Thursday, January 15, 2009


Now is the perfect time for this category when my friends outside of Florida (and it's cold here too) as they are freezing their butts off. Some of you are probably like me and after a dinner you take the left over veggies to the kitchen and put them in bowls and put in the fridge until they are unidentifiable before throwing out (or) eating them so that you don't waste food. Well, I have a new idea for you that isn't actually new, just forgotten. Save those veggies in a large container that will fit in your freezer and just keep adding them until you are ready to make soup. It can be thawed in the fridge overnight or just throw them into a pot or crock pot and you have a soup base. When I cut a fresh onion I always cut off both ends and throw them in the bowl as well to help season the soup. Do you buy fresh celery? Cut off the leaves and slice the celery at the base and clean it up and chop it into smaller pieces and freeze that as well for seasoning. These are simple things that you can do to make a great pot of soup.

When I make chicken soup of any kind, I buy the large package of chicken thighs when they are on sale and cook the whole batch at once. Chicken thighs are not only cheap but they only have one bone and it's large enough that I can even find it without my glasses. I spice it up with onion, celery (seed or real); caraway seed (yep, the stuff that makes rye bread); dill weed while it's boiling. Once it's done you can just pull the thighs out, remove the bone and the skin (throw the skin back into the pot to boost your chicken stock) and just shred the thigh meat or dice it if you prefer. For those of you who keep telling me that you don't have time or can't cook, you can just put the thighs in the fridge or in the freezer until you are ready to make your soup. Homemade chicken and noodle soup, chicken and rice soup or chicken and vegetable. Beware though, when your family tastes these home made treats they will want more.

Many people say that I cheat when cooking but I prefer to think of it as cooking smarter and taking easier routes. Dry beans are much cheaper than canned and are actually very easy to do, trust me. I recently made a pot of split pea soup, a large pot actually and there were only 3 of us eating it and it was gone in one night. I soaked 2 packages of dry split peas (88 cents a bag) over night with 2-3 inches of water above the peas. Next morning I drained and rinsed them twice and put the same amount of water over them again. Threw in a slab of ham (you don't have to buy the whole ham but you can get a lot of meals out of one) diced into pieces about the size of dimes or pennies, and just boiled the hell out of them for about 1/2 hour. Removed from the heat and scooped out the peas that were still a little hard and threw them into the blender and hit the puree button and then returned them to the pot. Poured in a can of diced potatoes drained and a can of diced carrots drained of course and brought the mixture back to a boil. Slowly added a pint of half and half and it was done and ready to serve. Served with heat and serve rolls and butter.

I think that's about all I can get on one blog so I'll continue in minutes with part 2.

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