What do you do when you open your fridge and the leftovers are threatening mutiny and are going to take over the house? You make refrigerator soup, of course!
If you look through any cookbook, including any of the hundred or so on my jam packed shelves I showed you here, you won’t find a recipe for refrigerator soup. That’s because I made it up! And really, it is the epitome of “Use it up” from the adage on my tag line LOL.
When my kids were small, and we were tight on cash, I began to learn how to use leftovers and not waste anything, if I could help it. In fact, to be honest, we still have times where we’re tight on cash, so this is something I still do regularly!
Just recently Abby Lawson at Just A Girl And Her Blog shared a wonderful blog post about organizing her refrigerator. I was very impressed, and looked at the pictures closely, admiring how clean it was, how easy to find items, and how nice it looked. I mean – really – just look at this picture of her gorgeous fridge from her site.
Mine, on the other hand, has a tendency to look like this!
When we have a week where we cook every day, and may or may not have a leftover night, my refrigerator tends to collect leftovers like a flame collects moths. And then, we get to a point like this one, where not one….more…..single…..thing…..not even a string cheese ….. can be fit in. (You can’t even see the mess that my meat/cheese/whatever drawer is in!). That’s when we have Refrigerator Soup night!
I used to tell my kids about Refrigerator Soup and how special it was because it was one of the favorite meals of “The Borrowers” – anyone else remember those books? We read them to our kids and they loved them! So this meal was a favorite of The Borrowers because when we made it, they would want to come “borrow” some and the kids might be able to see them sneaking around! LOL Worked every time 🙂
There really isn’t a hard and fast recipe for the soup. Basically, what you do, is that you look in your fridge and see what leftovers you have that need to be used. Beans? Corn? Chicken? Roast beef? Spinach? Noodles? Rice? Potatoes? The answer is YES! I’ve been known to put in pinto beans and collards, even. Whatever you have that you think would work together – throw it in. And, even if you aren’t sure it will work together, throw it in! I’ve discovered soup, as a rule, is very forgiving. It’s hard to make bad soup.
You can see from the picture, I had quite the conglomeration of Tupperware containers lined up on the counter to use. This particular week the kiddos had cooked two of the nights. I am working on getting them to check leftovers, but I’m only about 50% successful with that so far LOL. Because of that, we had some duplicate ingredients. Mine finds in the fridge included rice (from 2 meals), green beans (from 2 meals), carrots, chicken (from 2 meals), and corn. I started with chicken broth (normally I have homemade, but I have used it all and need to make more – another post maybe? LOL). I put it in my pot, then just dumped everything else in.
Then what do you do? Turn it on low to medium and walk away. Read a book. Drink a Sundrop. Watch TV. Play with the dogs. Clean the bathroom….. wait, that one is NOT a fun one! LOL But you get the picture. You just let it heat. Drop in and give it a stir every so often, but for the most part, this is a hands off dish. I will usually make my biscuits to go with it. Sometimes I’ll make French bread or yeast rolls, but other than that, I let it heat. When it’s ready, you dish it out and eat up!
This, to me, is a win-win situation. Not only do I get a delicious supper, I also get my refrigerator cleaned out and somewhat organized. I don’t think it will ever look as nice as Ms. Lawson’s above 🙂 but for me if I can at least see the shelves, I’m happy!
I do have to praise the cool little spoon that I received as a gift – it is similar to these spoons by Rachael Ray that attach to the top of the pot. I love it because it doesn’t make a mess, you can’t lose it, and it won’t drop down into the pot of HOT soup – and please, don’t ask me how I know about that!!
Soups like this freeze fairly well. What I’ve started doing is putting leftovers in either Food Saver bags, or in Ziploc freezer bags, usually quart size. When you are ready to thaw, you can pull a bag out, put it in some warm water, and let it sit for a while. Once it gets to the point where it isn’t totally frozen, then you can put it in a pot and warm it up for a quick lunch or supper.
You can also make a pot of soup if you have the time to freeze for later. Then, on the days when you don’t have time to cook, or you need something fast, pop it out of the freezer and into a pot – BAM – supper is ready!
Have you ever made Refrigerator Soup and just didn’t realize it had a name? What do you put in yours? Let me know below, and tell me what your favorite type of soup is!