Junk Soup (Sounds yummy, huh?)

As I have said in other posts, I hate to waste food. Volunteering for the local food bank has given me a new appreciation for the food I have in my cupboards. So, in the spirit of using everything I possibly can, when food is close to being deposited in the garbage or compost bin, I make Junk Soup. Now, believe me, I realize this is not a new concept. Most of us cooks do this quite often, however, I thought I would share a few of my personal twists on Junk Soup.

Mexican Junk Soup Ingredients

  • Red, yellow and green peppers
  • Leftover fajita filling
  • Canned Mexican diced tomatoes
  • Canned black beans drained
  • Leftover Spanish Rice
  • Canned or frozen corn
  • Chicken broth
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh tomatoes chopped
  • Chili seasonings or chipotle peppers
  • Avocado

Use whatever combination you like. If I have ripe avocados, I’ll mix them with light sour cream and top the soup with that, and serve with baked tortilla chips on the side.

Cream of Vegetable Junk Soup

Certain veggies work very well for light, creamy soups. Try roasting broccoli, asparagus, squash or red bell peppers in the oven to get that nutty flavor, then put in a saucepan with chicken or vegetable broth and simmer until tender enough to puree. Add fresh thyme, basil, even rosemary (really good with roasted squash) while soup is simmering to boost the flavor. Add lowfat milk, or fat free evaporated milk to get a creamy texture without a lot of added fat (fat free milk doesn’t have enough body to create a creamy texture to the soup). Serve with a few crunchy whole grain croutons and some grated parmesan. Yum!

Chicken or Beef Junk Soup

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, leftover chicken or beef and some chicken or beef broth are a great start to using up veggies. In most cases, I’ll saute onions and garlic first to sweeten the soup a bit, then add chicken or beef broth and cook chopped veggies. Often times, I’ll limit the number of ingredients to just a few in order to get the most flavor out of a combination of foods.

Leftover Chicken:

  1. Thyme and rosemary, mushrooms, and whole wheat wide noodles of your choice.
  2. Red potato (pretty color), celery, carrots.
  3. Thyme and rosemary, any vegetables you’d like, fat free evaporated milk to make a cream soup, and low fat biscuits.

Leftover Beef:

A really great combination for beef is to saute onion and garlic with a red wine of your choice. Add beef broth and herbs. Thyme is still my favorite. Add sliced mushrooms and potatoes. Serve with a mixed greens salad with a light vinaigrette.

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