Cooking with Leftovers: Soup & Rice

Make a soup or rice dish with almost anything you have left in your fridge and/or pantry!

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Don’t you hate it when a recipe calls for a cup of spinach, but you have to buy the whole bunch from the grocery store?  Or when you don’t actually need to use the full can of chicken broth, and now there’s a 1/4 cup left sitting in your fridge?

I hate tossing good food, so I started experimenting in the kitchen with the odds and ends that were leftover and came up with some easy dinners to whip together with whatever is left in your fridge.

20180309_184914Today I’m sharing two of those: Leftover Soup and Leftover Rice.

Before you chop everything up for your soup or rice, make sure they will actually work well together.  For instance, I personally find it more difficult to pair mint up with other ingredients since it can change the flavor significantly.

Leftover Soup

When I have leftover potatoes, this is my go-to leftover meal.  Potatoes aren’t a requirement though.  This will work well with any leftover vegetables you have in your fridge.

Ingredients:20180219_180951
  • Any leftover vegetables (i.e. onion, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, pepper, carrot, etc.)
  • Water
  • Butter or oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Leftover meats (i.e. chicken, beef, pork, sausage, etc.  I do not recommend using any breaded meats here)
  • Optional: Leftover herbs (i.e. rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, etc.)
  • Optional: Canned broth, “cream of” soups, or vegetables
  • Optional: Plain rice or pasta, either dry or cooked
  • Optional: Grated cheese
Directions:
  1. Chop up any vegetables, meats, or herbs that you are going to be including in the soup.
  2. Add some oil or butter to a large pot over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted or the oil is heated, add in any onion or pepper that you have.
  3. After about 2 minutes, add in the meat.  If the meat is already cooked, you can immediately move onto the next step.  Otherwise, wait until the meat is browned on all sides before moving on.
  4. Throw the rest of your vegetables into the pot, except for spinach or other leafy greens (they cook too quickly).  Saute your vegetables until slightly softened.  You do not need to cook them until they’re perfectly soft, as they will be boiling in the soup for a while.  If you are using any dried herbs (not fresh), you can add them in now as well.
  5. If you have any broths or “cream of” soups, those go in next.  Then top up with as much water as you’d like.  Don’t feel like you have to add in a broth.  Your soup will turn out fine with just water.20180219_185427
  6. If you want to include any uncooked rice or pasta, those go in next.
  7. Bring the soup to a boil and cook until your hard vegetables are no longer crunchy and can be chewed easily, and/or until your rice/pasta is cooked through.  Usually it’s between 20-30 minutes.  If you have potatoes in your soup and like your soup to be a bit thicker, then you can smash the potatoes against the side of your pot with a large fork or wooden spoon.
  8. Finally, add in your spinach and any other leafy greens, as well as your fresh herbs.  Cook until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste before spooning into bowls.  If you have cheese available, throw some on the top.  Enjoy!

20180219_185715.jpg

The pictures here are from a soup I made a couple of weeks ago using white onion, green pepper, breakfast sausage, potatoes (both uncooked and cooked), chives, spinach, chicken broth, and cheddar cheese.  Mmm…so good!

Leftover Rice

Ingredients:
  • Any leftover vegetables (i.e. onion, celery, tomatoes, corn, pepper, carrot, etc.  I don’t recommend using potatoes or cauliflower in the rice)
  • Dried rice20180309_180733.jpg
  • Water
  • Butter or oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Leftover meats (i.e. chicken, beef, pork, sausage, etc.  I do not recommend using any breaded meats here)
  • Optional: Leftover herbs (i.e. rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, etc.)
  • Optional: Chicken broth
  • Optional: Grated cheese
Directions:
  1. Chop up any vegetables, meats, or herbs that you are going to be including in the soup.
  2. Add some oil or butter to a pot over medium heat.  Once the butter is melted or the oil is heated, add in any onion or pepper that you have.
  3. After about 2 minutes, add in the meat.  If the meat is already cooked, you can immediately move onto the next step.  Otherwise, wait until the meat is browned on all sides before moving on.
  4. Throw the rest of your vegetables into the pot, except for spinach or other leafy greens (they cook too quickly).  Saute your vegetables until softened.  If you are using any dried herbs (not fresh), you can add them in now as well.
  5. Add in the rice, and then as much water (or broth, or combination of water and broth) as necessary based on the rice’s instructions.20180309_182445
  6. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.  Cook until all of the water is absorbed by the rice and vegetables.
  7. Finally, take off the lid and add in your spinach and any other leafy greens, as well as your fresh herbs.  Cook and stir until the greens are slightly wilted.  If including cheese, you can mix it in now or top the rice with the cheese after serving.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

20180309_190323.jpg

These pictures are from a Leftover Rice that used red onion, red pepper, zucchini, roast chicken, and regular white rice (Uncle Ben’s, nothing fancy).

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