Garbage Soup

My husband refuses to eat leftovers.

This is undoubtedly due to trauma inflicted by his mother. She was a not very good cook, not at all organized, and cheap. That combo meant that leftovers started out not very good, were left to languish in the fridge, and then heated and served up regardless of if they smelled off. She would also do thing like skim off the ‘fuzzy part’ and serve the rest. <shudder>

Anyway, his dislike of leftovers isn’t a problem for us. I like my own cooking, and as far as I’m concerned, leftover whatever is a nice break from Yet Another Sandwich. So just like Jack Spratt and his wife, we have things covered.

The exception is “Garbage Soup.” This is a tradition from my family. I love it, and continued making it sometimes after I married, just for myself. But one day husband came home when I was making it, said, 'Wow, that smells good! What is it? Is it for supper?" Thinking fast, I told him it was “Granda Lily’s Chicken & Vegetable Soup” and yes we would have it that night. He looooved it.

And why shouldn’t he? It’s a wonderfully filling and tasty and comforting meal, especially on cold or rainy days. The thing is, he would be HORRIFIED and refuse to eat it if he knew it was made from leftovers. :frowning:

Here’s how you make Garbage Soup:

Whenever I have just a small bit of something left over, like a single spoonful of a vegetable or the last bit of that casserole, I put those things into this largish tupperware container I keep in the freezer. I also keep a plastic bag there, and I put in all the wings from the chickens I cook. (Neither of us like chicken skin, so otherwise they’d go to waste.)

When a sufficient quantity has accumulated, it’s Garbage Soup Day:

Simmer a chopped onion and a couple cloves of garlic in oil for a few minutes. Add the chicken wings (no need to thaw, just dump them in) plus enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for, oh, half an hour. Whatever. Scoop out the chicken wings and set them aside cool. Skim the broth if it’s frothy. Add the contents of the tupperware container, and a can of tomatoes.

After a few minutes take a look at the soup: Does there seem to be too little of a particular vegetable? Add some – either fresh or frozen. Not enough beans? Add. Too thin overall? Add some potatoes or rice or noodles.

Taste, of course. Often the spices from the leftover casseroles are plenty, but if not add whatever you like. I generally lean to basil and oregano but suit yourself. I almost always need to add salt and pepper.

Once the wings are cool enough, it’s easy to pull the meat slivers away from the bones and skin. Toss all chicken meat into the soup. Simmer at least until anything you added fresh – like potatoes or noodles or rice – is cooked. If you like, add some finely slivered cabbage or greens toward the end.

And, ta dah! You have Garbage Soup.

Just don’t tell my husband, okay? He’d probably divorce me for inflicting leftovers on him. After the second time I made it for ‘us’, I even wrote up and printed out a recipe for the soup. I listed all the possible things that could end up in the soup with amounts, but at the end I wrote “if you don’t have some of the ingredients in the house you can skip them and use extra of the others” just to cover the obvious variability on what leftovers I’d have.

So husband happily enjoys “Grandma Lily’s Chicken & Vegetables Soup.” But only for supper that day. Any soup not eaten at that meal immediately acquires Leftover Cooties. :rolleyes: Ah, well. More for me! :smiley:
So … anyone else make Garbage Soup? Or fool your spouse over the recipe of a particlar dish?

A family tradition for the day after Christmas and Thanksgiving (really any turkey dinner) is fried mush.

In a frying pan warm a serving of mashed potatoes, chunks of squash, sliced left over carrots, stuffing and diced turkey. Meanwhile in the microwave warm leftover gravy.

When the fryingpan portion is crispy on the edges, plate and top with warm gravy and cold cranberry sauce.

My father was also famous for his Hobo stew. Combine any leftover from the fridge, no matter how silly it seems to combine them. Add some form of sauce, when no sauce immediately seems appropriate open a can of creamed corn and add that. Warm and eat.

Not my spouse, but when I started cooking for the family I discovered that my parents were pretty nitpicky eaters. For example, if I made anything using sour cream, I would have to make sure to get that in before my dad got home. (one day I’ll tell him that the “Cheesy potatoes and ham casserole” that he loves uses an entire small container of sour cream.) If I use onions in a sauce I need to cut them small and cook them long enough that they break down and are no longer visible.

In our house it’s called Stone Soup - I keep several containers of homemade chicken stock plus chicken in the freezer. When the mood strikes or the appropriate leftovers accumulate, a couple of containers plus the leftovers go in the stockpot. Heat, season, add noodles, Israeli couscous or whatever and serve.

Himself has his own variation called Garbage Stew which is like the hobo stew noted above, even to the creamed corn kept in the pantry for exactly that purpose!

My MIL doesn’t like curry but she loves my chicken casserole.

I don’t do garbage soup, but I do refrigerator soup. Basically the same thing, only made with the veggies and meat in the fridge that will go bad if they’re not used in the next couple days. Almost always turns out good, and uses up stuff that would otherwise go bad.

We’ve been know to add leftover sandwiches! Just cut up real small and the bread thickens the soup while the ham or pastrami or whatever gives it some more flavor. My MIL is the queen of this; she can look at a fridge of leftovers and make a fantastic minestrone or other yummy soup. Not enough? She adds a can of Campbell’s chunky split pea with ham or a can of beans.

I have kept a garbage soup container in the freezer in the past. These days, I’m more careful about portion sizes, so we have fewer leftovers. I also use mostly fresh or frozen veggies these days, as opposed to canned, so I am able to choose the amount to match the number of diners. If I overestimate, though, and especially if I have a bit of meat left over, I’ll make a stirfry or something. Stirfries are very versatile.

In addition to using the wings, if you get necks with your chickens, use the necks in the soup too. Necks have a lot of flavor in them.

That sounds like it’s turkey hash. Does sound YUMMY, though.

That sounds BANANAS! And bananas is good! :smiley:

I call it “Cream of Yesterday.” Even if cream is not involved. It’s just my little joke.