Everywhere you look--both online and off--there is advice to be more frugal. Do without, make it last and use it up. Live simply. Don't waste! There's plenty of good advice out there and I'm not above offering my own: Use your leftovers wisely.
There's absolutely no reason to throw out those couple of carrots in the bottom of the bin that aren't as firm as they used to be. Or those couple of onions in the corners of the bin that have decided to send up a tender inch long green shoot. What about those leftover veggies from last night's dinner? Or the broken up bits from the bottom of a box of dried pasta? Gather them all up. You'll need them.
Keep in mind, this is how I made MY soup. Unless you have exactly the same things in your kitchen as I do and you use them in the same order and at the same rate, you will have different things than I do. My recipe is meant to be a base for you to follow. Use your leftovers--don't go buy fresh for this soup!
Odds & Ends Soup
2 carrots, cut in rounds
4 small stalks of celery, cut in thin slices and any leaves still attached chopped up as well
3 small onions, finely chopped, any green shoots removed from the middle
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil--to lightly coat bottom of your pot
splash of red wine
approximately 24 ounces of organic beef stock (leftover from opening a 32 oz box and needing 1 cup)
1 bay leaf
Pinch of sage
Quick cooking barley, approximately 1 tablespoon from corners of box
1/2-1 ounce, approximately,broken dried noodle bits (I used broken linguine that's been around too long)
1-1.5 cups chopped roasted cauliflower (from last night's dinner)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1. Make a soffrito in a pot with the olive oil, carrots, celery and onion.
2. Add the garlic when the other vegetables are tender and cook for a minute, or until garlic is tender but not brown. Add the splash of wine, scraping up any bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking to reduce the liquid by half.
3. Pour in the beef broth and heat until simmering. Add the bay leaf, the sage, barley, pasta and vegetables. Add salt and pepper and adjust to taste.
4. Cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally until your barley and noodles are cooked. Serve hot.
Almost anything can be added to this soup. Got a handful of beans left over? Throw them in. Have rice instead of pasta? Use that. This soup is meant to use up your leftovers--not make new ones!