With soup, leftovers never go to waste

  • Have some leftover baked potatoes crowding your refigerator? Try this recipe from Alton Brown of the Food Network.M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyherald.com

    Have some leftover baked potatoes crowding your refigerator? Try this recipe from Alton Brown of the Food Network.M. Eileen Brown/ebrown@dailyherald.com

 
 
Updated 10/18/2017 12:38 AM

I love leftovers, but I am not always very good with leftovers -- if that makes any sense.

Day old Thai food? I'm on it. The last few slices of pizza? They never go to waste. Of course, I love leftover soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But give me a few random carrots, some limp kale, and a handful of sad-looking roasted potatoes and my creative juices seem to fail me. I hate to confess this, but those kinds of ingredients often go off to the compost pile or into the garbage disposal.

What should be plainly obvious to me is that soup is the perfect solution for any wayward scraps that randomly take up space in my fridge.

To that end, I am going to start to embrace the spirit of cucina povera, which is Italian for "kitchen of the poor." Basically it means eating well, but frugally, and always using what you have on hand. Cucina povera is the reason we have such Italian favorites as minestrone soup, as well as panzanella (bread salad) or pasta fagioli (pasta with beans).

All of those dishes are a combination of simple ingredients and what's already in the pantry or fridge. In other words, they all started out as leftovers.

And it's the reason we're highlighting a recipe for Leftover Baked Potato Soup, courtesy of Alton Brown of the Food Network.

This recipe is very basic potato and leek soup, which uses leftover baked potatoes as its main ingredient. I used four baked potatoes because that's all I had, but it wouldn't have hurt if I had used a few more as my potatoes were on the small side. This is one of those "use your best judgment" kinds of recipes.

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There are a few ingredients that you certainly will have to go to the store for, but, in general, this is a fairly frugal soup. (I admit to having leftover sour cream after making this, but getting rid of sour cream is hardly a problem for me!)

One final note: Just as I was writing this, I discovered a website called savethefood.com. It is a fabulous site that gives you hints about cooking, storing and sharing your extra food. It emphasizes how much money you can save, as well as the environmental impact of using up all the groceries you buy.

Their motto is "This is where food waste ends. Plan. Freeze. Conquer." What's not to love about that?

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