Coffee Pot Soup

Coffee Pot Soup

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I’m always looking for ways people can cook when they have limited access to the typical kitchen appliances. I’m also perpetually skeptical of lifehacking tips & neat ideas floating around the Internet (may I present Pinterest Fail?) so I had to try this coffee pot cooking hack for myself.

Coffee pot cookery is the brain child of retired photographer Jody Andersen who developed the method when her nephew came back from Afghanistan complaining about the food in the mess hall. The soldiers were allowed to have coffee makers so working with that , Andersen developed recipes that would work with that. Even Mac and Cheese. 

Foodies of the Internet have since bragged about making gourmet meals in their coffee pots. Obviously, I’m not interested in gourmet cooking. I just need to know if a regular person who can’t afford to replace a broken stove or is living in temporary housing (like a motel) cook themselves good food this way.

Recently on The Chew, they showed this method using rotisserie chicken and frozen veggies. Rotisserie chicken is a good option for people on a low budget because they are actually less expensive to buy pre-prepared than a whole chicken you roast yourself. However, if you’re using SNAP you can’t buy hot food, so this rules out rotisserie chicken. BUT some grocery stores do put their unsold chickens in a cold case and then it’s SNAP eligible. Frozen veggies wouldn’t work for the person who is living without a full kitchen unless they used the entire bag right away. Canned veggies would work,though.

My own fridge & cupboard is looking a little barren at the moment so to experiment with,

Put all the ingredients in the carafe. Here I used crumbled cooked burger (canned beans would be a great,cheap protein ingredient), chopped green pepper and onion,and a can of stewed tomatoes.

Put all the ingredients in the carafe. Here I used crumbled cooked burger (canned beans would be a great,cheap protein ingredient), chopped green pepper and onion,and a can of stewed tomatoes.

I had one bell pepper,a leftover burger, an onion, leftover rice,a can of stewed tomatoes, garlic, and some Italian herbs. One of the awesome things about soup making is that you can make a soup with almost anything you have. Probably not surprising that Stone Soup is one of my favorite classic kids stories. Whatever ingredients is available to you is fine.

Herbs, garlic, onion in a paper filter in the basket part of the coffee maker.

Put herbs and other seasonings in a paper filter in the basket part of the coffee maker.

Totally recognizing here that herbs and spices (which can make or break a soup) may not be affordable for low income people and they aren’t something food banks routinely have to give out. Also recognizing that food desert dwellers might not be able to find a pepper or an onion (or if they do, it probably won’t be affordable). My “Stuffed Pepper Soup” here is just for demonstration purposes to see if it can be done and if you’d want to cook that way everyday.

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Add water to the back of the coffee maker as you would when making coffee. Use about half as much water as you would for a full pot, accounting for the ingredients in the pot. Otherwise, it’ll overflow.

The coffee pot I have was purchased about two years ago secondhand at a yard sale and still going strong. I think I spent $3 on it. Even at the local thrift shops that I think are getting kinda pricey, coffee makers remain one of the affordable and abundant kitchen goodies on the shelves. It’s harder to find things meant for cooking with just electricity, such as slow cookers.

I know from talking to Poor as Folk readers who are living with limited kitchens, some temporary housing won’t even allow residents to have slow cookers,hot plates, or even microwaves but coffee makers get a thumbs up. College students living in dorms might have similar restrictions. So, in a pinch this works! It does! The house smelled like delicious soup was cooking on the stove.

This will also work for heating any canned food up or packaged foods that you add water and heat.

 I “brewed” the soup for awhile and my one complaint would be that the peppers were still pretty crispy (definitely use pre-cooked ingredients,ya’ll). If I had all the time in the world, I could have pre-cooked the peppers on the burner part of the coffee maker but nah. Supposedly, the basket part also can work as a veggie steamer, so I could have steamed them I guess.

Oh,I lied. I do have one other complaint. Despite washing the coffee pot & basket twice, my coffee tasted vaguely like soup this morning. I ran just plain water through it once and then the coffee was fine. Maybe if you’re using this method regularly, buy a secondhand coffee maker that is devoted to cooking exclusively.

It really made real soup!

It really made real soup!

#[word of the day] #FAsupportsnutrition #SNAPfood : Homemade @feedingamerica

Feeding America has a Photo A Day Challenge happening for March because it’s National Nutrition Month. I’m a bit behind thanks to techy problems  (and honestly, probably will not be able to do a photo every day) but here’s my contribution for  HOMEMADE.

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Like my little bowl? The whole set of dishes was FREE on Freecycle. Yay!

The lighting in my kitchen is terrible but this was delicious Sweet Potato & Chick Pea Soup . It was more like stew by the time I got to help myself to a bowl. Little buggers took most of the broth. I got the recipe  from The Sweet Potato Lovers’ Cook Book that I mentioned last week in my Library Loot post. It called for veggie broth but I didn’t have enough scraps to make veggie broth this weekend but I did have a chicken carcass stashed in my freezer, so I made chicken stock instead.

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YUM,amiright? Ok, maybe not at this stage but it does smell amazing while the bones are boiling.

The great thing about the Internet is that there are hundreds of great bloggers out there who have instructions on how to make just about everything , so I will not bother taking you through the steps on making homemade chicken stock. I’ll let this link do that: Make Chicken Stock From Bones

Added bonus : Someone brought over chicken wings. I rescued the celery and added it to my stock.

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Sidenote: I hate styrofoam with a passion.

If you want to participate in this photo challenge, here’s the photo prompts:

Recipe: Super Simple & Totally Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

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This is a way cheap and easy recipe. It’s one of my daughter’s favorites.

For this recipe, I use:

  • 1 bag of dried split peas- about $1.60
  • a few potatoes – 50¢? I dunno.
  • an onion- cents.
  • a few cloves or garlic – also cents (although mine was free thanks to a gardener friend)
  • dashes of your fave seasonings. I used lovage,oregano,salt & pepper
  • water

That’s pretty much it but I did throw in a handful of spinach,too.Most people add carrots but I hate those things. Unlike most split pea soup recipes, this has no chicken or ham broth ,so it’s totally vegetarian /vegan. You could use veggie stock instead or water,but water is just fine.

I figure it’s roughly $2.50 for a whole pot and serves my family of 8 with leftovers.

Split peas are unlike dried beans that need an overnight soak. You don’t need to soak them.

To make the soup, do this:

  1. Put your split peas in a stock pot and add enough water so that the peas are covered with about an inch of water on top. Bring to a boil, then simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, cook diced potatoes,onions, and garlic in a skillet. When those are done, add to pot with peas & water.
    OR …. saute the onions & garlic in the stock pot before adding the peas,water and potatoes. Both ways work just fine. This time I just happened to do it separately. Like this:

    Taters,onion,garlic

    Taters,onion,garlic

Looks like what was spewed in The Exorcist but thankfully, it tastes much better

Looks like what was spewed in The Exorcist but thankfully, it tastes much better

3. The total cooking time of the peas should be about 30-40 minutes. When they’re soft and mushy, don’t even bother putting them in a blender or food processor. You should be able to mash them down in to a smooth consistency with a potato masher or a sturdy mixing spoon.

In my opinion, non-pureed split pea soup just looks more appetizing.

And that’s that.