Big Pot of Soup for Weekends

DSC_0629John is on furlough with the government shut down, and we’re loving it.  We’ve been busy enough lately that time off, even if he never ends up getting paid, is just what we needed. (Also, this is why we eat beans and rice and don’t buy stuff– so we have a little extra in the bank for times like this.  And it’s times like this that make me really thankful we don’t own a home or have car payments, so instead of being frantic about everything, we’re just having one long, beautiful, unending weekend and we’re drinking bottles of wine and cleaning out little corners of the house and playing games with Will all day.)



Anyway, the past few weeks I’ve undergone massive reformation in the way I grocery shop.  I’ve gone way over budget every month ever since we’ve moved to Ithaca, and I decided that it must end.  We’re getting back to basics. We haven’t even been eating great food– I’ve just been lazy and unintentional in the way I shop, and way too indulgent in buying random things here and there.

So now I’m actually planning meals. And I’ve been cooking huge batches of dry beans in my big stainless steel pot and then freezing 2 and 4 cup portions in Ball jars.  I don’t love freezing food (not sure why) but I think having pre-cooked (not in a can) beans is super helpful.


I’ve found organic sausage and organic ground lamb at a good price, so I’ve been buying one of those each week and stretching out that pound of meat for the whole week.  It’s been awhile since I’ve bought a chicken to roast, but I will add that back into the rotation once a month.  I’ve spent much less the past 3 or 4 weeks, even though I’ve added in buying this pound of meat (I hadn’t really been buying any meat before).  Somehow just a little crumble of sausage or lamb has been making the usual bean and egg dishes feel much more satisfying.

And I’m not a freezer cooker, but I decided that I don’t want to cook on Sundays if at all possible, so the past few weeks I’ve been trying to cook a big pot of hearty soup on Saturday to eat on Sunday.  This happened sort of by chance about a month ago, when we had all the ingredients on hand to make this amazing peanut eggplant stew from Veganomicon.  I made an enormous batch of it, and we ate it for dinner Saturday and then were able to invite people over for lunch after church on Sunday because I knew I had a big pot of something delicious already made.  Our friends brought a salad and a loaf of amazing bread, and it was a perfect meal.  And I didn’t have to cook.

So, in order to have a little rest on Sundays, and also in case we want to have guests over, I am now using Saturdays to make a Big Pot of Soup.


Last weekend’s Big Pot of Soup was chili (with 2/3 of the lamb from this week– I had saved most of it in anticipation of the chili) with red and black beans.  John usually doesn’t like chili that much (because I never make it with meat, I think), but the lamb did the trick for him and we both feasted sumptuously all weekend.  This weekend I just made a pot of white beans with dried sage and thyme.  We ate it with the ends of loaves of bread doused with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toasted into big croutons.  And large curls of shaved romano cheese.

There is something so calming about having a really big pot of something good to eat, not having to throw something together after church on Sunday, and being able to take a rest without spending money to eat out.

This coming weekend: Buffalo Chicken Soup (but I’m going to add a bunch of white beans to it to thicken it up a little).  I’ll let you know how that goes.



7 thoughts on “Big Pot of Soup for Weekends”

  1. Hooray to not having mortgage or car payments! We don’t have a car or house, either and have never been happier.It’s so liberating!

    Re freezing: Freezing fresh food is awesome; nothing to be afraid of, in terms of keeping in nutrients. Much, much better than canned food, and it’s always nice to have something nutritious when you don’t feel like cooking. Also, if you find organic meat at a good price, you can buy extra, portion it out and have it in the freezer ready to go.I only have a teeny, tiny European one, but it’s jammed packed.

    I do hope that you will save all your chicken bones and make stock! Easy peasy in the slow cooker and even easier and quicker in a pressure cooker.

    [your baby gets cuter by the post!]

    1. Oh yes, I do save the bones for stock! And yeah, it seems like everyone owns a home, and I can see the beauty of it (though it’s mostly that I grew up thinking that that was one of the necessary hallmarks of adulthood or something), but more and more I do feel liberated by not having to own such an enormous object.

  2. Soup is always a favorite meal at our house, and even more so during the colder months. Last week I made sweet potato/coconut milk soup, and it was well received by two men (boys?) who claim to not like either of the main ingredients.

    Your bean soup looks so tasty! Maybe dry beans should be on my grocery list more. I think it’s those big flakes of cheese that do it for me, though! It’s so awesome that you can find some organic meat! The Guy and I tried grass-fed cheese for the first time the other day, and now I feel like I should track down some better meat! That lamb chili sounds simply divine 🙂

    Also, have you ever tried hominy in chili? That is one of my requirements for chili – meatless or meat-ful (yep, that’s a word now). I’ve only ever gotten it canned, but I would think it would be available some other way. It really adds meatiness and texture.

    OK, you got me needing to make chili soon…

    1. Oh man, hominy is the best. I haven’t used that in awhile, but I should get back in the habit of it when I make chili. It does add the best texture and taste!! And I made a squash/coconut milk soup last week, too! I used a few tablespoons of some red curry paste and added peanut butter to thicken it up a little, and I served it over big heaps of rice. Delicious.

      And yes, even just a small amount of good lamb turned regular, boring chili into amazing, incredible chili. (I used about 3/4 lb for 10-12 servings– you can really stretch it out and still get the benefit of the great flavor).

      1. Ooh, that curry squash soup sounds amazing! Haha, I wanted to add peanut butter, but figured two ingredients they don’t normally like at once was enough for the boys! Though now you’re reminding me that I bought some fresh curry powder that’s making my kitchen smell amazing, and now I want to put it in something.

        Hmm, maybe this week’s grocery shopping I can find some good lamb. If all else fails I know we have grass-fed bison or something like that. Now to convince the boys that spending more money on a little good meat is better than spending a little on cheap meat 😛

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