Use What You Have to Alchemize a Healthy One Pot Meal

May 23, 2019

You know those moments when you just need nourishment?

I always go straight to the kitchen and whip out my soup pot, open up the fridge and check the cupboards. I look to see what I already have at home to create a delicious, healthy, flavorful meal for myself and my family.

The purpose of this soup is to prepare a one pot meal that is healthy and nutritious for your family and isn’t a lot of work for you.

It’s fantastic to prepare the day after cooking a whole chicken so that you can utilize the chicken carcass for extra flavor and nourishment.

The below is the recipe for my infamous “Refrigerator Soup.”

Refrigerator Soup is really just a vegetable soup, unless you decide to add your choice of meat. It’s easy to add store bought rotisserie chicken as well, begin with cubed bacon, or any left over meat that is soup worthy, if you so desire.

The good thing about this soup recipe is that there isn’t one way to prepare it. Once you get the hang of the combination of vegetables and spices, you can be an alchemist in the kitchen.

Maybe you have to purchase just enough ingredients to make the perfect soup. Notice that I don’t give exact amounts, this is because you really can use what you have and be creative with your outcome.

Ingredients for Refrigerator Soup

This is what I use every time for the base. You cant go wrong with simplicity.

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil or Coconut oil (or more or less, depending on the quantity of veggies you have. Follow your inner guidance.

  • 1 Onion diced (I use 1/2 onion because I don’t like onion. Use what you like!)

  • 1-3 Carrots chopped

  • 2-4 Celery stalks sliced

  • 1-2 Potatoes cubed

  • 1-2 Garlic cloves

  • Sea salt (to taste)

  • Ground pepper (to taste)

  • Cumin

  • Bay leaf

Fresh water or Chicken/Vegetable broth (store bought or homemade)

Optional spices:

Again, anything that you like, you can add to the base ingredients

  • Paprika

  • Turmeric

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Chili pepper

  • Curry

  • Any favorite herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc)

  • Fresh ginger

Optional Veggies

Include any additional vegetables that you have on hand that you actually like. Avoid adding flavors that you won’t eat as the odds are, you won’t like your soup in the end.

  • Sweet Potato

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Collard greens

  • Chard

  • Zucchini (cube and add towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t over cook)

Cruciferous vegetables can add additional nutrients and flavor but, they can give you gas as well.  So choose accordingly!

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Brussels sprouts

Action Steps

If I have the maximum number of veggies I make a huge batch of soup and freeze the extra in recycled glass jars, for future quick healthy meals. I will often share some with a new mama who’s healing postpartum, or a friend in need of nourishment.

  1. Gather, wash, chop up the ingredients

  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil in soup pot on medium heat.

  3. Add onions and Sauté for 1-2 min until light brown. Add the carrots, celery, and potatoes one at a time slowly stirring. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, a dash of cumin.

  4. Add crushed or minced garlic and stir. Add bay leaf and any other seasonings or spices that you like.  Adjust the heat as needed. Turn it up if the veggies aren’t doing anything, turn it down if they are cooking to fast and burning.

  5. Stir mixture so it doesn’t burn, but allow it to soften for 5-7minutes. It’s okay if it sticks to the pan and the pan browns, when you add the broth/water it will bring in the flavor goodness.

  6. Add broth or water to cover the veggies by 1/4-1/2 inch. It’s not exact, you have to trust your inner alchemist to combine the ingredients in an organic intuitive way. It will be different every time and that’s okay.

  7. Taste the mixture and add spices a little at a time to shift the flavor in your favor.

  8. Stir occasionally. Watch that the soup is at a gentle boil, a simmer, and not overflowing.

It will take at least 25-45 minutes to cook completely. It just depends of how small you chopped your ingredients and the heat temperature.

Pay attention to your creation. Soup is forgiving in that once you get it going, it can cook on its own. However, you want the ingredients to be tender enough to bite into, but not overcooked and mushy.

Serve immediately or store for the future.

My favorite toppings are; cilantro, raw greens, raw shredded cheese, or parmesan, or a spoonful of ghee.

A note on seasoning : less is more.

You can always add extra flavor at the end but you can’t subtract once you’ve dumped in too much. Start small......and taste your creation, AS YOU GO, so you know what you are eating.

Some of my ancestors, on my dads side, lived in Silicia, Sicily. They were considered terrone, a derogatory term given to the Southern Italian inhabitants who were connected to the land as farmers and fishermen. They were the peasants but they had a natural currency all to themselves. This term was voiced by their Northern Italian counterparts who lived in the industrialized cities, the areas of Italy where they thought they were more civilized because they were higher up on the boot and economic status.

My family used what they had to survive, like all people of the Earth. So the scraps of meat and trimmings of vegetables would come together with water and spices for the purpose of nourishing an entire family.

That is true alchemy, making something out of “nothing.”

Today we can look back to the roots of our our ancestors and remember simple ways of living and being that are actually extremely supportive to our overall wellbeing.

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