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When making a batch of turkey stock the other day, I needed a large glass container to put it in to allow it to cool. The only one I could find was my old sun-tea jar - a very happy accident! It turned out to be the perfect stock-separator: large enough to hold all the stock from my 8 quart stock pot, and it's made of glass, so no yucky plastic-chemical-leaching. I used a basket strainer and poured the stock in through it. The design of the jar (being for dispensing beverages) means the stock can cool in it (I put it in my sink in a cool water, followed by ice-water bath) and this allows the fats to separate and rise to the top.
The dispensing spout sits about 1/2 inch from the bottom of the jar, which allowed the sediment to settle, and is not released when I turned the spout to "open" to fill my quart containers that go in the freezer. (I also rubber-band a paper coffee filter over the the spout to further filter out any fine impurities.) I just turned the spout to "off" when it got close to the fat layer. It used to take so long to scoop off the fat, strain the stock, etc., so I was very happy to discover this little trick, and I just had to share!
By Kimberly from Jax, FL
I like to cook large batches of stews, chili, soup, etc. to eat, freeze, or give to friends. For this I use a large stock pot. When I decided to buy one years ago (stainless steel; I'll settle for nothing less) I discovered they were all very expensive or very thin.
So I bought a thin one for $15 (on sale), went by a scrap yard and picked up a piece of scrap 1/4 inch aluminum large enough to cover the entire pan bottom ($3 or $4), and cut it down to fit. Then I'd just sit the aluminum on the burner and sit the pot on it. This helps greatly to dissipate the heat evenly under the pot, thus avoiding hot spots and burnt food without spending a fortune for a thick-bottom pot.
During my maternity leave we had only one income and I looked for ways to cut back on food bills. I kept cut-off tops/bottoms of carrots, asparagus, potato peels, cabbage cores, and any other veggie I used and placed them in the freezer. I served chicken on the bone and before serving the chicken, I de-boned it and saved the bones in a bag in the freezer as well.
When I had enough veggie tops and bones, I made soup with them. I simply added rice and an egg and we had two meals from it. We loved soup and had it for a meal once or twice a week with a salad and crusty bread.
By Marie from Toronto, Canada
With all the cold weather we have been having, a bowl of steaming soup brings us back to our mother's and grandmother's kitchens. Soup is a labor of love. Even if you don't like to cook, most of us can heat a can of soup and magically be brought back to that time and place. Even better, when you make your own soup, you can make a pot and freeze the leftovers. Now when you need a quick and fast dinner, all you have to do is reheat the soup, make a salad or a sandwich and dinner's on! Heat some and take it in a thermos to work and you have a good hot lunch. Most medical professionals are also encouraging us to eat more "real foods", not processed foods. Homemade soup is real food, so it has health benefits too. Most people are encouraged to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week and soup fits the bill here also. Chunky vegetable soups can be very satisfying.
Summer and fall, when fresh vegetables are plentiful and cheap, are the best times to make your soups. Any one of these, even the ones using your leftovers, can be frozen to eat later in the winter. Soup will last frozen for anywhere from 3-6 months.
Making soup is quite easy and it is not time consuming either. Crock pots can be a great way to make soup while you are away at work. On the weekends, soup made on the stove fill your house with wonderful smells. A good Dutch oven or small stock pot is really the only equipment you will need. Making soup is quite economical too. Here you will find recipes for fresh vegetable soups, from that stash you just got at the farmer's market. You can make a pot of soup from what is in your pantry, when you don't want to go to the store and the fridge is empty. And you can make soup when you have lots of leftovers that need using up. Soup is a great way to stretch your food budget dollar. It is also great when you have unexpected company, just add some more vegetables or noodles to stretch it to feed however many you need to feed.
Beef broth can be made from soup bones, these are very cheap at the market, and I can get huge bones for around $2.00. I also buy short ribs and other cheap cuts of beef. Whatever is on sale and dirt cheap. You could even cut up tough pieces of beef to add to the flavor. Just make sure you brown them first. To make a good rich brown stock, I bake or roast the soup bones for about one hour in a 350 degree F oven. Then you can refrigerate the bones or put them in your stock pot with onion, carrots and celery. Cook down until meat is tender. Remove the bone and fatty pieces. I chop up any non-fatty meat and put back in my broth, just to give it a little head start. I also leave the vegetables in it and freeze. Or you can take out all the vegetables and meat and just have plain beef stock. I sometimes do this when I know I will be adding hamburger or taco meat to a soup. I usually have some with meat and some without. I just strain out the vegetables and meat and add to the containers with meat and then freeze.
Vegetable stock is the easiest broth to make. Save all those little bits of leftover veggies, with the exception of broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower. These can make your stock bitter. When you have collected enough vegetables for your stock, open one large can of whole or stewed tomatoes. Put these in your stock pot and add your leftover vegetables. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Let simmer for half an hour then freeze.
