You sage cooks out there already know this. But, we all had to start from scratch when learning to cook, so this tip is for the "newbies"!
When cooking stews, soups and such, getting the fat out is just as easy as 1 and 2 and 3
- When the pot is out of the oven or slow cooker, make sure it's good and hot.
- Seal cellophane (I was out so I used a clear plastic bag but cellophane works best) around the top of the liquid (it actually has to touch) then around the top edge of the container. No air can escape or it won't work. Sometimes for a good seal, invert the lid and press down inside. You can even leave it on there if it helps to seal it well.
- Put in the fridge to cool.
When your food has cooled, simply lift off the top and all that congealed fat will come up with the plastic. It's basic chemistry, but it works every single time. Throw the cellophane away and enjoy the food with virtually no fat left in it!
By Sandi from Salem, OR
If you like your soup a little thicker, sprinkle a small amount of instant potato buds/flakes into the already hot soup. Stir and wait for the soup to thicken. It is so good and easy!
By Joanne from Fond du Lac, WI
It is much cheaper to use a chuck roast than packaged stew meat when you make a stew. It takes no time at all to cut the roast!
By Elaine S. from Near Cedar Rapids, IA
To make tastier vegetables soups and stews, I always add a package of instant brown gravy mix for the last 15 minutes of cooking. It also gives them a wonderful color and well as concentrated flavor.
By Carolyn from Springville, AL
To thicken meat sauces such as Bolognese, try using porridge oats. It's delish!
To thicken soups or sauces, try using instant potato flakes - no more lumps and very tasty.
By libs mum from London, UK
When I find that my soups or stews or too thin or watery, I add instant mashed potatoes for the desired thickness. It works every time. And it's better than adding flour or cornstarch.
By Wayne from St Albans, NY
If you have enough time before starting your stew, or can plan it ahead, freeze your meat almost but not quite, solid, then chop it into whatever size chunks you need. The almost frozen meat doesn't slide around on the cutting board as much, and you are much less likely to slice yourself!
By Eileen from Elk Grove, CA
I hate to waste food so I have rarely thrown away leftover french fries. However, they aren't very good reheated. Rather than reheating them in the microwave, I decided to cut them in pieces and add them to warmed beef stew. I already had leftover pot roast to which I added cooked carrots and heated all in thinned leftover gravy. To this mixture, I added the cut up leftover french fries. Voila! The fries were just like regular potato pieces in the stew. It worked very well! They could be used in soups, too.
By LoracMc from Iowa
To eliminate fat from soups, stews, gravies, etc. drop an ice cube into the pot. Stir and fat will cling to the cubes. Discard cubes before they melt.
In the winter one of the things I do to try to stretch our budget is to make hearty stews and soups. It doesn't cost much to make a crockpot full of beef, chicken, or veggie stew or soup. It is filling, even by itself, but I also like to make a batch or homemade biscuits or some cornbread. Makes a great meal and cheap!
Editor's Note: Find some soup recipes here:
When you are preparing a stew or pot roast recipe that calls for browning the meat, put your meat on a rack in a shallow pan and broil on high until the top is browned. Turn it and brown the other side the same way. The fat will drip to the bottom and you will be ready to continue with your recipe. If you are adding carrots and other vegetables to your dinner, you can clean them under running water with a small natural bristle brush, rather then peel off the extra nutrients contained in the skin.
By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX
Soup Thickening: Mashed Potato Flakes
Thicken soups and stews with instant mashed potato flakes. More nutritious and flavorful than corn starch or flour.
- Ness - Lakeview, NY
Thickening Soups and Stews
Any homemade soup, stew, or chowder can be thickened by adding a few spoonfuls of instant mashed potatoes. It tastes better than flour, but be careful - it gets thicker after a few minutes.
RE: Soup Thickening: Mashed Potato Flakes
This works really well for thickening gravy also. (11/20/2008)
By Sarah Ann
To Thicken Stews and Soups
Puree canned carrots or mixed vegetables add vitamins and thicker texture to stews, soups and tomato sauces.
By Cindy Merrill from Millinocket, ME
RE: To Thicken Stews and Soups
What a great idea. Very logical and I bet it adds a lot of flavor. (02/09/2006)
RE: To Thicken Stews and Soups
Sprinkle and stir instant mashed potatoes into soups and stews to thicken them. (02/14/2006)