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You ever go to a special effort to make something new and it comes out completely different than you envisioned? Even worse, you’re forced to serve what you think is a mediocre meal to other people, in my case just a very picky boyfriend.

I made this soup for dinner last night. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. It came out really thin, and I felt like I was eating well seasoned tomato water. As you can see I even attempted adding some Parmesan cheese, but that didn’t really save it either.

Of course I made the mistake of making a big batch of this and now I have a decent amount of tomato water leftover, so what to do?

I thought about just tossing it, but then my grandma’s voice popped in my head, and said something about starving children in China, and being ungrateful for what I had, so naturally I had to take tomato water reinvention as a challenge.

Because I have plenty of leftovers, I’m going to try several of the following possibilities.

1. add a can of diced tomatoes and let it simmer for a bit, this will add some thickness or chunky-ness to the soup that I was probably missing.

2. Maybe in addition to the diced tomatoes, I can add some shredded chicken, tortilla chips, and sliced avocado and make it into a tomato-y version of chicken tortilla soup.

3. Make a roux! This is my New Orleanian solution, melt down some butter, add some flour, wait til it’s a decent brown color and then gradually whisk in the tomato soup, and now you have the thick soup you were craving! If you’re not feeling that calorie conscious then add some cream while you’re at it.

4. If for some reason I’m in a hurry, I would just add a tbsp or 2 of cornstarch, and call it a day (but this always feels like cheating to me).

5. I think I could turn this tomato water into a sauce, I could blend it with some roasted serrano or jalapeno peppers (see if diced tomatoes are necessary for thickness) and make a spicy tomato sauce/salsa, to use on eggs in the morning or enchiladas for dinner.

6. If I’m feeling very adventurous I might try adding in 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and blending that with my soup. and just seeing what comes out and make adjustments from there, who knows I might end up adding some browned ground beef and turning it into a chili.

If all else fails you can just give your tomato water mishap to your favorite sous chef, in my case it’s Coach (my Corgi puppy). he’s guaranteed to eat/drink it.

I promise he looked at me the whole time like I was about to eat the tastiest morsels on the planet, maybe that’s why dinner was such a let down.  Corgis aside, what are some dinner saving or reinventing maneuvers you’ve used in the past?

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