"I like to clean out the fridge and cupboards by using all the random ingredients I have left to create a simple new dish that may not have been on my initial meal plan."
Jana, at HappyWifeHealthyLife.com
"I'm sick of recipes that taste the same every time you make them. My great-grandmother, who lived through two world wars, used to start every recipe with "Man tar va man har", ie "you take what you have at hand." "
spongefile, at halfhourmeals.com


Past Posts

Simple Pea Soup

Well, you know.... open the cans first.

Well, you know…. open the cans first.

You don’t have to add the mushrooms, of course.  Just see how simple this is:

That’s the basic idea — very easy,  very inexpensive, and very good.

I like this soup plenty just like this, but of course variations a’plenty abound. Use whatever seasonings you like.  I like sage.  Some diced ham is a very common addition.  Smoked turkey would be good. Fresh carrots would be even cheaper than canned. Onion would be nice. A lot of people probably use some kind of stock or broth rather than plain water.

Oh, by the way, I don’t put my soup into a blender or a food processor, although I have noticed that’s very popular these days.

Do whatchu wanna do.

Yellow split pea soup with caramelized onions.

This is a wonderful way to use a leftover hambone.

Smoked Turkey Split Pea Soup.

Split Pea Soup with ham hocks, chicken broth, and potatoes.

What to Donate to Food Banks and Food Drives

No more ramen, OK?


How To Donate To A Food Drive from Momentum Visual on Vimeo.

What Food Banks Need Most (And What They Get Too Much of)

This is What Food Banks Actually Need

Holiday Food Drives — Give the Right Stuff

Thank you. With a little help, it’s not so bad.

Turnip Chicken Stew

Hearty Chicken Turnip Stew

Hearty Chicken Turnip Stew


Somebody gave me a bag of turnips.  I happened to have a cooked whole chicken with a lot of meat still on it, so I made Chicken Turnip Stew.

Here’s how I did it:

Lesson 1)  Turnips are good in stew.  If you use beef instead of chicken and make it on the night before Monday, then you’ll have Sunday Night Stew. The Pioneer Woman peels her turnips, though.  Pioneer. Ha.

Lesson 2)  A whole chicken makes good soup.  “Tear meat from bone” is a lovely instruction.

Fennel Tomato Soup

More of a stew, actually. I had mine with smoked Gouda grilled cheese.

More of a stew, actually. I had mine with smoked Gouda grilled cheese.

The other day I was reading this article about cooking with fennel. I like fennel, but somehow I don’t buy it very often. I think it’s because I don’t really know that many ways to use it.  So, I’m reading this article, and it mentions Tomato Fennel Soup. I thought that sounded like a great idea! So I bought some fennel.

Now, of course I didn’t follow the recipe in that article. I just threw some fennel, onions, and tomato together.  I sort of went back and forth with myself about whether to thicken it with a roux or just stir in some flour and water at the end. And then I saw I had cornstarch and I thought I might use that.  BUT in the end I didn’t use any of those things and it turned out plenty thick enough. In fact, what I made is really more of a fennel tomato stew.

I enjoyed mine with a grilled cheese sandwich, but it would be good with rice or croutons or something like that, too.

It’s really easy.

Some people don’t chop up all those fronds, or they just use part of the feathery stuff as a garnish. Yeah, well, whatever.

Tomato-Fennel Soup with Brie Toasts is a more sophisticated version from the New York Times.

Country Living has a recipe for Creamy Tomato-Fennel Soup. Hey, they like it with grilled Gouda, too!

Some people add fennel seeds, in addition to the fennel vegetable.  Mmmmm… Fennelly!  It would be good with some sausage in there, or even pretend-sausage, like this one at Vegetarian Times.

How about a Fish, Fennel, and Tomato Stew?

If you make it even thicker, and add bread crumbs and cheese, you’d have yourself a Fennel & Tomato Gratin.

Well, there you go, then. Fennel and tomato. Turns out it’s a thing.

Don’t be so picky. Stop throwing food away!

Sometimes you choose the food, and sometimes the food chooses you, meaning, eat the food that’s about to go bad, even if you were in the mood for something else. Don’t let the food go bad, eat it! Don’t be so picky. Got an apple with a bad spot on it? Just don’t eat that spot. Eat the rest of the apple rather than throwing it away.

Some more ways to use more of the food you buy and throw away less of it: Eat more leftovers. Keep the little bits of food not used at a meal and use them in new dishes over the next few days – stir-fry, for instance, or omelets or salads. Use the whole vegetable, or as much as you can: broccoli stems are good raw or shredded for slaw or peeled and cooked with the florets. Use potatoes with the skins on them. Kale stems are good when you cut them small and cook them, or save those stems along with other veggie stems and peels in a bag in the freezer and make vegetable stock out of them instead of throwing them away, buying cans of stock, and throwing away what you don’t use of that, too. Take leftovers to work instead of throwing them in the trash, buying more food for lunch and throwing part of that away, as well.

If you make it a value, make it something you care about, you’ll learn to stop throwing away food. It’s a change, and change is hard, but it’s a noble pursuit.

To End Food Waste, Change Needs to Begin at Home

29 Smart and Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste

How to Make Vegetable Broth with Kitchen Scraps

How to Use Kale Stems

Martha Rose Shulman says, I never throw out broccoli stems. If I don’t use them for pickles or stir-fries, I’ll shred them and use them in a delicious slaw like this one:”  Broccoli Stem and Red Pepper Slaw

“Did you know that when things are looking a little too ripe, they are often at the peak of nutrition?” – Andrew Nisker