I think I need to add a new section to my blog and call it ‘Fridge Finds‘ or something far more creative (which won’t come to me until I wake in the middle of the night I’m sure). I make a surprising number of dishes from foods I find in the fridge. Leftovers and veggies whose time has come lead the way; it’s simply a combination of items that I discover in the fridge that culminates in a meal that we love.
Soups and casseroles are often the results of these finds and with fall in the air both work well. I’ve been on a soup kick lately though; combined with a new found love for carrot soup (who knew this lowly veggie could reach heights of nirvana with just a bit of spice), and with a huge bag of them from Costco that we weren’t getting through quickly enough, I went on a fridge hunt and found a nice red pepper that I believe I heard crying, ‘Use me, Use ME!’
So this week it was this carrot and red pepper soup with potato. Not planned at all…nope, simply a fridge find. I put a potato or two in a lot of soups including this one; not just for flavor but also to thicken them without adding more butter and flour; great for those with gluten free requirements.
Another favorite I made recently was this Broccoli with White Cheddar Cheese and Garlic Croutons. Homemade croutons are so easy…try them once and you’ll see. You will NEVER, EVER go back to a box!
I would be remiss if I did not include my most favorite soup ever; not a fridge find so much as a panty one. Have you ever bought WAY too many onions and they all seem to be ready to bloom at the same time. I have; especially since I continue to buy some things in bulk at Costco that I really need to close down since both of my girls are now on their own. Potatoes and onions…I’m talking to you! So a few weeks ago I discovered almost a whole bag of onions that I had forgotten; with one sprouted I new it was time to use them and this soup combined with some chicken and beef stock made that an easy choice. This French Onion Soup is not just good but it’s such a big part of my young life; I think friends and I ate this at the Clayton, MO Famous and Barr at least once a week; probably more. So don’t wait til you have to use some onions…make this soup now!
I have always loved Cream of Mushroom Soup; since realizing how easy it is to make from scratch, those red and white cans have not graced our cupboards (plus betting Campbells does not include white wine right?)
More? Sure, here are some additional favorites:
- Carrot Ginger Soup – A lovely soup that is garnished with butter, chile, green onion and peanuts; we LOVE this soup!
- Chicken Soup with Dumplings – the same recipe my grandmother and mom used; just the best!
- French Onion Soup with some Italian Style – A quick version of French Onion soup (and a recipe for making caramelized onions in a crockpot).
- Red Lentil Soup with Ham and Curry – The best tip for making soups that need a ham bone too!
- Split Pea Soup – The ugly duckling of soups; not pretty but SO very good!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound carrots, cleaned and chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, chopped
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil for coulis
- Sour cream for garnish (optional)
- Croutons for garnish (optional)
- Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and add the chopped peppers and onion and saute until the onions are just turning brown. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Remove 4 Tbsp of sauteed vegetables and put into a bowl to make the red pepper coulis for garnish.
- Put the chicken stock, carrots and potato into the saucepan; add the spices and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
- Once the carrots and potato are cooked and soft, either use a stick blender or transfer in batches to a counter top blender and blend until smooth; returning to the pot when done.
- Add the half and half and simmer on low for 30 more minutes; do not boil.
- Blend the 4 Tbsp of sauteed peppers and onions with the 4 Tbsp of olive oil.
- Serve soup in bowls with a dollop of sour cream on top drizzled with the red pepper coulis.
The potato in this soup is not for flavor as much as for thickening the soup. It's better for you and easier than having to make a roux!