Clean-Out-The-Pantry Minestrone Soup CrockPot Recipe

Some people call it garbage soup -- but I love making clean out the pantry and fridge meals about once a week by repurposing the leftovers in my crockpot slow cooker.

some people call it garbage soup -- but I love making clean out the pantry and fridge meals about once a week by repurposing the leftovers in my crockpot slow cooker.
Day 23.

It's raining again. Rain makes me want to eat soup.

Also, I kind of feel like I should eat like a rabbit for the next week or so to make up for the eighteen-and-a-half platefuls of this I had yesterday.

This is an easy recipe---and one that can be thrown together in no time. 

I happened to have leftover roasted veggies in the fridge, but you can use frozen or fresh instead. 

I choose to not thaw frozen vegetables before putting in the crockpot and leave them in for the entire cooking time. 

Some people don't like that though and thaw and stir in at the very end. Your choice.

The base ingredients needed to make "garbage" or "clean out the pantry" soup in the crockpot slow cooker.

The Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth (canned or "fresh")
2 cans of whatever kind of beans you like (drained)
1 can tomatoes (and juice)
1 can corn (and juice)
2 cups vegetables (I had leftover roasted broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and asparagus)
1 to 2 cups leftover meat (optional)
--salt and pepper to taste

Use up all of the little tupperwares that accumulate during the week into "garbage soup" by adding it all together in the crockpot slow cooker along with a few pantry staples. This minestrone soup is a Free meal that you can make each and every week to use your leftovers!

The Directions:

Drain and rinse beans; add to crock.

Add the juice and vegetables from the corn and tomato cans.

If you have meat that you'd like to use, toss that in.

Cover with chicken broth. Unless you are vegetarian. Then I would imagine you'd not want to use chicken broth and opt for vegetable stock.


--Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.

The seasoning here comes from the leftover meat and vegetables and will probably need to be "oopmphed" up adding salt and pepper to taste.

The beauty of "garbage soup" is that it really reupurposes your leftovers however you see fit. This is such a fantastic way to use up the odds and ends of the tupperwares that accumulate in your fridge throughout the week.

I also have readers who save the bits and ends of potroasts, turkey, etc in the freezer in a bag and then use that to make soup once the bag is full.


Do you like Clean out the Pantry Meals?

Here are some more:

there is nothing better than a "free" dinner! here are 10 tried and true clean out the pantry meals for your crockpot slow cooker

Do you love this article?

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at January 23, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. sounds good-my kids might even eat that!

  2. My mom used to make something very similar and she called it grabage soup. I always loved it growing up, and make it now for my family.

  3. Also, adding:

    It seems like everyone is in the crockpot spirit these days. your crocking love must be contagious! Anyhow, here is a recipe I found while blogging around blogville.

  4. garbage soup! I love it!
    oooh, thanks for that link. I think I'm going to attempt crockpot lasagna this week. I have lasagna noodles in the house. I have to use the brownrice noodles, and I'm interested to see how they translate over.


  5. Anonymous1/23/2008

    This looks yummy. Thanks for sharing it!

    MJ - What a Crock!

  6. Anonymous1/23/2008

    Hey, found you via The Homespun Heart and found out you're weird like me. In the counting things sense...
    Lovin' some of these recipes, the salmon sounds especially good.

  7. Sounds great!!

    I'm jealous of your Trader Joe's stuff... we don't have those up here in Canada :-(

  8. i have been lurking on your blog for a few weeks now. and i love it!! i have several planned especially the artichoke one for super bowl sunday. thanks for sharing them all. great work!

  9. Hi Elisa! I don't know why I do that number thing...
    today's date is a 5 though, and odd days seem to be good ones.

    CS-I am lucky to have a Trader Joe's so close (I can walk)---especially with the gluten allergies, it's a tremendous asset to our family.

    kay--I hope the dip is yummy for you! I keep dreaming about it. I think I want to use two bottles (or 1 1/2?) of the marinated artichokes next time.

