Soup ‘n grilled cheese. Color is weird, for some reason.

…you at least get really good soup.

And I had been jonesing for vegetable beef soup since Friday. So I made it Sunday.

So the toll is three containers removed from the fridge, and three put back. Except the three put back are more total volume than the three taken out. Ya can’t win for losing.

But damn, this stuff is good. And the Instant Pot makes it easy, and quick.

I still had about a cup and a half of shredded beef and jus in the fridge from the shredded beef sandwiches last week. It kept looking at me, every time I’d open the fridge, whispering “vegetable soup.”

Your leftovers don’t talk to you? That’s sad. You must not have a very intimate relationship with what you cook. Me and my leftovers, we tight. Until it comes time to pitch them out. Sometimes they talk me into leaving them in there an extra day or three, usually a decision I regret.

I had stopped off at the grocery on the way home from church, and picked up a couple of packages of frozen veggies and a box of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix. Got home, went to the canned goods, and grabbed a quart of tomatoes, a pint of tomato juice, and a half-pint of tomato sauce. Dumped all the tomato stuff and the beef and the two envelopes of soup mix from the box into the Instant Pot; peeled four small potatoes, cubed those up in about half-inch dice, and threw them in. Set it to manual for 10 minutes. Probably didn’t need that long.

Let the pressure release, then added the two 12-ounce bags of frozen veggies, and while I was at it, the containers of caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms from the fridge. (Hey, fridge cleanout and leftover reuse is a Good Thing.) Gave it another five minutes and let the pressure release again.

Needs no other seasoning, beyond what the beef had originally. The soup mix is plenty salty. I did dose my bowl with a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, which is standard operating procedure for me with tomato or veggie-beef soup.

It was done in well under an hour, and could’ve been done quicker than that. I do not know that it could have been better than that. I’ve got a couple of quarts ready to go in the freezer, IF I can find room in the freezer, and then I’ll be eating lunch off what’s left in the third container (another quart-plus) for the next few days’ lunches.

And you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em are welcome to come up for a bowl of soup.

 

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Muffins. Make these. As soon as humanly possible.

I have a confession to make.

Yesterday, when I was writing my post on using Thanksgiving leftovers, I was talking through my hat when I suggested sweet potato muffins. I THOUGHT sweet potato muffins ought to work — people make pumpkin muffins, after all — but I’d never actually MADE them when I tossed out that offhand suggestion.

Now I have. And I can testify that you ought to, as well.

Got up this morning determined I’d get to Sunday School AND church — I’d been skipping the first, of late. I wasn’t cooking a family dinner, so I decided I’d make some muffins. More to the point, I’d try the sweet potato muffins, since I had proffered them as a use of leftover Thanksgiving sweet potatoes.

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Recycling R Us

April 19, 2017

Deviled eggs in the process of being recycled.

What does one do when one has five left-over deviled egg halves from Easter?

One pops one in one’s mouth as a cook’s treat, and one proceeds to smush up the other four, add a few more ingredients, and have tuna salad.

I was thinking, for some reason, of tuna salad. It just sounded good, and I thought, well, I’ll just boil a couple of eggs and make some.

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! I HAD boiled eggs, albeit they’d already been deviled, using essentially the same ingredients I’d be using in tuna salad, anyway. (The eggs had a bit of Dijon mustard and a splash of cider vinegar that wouldn’t normally go in tuna salad, but what the heck.)

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Ahhhhhh, yes. Farmers' market season has begun. Hallelujah!

Ahhhhhh, yes. Farmers’ market season has begun. Hallelujah!

It’s a day to spend in the kitchen. Just because I can.

By the time the clock struck noon today, I’d made a quart of yogurt (well, it’s still incubating, but I had it started), a pound and a half of ricotta cheese, some tuna-and-tortellini salad with the leftover cheese tortellini from last night, some tuna noodle salad with the traditional mayonnaise dressing for Child A, and I had the dough rising for a big batch of rolls. Plus I’d been to the first Farmers Market of the season, and to the grocery.

I feel plumb virtuous.

Also on today’s agenda is to cook some beans for baked beans (they’re soaking now); make a marinated vegetable salad with carrots, cauliflower and cucumber; make another salad with asparagus, green peas and hearts of palm; bake the rolls, some as slider buns to go with country ham, as it is Derby Day and one just ought to; some as rolls for dinner tomorrow, some as po-boy buns for the freezer; and make some potato salad for lunch tomorrow. The pork loin is already sous vided (and if that’s not a verb it ought to be), and the plan is to get everything else ready so I don’t have much to do on Mothers Day except enjoy the 2/3 of my children who’ll be here.

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A "what's-on-hand" dinner.

A “what’s-on-hand” dinner.

Today’s dinner brought to you by the freezer and pantry.

That was the case for maybe 80 percent of the meals when I was growing up, but much less so today, thanks to Kroger being barely more than a mile down the street and a proliferation of all manner of places to eat within, almost, rock-throwing distance.

But yesterday, I had a taste for chicken and dressing, and fortuitously, I had a dish of same in the freezer, left over from the recent Chicken Challenge. (You may recall that I had the last of my leftover chicken, and made broth. I also had a half-a-pan of leftover cornbread in the freezer. Voila, chicken and dressing.) While I was out in the storage room getting that out of the freezer, I decided it’d go well with squash casserole, so I grabbed a bag of yellow crookneck squash I’d blanched and frozen last summer. I figured I needed a green thing, so I added a jar of green beans I’d canned last summer to my batch of what I was carrying in.

And that was dinner.

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Quiche. A quite lovely quiche, at that. Ham, broccoli, Emmenthaler.

Quiche. A quite lovely quiche, at that. Ham, broccoli, Emmenthaler.

In the interest of getting rid of the bulk of the Christmas leftovers in the same year in which they were prepared, I repurposed the broccoli and some more of the ham for a quiche yesterday.

I was in egg mode. (I do love me a farm egg, and there’s a gracious plenty of sources for ’em in and around J’boro). So I settled on a quiche, which I’d not made in a while. Truthfully, a long while, as I’d been making mostly frittatas, which are almost all egg and little dairy, and I decided this time I wanted a more traditional quiche, which is heavier on the dairy with fewer eggs.

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Beans 'n ham, here we come. With many thanks to the Thai, Chinese and Indian places, all of whom use the same takeout containers, which reuse wonderfully.

Beans ‘n ham, here we come. With many thanks to the Thai, Chinese and Indian places, all of whom use the same takeout containers, which reuse wonderfully.

The meal has not been cooked whose remnants cannot be used to make soup.

Witness Christmas dinner.

  1. The ham got cut off and packaged into a couple of packages of slices, and the bone cooked in an Instant Pot full of water for 45 minutes to make ham stock, which will in turn go into the freezer and make beans and/or bean soup later.
  2. Half the turkey got diced up and tossed into a pot with corn, chicken broth, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, garlic and onion to make Chinese chicken and corn soup.
  3. I could use the broccoli and asparagus to make a cream soup, but I have something else in mind for them, tomorrow.

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