Now that I’m back at work I’ve been relying on my meal planning more than ever to make sure I get a decent lunch. Money’s so tight that eating out isn’t an option I’m comfortable with so making sure I have the components for salad, soups, eggs and sandwiches is a necessity.
When I first started making this meal plan I assumed my default soup would be minestrone. It’s delicious and easy to throw together without much thought on my part—a crucial detail. But as I started planning meals I became focused on using up extras to save money and prevent waste. My husband turned any fruit surplus in danger of becoming overripe into delicious smoothies. I’ve been using up any leftovers in the vegetable bin to make soup.
It’s not an original idea, I know, but it saves money and gets the job done. I discovered a secret to quick soups, the kind that are thrown together with canned broth, that sometimes need a boost in the flavor department: dried mushrooms. Not the most glamorous of ingredients, but if you love mushrooms it gives any soup a delicious flavor boost.
The first leftover soup I made happened when we had a surplus of celery and onions. Celery soup, not exactly the most enticing. I cooked it up with caramelized onions, potatoes for heft, and a generous addition of dried wild mushrooms. It was especially good the second day, after the mushrooms had imparted all of their savory goodness.
I had so much leftover cooked chicken for the next go-around I made a chicken noodle with dried porcini mushrooms and it was excellent. I froze a bunch to pull out later in the winter when cold season is in its full, miserable force.
Last weekend I had a surplus of cauliflower and the first soup that came up when I googled ‘cauliflower soup’ was the Ree’s velvety vegetable version. Score. This recipe had enough going on with the richness of the roux to not need a mushroom booster and it came out perfect. Isobel is positively addicted to it. (Call CPS! My toddler is addicted to cauliflower!)
Keeping good bread on hand, cheese or other salad garnishes, and hard boiled eggs for salads if I need a protein boost has really helped keep me on track. I feel like after all this time I’m finally succeeding.
Since it’s Sunday I wanted to share a home movie with you.
Since it’s my birthday weekend I also wanted to share a video with you that pnkrcklibrarian shared with me:
“Mr. Darcy has been a freestyle disco champion these last dozen years.”