Dump Soup – Perfect for a Lazy Day

This morning, I’m making dump soup. I’d like to say it’s because I’m having a relaxing day with nothing else to do. The truth is, I’m sick. I don’t feel like standing in the kitchen, but I want some soup to sip on.
The good news is, I have remnants of broccoli, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, carrots, celery, fresh rosemary, and ham in my refrigerator — all left over from last weekend’s family meal prep. I also have a bag of small red onions I picked up on sale. The other good news is that the broccoli has already been cleaned, the potatoes were peeled & sliced for scalloped potatoes (but wouldn’t fit in my dish), and the tomatoes were chopped for a salad. I can just dump everything in a pan, no prep required!!!!

Dump soup, unlike a carefully prepared stew, doesn’t require chopping. It doesn’t require potatoes that haven’t turned dark. You don’t need to cut the leaves off of the celery or pull the rosemary off its stem. You can just dump cleaned veggies in a large pot, season with salt, pepper, garlic (dump some fresh in if you have it), and any other herbs or spices that compliment your flavor profile, then add meat & water.
Any leftover or uncooked meat will work — ham, chicken, and bacon are my favorites. Dump soup is a great place to use chicken or turkey necks, hearts, livers, and gizzards. It’s the perfect excuse to skip closely trimming a ham bone. Leaving some meat on the bone will add even more flavor to the soup. If you don’t have meat handy, mixing some chicken stock in your water will deepen the flavor of the vegetable broth.

If you’ve ever made chicken stock, you know that once the broth is flavored, you remove all of the chicken and vegetables because they’re overcooked and have given most of their flavor over to the broth. Dump soup is the same. What you’re going for initially is a flavorful broth. Slowly simmering your mixture for 3-4 hours will result in a rich broth. The lengthy cooking time is another reason it’s perfect for a lazy morning or a day you’re stuck at home doing chores.

After 3-4 hours, dump in whatever you’d like to chew on in your soup. First, remove all the meat, vegetables, and herbs. I don’t worry about straining out little remnants, but you can if you want a clear broth. Today, I’ll probably dump in some brown rice, but pasta, quinoa, or lentils are good options as well. If I felt like spending more time in the kitchen, I might add chopped vegetables and/or meat.
I’ll serve today’s dump soup with some ratty looking gluten-free biscuits I threw together this morning. I keep the dry ingredients mixed up so that on days like today, I all I have to do is cut in some shortening and add the milk and buttermilk. That means it takes about 5 minutes to mix the biscuits and get them in the oven. Obviously, I didn’t take much time rolling or cutting these! A piece of fresh fruit will round out the meal.

And I’ll have plenty of everything left for tomorrow. Of course, I hope I’m feeling better by then but you never know. Having something warm and comforting already prepared makes me feel less anxious and able to rest more easily while I try to get ahead of this virus. There’s also something comforting about the delicious aroma filling the house.

In a matter of minutes, I cleaned out 80% of the contents of my refrigerator, made the house feel comforting, and created several meals — all by making dump soup. Not bad for a morning when I’m mostly lying around watching TV!

Boost Your Iron Intake By Eating Pasta

mac & cheeseIf you’re not a big supplement fan, but want to boost your iron intake, grab a bowl of pasta. Really? Yes, really. And you probably thought I was going to tell you to eat your spinach or, even worse, liver. Nope, if you choose the right pasta, you can get as much as 33% of the recommended daily dietary allowance for iron from a 2 oz serving of pasta. How great is that?!

Most of us are at least vaguely aware that we need to consume iron so that we produce lots of healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen through our system. If you don’t absorb enough iron and can’t produce enough red blood cells, you develop iron deficiency anemia.

Without enough oxygen due to anemia, your body will become fatigued and your brain and immune system functions may diminish. A lack of iron may also prevent your body from maintaining or producing healthy cells, skin, hair, or nails.

For most of us, low iron levels will be avoided by simply consuming sufficient iron in our diet, but almost 10% of women in the US are iron deficient. In fact, according to WebMD(1), low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US.

Pasta seems like a natural part of the solution for this deficiency. For one thing, we eat a lot of pasta. What kid doesn’t like mac & cheese, or spaghetti? Food Network lists both of these pasta dishes in their list “America’s Best: Top 10 Comfort Foods”. For another thing, pastas high in iron are readily available.

pastaNot every type of pasta is high in iron, but those made of chickpeas or lentils are filled with it. Banza® Rotini delivers 30% of the daily value in a 2 oz portion and 50% in a 3 oz portion. Tolerant® Organic Red Lentil Penne also delivers 50% in a 3 oz portion. These pastas are gluten-free and they deliver a healthy portion of protein and fiber. They are also lower in net carbs than pastas made from wheat flour, corn, or rice. This makes them a good choice for those with, or at risk for, diabetes.

While a sophisticated palette may detect some differences, these pastas are pleasing enough for most of us especially when covered in cheese or red sauce. Why fight with yourself over eating liver or spinach when you can chow down on the mac and cheese you really wanted anyway? Go ahead, have a helping of pasta and boost your iron.






Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”