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Confessions Of A Frugal Soup Junky
If You Are Looking For Frugal Money Saving Ideas, Make Your Own Soup!
Frugal Soup Junkies Unite!
I once had a Bosnian-American friend who remarked loudly, "What's the point of soup! It's just a bunch of water! Just dump out the water and give me what's left, or at least give me stew! Soup, what a pathetic meal."
There was no arguing with that guy, he was the biggest fella in our group of friends. He's had a life of weight gain problems. Not me. I'm not bragging, just saying my weight's pretty much always been just about right in the middle. I thank soup. Soup is a money saver. Soup is good for your constitution. Soup will take you out to dinner then serenade you from atop an Alpine Mountain top, yodolodolodo leh he hooo!
Well maybe soup isn't all that, but soup is a wonder food, for frugal as well as gourmet types. Give me a chef's lobster bisque any day! Yum. But the kind I make is more bare bones. Almost every soup I make is a sort of Jambalaya in that I find a way to use just about any dam thing I've got laying around the house.
Here's how to make the most basic frugal soup:
1. Use leftovers. I tend to not mix meats. If you are a vegetarian, use all left over cut vegetable parts. If you are a ravenous carnivore, use whatever you have, roast beef, hamburger, chicken (with or without the skin), venison, pork or what have you. I have yet to make a fish chowder with leftovers, that is beyond this frugal soup junky's abilities!
2. Group appropriate ingredients. I don't like to mix meats because it tends to make the older of the meats taste gamy! Ha! For instance, roast beef is great in a stew type with carrots and potatoes. But if you mix pork sausage in there look out, pee yew! Wild rice goes with just about anything, or any rice really, brown, basmati, long grain, or just plain white rice. You can buy a frozen mixed bag of vegetables that adds well to any soup. Or if you're really into saving money look for whatever vegetables are on sale, then use those in your soup and freeze the rest. Seasonings begin with pepper, but use powdered onion and garlic, turmeric, savory or Italian spices depending on the style of soup you are aiming for. Try noodles, or barley or couscous too. Experiment! That is the beauty of soup. Shssssh. Don't tell anyone.
3. Slow Cook. There are other ways to do it, but you can set up an electric crock pot when you leave for work in the morning, and come home to a great bowl of soup. Just make sure to add plenty of water and keep the setting down extra low.
4. Salt and store. Salt soup to taste. It's better to go a little on the light side if the food is for everyone in your family, since every body has a different threshold of salt, and they can add some on their own. I think food tastes better, and is better for you if it's stored in glass instead of plastic. If the ingredients you are using are fresh, or maybe only once frozen before, don't be afraid to make a double or triple batch of soup. Eat some for lunch or dinner that day, then freeze the rest or freeze half and store half in the fridge. Freezing food in glass results in broken glass and inedible food so I let the soup cool down then portion it out in plastic containers for freezing. If you make a lot of varieties you might want to label the type and date you made it. You can also add noodles anytime you reheat the leftovers.
Frugal Soup is a budget-minded, money saving tip that can stretch a dollar a long way. It may be peasant food, but it's damn good peasant food. Just as Ratatouille is a traditional peasant dish, so is Jambalaya, Gumbo and Frugal Soup of any flavor. What's more, soups made with chicken fat are scientifically proven to help aid your immune system. Combine that with capsaicin from hot peppers, and you can flush H1N1 or any other influenza out of your body like gangbusters.I use soup like my own personal antibiotic and I owe soup credit for my vigorous constitution.
Maybe some people might have a problem with not paying the requisite $3 or more for a can of Campbells soup. But for a soup junky like me, that would hardly get me through the week, I need to make the stuff by the gallon. Shhsh! Soup over here. I got your chicken noodle! I got your turkey wild rice! Come on man, beef and carrot, you know you want it! How much you want for that cream of mushroom? Alright man, hand that soup over!
If you liked this batch of soupy syllables, try reading something even meatier from Ben Zoltak
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