A Megan-simple soup made with beans, veggies, leftover rice, and a TON of cheese

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Photos by Stephanie Kaloi.

I live in Oregon, and we’ve officially moved into the COLD COLD SO COLD months. The other day I was rooting around in the kitchen for something hearty but easy, something that could be made in ten minutes or less. We had a ton of leftover steamed white rice from dinner the night before that I planned to incorporate, but I wasn’t sure what else to mix in.

I discovered three cans of beans and a meal was born: some kind of soup that would be filling and make me happy. Here’s what I mixed in:


  • Rice
  • Beans: black, white, and pinto (I used canned because it’s fast)
  • Carrots (I chopped up baby carrots)
  • Peas
  • CHEESE CHEESE AND MORE CHEESE (shredded gouda and cheddar)


The beauty in this is that it’s so fast:

  1. Put your rice in a pot. Heat it up.
  2. Add beans (I drained and washed the black beans, but just dumped in the white and pinto as is)
  3. Add veggies
  4. Smother in cheese (totally optional, it’s probably better without)
  5. Stir it up
  6. Add more cheese (again, optional)

I served it up to myself with crackers (Milton’s Roasted Garlic & Herb) and tortilla chips. The beans make this soup dense and filling, so I ended up having leftovers for the next four meals. This was super simple, and you can go so many places with it. Oh, the joys of cooking with stuff that’s already in your house — what are your favorite spur-of-the-moment recipes you’ve invented based on what was easily on-hand?

Comments on A Megan-simple soup made with beans, veggies, leftover rice, and a TON of cheese

  1. Last night I had leftover spicy sausage already cooked from a spagetti dinner few days ago. I wanted to do something with it and not red sauce over pasta (our NJ default).

    I diced an onion and sauteed it in butter and olive oil, added minced garlic (from the Costco size jar in the fridge), S/P and red pepper flakes. Then I chopped up the leftover sausage and added it with a couple of spoons of jar pesto I had buried in the fridge. Meanwhile, I cooked some Gemelli pasta (unicorn horns).

    It needed some color so while the pasta was still cooking, I took out a red pepper I had in the fridge and blacked it over the burner flame, bagged it, rubbed the skin off, large diced and added the roasted pepper and cooked pasta. Everything got tossed and served hot. The Hubs added lots of grated Parmigiano Romano and I had it with some Panko breadcrumbs on top. It was the greatest I-just-threw-something-together meal we had in a while.

  2. Making food with whatever’s in the house is great!

    My favourite variants:

    – “Refrigerator soup” (which is basically soup made with whatever’s around — usually a chicken broth base, but sometimes other broth…)

    – Pasta sauce is a great way to combine a variety of veggies (generally including at least some tomato, and, of course, onion, garlic, and herbs such as basil and oregano. And if you’re the carnivorous type, of course you can throw some meat in, too. Eat your pasta and sauce with cheese, if you prefer. Possibilities are nearly endless…).

    – Minestrone is great for random stuff (tomato juice & mild (chicken or veggie) broth base, cooked dried beans, italian seasonings, almost any vegetables, and right at the end, cooked pasta. Oh, and if you have a rind of parmesan, throw it in at the start to add extra flavour…).

    – You can put almost anything on pizza

    – You can also put almost anything in pasta salad

  3. Last night we had a great concotion. I had some kind of pork roast, I wrapped it in bacon, tossed it into the slow cooker with some onions and carrots and garlic, then added Soy Sauce, Hoison Sauce, Honey, Ginger, black peppercorns and a touch of water.

    Put it on high for 5 hours, and when we pulled it out, we had this gorgeous pulled pork. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was beyond delicious. The carrots were especially good, I should have thrown in more.

  4. This looks de-lish!

    My favorite ‘on-hand’ dish was created by my dad over 20 years ago: sliced red potatoes, onion, garlic, yellow squash, turnip, and polish sausage fried together in delicious bliss.

    6 year-old me: “Hey Dad, what is this stuff?”
    Dad: “Stuff.”

