We try hard shop the larder before we shop the grocery store, so I'm always very well pleased to be able to come up with a really tasty dinner using just what we have on hand. I shared one of those dinners here on the blog yesterday: Turkey thigh oven-braised in tomato sauce with herbs, onion and bell pepper, and served over brown rice with lots of melty parmesan cheese.
Sounds good, doesn't it? It was. Amazing enough to feel all special occasion-ish.
It was a big dinner, too, with lots of leftovers.
Changing up your leftovers by using them to make the foundation of a new dish is good frugal practice. (It's such a common occurrence at our house that my husband calls it "Thing One and Thing Two.") It uses up what you have on hand without making you feel you're eating the same meal over and over again.
Soup's a near-perfect way to make "Thing Two." and with so much tomato sauce on hand, it was a natural leap from braised turkey to bowl. The resulting soup was really delicious and it provided us with supper one evening and lunch the following day.
Three meals from $4.28 worth of meat sounds like good value to me!
Here's what I used to make my soup:
- 1/2 cup uncooked pasta (I used whole wheat spaghettini broken into short lengths but any pasta you like will do.)
- 4 to 5 cups stock (I used homemade turkey stock but chicken stock, vegetable stock or even pork stock will work too. If you're using packaged stock, buy the lower sodium kind.)
- 1/2 cup sliced celery
- 3/4 cup diced carrot
- 2 cups of tomato sauce with vegetables (Mine had herbs, onion and bell pepper in it from the previous night's dinner. If you don't have tomato sauce with vegetables, reduce the sauce amount by 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup each diced onion and diced bell pepper to the soup. You'll want to add oregano, rosemary, and granulated garlic too.)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 3/4 pound cooked, cubed leftover turkey thigh. (You can substitute any poultry here - even a couple of chicken breasts that have been quickly cooked in the microwave. If you're pressed for time, you can buy ready cooked from the deli.)
I began by cooking the pasta in boiling salted water.
(I don't like to put pasta right in the soup pot because it becomes mushy over time. Instead, I cook my pasta, rinse it well, and set it aside. I stir it into the hot soup just before serving it. The heat from the soup warms it very quickly.)
Next, I brought 4 cups of stock to a boil and added in the celery and carrot, cooking them until they were tender crisp. (If they're not already in your sauce, you would add the onion and bell pepper in at this point too.)
Once the vegetables were cooked, I stirred in the tomato sauce and brought the soup back to a boil.
I tasted the soup and adjusted the seasoning. It was a little too acidic for my taste so I added in another cup of stock. You can use your own judgement about this.
Once the seasoning was adjusted, I stirred in the frozen peas and cubed turkey, heating the soup until it returned to a boil once more.
I put some of the cooked pasta into each of our soup bowls, ladled the soup in on top of it, gave it a stir, and served it.
That's it. Easy peasy. The whole pot of soup took less than 20 minutes to prepare.
Don't you love dinners like that?
I served the soup with whole wheat rolls for dunking ('cause at our house you need something yummy to soak up the broth).
The leftovers were packaged in individual glass bowls and reheated in the microwave the following day.
I hope that if you find yourself with these ingredients on hand, you'll give this soup a try. It sure provides a big flavour return for the small amount of effort invested.