HOW TO EAT FREE ONE MEAL A WEEK
It’s possible and it’s easy. Make Freezer Soup! All you need is a Freezer Jar and the leftover bits you accumulate during the week. Here’s how it works:
If you have leftovers after any meal that has meat, veggies, or gravy, (but not enough for another meal) cut them up and put them in the Soup Jar, then into the freezer instead of the refrigerator. Add to the jar all week. When it gets full, you’re ready for soup!
MEATS: Meats should be cooked before putting into Soup Jar. You can use almost any meat your family eats: chicken, pork, lamb, hamburger, roasts, hot dogs, even bacon. Dice it up and throw it in. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 bites or a cup full. If it isn’t designated for lunch the next day, put it in The Jar. You can have more than one kind of meat in the jar – it works fine. I’ve had chicken, ham and roast beef in the jar and it made wonderful soup. Chicken can be roasted, grilled, baked, even barbecued. It all works.
VEGGIES: Just about anything goes! In our house, the only veggies not put in the soup jar are okra (we don’t eat it), lettuce and cucumbers (used only in salads), and brussel sprouts (we love them roasted and never seem to have any left over.) You can use potatoes in almost every form: mashed, baked, roasted, boiled and raw (grate or shred for quicker cooking). Just dice everything before you put it in The Jar.
If you have fresh veggies that are starting to lose their freshness, dice them up and put them in The Jar – even tomatoes. Any vegetable that you might not ordinarily freeze can go in the Jar because if it turns to mush, it won’t matter. It adds flavor and nutrition.
Add to The Jar all week or until it gets full. You don’t need to add liquid until you’re ready to make the soup, although it’s fine to put leftover amounts of gravy, mushroom sauce, tomato sauce etc. into the jar as it becomes available.
Some bonus benefits of using this system are that your refrigerator doesn’t get clogged up with little bits of leftover this-and-that; the leftovers don’t get shoved to the back of the fridge and you have more room for other food in the fridge. Hint: Designate a particular shelf in the fridge to keep all leftovers that don’t go in the Soup Jar. As with anything else, an assigned location makes it easier and faster to find.
When The Jar gets full, you’re ready to make soup. Remove The Jar from the freezer early in the day so contents will thaw. Pour into a soup pot and add a cup or two of the liquid of your choice depending on how thick you like your soup.
LIQUID: Use water or broth (beef, chicken or veggie) for the liquid. Your jar may have gravy in it, or a spoonful of tomato paste left over from a recipe earlier in the week. You can add canned tomatoes or tomato sauce. If using water, you can throw in a couple of bullion cubes for more flavor, but watch the salt.
EXTRA INGREDIENTS: If you want more volume or color, you can always toss in a handful of fresh or frozen vegetables or a can of beans. Leftover rice is another addition. On occasion, I’ve stretched my soup with a handful of salad macaroni or uncooked rice.
Simmer soup for 20 minutes or until heated through. Taste, season and enjoy! Every Freezer Soup meal is different and your only regret may be that you can’t duplicate the one you made that everybody raved about.
You can even serve Freezer Soup to guests. Make a green salad and serve with bread or rolls and you have a great meal.
What if my soup is too thick? Add more liquid. Remember, it can be water.
What if it’s too thin? Add half a can of refried beans (put the other half in the Soup Jar for next time), or potatoes in some form. When thoroughly cooked, they will break up and thicken the soup. These could be mashed, shredded (hash browns – you can take them straight from the freezer or use leftovers from breakfast), baked, boiled, roasted, you name it. Peelings are fine as long as they’ve been scrubbed.
How much will it make? That depends on you. You can stretch one quart of freezer contents to a whole gallon of soup by adding liquid and additional canned, frozen or fresh veggies – corn, peas, beans, carrots, onions, broccoli, celery, zucchini, etc. etc. If you have a family of two adults or one adult and two small children, using a one quart jar for your freezer will work fine. For bigger appetites or more people, use 2 quart jars.
What if it’s too bland? Add seasonings your family likes: salt, pepper, garlic, onion, Mrs. Dash, fresh or dried herbs to taste.