Hi, my name is Traci and I'm a food stretcher. If you think I'm making a joke or being dramatic, I'm not. I'm literally a food stretcher, always trying to find ways to reduce food waste and make the most of what I've got in my fridge and pantry.

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that we were going to break tradition for two major holidays and instead of buying, prepping, and cooking food for those two holidays, we'd buy a pre-cooked dinner so that our time was freed up to spend making memories with our son. Those two holidays are Christmas and Easter.

On Christmas Day, my family spends several hours delivering Christmas cards to local nursing homes before enjoying our dinner, and on Easter, we go to church and then do fun things with our little guy, like have an Easter egg hunt. A pre-cooked meal for both of those holidays makes a lot of sense for our family.

After my husband and I priced out what it would cost to have Easter dinner delivered to our house versus buying all of the ingredients, we found that it would actually be a few dollars cheaper to have everything delivered and we always make sure to order a bigger ham than we'll actually eat. We don't do this out of gluttony, we do it for "a rainy day."

My husband, son, and I love ham and while a lot of people reach for a bowl of chicken soup when they're not feeling well, we prefer ham soup. And so, we order an extra big ham, portion off enough for Easter dinner and a couple days after and the rest is turned into ham soup, or it's frozen with some broth and saved for ham sandwiches.

My favorite thing about leftover Easter ham soup is that it's easy to freeze into individual portion sizes and pulled out over the course of the next few months whenever one of us isn't feeling well, or just wants a taste of comfort.

This is how we make leftover Easter ham soup in my house.

Ingredients:

  1.     Roughly chopped up pieces of leftover ham- however much you want
  2.     2 cans of low sodium chicken broth (ham already has so much sodium)
  3.     8 cups of water
  4.     2 cups of sliced carrots
  5.     1-1/2 cups chopped parsnips
  6.     1 cup chopped onion
  7.     2 teaspoons of pepper
  8.     1 cup frozen peas

Put all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. The soup will be done when the carrots and parsnips are nice and tender. If you want to add in pasta to bulk it up a bit, pick a small pasta like orzo and cook it according to the directions on the package, drain and then add to the soup.

If you want to freeze your soup, don't add the cooked pasta. Cooked pasta or rice don't play well when frozen- you'll end up with a mushy mess when you heat up your soup. What I do is pull the soup out of the freezer and then the day that I'm going to eat it, I make a small amount of pasta or rice and add it to my soup.