One of the things that has been a challenge this year is cooking. Between not being at home all day, new foods to get used to, ingredients that are sortakindabutnotreally like what we are used to and being so sick early in this pregnancy, it's just been hard. Oh, and food is expensive here.
And on top of that, if you think prepackaged food in the States is unhealthy, wow, you should take a gander at some of the stuff here!
Well, one of the things that I hit on pretty early on was making soup. For our family, it's a great vegetarian meal (saving on the cost of meat for that meal) and since I make stock from garbage, it's using stuff that would get thrown away otherwise to make another meal!
So here's what I do. During the week, whenever I peel carrots, have tops of peppers left, the ends of zucchini, those green beans that are probably past their prime for steaming and eating, I throw them in a gallon ziplock bag in the freezer. Onion peels, skins from garlic, wilted celery leaves, all of that stuff that you would normal just throw away goes in that bag. Also, any meat bones, chicken carcases or skins. I have even thrown in left over roasted veggies. Then when that bag is full, I pull it out of the freezer, dump it in a big pot with water, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, a bit of pepper, some salt, rosemary, cumin, or whatever else sounds good, and set that sucker to boil.
I bring it to a boil and then turn it to simmer for a while, maybe an hour or so. How cool! And the flavor is great! Next, I pour the stock through a cullender to strain off all that garbage that I have sucked every last bit of goodness out of. What's left is just the liquid. If I have time, I put it in the fridge to clarify, but if not, I just start dumping veggies, grains, and beans in. Add some more spices to taste and enjoy! Also, you can use stock to make rice or other grains instead of just water. Yum. And I even used the stock to make a cream soup the other night. Yeah, that kicked it up a couple of notches!
I love this meal for so many reasons.
1. I get to use ever bit of food that I buy
2. I get a great tasting meal out of it
3. It's a good veggie meal, cutting down the cost of meat
4. Soup is just good.
5. It gets better after the first day. Soup sometimes need sometime to develop.
6. It introduces my kids to all sorts of interesting things like legumes and different grains.