Happy Monday to you all! I’m SO excited to share some great news with you: Through the generosity of Mr. CBB over at Canadian Budget Binder, I’ve written and published my first guest post! It’s a story about how parents’ handling of money influences their children, as well as some personal tidbits about our former life as the financial irresponsible. Check it out by clicking here. SO, on with today’s post.
One of the ways we stretch our grocery budget is to make soups. The thing about soup is you can stretch the base of the soup tremendously, and then add lots of different things in order to make it into several different meals. Our soup “base” consists of boiling a whole chicken ($4.99 at Walmart) in a large stockpot (think: the size of the pot you use for canning veggies). We boil the chicken with a near full water level for about 2-3 hours on medium heat, then set the chicken on a plate to cool, take half of the liquid and put it into another pot, and add water to each pot if necessary to reach our desired amount of soup base to provide for four meals for our family of six. After the chicken has cooled, we remove the meat from one side of the chicken, shred it into one pot, and do the same with the other side of the chicken and add it to the second pot. You won’t have an abundance of chicken in the soups, but you’ll have enough.
From there, I chop two onions (30 cents), a 5-lb bag of carrots ($2) and a bag of celery ($2) into small pieces, and divide the veggies between the two pots. Add some salt and pepper to your desired taste, and you’ve got your complete base for each soup.
From there, you can choose a variety of options to complete your soup:
– noodles of any type to make chicken noodle soup
– a bag of navy beans for navy bean soup (if you want vegetarian bean soup, just omit the chicken from one of the pots)
– a bag of dried peas for split pea soup
– a bag of black beans, along with some cumin and chili powder for a Mexican soup
Any of the small bags of beans or noodles will cost you $1 if you buy on sale or buy generic, bringing your total spent to $10.30. For a bit more money, you can even add a cup of wild rice and some heavy cream for cream of wild rice soup.
Serve the first meal that night for dinner, and divide the remaining soup up in 3 different containers for each soup, freeze and use as it fits your meal plan. For no more than an hour or two of work, you’ve got 4 meals for your family at an amazing price. Not to mention that homemade soups are much healthier for your family than store bought, and taste tons better.
With a little planning, you can feed your family good food on even the most stringent of budgets.
What are your favorite cheap meal ideas?