    It has been known as “STUFF” to the rest of us ever since, and gets made just about every time I go home to visit. 🙂

    • Makes me think of “That Soup” — which is actually a green bean and sausage soup. It holds well, so it’s good if you don’t know what time people will show up for dinner. It got the name “That Soup” when my dad was a teen, and his parents ran a group home for boys. When a new boy was coming, they’d make this green bean soup, and the boys really liked it, and they’d ask, “when are we going to have that soup again?”… and the name stuck!

  5. I love thrown together soups! My go-to is definitely NOT for the lactose intolerant, but super quick and easy! 1 bag of Bear Creek potato soup, one onion, and about 1/4 to 1/2 pound of ham. Boil the water, chop ham and onion, throw that and the soup mix into the water, cook for the 15 minutes it say on the bag, then once you serve add lots of grated cheese to taste! Everyone loves it, sometimes we’ll sub cooked bacon for the ham if we want to be fancy, but otherwise its super easy & fast, and the leftovers last a few days! 😀

  6. 2 recipes:

    Salsa chicken
    – boneless, skinless chicken
    – jar of salsa
    – throw both in the crockpot, cook on low for 4-6 hours, or medium for 2-3 hours…. great as a filling for tacos or over rice

    tatertot casserole
    – 1 lb of ground meat (we used beef)
    – can of “cream of” soup (we used potato) (plus the 1 can of water according to soup directions)
    – bag of frozen veggies
    – frozen tater tots
    – shredded cheddar cheese

    Preheat over according to tater tot directions… brown meat and drain… take deep dish oven safe dish and do layers – tater tots, browned meat, veggies, soup, shredded cheese… cook according to tater tot time.
    (to save a bit of cooking time, while the meat was browning, we went ahead and put the tater tots on a baking sheet and put them in the oven while it was preheating and also warmed the veggies up in a pot on the stove, so when we threw it all together, it only needed about 10 minutes cooking time)…. this is so delicious

  7. Lets see, I was given a few giant bags of frozen hashbrowns and so I grabbed some ham I had frozen from the last we got a shank portion for $0.89 a pound and thawed it in the microwave enough to dice it fine. I oiled a large baking dish, layered in the 3lbs bags of hashbrowns, ham and some cheese (OK lots of cheese) then in a large bowl I mixed up 8 eggs and 2 cups of milk and poured it on top of the layers and baked for 40 mins at 335*
    Makes an amazing breakfast casserole, and I even make breakfast burritos out of it and freeze them

  8. Another casserole is amazing for potlucks as it is amazingly rich when you go all out on it but you can tone it down for dinner at home
    Baked Mac and cheese super casserole;
    in a large oiled baking dish add 2 cans of mushroom soup, 3 soup cans of milk, 2 soup cans of water, 1 pound of shredded cheese and mix together now stir in 1.5 pounds of Dry macaroni (not pasta, you need Mac for this)
    If you want add thawed chopped broccoli or other veg, not frozen! And you can top it with crumbled bacon in the last 10 minutes
    Bake in the oven at 350* for 40 minutes and stir once after 15 minutes

    Baked Mac and cheese for when you want to actually eat more than a few super rich bites:
    Oil baking dish
    Add 1 can mushroom soup, 1 can milk, 3 cans water, 8 oz of sharp shredded Cheddar mix well
    add thawed veggies of your choice and 16 oz of Mac (I like whole wheat and it cooks great)
    Bake for 30 mins at 350*, sprinkle a couple of oz of cheese on top or bacon or french fried onions and cook for 10 more minutes at 300*

  9. Last one is not so wild and it is what I am making tonight
    Salsa chicken and rice
    Large oiled baking pan
    Layer in….
    1.5 cups dry rice (used thawed chicken with white rice and frozen with brown+ an extra cup of liquid for brown)
    4-6 chicken thighs
    Diced onions and peppers around the chicken
    A 12oz can of diced tomatoes (I like seasoned ones)
    A 6oz can tomato sauce
    A 16 oz bottle of medium salsa (adjust as you choose)
    Water (2.5 cups for white rice….3 for brown)

    Bake in a 350* oven for 30 minutes for white rice making sure that the chicken is done (or 50minutes for brown also making sure the chicken is done)
    Turn off the oven
    Sprinkle with cheese and let sit in the hot oven for 5 minute

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