A great way to use meat and vegetables before they spoil is to make a soup. I often make one on the stove top in a big pot. I cut up vegetables that need to be used. Add some potatoes, browned meat and a can of crushed tomatoes and my favorite herbs (Basil, Italian, Chili and Bay). Add water to cover the vegetables. Sometimes for a meatier flavor I add a couple of bullion cubes, but if you are watching your salt don't do this. I simmer about 30 minutes until the potatoes are done. You can also put your ingredients in a slow cooker and let it cook all day. This is a great option for our hot days, no need to turn on the stove and heat up the kitchen. Here is a basic recipe can adapt to use ingredients in your fridge and pantry.
Clean out the Refrigerator Soup
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil or margarine in large pan, then add a chopped onion and cloves of garlic. Saute a few minutes. Add browned chicken or boneless meat, thinly sliced or finely chopped, and cook, stirring, until browned. Add firm vegetables as they take the longest to cook. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are just soft. Add enough stock or other liquid to cover the vegetable mixture in pan. Bring the stock to the boil. Season with salt, pepper and desired flavorings. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are done. When grains and vegetables are almost tender, add quick-cooking green vegetables, such as chopped broccoli, spinach, beans, peas, onions, or canned vegetables.
For a tomato-based soup, add a can of undrained crushed tomatoes. For a hearty soup, add pasta or rice before simmering
If you prefer a thicker, smooth soup, blend or process mixture to the desired consistency. For a thicker soup with chunks of vegetables, blend only half of the soup until smooth.
A great protein source instead of meat is beans. If using canned beans or lentils, drain, rinse, then add them.
Season soup with chopped fresh herbs (or a teaspoon of dried) to taste.
If soup needs a little more flavor, add ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chili sauce, or tomato paste.
If using already cooked pasta or rice put them in at the end. Just cook long enough to heat up so they do not get mushy.
Leftovers may be frozen to eat later or refrigerated and heated in the microwave.