Soup from Scraps

We compost our food scraps and I noticed that since the kids don’t tend to eat most of the broccoli stalks, just the florets, I have been throwing them into the compost.  Well, I decided before tossing them into the compost, I’d keep aside a few meals’ worth in the fridge and make soup out of it.  I had some left over potato in two forms— boiled in the jacket and mashed.  I knew the mashed potato would thicken the soup nicely. You can just use a whole potato cut. brown specks are from the potato skins

Broccoli & Potato soup

2 cups of broccoli ends

1-2 potatoes

2 cups water, vegetable stock or chicken broth

2 tsp onion flakes

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup cream

salt and pepper to taste

So, I cut up the broccoli stalks (and about one floret) into small pieces and brought them to a boil in water .  I cooked until tender and added the seasoning (I added 2 tsp chicken base too) and 2 different types of cooked potatoes.  Lastly I added the cream.  Once it had come back to a boil I took it off the heat and used the immersion blender to purée it.  Delicious and vibrant too!

My eldest son had it for lunch and deemed it “Delicious!” after getting over the fact I didn’t make potato leek soup. 

Since the potatoes were already cooked it didn’t take long.  You can always cut everything into small pieces, to increase the speed of cooking if you’re starting from raw, since they’re staying in the same liquid in which they’re cooked. 

Thai Red Curry

I had braised a pork roast for several hours in the oven to use half for pork tacos/burritos at my friend’s New Year’s Fiesta.   We had the other half left over so my husband and I decided to turn it into a Thai Red Curry; it’s a great quick meal.  The flavors are so wonderful, but you might have to be careful of the heat from the spices for kids. 

 Thai Pork Curry

1 tsp red curry paste (or more for added heat)

1 can coconut milk

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 bell peppers, diced (orange, yellow, green and/or red) (we used frozen peppers)

1 Tbsp oil (canola, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed)

1 tsp fish sauce

Tbsp soy sauce

handful fresh cilantro, chopped (or 2 frozen cubes)

Heat oil and add paste.  Stir over medium high heat for a minute then add vegetables and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 5 minutes.  Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce.  Add pork.  Simmer for another few minutes.  Finish with cilantro and serve over jasmine or basmati rice.


You can substitute chicken, shrimp or fish for the pork.  If you add raw meats/fish do so before the vegetables and make sure it’s cooked through.

We served it with a side of snow peas finished with sesame oil and soy sauce. All three of my kids loved it, though I did give some extra rice for my spice-sensitive middle son.  My eldest wasn’t too fond of the peppers so he ate around them, but still declared the meal, “Delicious!”

I’ll post the braising and taco part later.

Dinner in 10.

At story time in the library yesterday a mother mentioned she never cooks because she doesn’t have time. Instead of saying I completely understand because my time is crazed right now and I have no time, I told her she could try some recipes I’d just cooked.  One I told her, took as long as boiling the pasta to make.  Her interest was piqued.  Now, I probably should have told her that I was up until 1:30 last night sorting and folding laundry because I’d let it go to the point of digging socks and underwear out of the mountain filled baskets, but I didn’t want to tarnish my super-mommy image (actually nobody who knows me thinks I am supermom, because I am usually honest about how messy my house is and how I just can’t do it all).  Ah, but one can dream and pretend for a day. 

I know that some people choose to keep a tidy house over cooking meals for their kids and I do have some friends that have tidy homes and cook great meals (even a couple that hold fulltime jobs) but they’re just much more organized and less ADD than me!  I have a cluttered office, an over abundance of toys to weed through, a laundry situation that constantly eludes me, and a back yard that will soon win the WT award.   Cause truth is I’d rather be cooking than cleaning, I’d rather be writing than cleaning and I’d rather have an over scheduled schedule than cleaning.  Now, if I start making more money I can hire someone to come clean regularly… ooh, and if I make tons I can hire someone to do my laundry.  Well, that means getting more clients and that takes a lot of time.  But, for now, messy house and laundry up the wazoo.


Back to the food… Here is one of recipes I told her about.  It took about 10 minutes.  


Shrimp Bianco with Spinach and Tomatoes


1 pound frozen de-veined shrimp

1/4 onion (or 1 shallot) finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

handful parsley, chopped

baby spinach (I used what I had from my CSA about 2 cups)

handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup white wine

sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 pound thin spaghetti


Run cool water over shrimp to thaw, set aside.  Put salted water on to boil.  Chop the onion, garlic and parsley.  Heat olive oil and sauté the onions then add garlic, making sure neither get brown.  Add shrimp and when they’re just turning pink add wine, cream, parsley. Stir for 30 seconds then add spinach and tomatoes and salt and pepper.  As soon as spinach is wilted, strain spaghetti and toss with shrimp mixture.  Serve. 


My kids loved this dish.  I loved that I made it so quickly.  I was seriously considering getting a pizza, but managed to save money and give something a little more nutritious in less time than it would have taken for the pizza delivery person to drive over here.  And there was not a single whine at the dinner table! 


Unfortunately because it was so quick, I didn’t have my camera ready during the cooking process. Next time!