Soup making isn’t complicated, and it is a great simple, frugal, and filling meal, especially if you combine it with homemade bread (yes, I’ve included an easy homemade bread recipe as well)! There are some basics to soup making. The most important thing to remember is to relax and experiment!
Soup is basically a liquid base and fillers.
-Store-bought cans of stock—beef, chicken, vegetable
-Bouillon cubes (make them low salt if you can!)
-Tomato juice/vegetable juice
-The saved juices from that crock-pot chicken that you could put into a recycled container and shove into the freezer just for this special moment!
-Milk and/or canned evaporated milk—makes great bases to chowders and potato soups
-Desperate? How about ketchup mixed with water or a bit of leftover pasta sauce mixed with water?
Basically, if it’s a savory (although there are some wonderful summer soups with sweet bases, which is an entirely different article!), flavorful, liquid, I can and will consider it for a soup base!
-Almost anything from your fridge! I keep a container in the freezer just for soup making. I put everything in that can be used for future soup: a few teaspoons of leftover vegetables from dinner, half a slice of leftover meatloaf, leftover meat of any kind, the last bit of leftover spaghetti sauce that I get out of the jar with some water will be poured over the whole thing as well (it adds to the base flavor), the last ten ziti in the pasta strainer that no one has room to eat; it all goes into my soup container in the freezer! Oh, and how about those sad, over-frozen peas sitting way back in your freezer (don’t ask how I know they work so well!)?
-A mix of canned or frozen vegetables works well too! Just grab a bit out of each freezer bag or a can of corn, peas, and green beans with some pasta of some type (even spaghetti, broken into little pieces) added to your base, and you have quick soup!
-Instant potato flakes help to thicken soups, add flavor, and make them appear more hearty.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned out the fridge and looked at the amassed pile and either decided on a leftover night (restaurant night in our home, laid out as a buffet!), or I’ll put it all together into a pot with some type of stock or base and add a few additional herbs and spices and voila! SOUP!
The only problem with soup making like this is when it’s a big hit and they want you to make it again! My dad loves my refrigerator soups and asks for more of it, but I can rarely, if ever, recreate it. No batch is ever the same twice!
Now, if you add a great loaf of homemade bread to your dinner, it becomes even more satisfying! I’ll give you a quick and easy bread recipe!
Disclaimer here: Do NOT use your significant other’s most expensive beer for this! Go for the cheapest stuff you can find! If YOU are the beer connoisseur, let me repeat: do NOT use some expensive beer for this! GO CHEAP!
3 cups of SELF-RISING flour
3-5 TBS of sugar or molasses (brown sugar is fine, too)
1 (one) 12-oz can of beer
Mix together and put into greased, floured bread pan. Allow to rise for 5-10 minutes. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour. Remove from pan and wrap in towel (to soften crust) and serve warm! Makes GREAT toast!
Tammy Paquin is a work from home mom of 3 boys and the publisher of Frugal-Families an online resource for frugality, budgeting and families. You can also get more frugal recipes at Frugal-Families Recipes .