Looking in the fridge, I saw I had a tomato that was likely to go bad soon and a half-can of red kidney beans. So I figured, “Hey, soup!”. Well, my first thought was chili. But I had a couple of 24 oz cans of spaghetti sauce I’d got for 50 cents each (dented, but still fine), and a box of Wolfgang Puck brand beef broth that I’d got for a dollar. See NOTE below for more info.
Anyway, I used pasta fagioli as an inspiration, but used rice. All simple stuff I had around the house. Frankly, the results turned out better than I expected. I always like pleasant surprises like that.
So, the recipe, such as it is.
- garlic powder (see NOTE)
- 1/4 cup rice
- small onion
- 1/2 tomato
- 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 can kidney beans
- 1 cup beef broth
- Italian seasoning blend
- dried basil
- garlic powder
- Add salt and pepper and garlic powder to water. Add rice and cook it. Go traditional (2 parts water to 1 part rice, boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes) or how I did it (8 parts water to 1 part rice, boil in microwave for 10 minutes, check that there’s still enough water, microwave for 10 minutes more) (the rice can be a bit gummy in the microwave version, but that’s fine for soup).
- Dice the onion and saute (I tossed the pieces in some oil and microwaved for 2-1/2 minutes).
- Dice the tomato.
- The advantage of the microwave version: If you use a very large container to cook the rice, you can dump all the other ingredients in with it after the rice is done. Which is what I did.
- Seasonings: To taste. Call it a couple teaspoons of the herbs, and a few shakes of salt and pepper and garlic powder.
- Microwave for 3 minutes, stir, microwave for 3-5 minutes more.
- Eat and be full.
I used the small bowl above, for portion control. One of those, and I was comfortably full. But that was a few hours ago, so I think I’ll go back for more. Plus I wanted to let it cool some before portioning it out and putting in the fridge.
Which is one of my problems, so word to the wise. If you cook a large amount of food, divide it into portions as soon as possible, to keep you from eating the whole dam pot/plate/whatever.
NOTE: Btw, if you have a dent-and-bent store in your area, it’s a godsend for food budgets. Or the near-out-of-date rack at your grocery store. Use judgement, but a lot of the stuff is perfectly fine, even though it doesn’t look pretty. The spaghetti sauce and beef broth I got at the Family Dollar, which is rather ironic.
NOTE: Got the garlic powder at what used to be Mother Earth’s, but is now Earth Origins. I’m not into the “organic” stuff, mostly since it’s frightfully more expensive. Plus you can get a lot of the veggies cheaper at your local farmers market. But for bulk spices, you can’t beat it. I love thyme, for example, but it’s 3 to 4 dollars a bottle in the store. So are most herbs. But at Earth Origins, I can get enough to fill a bottle for 50 cents, or less. And it’s fresher. Or I can buy half a bottle’s worth, which means it’s that much fresher.
You should clean out your herbs and spices at least once a year if they’ve not been used. But if you get them from your whole foods store, you can get just what you need (or a bit more), and replenish as you like. Thus, no stale herbs. And honestly, herbs and spices are a terrificly inexpensive way to add flavor to your food. Just because you may have to eat cheaply doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor. Peasants across the world have been doing so for centuries.
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