From freezer to slow cooker!
The best soup in the world is homemade. You can make the best soup in the world. Each pot is an opportunity to create a unique and original meal that will warm and comfort the bodies and souls of you and your family. But what if you don't feel inspired to invent a great soup? Look no further than your fridge. You almost certainly have the makings of one or several great soups just quietly waiting there.
Many years ago, Mom sometimes saved time (and chopping) by starting with a package of "Soup Starter;" a shelf-stable carton of dehydrated chopped carrots, corn, peas, bell peppers, onion and more. I'm sure that product is long gone, but the longing for an amazing and easy pot of homemade comfort remains and that is what this is about!
Soup Starter Meal Kits are a great way to save veggies from "extinction"...you know, those less-than-perfect, slightly-wilted carrots, slightly soft tomatoes, shriveled mushrooms as well as blemished garden or food pantry produce. Simply cut away the insect damage or blemishes and cut everything into bite-size pieces.
2-3 lbs. fresh vegetables of your choice:
(or whatever you need to use up before it spoils)
● Onion, garlic
● Greens like kale, Swiss chard
● Zucchini, summer squash
● Green beans
● Bell peppers
● Butternut squash
ASSEMBLE A MEAL KIT:
Choose a mixture of veggies and cut in bite-size pieces. Pack in quart- or gallon-size Ziploc bags. Label and freeze up to 3 months.
COOKING DAY DIRECTIONS:
Thaw Soup Starter Meal Kit overnight in fridge, or float in warm water for an hour in the morning.
Crumble meat into oiled slow cooker. Two quart-size freezer containers of homemade broth, partially thawed, are added.
The still-icy Soup Starter Meal Pack is crumbled on top. Slow Cooker is set on LOW heat; in 8-10 hours we will all come home to a delicious pot of soup.
To make soup ~
1/2 – 1 lb meat (ground beef, turkey or sausage, diced boneless chicken
or leftover meat) or 1 can beans + ½ cup uncooked white or brown rice)
4-6 cups broth
water (can use a can of tomato sauce, pasta sauce or salsa for part of the water)
Dried herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, bay leaf, etc)
1 Soup Starter Pack
1 teaspoon sea salt (omit for full-sodium canned broth)
Brown raw meat in a skillet with a bit of good fat (best), salt and pepper OR crumble raw meat (also works) into your oiled slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and water to cover the vegetables. The cooker should be one-half to three-quarters full. Set on low heat and cook for 8-10 hours, until meat is done and veggies are tender. Stir and taste for seasoning; add additional salt, if needed, before serving.
Add 1 – 2 cups uncooked pasta during last 20 minutes cooking time.