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Beyond the Bowl: Creative Ways to Incorporate Soup into Everyday Meals

I love soup in a bowl, but I have to be honest and tell you that I have started to find new ways to use some of my favorite soups. I always wonder what blending those flavors will taste like in other dishes, and I have discovered that you can use soup beyond the bowl.

These creations came from leftover soups I needed to use before expiration. Below are some ways I have started using my creativity in the kitchen with my soup to enhance them, and now you can also.

Protein Marinade

This has to be one of my favorite ways to use my soups as a protein marinade. I usually add cuts of chicken, shrimp or pork to the bowl of leftover soup and let it sit for the last 12–24 hours before the soup is set to expire. Some of my favorites to do this with are the following:

After the protein has marinated, I will put them directly on the grill to cook or bake in the oven until the protein is cooked through, and the flavor has blended with the meat. This makes for a delicious dinner.

I have to say that the French onion soup is probably the biggest hit with the whole family, and I can even cook this meal in the crock pot while I am at work and then enjoy it later for an easy dinner.

The Asian Hot Pot broth is a great base for stir-fry and homemade hibachi nights. I split this soup between steak strips and shrimp because they cook up fast and keep the flavor on the flat-top.

Casserole Enhanced Binders

Instead of adding in the canned “cream of” something cans from the grocery store, I have added the following leftover soups as binders to bring the dish together.

When I have some chicken, rice, and frozen vegetables to throw in a 13×9 pan, I like to use one of these soups that are leftovers as my binder. The creamy base of these soups will pour through the different ingredients and cook into them, packing the casserole full of flavor.

Sometimes I make this when I have the leftovers in the fridge,or I pull a frozen bag of soup from the deep freezer. I let it thaw out completely first, and then add it as the last step to my casserole before mixing and then adding to the oven at 400 degrees for one hour.

Gravy or Topping for Rice

One of my favorite ways to enjoy stew soups is to pour them over a bed of rice that absorbs all that juice and allows me to eat my meal with a fork. Stews have the best gravy texture and can be thickened so that they are too pastelike for a soup, but act more as a gravy. I just add in either some flour or cornstarch to thicken the juice.

After these soups have been in the fridge for a couple of days, you can reheat them on the stove, and it will have lost some of the liquid. That is the best time to make a pot of rice and add it to the top without adding flour or cornstarch.

Both beef stew and oyster stew have the potential to get very thick, and beef stew will actually start to look like the brown gravy you would expect over rice. The oyster stew is usually red from the tomato paste that is used.

Pasta Sauce

Sometimes, my family may want some pasta, and I don’t have any soup on hand. In a pinch, I have thawed out the following soups and used them as a sauce, and it was a big hit each time.

When I freeze my Italian Meatball Soup, I make sure not to leave any noodles because they don’t freeze well, and also allows me to reheat and use it as a sauce later. It already had the protein in it, I pour it over some fresh ravioli, bake it it for about 20 minutes in the oven, and then we have a delicious pasta dish made from soup.

When I make chili to store, I make sure not to add beans to it so that I can use it for different things. Folks in the Midwest will add chili right on top of a bed of noodles and consider it their version if spaghetti. I also like to use it, but when I reheat it, I add an extra can of San Marzano whole tomatoes and Italian seasonings while it gets warm. It makes a great meat sauce for spaghetti or penne noodles.

The roasted red pepper and tomato soup is probably the most decadent soup to use a pasta sauce. Once it is heated up, add in just a little heavy whipping cream to make it thick. I like mine over penne noodles with some freshly grilled chicken or shrimp. When I want to feel adventurous, I will add it over lobster-stuffed ravioli and enjoy a fine dining dinner at home.


Another way I have gotten creative with my soups is to transition them to a different bowl; the dip bowl. When I want to use up the soups in my freezer on game days, I will pull these out, warm them up and let them cool down. Once I do that, I add a block of cream cheese until they reach the desired consistency and I refrigerate until I am ready to serve.

My cream of spinach soup will transform into a spinach dip that is a favorite on game day. Since this is one of my favorite appetizers at restaurants, I will sometimes make it just to enjoy for lunch so I have it over the next few days.

The French onion dip that I make is one of the favorites with the kids and totally beats all the canned versions that you find at the grocery store.

Taco soup is one of the adult favorites, and I do add in some additional jalapenos to boost the heat that the frozen soup may have lost. This adds it back, and it goes great with tortilla chips all day long.

You Can Elevate Your Soups, Too

If you are like me and always have a lot of soup on hand, it is important that you get creative so that it doesn’t go to waste. Feel free to give one of these creative dishes a try, or even consider making a creation that is all your own and will be a family staple.

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