$2 meal? Tell me more!
by Melissa from Michigan
I’m sure you could spend more or less, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.
Making soups used to be so overwhelming to me, but over the years I’ve realized that they’re actually a really easy and healthy way to whip up a meal.
Soups feed an army and are easy to store.
Chicken noodle soup is one of my favorites to make in the winter months. It seems like the warm broth and antibacterial properties of the onions and garlic always help with the sniffles.
Chicken Noodle Soup
3 cups chicken
1 small onion
3-4 large carrots
3 stalks celery
3 tablespoons garlic
10 cups broth
1 tablespoon butter
For chicken, I like to use up leftovers. Just about any leftover chicken will work, but don’t be afraid to rinse off a seasoning that may be wrong. It’s better to use it than toss it just because it’s “taco” chicken.
Some other convenient chicken options are rotisserie style and canned chicken. If you can’t get out and all you have is some nuggets?? Go for it! Sometimes I even start from scratch and cook up some chicken breast before starting. I just go simple with a salt and pepper seasoning.
Once you have your protein settled (which is totally optional), it’s time to focus on veggies.
Traditionally, you use carrots, celery, garlic and onions, but choose your faves!
I shred or chop my carrots pretty small so that they don’t take forever to cook down. My family isn’t picky about onions so I just rough chop them, but you can cut them up however you like. I cut my celery in half lengthwise and then dice small; again, that’s up to your preference.
Next, chop up your garlic, adding that after the other veggies are nearly done. Garlic has a tendency to burn and can ruin the flavor of the entire dish.
Toss all that jazz into your favorite soup pot with a chunk (about 1 tablespoon) of butter (optional), or some other fat, and brown them up.
If your veggies seem like they’re sticking to the bottom of the pot or are burning, douse the bottom of the pot with a splash of water or broth to deglaze it. This will loosen up the veggies so they don’t burn or get stuck. A quarter of a cup or less is all it takes to deglaze. Once you get the hang of it, there’s no need to measure. The evaporation from cooking will reduce the small amount of fluid you add here.
Meanwhile, start your pot of boiling water for your noodles. Just cook them according to the package. You can throw them in with your broth and veggies, but it’s easier for me, personally, to keep everything separate until it’s done. I notice that it’s easy to end up with mushy noodles when I toss everything into the same pot.
If you’re all about that one pot life, toss those noodles in your soup pot and time them according to the package. Make sure to stir!
Once your onions are basically translucent and your carrots are soft, you can add your broth. Vegetable or chicken broth works great; I always look for the low sodium option. If you have bouillon cubes or chicken broth granules, that will work too.
Then I add some water and spices. My family loves rosemary, parsley and bay leaves. None of it has to be perfect, that’s why I love making this!! I taste it, and adjust the amount of water to broth based on what my family likes.
Add your noodles and chicken back to the pot and you’re done!
You can store in a freezer safe container for a later day if you made a lot.
If you skipped the protein but still want to put out a balanced meal, you could serve with a plate of deviled eggs, add some boiled eggs to a salad, or put out a pickles and cheese tray. A snack of celery and peanut butter works too! I feel a full-on kiddie charcuterie board in the works!
To use up leftovers, sometimes I toss a handful or so of rice in and let it simmer until the rice is cooked through.
Now it's a chicken casserole!!
This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Melissa.
About Melissa. . .
Melissa is a social media copywriter, Mother to an amazing 19 year old son, foster Mother of 7 years, and adoptive Mother of 3 Littles all under 4!! She enjoys creative writing, floral design and outdoor recreation in her free time.
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