Thursday, June 16, 2011

Freezer Clean Out Soup

much cuter than soup
Nothing inspires me to cook like an event that requires cake.

Like my son TURNING ONE.


As I’d mentioned, I’ve been feeling uninspired lately regarding anything to do with cooking. (Not regarding the kitchen tho – I laid the flooring last weekend! Photos soon…) But I’m now officially out of my no-cooking slump, having cooked several times in the last two weeks.

Because of all of this cooking – specifically, cooking for the party this weekend – I needed room in the freezer for five quarts of baked beans, two pans of rolls, three gallons of ice cream (purchased, not homemade), six dozen cupcakes, and a small cake for the birthday boy. (I wasn't kidding when I said I'm out of my slump!)

I had three different lunch failures in the freezer, totaling five containers, that could easily be replaced by ice cream. BUT, this was perfectly edible food, it just was not palatable. So there’s no way I was going to throw it away.

Failure #1: Tex-mex crock pot thing involving ground turkey, salsa, beans, and cornbread. Sounds like it’d be awesome, right? Yeah, not so much. It dried out and was completely flavorless.

Failure #2: Another Tex-mex crock pot thing involving pork, rice, corn, tomato sauce, and too much taco seasoning. It would have been fantastic, except for being too spicy hot with not enough other flavor.

Failure #3: Ham (good), potatoes (good), tomato sauce (good), broth (good), greens (good)… and too much salt. I really liked this one, except for the massive amounts of salt.

There were other things in the freezer, but I figured these three had enough similarities that they might combine well. So, in the crock pot they go with a box of chicken broth and four chicken thighs (they were in the fridge and needed to be cooked before they went bad). I added about a Tbsp of cumin (I love cumin) and let it go on low overnight.

The result: A tomato and broth based soup/stew with a few large chunks of meat, a couple of whole potatoes, almost completely dissolved rice (from being cooked so many times), and a smattering of other things.

The verdict: Really tasty! The salt and cumin seasoned the bland stuff, the broth moistened the dry stuff, the spicy heat is reduced so now I can enjoy the smoky chili flavor, the rice and cornbread almost completely dissolved making the tomato base almost creamy, the cumin was an awesome addition, and there are big hunks of super-tender meat. A definite win!

So – I challenge you. Do you have stuff in the freezer that you don’t like but can’t make yourself throw away? How can you combine it with other things you have in the fridge, freezer, and/or cupboard to make it work for you? If you’re stumped, leave a comment and I’ll try to come up with a solution for you!

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