Frigid temperatures are covering most areas of our country...I can't say the same about Houston...today it was in the high 60's and sunny...I opened the windows, turned on the music, and worked on house projects all day...it was wonderful! I also took a 1.5 hour walk this morning which truly invigorated me to have such a productive day!
Back to those frigid temps that are making most people wish for a bowl of hot soup...that's what I'm talking about today...SOUP...well not soup exactly...VEGETABLE STOCK, yes, that's what simmered on my stove all afternoon. I don't always make my own stock, and in a pinch I often use Pacific Organic Chicken Stock or Pacific Beef Broth or Kitchen Basics Vegetable Stock.
Here's how I make vegetable stock--Everytime I cook using onion, carrot, celery, squash, broccoli, etc I always save the onion skin, carrot peel, celery leaves, mushrooms and mushroom stems, garlic cloves, dried out baby carrots (you know you have them in your fridge), tomatoes that are beginning to get too soft, ends of the squash, broccoli stalks and put them in a gallon sized ziploc in the freezer. This ziploc stays in the freezer until it's full--then I make stock by throwing all the "scraps" in a soup pot, covering with water and simmering for a couple of hours.
When it starts it looks something like this:
When it's finished it looks something like this:
All the color and flavor from the vegetables steeps into the water and creates a beautiful stock
Now, you will need to add salt in order to get what you want. But seriously, how cheap is that...it costs next to nothing and is super healthy.
You can portion out the stock and store it in the fridge or freezer or you can immediately use it to make soup, which is what is simmering on my stove as I type. Since I'm in a major clean out mood I cleaned out my freezer and fridge and made soup using black eyed peas I intended using Sunday, ham, frozen corn and peas, and some new potatoes.
Basically it's something like my Clean out the Fridge and Freezer Vegetable Soup
You could also use the stock to make Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup
300 Calorie Tortilla Soup (from myrecipes.com)
Italian Style Beef and Pepperoni Soup (from myrecipes.com) that looks SO good!
Tuscan White Bean Soup (from myrecipes.com)
and Italian Meatball Soup (from the Pioneer Woman...because she is one of my heros)
and her Roasted Vegetable Minestrone (which I've been meaning to make)
and I think I'll leave it at that...so now...begin saving your vegetable scraps and make some stock soon...then make some soup and let it warm your heart and soul!
**note** just because a recipe calls for chicken stock or beef stock doesn't mean you necessarily need to use that kind of stock. For Chicken Noodle Soup and the like I would use chicken stock because of the color. You could also add bone-in chicken or beef bones to the vegetables to make a beef or chicken stock.