Cooking on a Budget: Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken and Veggie Pasta

Alright friends, I thought that it is time for us to start talking about how to feed a family well on a budget. I made a huge pot of Chicken Noodle Soup for around $7.00, and that pot fed us for two meals. Part of trying to spend less on food means eating less meat. Instead of buying chicken breasts like I used to, I now buy a whole chicken, cook it, and use it for two whole meals. It ends up being a lot cheaper, and the truth is, a little meat can go a long way. The chicken that I didn’t use for the soup, I used to make a pasta/swiss chard/mushroom/cheese/basil casserole thingy (which probably cost me around  $7.00 to make as well and also lasted for two meals). If you don’t know this about me yet, it is very rare for me to ever follow a recipe to a T. I usually just throw together whatever I happen to have or modify recipes. Most of the time the food turns out great, but of course there are times when the food turns out totally gross, but you have to live and learn. I will attempt to give you an idea of how I made the soup, but I in no way follow a recipe. Here you go:

  • Cook raw chicken in a big stock pot with onions and bay leaves for around an hour
  • Let chicken cool
  • Cut up a bunch of carrots and celery (Like maybe a couple of cups of each??)
  • Cook the carrots and celery (both from sunbow farm) in the broth for 2o minutes’ish. Also, add a few teaspoons of salt and maybe 1 tsp pepper.
  • Add some thyme to your liking. Thyme really makes the soup yummy so I always add a lot!
  • Add whichever kind of noodle/pasta you choose to use. I usually use the lemon pepper pasta from Trader Joes, but since I couldn’t make it there to buy some, I just used whole wheat pasta. I also around this time add half of the chicken cut/torn in small pieces back into the soup.
  • Eat up.

We also ate homemade applesauce on the side with our soup. I got the apples for free from a friend, so the applesauce was basically free, and you can’t beat that for homemade food!! Please send me your yummy budget recipes, and I would love to share them with everyone!


Anita - April 6, 2011 - 12:11 pm

Lentil soup
Cheap, yummy, lasts for two meals.

Soak lentils in water and some salt for 7 hours ( you could do this in the morning, and cook it in the evening. It helps make the lentils easier to digest, you know, less gas:)

saute an onion, and a couple of diced up carrots. Add some fresh thyme and chicken or beef stock. Add soaked lentils. 20 mins later, a cheap and yummy meal.

Beans and rice is also very cheap and yummy. But you need to soak the beans! Prefferrably over night or 12 hours with salt. Believe me. You’ll thank me later! ;)

kara - April 6, 2011 - 5:18 pm

Hey Anita,
I make lentil soup, but I am trying to find other recipes that use lentils besides soup. Let me know if you find any. We do beans every week, but I would also love to think of more ways to be creative with them (although they are yummy with just tortillas and avacado! We need to talk more to talk about bulk foods!!

Amanda Nemelka - April 6, 2011 - 10:21 pm

I’m on board. If only I could get Jeff to be….hmmm. Any suggestions out there for picky eaters? And I don’t mean your kids!

Missy - April 7, 2011 - 2:12 pm

Yay for beans and rice! Last night I made some tasty grub…here’s the recipe:
1 med onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 cups black beans (soaked, cooked, ready to go…or 1 can)
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cups hot cooked brown rice

Saute onion and garlic til tender. Add drained beans, undrained tomatoes (and if you want some spice, some ground red pepper). Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 15 mins.
Serve on top of rice.

I also recommend adding some corn, salsa, and maybe some sour cream. Delish, easy, cheap, easy to double.

kara - April 7, 2011 - 4:38 pm

That sounds good Missy, although my version would for sure have to have some cheese sprinkled on top :).