Being inventive

Posted on | Thursday, March 31, 2011 | 1 Comment

The one big downside to having a healthier diet is that you can't always use up all the good food you buy. Especially when it's a one-person house hold that you are cooking for. And while I am fairly inventive with my meals there always seems to be some floppy celery or mushy apple that ends up in the trash.

I thought there had to be some way to use those last bits and pieces, perfectly good food shouldn't go to waste just because it's not at it's peak of freshness anymore!

And then the light bulb went off in my head: soup. I could make soup! What is minestrone but just stock with vegetables and maybe a form of pasta tossed in? I had vegetables, pasta, and stock. Albeit not all my vegetables are considered traditional soup fare, but what the heck. The worst thing that could happen is I didn't like it and we've discovered through previous culinary experiments that most recipes turn out in my favor.

So I peeked my head in the fridge. I had wilted celery, half an old onion, some rubbery baby carrots and the last few miniature bell peppers from a container I had bought last week. I also had a can of diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and whole wheat fusilli. Looked like a recipe to me!

Turns out I had a lot of celery to use up. Double the amount than any of the other vegetables I was planning on using. It didn't look like it was five large stalks when it was in the bag. But this was my soup recipe and I was going to add what I wanted.

Through some quick Googling I discovered that I actually had mirepoix on my hands. Awesome! My minestrone soup suddenly had a French flare to it. That made it official cuisine, right? I'm going to say it did. Rustic French Minestrone Soup, a special recipe created by Team Herbitter. I should make a cook book.

I added in the chopped bell peppers and let it cook together for a little bit before adding the diced tomatoes to the mix. I kept the juice as well since it would add more flavor to the soup. That, and I was a bit low on chicken stock. Between the two it just barely covered the vegetables. Meanwhile I cooked up the pasta in a separate pot and let the veggies simmer away happily.

Then into the pot the twisty pasta went. Doesn't that just look yummy?! Not much like soup anymore, but maybe a stew? A Rustic French Minestone What-I-Found-In-My-Fridge Stew? Eh, I'll come up with a spiffy name later. I added some sage and rosemary along with a few pinches of pepper and about a cup and a half of water since the soup/stew was low on liquid and left it to simmer for about half an hour and then dished it out.

It was surprisingly delicious. Savory and very filling. The bizarre mixture of vegetables melded together into a very nice flavor. I had enough soup to give half a pot to my neighbor and still have two days of left overs, but I suppose once I live in a larger household that will come in handy.

Maybe I'll improvise again next time I cook something up. I haven't disappointed my tastebuds yet.


One Response to “Being inventive”

  1. --Sharon
    March 31, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Since I cook for one (me), here is what I do to try to salvage vegetables.

    First, if I need some onion or green pepper for a recipe but not a WHOLE onion or green pepper, I go ahead and chop the remainder up, put it in a baggie, and stick it in the freezer. Then, the next time I need some chopped onion or green pepper, it's already cut up! You can only do this for vegetables you're going to cook -- freezing and thawing makes veggies soft, so you would not eat them raw -- but it's perfectly fine for vegetables that you're going to saute or stew. Celery would work fine, too.

    I also usually have a container that I'm working on for soup/stew ingredients. Have half a cup of tomato sauce left over? Stick it in the freezer container. A little celery left? Freezer container. You can add anything that sounds good except cruciferous vegetables like broccoli -- their taste is too strong and doesn't blend well. Then, the next time you make soup just dump in the frozen stuff from your freezer soup container!

    When I make a pot of soup, I immediately stick some of it into containers for the freezer. It's very difficult to make a LITTLE soup or a LITTLE stew or a LITTLE spaghetti sauce. So freeze it and you'll have a meal all ready to go.



Photobucket I was born and raised in California. I have also lived in Hungary, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, and I will be moving again this summer. Kael is my incredibly awesome kiddo who is growing up far too quickly, and Alex is my fiance who makes me happier than should be legally allowed. I write about them a lot. I'm mildly obsessed with cooking and photography. I write about those things, too.