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4 Meals for $10

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.

DSCN2306One 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?



  1. One thing we do is we keep the peeling from our vegetables in a freezer bag and once a week boil them up to make a vegetable broth. So broccoli, onion peel, carrot peel, stalk from a cauliflower, fennel stock etc.. obviously not potatoes, mushrooms,garlic etc.. but you know what I mean. The onion peel makes a lovely golden broth. Thanks for contributing today on CBB your post has done very well. Cheers!!

  2. Pauline says:

    great job Laurie! I love stews. Anything with lentils, beans or garbanzo beans makes my day and is usually pretty healthy and filling, you don’t have to add so much meat.

    • Laurie says:

      SO true, Kim! Just read the back label on a can of soup, and you’ll be hooked on homemade forever. We work hard to stay away from foods in which we can’t pronounce the ingredients. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Funny how the guys always like their meat, isn’t it? Ironically, I’m much more of a meat lover than Rick, but don’t eat it real often due to the cost and the health factors. Glad you liked the CBB post!

  3. my favourite is cooking a big batch of bolognese sauce. It`s easy, cheap and can be frozen down in portions, and used in different ways. As a pizza filling, as regular pasta bolognese, in lasagnas. Canned tomatoes, some carrots, onions, garlic and some pieces of bacon. Then some ground meat which I stretch by adding a lot of lentils. Healty and frugal!

  4. Those look like great soups Laurie! We do very similar things and make soups/stews and freeze the leftovers in individual containers for future meals. It’s one of my favorite parts of winter. 😉

  5. Jose says:

    Mmmm, how to admit this but, I don’t like soup! Now, if you add some big chunks of meat to it and make it a stew, I’ll gobble it down, but it won’t be $10 anymore :D.

  6. Laurie says:

    Same here, Jana, about the canned soup. Your homemade soups are a perfect start for the pioneer life! 🙂 You should ask Mr. CBB about the veggie broth – I know he makes one they really like.

  7. The soups look delicious, Laurie. I love making homemade soup because you really control what goes in them and they generally very budget friendly. And freezable – as a working Mom, I really appreciate that too. Great post at CBB too. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      You’re so right, Shannon! Gotta love that freezable stuff.. :-). So glad you enjoyed the CBB post – it was really fun to do!

  8. An update is that we DID finally use the vegetable pulp from juicing for a vegetable broth and it turned out great! We love it when we can use every part of an ingredient!

    • Laurie says:

      Glad to hear that, Vanessa – thanks for the update. I thought seriously about saving the pulp when I juiced a couple of weeks ago, but it just looked too yucky to me. 🙂

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