  10. Steph, I tried minestrone a while ago and it came out bland. I left it on low all day, so that's nearly 12 hours. Will cooking it too long in the crockpot kill the taste?

    Also, I'm not being judgemental here, just curious. Why do your recipes (and most of the ones I can find on American websites) use so much of canned stuff? Why not fresh tomatoes diced up, for example? Same for the mushrooms and artichokes (in your previous posts). I'm not used to canned stuff at all and I'm wondering if it is because it has some extra ingredients that you use them or is it just because you don't find these stuff in all seasons?

  11. Hi Anu--
    no need to worry about sounding judgemental--ever.

    I don't think that over-cooking would kill flavor, but it could make the veggies smushy.

    You used a home-made veggie broth, right? I think, unfortunately, our palates are so used to having so much salt that anything without a bucketfull tastes bland. Adding garlic, onion, pepper and other salt substitutes help, or just going ahead and salting to your tastebuds. You can always start cutting back after your tastebude adjust.

    In this particular soup, I had roasted veggies that had already been seasoned with olive oil and salt and pepper; so I didn't need to add any other spice. The flavors were even more pronounced the next day.
    If you cook with fresh herbs, you'll need to add more to crockpot recipes, or add them at the end. Crockpots like dried herbs, because the herbs are more condensed and flavor-packed.

    The cans. It's for convenience. I live where we are fortunate to have fresh veggies year round, but a lot of the country isn't that lucky. And cans are really, really cheap. It's cheaper to buy a can of tomatoes then to buy fresh and a lot more convenient.

    and have I mentioned that I'm rather lazy? ;-)
    Jarred, marinated artichoke hearts are readily available in grocery stores and although we do sell frozen hearts and canned hearts, the marinated ones are nicely seasoned and are low in price.

    I do use fresh mushrooms, usually. I have bought canned on one or two occasions for certain recipes and found them to hold up nicely in the crockpot.

    One more thing about spices--Americans (in general, most certainly not all of them) are hesitant to use a lot of them. We just don't have much experience with them and many times stick to the old standby of Itallian Seasoning.
    I promise that I will try and branch out, though!

    I appreciate ALL of your suggestions and comments.

  12. This one looks really good, I love soup in the winter!

  13. Anonymous1/25/2008

    This blog is such a great idea. I am GF too and would like to use the crockpot more to get some convenience back. I love that you're doing the experimenting for me!lol I have the Fix and Forget It Cookbook Feasting With Your Slowcooker and have had some good dishes come from it.

  14. gfkfc--I'm glad that to be of some help! Two great sites that helped me out when making the GF switch were Rachel's Recipe Box and Glutenfree Goddess.
    I'm unsure of how to do the html in comments, but both sites should pop up right away in a google search.

  15. Anonymous2/13/2008

    Hey there! I just found your blog and love it as i have a crock-pot i rarely use! Sooo...a quick question. Can i cook any soup recipe in a crock pot?

  16. Hi Zina, I would venture to say yes. A soup with a milk base would be a bit tricky, as the milk might curdle. Many times people find using a condensed milk works better than fresh. A vegetable, chicken, or beef broth base is best.

  17. I loved this soup! it was so delicous and everyone loved it=) thanx so much

  18. Regarding the "garbage soup" reference (I'm gonna show my age here!): comedianne Phyllis Diller shared a recipe for garbage soup a very long time ago: Monday after dinner, she put a big soup pot on the stove, and threw in all her leftovers. At bedtime, the pot went into the fridge, and came out at lunchtime next day -- and all leftovers all week long were thrown into the pot! Then, on the weekend, she served the resulting soup for lunches & dinner, and cooked one roast for Sunday dinner. She said Fang loved the soup.

  19. My mother used to call this Friday soup...on Saturday she went grocery shopping so Friday was leftovers day. I love how versatile soup is (:

  20. I put in "everything but the kitchen sink" so I think of it as "kitchen sink soup."