Soup Up Your Life!

During the Fall and Winter months my family enjoys a hot, satisfying pot of soup at least once a week. But canned soups are full of sodium and quite frankly aren’t that tasty. We’ve been making our own soups for years. We were spending $6 a week on broth alone. Then we learned the trick of saving vegetable scraps to make our own stock. This has shaved $24 a month off our grocery bill! It’s also healthier and more flavorful. Here is how we make our broth, as well as our healthy, cost-effective soup recipes.
It’s Friday, which means here’s another guest host by my husband.

If you have been following our Food Finances Friday Features, you know about homemade vegetable broth made from your veggie scraps. This is a great base for many soups. Here are a few of my favorites. But first I want to share a few tips for making my vegetable broth.

From Vegetable Scraps to Broth

I used to make broth on the stove and stir and simmer for over an hour. Then I got an Instant Pot pressure cooker. It took the cook time down to 30 minutes!

I start by simmering an onion, 5 cloves of garlic, and 2 carrots (and celery if I have it) in a little oil.

Then add the veggie scraps that I always keep in the freezer.

I add 8 cups of water (or enough to cover the veggies by at least an inch).

Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and set the timer for 30 minutes at high pressure.

After 15 – 20 minutes of natural release it is time to strain.

Straining the Broth

The most important part of making broth is to have a nice clear finished product.

As much as I love a good kitchen gadget, I do not own a chinois (fancypants strainer). I make do with what I have on hand.

The first thing I use is a colander to strain out the biggest vegetables.

Next I use a finer mesh strainer to get out the little tiny bits.

At this point the broth is still a little cloudy and has tiny bits still in it. I use a cloth napkin to get the finished product I want.

I usually use the broth right away so it is still very hot at this point. I grab my trusty silicone glove and give the napkin a squeeze to get all the broth to go through the napkin.

And that’s it! A nice clear and flavorful broth that’s ready to be added to many flavorful soups. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

This soup is souper easy to make and tastes great. Minimal prep and speedy cook time makes this a great weekday meal the whole family loves!

  • 3 cloves Garlic                                               $ .17
  • Onion                                                              $ .63
  • Vegetable broth                                             FREE
  • 15oz Can diced tomatoes                            $ .74
  • Refrigerated three cheese tortellini         $3.94  BOGO
  • 1/2 tsp Dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 3 cups Baby spinach (chopped)                $1.73
    • Total $7.21 for 1 pot (approximately 8-10 servings)

Sauté garlic and onion in a little oil until the onions are translucent (about 2-3 minutes).

Stir in veggie broth, diced tomatoes (undrained), tortellini, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 5-6 minutes. Stir in spinach and simmer until it begins to wilt (about 2 minutes).

Serve immediately topped with parmesan cheese.

 Chicken Tortilla

This soup is very versatile and can be made in a slow cooker all day or in an Instant Pot for a tasty time saving meal.

  • Chicken (cooked and shredded)                                $5.19   BOGO
  • 15oz Can diced tomatoes                                             $ .74
  • 1 Can diced tomatoes and green chilis (Rotel)        $ .98
  • 28oz Can enchilada sauce                                           $2.98
  • Onion                                                                               $ . 63
  • 3 cloves Garlic                                                                $ . 17
  • Vegetable broth                                                             FREE
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 oz bag Frozen corn                                                 $1.00
  • Cilantro                                                                           $ . 50
    • Total $12.19 for one pot (approximately 8-10 servings)

Place chicken, tomatoes and chilis, enchilada sauce, onion, and garlic in slow cooker.

Pour in veggie broth and season with cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper.

Add corn and cilantro and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips and lots of cheese.

Southwestern Vegetable

The chicken tortilla soup can easily be adjusted to a vegetarian southwestern vegetable soup.

Instead of chicken substitute 1/2 pound dried black beans ($0.50)

Add shredded carrots (cents) and any other veggies you may have around.

This vegetarian alternative will reduce the cost by nearly $5.00 a pot.

I Love Soup!

Soup is wonderfully versatile. You can cook up a big pot for dinner and take the leftovers for lunch. Or you can make a double batch and freeze in individual portions for quick and easy meals on busy nights.

These are just a few of our family’s favorites that are easily made with our homemade vegetable broth made from scraps.

And don’t forget my favorite soup featured in our Chili Cook Off post! We use beer instead of soup stock for our chili. Stock could be used in its place, but who doesn’t like their dinner to taste like beer?

For more Food Finance Friday Features, check out:

How to save time in the kitchen

The secret ingredient for low cost meals

10 Ways to save money eating out

Grocery Haul: $60.34 for a Family of 5!

How to spend $100 per person per month on food

They Put What in Cheese?

Don’t Throw That Out, I’ll Eat It!


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