Chicken Veggie and Bean Soup

I'm sharing this recipe, not so much as a how-to, but as an idea for veggie (or wanna-be veggie) lovers. And that's because one of my biggest veggie gripes is that I always end up with leftovers sitting in the fridge after I've used what my recipe calls for. I hate waste, which makes this quite the handy recipe when I need it.

For example, at the end of the week I'll have half a head of broccoli, a zucchini, the remnants of a bunch of celery, and one and a half tomatoes. And this is my favorite way to use all of those sundry vegetables I'm inevitably left with after a week of cooking. Useful and always super tasty. Thad loves it.

What you'll need (these ingredients are really just suggestions - you could throw in almost anything you've got):

• 3-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, depending how brothy you want it

• 1-2 cans kidney or black beans (or any beans you like)

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic

• Salt and pepper to taste

• All your lovely leftover vegetables

• At least a couple chicken breasts, chopped

Some ideas: Swiss chard, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, celery, tomatoes, olives... truly anything.

Bring your broth, garlic and salt (and other desired herbs) to a low boil and toss in your heartier vegetables that may take a bit longer to cook, such as broccoli or cauliflower. Along with those add your chopped up cooked chicken - I always cook my chicken beforehand, usually because it's leftover too. When they just begin to get tender, toss in the rest of the veggies, along with the beans, and cook until tender.

We love leftover vegetable soup, not just because it's delicious and good to our bodies, but because it does such a nice job of cleaning out the fridge too!