We have a saying around here: Eco friendly and budget conscious. It’s our dorky way of reminding ourselves (fine, mostly me) to make choices that are good for the environment and good for our wallets. Of course, the kitchen is a great place to start and this soup represents a little victory for me.
It all started with a chicken…
One busy day last week I picked up a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods. We ate about half of it with dinner. I cut the remaining meat into bite-size pieces and stuck them in a baggie in the freezer. I then used the carcass along with some extra veggies in the fridge and pantry (onion, shallot, garlic, carrots, celery, and scallions) to make homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker (so easy!) A few days later when I made this soup, I used the chicken stock and added the frozen chicken right into the pot. In other words, I used every last bit of that little chicken. Score!
I’ve been thinking a lot about what my resolution for 2013 might be and after my experience this week I think I may be zeroing in on it. For me, resolutions are about choosing something that can help me become a better person and it’s always something I know I can stick to. For 2012, my resolution was to write more thank you notes. Simple, sure, but pretty soon it was no longer a resolution. It became a habit and something I look forward to doing whenever someone gifts me something or does something nice for me. (Just ask Robert how many thank you notes he has :-))
For 2013, I think I may focus my attention on the choices I make in the kitchen. First, making sure they’re good for the environment. As much as possible, I already buy foods that are local, seasonal, and organic. Where I need more work: Over-buying. I tend to overestimate how much food we need for a week, which means sometimes I throw away food. Living with Robert has significantly cut down on my food waste because he loves leftovers so much (at least one of us does-though I’m getting better.) Still, I know I could make a greater difference by working toward finding the right amount of food I buy each week so we’ll have enough to eat and yet not too little that I’ll have to run to the store multiple times, which would defeat both the eco and the budget goals. Of course, buying just the right amount of food will also satisfy that budget conscious part of the equation. Sounds like a win to me!
As for the rest of this soup—sweet potato, kale and quinoa—what else is there to say? It’s awesome and healthy and it was lunch for five days straight.
One final note on that whole eco friendly and budget conscious thing: freezing extra food is a great way to accomplish both. Here’s my trick for freezing soup: When cool, place in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Lay flat on a baking sheet and place in freezer overnight. Remove the baking sheet and you’ve got this nice flat package that barely takes up any room in your freezer.
Sweet Potato, Kale, and Quinoa Soup
Makes about 8 servings
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium-sized leek, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
8 cups chicken broth (homemade or store bought) or use vegetable broth for vegetarian recipe
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 rotisserie chicken (optional), skin removed and cut into bite sized pieces (about 2 cups total)
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, leek, onion, and garlic and saute until softened about 5-10 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and quinoa. Reduce heat to simmer. When sweet potatoes are fork-tender and quinoa is cooked, about 10 minutes, add kale and chicken and cooked until kale is wilted and chicken is heated through.