in the freezer. Every bite of leftovers goes into the container as we clear the table. Mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, whatever. When the container is full, we make soup. Sometimes I add some diced tomatoes, or chopped onion, or if it seems too thin, add some thickening (flour and milk shaken together in a small bottle). It;s different every time, but it’s always good.

  7. My weekday soup usually is a turkey/chicken veggie soup. I throw ground turkey or leftover chicken with leftover pasta sauce and noodles, chicken broth and whatever left over veggies we have from the week. Sometimes if we’re short on the red sauce we use some V-8 or canned tomatoes for flavor. When I feel creative or the ingredients call for it…I make sort of a taco or chicken tortilla style soup, just add taco or chili seasoning (or both!)

  8. Great ideas! I usually plan a soup every week. This week I did the crock pot rotisserie chicken and used the leftovers to make chicken stock and then take those and turning them into Chicken Posole.

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