Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Soups On!

This is the first in my series of blog posts about how I've learned to shave a few dollars here and there from our grocery budget. I know many are having a hard time financially, including our own family. We recently lost a portion of our income and even though I have considered myself pretty savvy when it comes to being budget-minded in the kitchen, I've been challenged even further and would like to share what I've learned and am learning.

One of the best ways to feed a family on practically no money at all is by making soup with some homemade bread or even just crackers. In the last couple of years, I've started saving little bits of leftovers and putting them into the freezer, you know, the stuff that usually got thrown away because there was so little of it that it wasn't worth keeping. I also go through the refrigerator about once a week to see what needs to eaten up quickly, and if I doubt that it will get eaten, I throw that into the freezer, too.

The pot of soup that is pictured above was made with almost all leftovers that I had stashed in the freezer. I saved some canned tomatoes in their juice, potato water (from boiled potatoes), chicken broth, mixed vegetables, pieces of chicken, and leftover rice. I added some fresh onion, celery, and cabbage that I had in the refrigerator. I really don't know how much it actually cost to make this soup but I'm pretty sure it was under $2 for the whole pot. We had some fresh homemade bread with this soup and it was really good. Of course, every time you make this kind of soup, it's going to be different, but you are using up just about everything that might have been thrown away. It feels good to not waste what God has given to us.
Another thing I do is I always make my own broths-chicken, beef, vegetable, or fish broth. It is so easy, especially if I make it in the crockpot, one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I throw everything in there and leave it all day. Not only is making my own broth cheaper than store-bought, it tastes so much better.
One more trick when it comes to making broths of any kind that I've recently implemented is whenever I cut up an onion, a clove of garlic, a carrot, celery, peel a potato, or any other vegetable, I save the peel, skins, ends, etc. and throw them in a large freezer bag that I keep in the freezer. Then, instead of adding fresh onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc. to make my broth, I just throw the stuff that I used to throw away into my pot.
I believe anything that we can do to save some money in these leaner times, no matter how small it may seem, is a step in the right direction, even if it means eating Leftover Soup once in awhile :)
I'm linking up with Make It From Scratch


Mary Ann said...

Good start to the series! I'm looking forward to what else you have to share. I'm always learning how to stretch the budget further and waste less!

The pb and chocolate chip cookies look wonderful!

Cindy - Letters From Midlife said...

I love soup and could easily have it every day. I also do that with leftovers, especially vegetables.

Mom said...

You are so creative and frugal! I guess you remember those lean days when you were growing up, adding more water to frozen orange juice than required, LOL! Love ya.