There is a lot to be said for “Cooking by Instinct”. It saves time, money and your sanity. You know what you like, you know what you have on hand and you really need to know how to turn those leftovers and freezer gems into a great meal or two. A quick run to the grocery store can easily set me back $20 or more. You don’t need a “recipe”. You just need to know a few basics and you are on your way.
January has found me cooking through my freezer.
Freezer diving today unearthed 4 quarts of chicken and turkey stock, a small container of chicken fat (yes – I saved chicken fat, not particularly healthy but there is a lot of flavor there) and a turkey breast. Sounds like Soup to me! We don’t need a recipe! What we do need is a guideline.
I start almost all my soups the same way.
Carrots, onions and celery – sauteed in some form of fat. Either butter, oil or as I said, chicken fat.
In this case it was 3 carrots,
1 large onion and a
whole bunch of celery. Garlic would be good, but I didn’t have any.
About 1/4 cup of chicken fat – you could use butter or oil.
Dice up the veggies and into the pot with the fat to cook for about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper or garlic salt and white pepper – what ever you choose.
– Add about 3 heaping tablespoons flour and cook for another 10 minutes.
– Add broth / stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer.
Thyme goes well with chicken or turkey. I picked bunch of thyme and threw that in. The leaves all cook off and then you can just pick out the stems. Dried poultry seasoning works well too.
Now, go freezer diving again. Do you have partial packages of green beans? corn? peas? Oh don’t forget the turkey or chicken. It is YOUR soup – make it what you what. Like spice? Add some chili flakes!
My turkey was already cooked, I diced that up and added it along with the green beans etc… I do this so it just warms through and doesn’t over cook and become dry and mealy.
For the additions: Pasta – Orzo, Egg noodles? White Rice? Wild Rice? Barley? The choice is yours. I found a half a box of Orzo that needed to be used up before it got knocked over and spilled all over the pantry, so I went with that.
This made enough for 3 large servings for dinner plus 3 quarts of soup left for lunches and after school snacks for the next couple of days. The cost was negligible. I did at one time purchase or as in the case of the broth, make everything but I didn’t have to run to the store. I put to work all those partial packages and odds and ends that often get freezer burn and end up in the trash. Who said there is no such thing as a “Free Meal”?