Ever find yourself surrounded by scraps of vegetables or bones from a beautiful roast and thinking what a shame it would be to throw it all out? Making a stock is a great and easy way to use these leftovers to help you get a head start on preparing your next meal. Once made, you can store it in the freezer in small containers for quick access to make a simple soup or something more challenging. (See below for stock-making tips.)
With this freezer-stored stock, you’re already on your way to making one of the delicious, warming soups below — perfect for winter dinner dishes. (Plus, by using homemade stock*, you’ve significantly reduced the amount of sodium and preservatives in your meal.)
A classic comfort dish, this soup has filling, bite-sized meatballs that makes it filling enough for dinner.
This version of the classic comfort soup is made with a slow-cooked chicken and tons of vegetables like celery, carrots and onions – it might even, dare-I-say it, rival Mom’s.
Taking advantage of nutritious and filling lentils, this hearty soup is topped with a dose of sweet potato croutons for added crunch and flavor.
A quick soup that’s full of vegetables and protein to keep you warm and satisfied during the winter.
A southern treat, this soup gets a rich, smoky touch from ham hock and a creamy consistency from fresh butter beans (they don’t actually have butter in them).
Quick Stock-Making Tips:
Adding leftover Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds to the stock is a great way to add flavor (just remove it before serving/freezing).
Add the onion skin to the stock as it’s cooking to give it a warming, golden-hue. (Remove before serving/freezing).
For a super-fast, noodle soup, simply heat up the broth on the stove and add some vermicelli, brown rice noodles or other type of noodle and cook until tender. Top with fresh parsley or other herbs you have on hand. (Adding quick-cooking vegetables like spinach or kale is a good way to add quick flavor and nutrients.)
Remember to leave ½-1-inch space at the top of the container when freezing (it will expand as it freezes).
And of course, the better the quality of the ingredients you start out with, the better your stock and ultimately soup will taste.
For more ideas, click here to see A Warming Soup Menu.
*Note: If you do buy store-bought brands, then try the low-sodium and organic vegetable/chicken broths. While not as good as homemade stock, they will have a lower sodium content and less preservatives then regular/non-organic stocks.