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I keep saying that I’m getting back into regular blogging, but I keep disappearing again. The truth is that 1) I’ve been busy with wrapping up the cookbook project + having more of a life, 2) all the things I could write about look overwhelming for their sheer volume and diversity so I never actually start on any of them, and 3) I’ve been experiencing a sort of “midlife crisis” after completing a project that has taken all of my time and energy for months on end. The same thing happened after I finished Necessary Food, so I was expecting it, but I’m also trying to work my way out of this lack-of-focus-funk and thought that planning and actually writing some blog posts might help. And that, my friends, is why I’m writing a blog post about the soup I made last night. I didn’t write the recipe down because flexibility is key, but maybe I can inspire you to make some Clean out the Fridge Soup too. 😉
I definitely prefer to cook without recipes most of the time. If I use recipes, they’re merely guides, not absolutes. Having to write down a recipe for the blog or a cookbook is rather a burden, so now that I’m done testing recipes for Convenient Food, I’ve been relishing the freedom of just throwing things together for supper! (Anyone agree?) I thought I’d take some pictures of last night’s supper experiment and try to inspire y’all to cook something without a recipe yourself. Soup season is coming up (if not here already for some of you who live farther north than I do), and what better vehicle for frugality and freedom than soup?
In my fridge I had
- Leftover grilled sausages from having some of Ryan’s coworkers over for supper Tuesday night,
- A partial bag of fresh spinach,
- A 16 oz. package of fresh mushrooms I found on clearance at Kroger this week,
- A head of cauliflower, and
- Reduced-fat cream cheese (a staple in my fridge).
Sounds like soup to me.
- I started out by chopping the head of cauliflower and an onion into large pieces and sautéing them in about a tablespoon of butter.
- Next I added a generous spoonful of jarred minced garlic (very convenient, but not as strong as fresh garlic cloves) and some water + Better than Bouillon chicken base, put the lid on the kettle, and cooked it until the vegetables were soft.
- After they were soft, I added 12 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese to soften in the hot liquid (after turning the heat down so the soup was no longer boiling, since really hot temperatures make dairy get grainy). When the cream cheese had softened a bit, I blended the contents of the kettle with an immersion blender to create a creamy broth, leaving a few chunks of cauliflower and onion.
- I then added my fresh spinach and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies. I also added some more water.
- I chopped my grilled sausage and added it to the pot, then
- added the remainder of a package of bacon bits that was hiding in the bottom drawer of the fridge from a salad a few weeks ago.
- Fresh mushrooms joined the pot,
- then I stirred everything together in preparation for adding the spices.
The spices/seasonings I used:
(cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, oregano, sage, basil)
- I added the seasonings, just shaking them in (not measuring), then tasted and added more of the ones I wanted to be stronger. Onion and garlic powder add a nice mellow backdrop, and smoked paprika and oregano add some good Louisiana flavor.
- Stirred it up and tasted it again,
- Then added a few tablespoons each of oat fiber and nutritional yeast for more body to the soup broth.
- I stirred those in and let the soup simmer for probably close to an hour before Ryan and I sat down to enjoy it. We both loved it! We both enjoy fresh mushrooms and spinach, and the creamy broth was the perfect foil for the smoky notes from the grilled sausage, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika.
So there you have it – what’s in YOUR fridge, and what will you make with it?
This soup is a Trim Healthy Mama S meal because it includes fat sources (butter, sausage, cream cheese) and no significant carb sources. The cauliflower, spinach, and mushrooms are all non-starchy veggies, and the amounts of tomato and onion are moderate when spread over such a large pot of soup.
My second cookbook, Convenient Food, is now available for pre-order! It will be shipping out sometime before the end of October ’18, so order now to get the pre-order discount! Click the banner above to go to the sale page where you can get more info about the book, see a preview, and order.
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