I try to make a pot of soup once a week, particularly in these chilly months. It is a great way to use up leftover veggies, meat, and noodles. I often toss in some sort of beans, as well. (We're partial to black beans, navy beans, or kidney beans.)
The main ingredient for almost any soup, of course, is stock or broth. I'm finding that making my own is really quite easy and practically costless. If you've been saving your veggie scraps (remember, nothing cruciferous!) and roasted chicken carcasses in the freezer, you have just about everything you need! Grab your biggest pot and here we go:
In large stock pot toss in:
• Chicken carcass (or beef, ham-bone, etc.)
• Frozen veggie scraps
or a couple:
• Carrots, Onions (toss in the peels, too!), Celery ends/leaves
Cover fully with cold water. Add about 1/2 c. vinegar (apple cider vinegar is good) or wine to break down those bones. Some people get creative and add in spices, too.
Bring pot to a slow but full boil then reduce to a low simmer. Let this pot simmer all day. Some people leave it for a full 24 hours (really gets all the goodness out of those bones and veggies), but I haven't quite convinced myself to leave it on overnight.
**Update--I'm now an overnight convert. I turn it off before I go to bed (keep the lid on tight) and return it to a boil in the morning.
When done, strain broth in fine sieve or through cheesecloth. You can store in ziploc bags (defrosts quickly in a sinkful of water), or in mason jars with screw top lids (just leave about an inch head space for expansion). Chill in fridge 'til fat rises and skim off ... or skip this step like I sometimes do! Place in freezer and you are set.
Don't forget to save out some of the stock for soup tonight. Toss in beans, leftover meat, frozen white corn, salt & pepper, parsley, petite diced tomatoes, some noodles, and more water to cover. Serve with crackers, salad, and a big ol' smile that's beaming with pride.