12 Delicious Soups You Can Make From Leftovers
Stuck with lots of leftovers? Not a problem! Though I'm notoriously bad at using prepared food from one night to the next, I've found that a little planning can turn that curse into a blessing. And with food waste being one of the top money-suckers from grocery budgets far and wide, it's only prudent to wise up and make the most of what you've got.
Here are 12 satisfying soup recipes — using last night's eats — that help you do just that. Just be sure to keep track of how long your foods have been the fridge. The Mayo Clinic guidelines suggest that most leftovers keep around 3-4 days before they enter risky territory. (See also: Thursday Night Soup)
1. Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
This Easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe gets its "complex flavor" from a homemade stock made by browning the bones of your leftover roasted chicken carcass. Toss in the meat, too, along with some herbs and veggies for a hearty lunch or dinner option.
2. Basic Turkey Stock
If you'd rather make just a base, here's a basic recipe for Turkey Stock. All you need are leftover turkey (or chicken, etc.) bones with some meat still attached. The rest comes together with other veggies you might need to use up before shopping for next week.
3. Roasted Veggie Soup
Vegetarians will love this Roasted Vegetable Soup for its robust flavor and adaptability. The recipe calls for chicken stock, but vegetable stock is an easy substitute. Simply collect a quart of leftover roasted veggies, heat the broth, combine, and pulse in a food processor. (See also: Slow Cooker Recipes for Lazy Vegetarians)
4. Black Bean and Rice Soup
I first featured this recipe in my 25 Ways to Spice Up Rice roundup, and it's certainly a keeper. If you're left with extra rice, try this Black Bean and Leftover Rice Soup. It works well with inexpensive veggies like cabbage and is a great use for some of your favorite dried bulk foods.
5. Mashed Potato Soup
Holiday or not, you may have some mashed potatoes on hand from last night's side item. Rachael Ray has you covered with her tasty Mashed Potato Soup. I think this recipe would taste great sans bacon and with sweet potatoes. (See also: 45 Sweet Potato Dishes)
6. Boxing Day Soup
This Boxing Day Soup is another post-holiday favorite, but you can use whatever leftover, seasonal veggies you might have in your fridge. The curry paste is sure to give this dish some unique, sophisticated flair.
7. Quick Minestore (With Noodles, Too!)
Cooked spaghetti is in high supply at our house, but I don't love eating standard noodles with sauce. The author of this Minute Minestrone promises it'll make the "most of what you have" — and I love that sentiment.
8. Leftover Soup All-In
This mix-and-match Leftover Soup "recipe" goes beyond last night's offerings to a full month's worth of remaining ingredients. The author puts foods like spaghetti, chili, and gravy in a gallon container in the freezer. From there, she combines with other staples depending on her tastes.
9. Beef and Veggie Soup
Try Leftover Beef and Veggie Soup for a particularly filling bowl. You can use any kind of steak you have on hand — cubed. The author writes that this recipe is a wonderful way to "clean out your refrigerator." (See also: Easy Ways to Make Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Expensive)
10. Fish Chowder
The author of this next recipe divulges that he doesn't like reheating leftover fish for lunch the next day. However, he doesn't mind using it in this Leftover Fish Chowder recipe. Tilapia is a good fit for this meal, though any white fish will do.
11. Vegan Leftover Soup
This vibrant Vegan Leftovers Soup is full of black beans, jasmine rice, and some Beyond Meat Not-Chicken cubes. However, you can use whatever happens to be on your own pantry and fridge shelves.
12. Cheese Soup
This last recipe is one I'm definitely trying — soon. Use the last of your milk, as well as random bits of cheese in this awesomely simple Leftover Cheese Soup. It's got a dose of hidden veggies in there, too!
What's your favorite soup to make with leftovers? We'd love your suggestions!