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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 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/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR
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
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
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.
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!
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.
Sometimes I have added too much liquid to my homemade stew. If I don't have time to simmer the stew, to reduce the liquid, I add about a quarter cup or so of instant oatmeal.
If you have enough time before starting your stew, 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!
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.
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.
To thicken up a stew, use mashed potato flakes. It gives you that potato flavor. Instead of boiling your meat and veggies in water, use beef broth. Great stuff.
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.
Once a week, make a big pot of stew or homemade soup, a pound of meat and some vegetables can be stretched into an inexpensive, filling and healthy dish.
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. By Robin
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Tips for making good soup. Post your ideas.
Most soups taste better with the addition of a variety of vegetables and grains, a good way to use up small quantities. One exception is cabbage, which gives most soups too strong a flavor for us, but might suit others.
Soups often taste more filling if they are slightly thickened. Instant or leftover potatoes can be used to thicken soup, or mash a few beans and add back in.
All vegetable soups have to have lots of carrots and onions for me - sweet and lovely! I thicken with split yellow peas or red lentils - they don't need pre soaking if simmered in the soup for at least an hour. They also add the protein component so a vegetable soup can be tasty and nourishing without meat.
Everytime you make a vegetable with your meal that you don't eat all, just place the leftovers into a baggy and freeze. When you want to make soup put all of you veggies into a pot and cook to your liking!
Add meat and enjoy!
Whenever I roast meat I save the drippings in the bottom of the pan (deglaze with water) and freeze. When I make soup I add this for lots of flavor. I don't make gravy, usually, since it bothers my husbands ulcers, and this is a good way to not waste all that flavor.
Take a hint from the big soup companies. To make a soup look like it has more meat in it, chop the meat into small bites instead of big chunks.
Roast your bones till dark brown before you start your soup. It'll be richer and tastier. Reduce your
stock if you have the time and then freeze it for future soups.
If you want a lovely different flavor for your vegetable soup take 2Tbl. of whole allspice wrap in foil or cheesecloth and tie the top. If you use foil make sure you poke holes in it with a fork so the broth can seep through and just leave it in there while your soup simmers. Yum Yum. Delicious! I learned this from a old Welsh woman.
I save and freeze onion skins and celery tops for use when I make soup.
By Sylvia Belle
I was taught this simple trick from my mother-in-law. Browns a couple lbs hamburger meat, drain the grease, add leftover vegies, and/or canned ones, and pour a can of V-8 over that, presto, soup! Of course it does smell so good throughout the house if you cook it slow for several hours as in a crock pot.
Almost any soup can be brought up a notch by adding 1 tsp of sour cream.
Don't overlook those cheap, though perhaps unfamiliar meats in your butchers case. Pork neck bones are terrific with bean soup, and fresh ham hocks, <not smoked> are excellent with Rice or Ramen noodles. Skim after bringing to a boil, and if you refrigerate for 4 hrs after cooking you can remove additional fats that float to the top without losing the flavor.
Save the juice from drained hamburger meat. (I use ground chuck because it has a lot less fat than regular, and I get more juice.) Put it in a container in the freezer (skim off fat first), then each time you brown ground beef, pour the juice in the same container. If you use a lot of ground beef, it won't be long until you have enough to add flavor and nutrition to your soup. Also, you can boil chicken wing tips that no one eats for more chicken broth. Great in soups! A teaspoon or cube of chicken bouillon adds a lot of flavor, too.
Making any kind of soup, in order to thicken, take some of the vegetables with a little bit of liquid, put into a blender then pour it back into the soup. It keeps the calories down.
Adding a can or two of spinach to a veggie soup really helps thicken it and gives a good healthy flavor.
I am looking for a thick noodle to add to chicken noodle soup. I've had it at restaurants; it's like a thick fettuccine noodle. Any ideas?
Nancy from Palatine, IL
Sounds like egg noodles or egg noodle dumplings to me.
I use Reames frozen noodles when I make homemade chicken and noodle soup. Look in frozen food area and you can see if these are what you are looking for. When I make my chicken base I make a large amount and freeze what I am not using at the time. That way I have the chicken base and just add more chicken broth and the noodles for a quick soup. Reames are great and easy. k
Sounds like egg noodles to me, too :-) I like to use spirals in soup ...
Sounds like homemade noodles. Simple to do. One egg to one cup flour plus a 1/4 tsp salt. Mix together to make a dough you can roll out. Knead it a little and then roll it out thinly and slice it as wide as you like. Let the noodles dry before boiling them. My kids love homemade noodles in soup or with sauce, etc.
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Puree canned carrots or mixed vegetables add vitamins and thicker texture to stews, soups and tomato sauces.
By Cindy Merrill from Millinocket, ME
What a great idea. Very logical and I bet it adds a lot of flavor. (02/09/2006)
By Jayne Pavone
Sprinkle and stir instant mashed potatoes into soups and stews to thicken them. (02/14/2006)
Thicken soups and stews with instant mashed potato flakes. More nutritious and flavorful than corn starch or flour.
- Ness - Lakeview, NY
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.
This works really well for thickening gravy also. (11/20/2008)
By Sarah Ann