My grandmother, who grew up during the Depression, saved everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I mean, the woman saved old underwear elastic to use as rubber bands. Really. She could look at a bag of trash and find uses for almost anything. I remember playing with my cousin's 10 year old (first edition, probably priceless) Star Wars toys that she had found behind the couch and saved, because they were perfectly good toys.
Now, I'm thrifty, but I'm not that thrifty. I came of age in the 90's when consumerism was king, and so I feel no guilt at throwing out (or, more likely donating) things that I can no longer use. One really smart thing that she did which I copy, though, is a container of vegetable soup starter in the freezer. By that, I mean that she keep a plastic container in the freezer, and anytime she had leftover vegetables she just added them to the container and let them freeze. When it starts to get full, then it was time to make vegetable soup!
Now the wisdom of my mother kicks in. My mom makes a great pot roast in the oven, and she discovered years ago that if she saved all of the drippings and used them to start a beef vegetable soup broth, it made the best soup ever.
So, I enter the cooking scene, and here's how I combine all that wisdom to make my own soup. I keep a 2 quart container in my freezer. Any time I have vegetables OR pot roast leftovers, I add them to the container. I usually make pot roast in 1 pound quantities, so my drippings aren't a lot. And I only add vegetables I'd like in soup - tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, carrots, onions, potatoes. Then, when my container gets full, it's soup time!
I call mine pot roast soup because I usually buy a 1 pound pot roast and cut it up into little bite sized pieces to cook in the soup. Pot roast is pretty cheap, and you can trim the fat quite easily. It's also very similar to how I make pot roast in the crock pot. I usually add a fresh onion and some tomatoes, maybe a potato. This soup also goes back in the freezer very well. I let it cook for most of the day and come home to delicious soup.
Which is what I did yesterday, and brought the leftovers today. The picture is a little hazy because it was still steaming!
Pot Roast Soup
1 lb pot roast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 quart beef stock or wine
1 package Lipton Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix
2 quarts vegetable and pot roast leftovers (if this isn't your style, use 4 drained cans of any vegetables you like and 1 additional quart of beef broth or stock)
Place your dry ingredients in a 5-6 quart crock pot. Pour over liquids. Cover crock and cook on high for 6 hours, or low for 12 hours. Serve hot and enjoy!
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