I'm glad it's soup time! Cooler weather, harvest in full swing and busy days are the perfect combination for a wonderful meal starring soup or stew. Making soup from scratch is the only way to get what you really like and it's certainly more frugal than buying it by the can!
Refrigerator soup, freezer soup or dump soup as some call it, is soup made from leftover bits of vegetables and meat. A container is kept in the freezer to which odd tablespoons of corn or green beans or carrots are added at the end of a meal. Another container is kept that holds leftover odds and ends of meat. Some mix different types of meat while some keep the types separated. When you get enough, you dump it together in a pot, heat, season if needed, and it's done.
That's one kind of soup and it's frugal and usually quite good. It's a good rule of thumb to not add rice, pasta or potatoes to the freezer container, but freeze them separately then thaw and add to the pot when everything else is ready. Otherwise, they tend to get mushy and look unappetizing.
Another favorite of mine is a sort of tuna chowder. I save all the liquid and the little bits of tuna left in the can (I rinse the can with a tiny bit of water when it's emptied) all year long in the freezer. When it's time for a warming chowder, I cook potatoes and onions in as little water as possible, add milk (evaporated milk is magic here) and the tuna liquid. You can add cooked bacon if you like. Add pepper and a little salt if necessary, but the tuna is often salty enough.
My number three favorite soup is to take leftover roast, chop it up and add any leftover vegetables plus a small can or jar of tomato sauce. If you've made gravy, add that, too. You might need to add extra mixed vegetables or broth. Use your judgement and you should be able to come up with a great soup for pretty close to nothing.
More ideas here: Soup From Scratch
And here: Soup recipes for "meat and potato" men
And here: The Poor Man's Pot: Soup's On
Image courtesy morguefile.com