Soup: The Frugal Friendly Meal

By ERIN TURNER

Soup is one of those dishes which I don’t think receives enough credit.  It seems like it may be the last option when we are meal planning, but it really should be on the regular rotation of everyone’s menu.  Soup is easy, frugal, freezes well and is nutritious.

Soup is a great resource when you are on a pantry challenge.  There are many items on your shelf and in your freezer which create an outstanding soup.  I really have to force myself to think outside the box when it comes to soup.  Sometimes I look at something on the shelf and have a hard time imagining it in my soup.  But I’m always delighted when a soup turns out well and I pushed myself to be creative and daring.

This weekend I made a super easy and tasty soup for a get together.  It was my version of Taco Soup (recipe at bottom of post).  It was so easy to pull out frozen ground beef, some Taco seasoning, a can of spicy tomatoes (which really needed to be used up!), an onion and a few cans of beans.  I added in a can of chicken broth and filled the rest of the pot with cold water.  It sat and bubbled for a few hours before we all dove into it.  Served with optional condiments like sour cream, chopped cilantro and shredded cheese it was a huge hit.  But my pocketbook didn’t take that hit at all!  Everything was on the shelf, ready to be used so it cost me zero dollars to make.  It was hearty, delicious and universally enjoyed by kids and adults.

Frugal Friendly Soup Recipe Taco Soup

Super Easy and Frugal Taco Soup. See RecipeBelow.

Soup is a wonderful resource for using up leftovers.  Chop up leftover chicken or use up leftover hamburger.  Throw in some leftover vegetables or even the leftover Mac and Cheese makes a terrific soup!  The only thing I don’t recommend based on personal experience is throwing in the left over Jello salad with grapes!  Right, mom??!!  Now, to give my mom credit she was being frugal and “green” by recycling all the food from the week but it kinda scarred me for life…the texture of a cooked grape in a beef broth with hamburger and veggies…?!  Some people, like my dad, may find it gourmet but me?  Not so much!  You won’t find Jello or grapes in my soup!

What I really love about soup is the ability to freeze it for a future meal.  Making up a big pot of soup is “souper” easy and allows you to enjoy a good nourishing bowl tonight and then freezing what is leftover for another night or two!  The ability to make a big batch and freeze makes soup one of the most frugal and user-friendly meals out there.

Another redeeming quality of homemade soup is you know what’s in it!  Have you ever looked at the novel-length list of ingredients of canned soup?  I’m not sure many of those ingredients constitute real food.  And honestly, can’t you tell a difference in taste of canned soup vs. homemade?

My family loves Chicken Noodle Soup but to change it up recently, I added a batch of my Homemade Cream of Chicken soup to our standard Chicken Noodle Soup.  Well, it was spectacular and added a silky smooth texture to the soup.  Soup allows you to be creative and it’s very versatile.

So, if you are joining us this month for the Annual Pantry Challenge, then add soup to your list of necessary meals this month!  It’s a great way to use up leftovers, not spend a penny and enjoy a comforting warm bowl of homemade goodness!

Taco Soup Recipe:

1 lb ground beef (or wild game)

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

1 can of Mexican style tomatoes

1 can of Chicken or Beef Stock

4 Tbsp Taco Seasoning

½ cup chopped onion

In a large saucepan, cook meat until brown.  Add taco seasoning to meat stirring well.  Once cooked, add meat to soup pot.  Add all beans, onion and stock to soup pot.  Add 4-6 cups of water depending on size of pot.  Bring to boil then turn to low and let simmer for 2-3 hr stirring occasionally.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of chopped, fresh cilantro and shredded cheese.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.  Read more of Erin’s blogs about homesteading, farming, homemaking and other fun things at TurnerFarmLiving.com

 
 
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