Saturday, April 7, 2012

Weekend Cooking: Be Thrifty

I picked up Be Thrifty because I'm always looking for ways to save a buck. Overall I enjoyed it. Even if you've been living the thrifty lifestyle, there are still plenty of great tips. I think this would be a great book to give a new homeowner since there are tips for how to make your own small repairs. Or a new parent since there is a chapter on saving money with kids. I found the food section the most useful to me. And I wanted to share two recipes that I gleaned from Be Thrifty.

First up, Pasta e Fagioli (adapted from Be Thrifty):
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3/4 cup of diced carrots, zucchini, and/or celery
3 cans vegetable or chicken broth
2 cans died tomatoes
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup of small pasta like macaroni (I used cheese tortellini)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of red pepper
the rind of a hard cheese like parmesan
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and let soften (about 5 minutes). Then add carrots, zucchini, and/or celery. Cook til they begin to soften (about 4 minutes).
Add garlic, broth, canned tomatoes (with juices), red pepper, and Italian seasoning to pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
Once soup is boiling, add pasta. This is also when I added the rind. This is something I learned about in  An Everlasting Meal. The rind add flavor and depth to the soup. It's a great way to use up all the cheese. If you don't have a rind laying around, I asked my cheese monger at Whole Foods who gave me a rind for free.
After the pasta is soft but not al dente, add the beans and bring to a boil again. Cook til pasta is al dente. Serve with crusty bread.
This soup made 6 Linda sized servings. I had it for lunch the following day. The pasta started to disintegrate. I would try to eat it the day of and the next day at the latest. This would be awesome at a potluck.

Better Than Canned Tomato Soup (adapted from Be Thrifty):
2 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup diced onions
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 tsp allspice
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Add oil to large soup pot. Add butter to oil and let melt. Add onions and cook til soft. Add garlic stirring for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle allspice in, stir, and cook for another minute.
Add broth, tomatoes, and sugar. The original recipe called for the tomatoes to be drained which seemed wasteful to me. I drained some of the juice but not all of it.
Bring soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, pot partially covered. Then let cool. Either puree the cooled soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender. Blend til smooth. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.
It was better than canned tomato soup. I was surprised there was no cream in it. I would make this again and again.
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  1. I love pasta e fagioli! My favorite recipe is made in the crock pot. The addition of the cheese rind sounds like a good idea.

  2. Two winning recipes. And I love the idea of tomato soup without the added fat and calories of the cream. Yum.

  3. The soup looks SO good. I love tortellini :) Good for you for asking for the rind - that's AWESOME it was free - talk about being thrifty, right?

  4. Pasta e Fagioli is one of my favs...and very useful to use up some bits and pieces. I hate to waste food.

  5. Great post. thanks for the ideas.

  6. We are just coming to soup season now so I am always looking for new ideas!

  7. I'm a big fan of pasta e fagioli soup, or basically any soup that has pasta in it. I normally just make it from a can, but at some point I really need to attempt making it

  8. I love tomato soup and am always willing to try a new recipe. This looks really good.

  9. Thanks for the soup recipes I love soup, And being thrifty!

  10. I love pasta e fagiolo too! Did you ever watch The Frugal Gourmet? That was a PBS show back in the '80s and my mom still has some of the cookbooks. It's actually a great resource for good, cheap food.

  11. Both soups look so tasty! This is a book that I would enjoy too :)

  12. Grilled sandwiches would be great with soup . . .:D


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