I decided upon a soup and sandwich night tonight. The sandwich part was easy: bacon and tomato. I’ve got loads of tomatoes in the garden but that little nip in the air reminds me they won’t be here forever so I should enjoy them now! I started the soup going (“recipe” below) then spread the bacon out on a lidded cookie sheet and baked it. My mother always fried up her bacon but I’ve learned that baking it is much easier and, for me, turns out more reliably “perfectly done” bacon with none of the futzing I tend to do with it on the stove. Lay it out on something that can collect the fat. You can lay it on cookie cooling trays if you’d like, although to me that’s just two more things to clean up (assuming a pound of bacon). I do save my bacon grease. This came as a shock to a friend of mine. I throw out more than I save, but I save some for corn bread, fried potatoes, and a few other things. Anyway, bake your bacon. It’s much easier. Lay it in a single layer on a pan that can hold the grease and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick it is. This is printed, by the way, right on the package of bacon most likely. I’m continually amazed at the information you can get by actually reading the packages!
The soup… The other night I pulled out 4 cups of frozen broth. About that anyway; it was frozen in an old potato salad container from the deli. And last night I’d made mashed potatoes and saved the potato water in a jar in the refrigerator, knowing I’d be making soup one night. So I put the potato water and the half-thawed chicken broth in my soup pot and turned it on medium to melt the rest of the broth.
At this point, I typically search through my refrigerator to see what I can add to the pot. I had some yellow squash and green beans tucked away, so I threw those in. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce, something I neglected to write up here I realize. (The basic idea was to make ricotta cheese “balls” and simmer them in the sauce. They were, uh, big blobs of cheese and fell apart more often than not anyway.) I scooped out the ricotta balls and threw the tomato sauce into the soup pot.
Hmmm…Not enough veggies. I went out the garden and picked some more green beans and some fresh parsley. The yellow squash plant just had tiny babies so I left them on the vine for another day. I trimmed the beans and threw them in the pot, then went back to the veggie drawer of the freezer. Ah, the big bag of spinach from Costco. I chopped up a few cups worth and threw that in.
My youngest had come home from school not feeling well. She’s not a huge fan of BLTs this year. It happens. They lose their taste buds! Actually, I understand changing tastes and while I don’t bow down to them, I do try to accommodate them if I can do it within the general plan for the meal. Knowing she didn’t feel totally up to snuff and remembering one of her favorite soups, I pulled a few meatballs out of the freezer and threw them in the soup and grated a bit of Parmesan to have at the table. I figured if she didn’t want a sandwich, she’d do fine filling up on soup. She dug into the soup, then after eating a big bowl asked if she could have a half a sandwich, too. The headache’s gone. She talked about going to school tomorrow. The power of soup!