Saving on Supper: Garbage In, Dinner Out

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"Garbage soup" doesn't sound appealing, but it's actually tasty – and thrifty.

A big bowl of “garbage soup” plus crackers or bread makes a super-frugal supper. Don’t have the recipe? Neither do I, because it’s different every time.

The basic premise: Over a period of weeks or months, you toss any leftover bits of veggies, meat, poultry, rice, mashed potatoes, or gravy into a bowl or bag in the freezer.

Garbage soup is frugal because it uses up those last couple of bits of uneaten food that might otherwise get tossed. You can limit sodium (as in: don’t add any) and the fat content (if you go easy on the gravy or omit it entirely).

And it certainly keeps your dinner partners guessing. By definition, each batch is unique. It can never taste the same way twice because its ingredients vary so widely.

Here’s how you work with potage de garbage: Pour some stock (homemade or canned) and seasonings into a pan, with some canned tomatoes if you like. Simmer for 15 or 20 minutes, then add the contents of the freezer bag. Heat thoroughly and adjust the seasoning.

Dinner is served.

Should a batch be light on veggies, just add whatever ones you have on hand.  You could also add a can or two of rinsed and drained beans, or a handful of lentils, to make an even heartier stew.

It takes just about as long to make garbage soup as to wait for a pizza delivery. Just sayin’.

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Stacy Johnson

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