Soup is Good Food (or How to Make Stone Soup)

Forget the can. Homemade soup is super simple to make, better for you, and most decidedly cheaper.

How to Make Stone Soup

I started making homemade soup about twenty years ago. Before that I opened a can. I had no idea that you could make it yourself and have it taste good. For our wedding friends gave me the book, A Feast of Soups, by Jacqueline Heriteau (affiliate link). It is a fabulous tome that will teach you the art of soup making.

For about ten years, I reread that book every fall as a refresher for soup making. Nowadays, I have a pretty good idea what will fly with my people and how I can make it. (We’re still working on certain 9yo boys keeping it together when they see cooked carrots, but otherwise, all systems go.)

I make soup at least once a week, often times more, during the winter.

One of the simplest, no-brainer methods that I use, is to make it with leftovers. Good leftovers, I might add. Don’t be talking smack about leftovers.

Food is good in the fridge for three to four days if prepared and stored properly. But, often times, you might not have enough of something leftover to make it to another meal. That’s why several bits of recent meals join forces to make a fabulous soup.

I wanted to call this Whatchagot Soup, but my husband didn’t like that. He proposed Stone Soup, so we’re going with that.

It’s actually quite apropos. The ingredients here are truly reminiscent of the classic folk tale of three destitute soldiers without food or money who cleverly bring about a meal fit for a village. Everyone contributes a little bit and voila! Dinner is served.

Making soup yourself

If you’ve got a big pot, a little oil, some onion, some veg, and some broth, you can make soup. Soup making is pretty forgiving, provided the ingredients are fresh and wholesome.

I used leftover beef from the sub sandwiches and leftover beans from another meal. I make homemade stock all the time, storing it in 2-cup portions in the freezer; that’s basically free since I use the bones of another meal.

This is a general formula for you to tweak based on what you have on hand. Remember I wanted to call it Whatchagot Soup. I had some canned pumpkin, but next time I might use the Roasted Vegetable Puree. I used hominy and green pepper, but you could switch things around however you want.

The only trouble with this soup is that it’s never the same thing, unless you absolutely recreate all your add-ins. It doesn’t matter, though, it’s pretty foolproof and yummy. Just be sure to choose ingredients and seasonings that complement one another.

Making soup cheaper

I’m so out of the canned soup loop, I had to do some research on pricing. It looks like you can buy a cheapo can for as low as a buck and a more “homestyle” variety for up to $3 to $4.

Homemade runs quite a bit cheaper, especially if you’re using up leftovers, foods that have been “paid for” by other meals.

  • oil $0.10
  • onion $0.10
  • potatoes $0.25
  • carrots $0.25
  • homemade stock – free
  • leftover meat, beans – free
  • canned pumpkin $0.25
  • canned hominy $0.75
  • canned tomatoes $0.67
  • bell pepper $0.25
  • seasonings $0.20

By my calculations, I made the equivalent of 5 cans of soup for $3.02, equating to $0.60/can. BUT, and this is big, this soup tastes better and is way, WAY healthier than canned varieties.

If you want convenience, just freeze the soup in individual portion sizes for quick lunches and dinners.

How to Make Stone Soup  Good Cheap Eats

What’s YOUR favorite soup recipe?

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  1. Last winter I started making homemade soups and found that they do taste so much better that canned. I freeze small bits of leftovers (not enough for another serving) and then perioidically get them out and toss them in some homemade stock. (like Jessica, I make it and freeze it from other meals like roast chicken bones or from crockpot meals.) I find that the following are good to flavor “leftovers” soup: italian seasoning blend, garlic and minced onion, cajun seasoning blend, and taco seasoning ( great for a southwest style soup with beans, corn, and tomoto products).

  2. I’m in a soup mood these days–in fact, I wrote my own Stone Soup post recently!

  3. I tend to do more of the heavily vegetable soups, sometimes with poultry sometimes without. I don’t generally have those little bits of leftovers to dump into soup, since there are only two of us to start with, and I will do a “bizarre but cleared out fridge” meal whenever little bits start to build up. I do, however, clear out the veggie drawer! Rough chops, dump in crockpot, simmer all day, eat and enjoy. In my experience, a really good stock/broth makes a big difference.
    Creamy tomato soup can be quite good, too. Last time, I used V8 instead of plain tomato juice (it was on sale) and I liked it but the kid was less than impressed, so back to using plain juice next time. I have a crab and sweet corn chowder I’m really looking forward to making soon.

  4. Rosy Donnenwirth says:

    I made this for dinner last night. i used frozen peas instead of corn. i didn’t have the purée or canned tomatoes. And I used a can of black eyed peas. My family loved it. Even my onion hater!

  5. I was just thinking of what soup to put in the slow cooker tomorrow. This is it:-)

    I’ll just use what I have & make my own “stone soup”. Now to whip up some bread to go with it. I’m thinking your honey whole grain rolls 😀

  6. Vanessa B says:

    This is right in my wheelhouse! I am becoming a leftovers revival expert. I love the challenge of turning meal remenants into a totally different food experience.

  7. We are not a cooked carrot kind of family because we don’t like them mushy. I found our years ago that if I grate the carrots into the soup we still get the flavor and vitamins without the mushiness. Plus, my family can no longer pick out the carrots. Win win for me!

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