All of these can also be made in a crock pot, with the exception of the vegetable stock, which you don't want to over cook. For a non tomato stock, just add your leftovers or fresh vegetables, using potatoes, carrots, onion, leeks, and any vegetables that you like. Ok, now you have stock in the freezer, what are you going to do with it? This is where your pantry or leftovers come in. Here you will find a list of all the add-ins you can use to make great soup.
Bouillon cubes are basically flavored squares of salt, whereas the paste bases are not as high in salt, and impart a much better flavor. You only use one or two tablespoons and the bases come in beef, chicken, mushroom, lobster, etc.
If you make your own consomme out of meat stock, boil egg shells in the finished stock for half an hour, and then strain. The shells clear the cloudiness wonderfully leaving you with beautiful, translucent liquid consomme.
When making homemade chicken broth, after it cools down, freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then when frozen, take the cubes and put in freezer bags. This is handy when you want to add a small amount to rice, mashed potatoes, and noodles.
I save all veggie peels, cooking water, cores, meat bones, etc., and always have a pot simmering on the woodstove. I am assured of having homemade soup stock on hand at all times. However, as much as we love it, my finicky teenaged daughter refuses to sample my soups du jour.
After heating up your left over broth, use a strainer and strain the broth. You now will be left with clean, clear broth just like it was freshly cooked.
Make a joint of meat (or a turkey or chicken) last a week by boiling the bones to make stock for soup. Just cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for two hours.
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I made homemade chicken noodle soup. After storing overnight in the refrigerator, I noticed the noodles had absorbed most of the broth. How do keep this from happening?
number9 from North Carolina
It's a really old post, from 2008. But I did a little internet research and it looks like there are a few possibilities on how commercially canned soup keeps the noodles from getting soggy.
One might be that they don't cook the noodles entirely, but add them into the mixture only partially cooked. That way, the noodles can slowly absorb the liquid after being canned.
People also suggest that egg noodles are generally used instead of pasta. Egg noodles don't absorb as much water.
Or they might just be really small noodles that don't feel so mushy when the canned soup is eaten.
Here is an interesting article I found online, which might also give you some information:
Rather than buying chicken stock, you can easily make it at home. It's much healthier than using buillion or packaged broth for your soups and stews.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
My mom taught me how to save quite a lot by adding leftovers to a zip lock freezer bag until it was full and then later thawing it out in the soup pot. The fluid from cans of vegetables goes into it too,as well as leftover gravy and meats cut into small pieces. Pork goes well with the beef.
I have shared this way of soup making with several people and have given the frozen bags away. Everyone loves it. If you like noodles or pasta, add it too! It's a fun way to use leftovers or clean out the ice box before food goes bad.
I like adding a little BBQ sauce for a zesty flavor. For people who don't have a lot of time to make a nice soup, this is wonderful! I have a bag of it in my freezer now that I started with leftover bite sized red and yellow Bell peppers I cut for my son but didn't get eaten.
I was at a diner not too long ago and their gravy was awesome so when I was asked if I wanted more, I said I would take it in a TO GO box! I explained my plan for it in my soup. When I got home I emptied the little dish of gravy into the freezer bag. I got my BIG HA HA about being so frugal with my diner take-out of gravy enhanced soup.
By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO
Place your zip lock baggie into a loaf pan after filling it with left over soup. Freeze it this way, and the next day pop the baggie out of the pan. Now you have a nice "brick" of soup that will be easier to store in your freezer. (10/10/2009)
My sister had a rather tall tupperware container wherein she poured the liquid from boiling potatoes to mash. This was frozen along with leftovers. Lots of nutrition there. That woman could make some soup! mmm mmm! I have started adding half cup of instant mashed potatoes to the soup after it is almost done. (10/11/2009)
By Marty Dick
I take all the leftovers (steak, chicken, ham, meat loaf, broth, etc.) that there aren't enough of for another dinner and put them in the bucket (I use an old ice cream bucket but you could use tupperware). When it looks like there's enough (4-6 cups) I put them in my crockpot with a jar of spaghetti sauce (the cheap 99 cent kind) and whatever herbs and seasoning I feel like. For example, a couple of bay leafs and maybe some onion soup mix. Before I had a crockpot, I just simmered this in a pot for an hour and 1/2. This usually makes 2 to 3 meals for my family of 6. Happy eating!
Your recipe sounds delicious! I used to do a version of this. I'd keep 4 tupperware containers in the freezer door: 1. Leftover bits of chicken 2. Leftover beef bits 3. Leftover pork bits 4. Leftover veggies, a teaspoonful here or there adds up over time. These containers are wonderful for stir fries, for soups, for omelets, for (combining the beef and pork, yum!) barbecue which is delicious on buns.
This wasn't my original idea; I found it in a wonderful budget cookbook I don't have anymore but I'd give the world to find again. Those teaspoonfuls you'd otherwise throw away will add up to many "found" and delicious meals over time.