Mix-and-Match Soup: Budget Meal Planning’s Secret Weapon

Many people I've talked with recently have expressed concern about how to cut the cost of their family's food budget. Stocking up and buying on sale is a great way to do that, but then what to do with a stockpile of canned beans, stewed tomatoes, and frozen hamburger?

The following recipe is not only easy and delicious, it's also a simple way to use up canned, dried, and other easily stored food items in a delicious homemade soup. (Excerpted and adapted with permission from Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month by Deborah Taylor-Hough.)

Mix-and-Match Soup

(8 generous servings)

Broth (choose one)

Tomato: One 12-ounce can of tomato paste plus two 16-ounce cans of tomatoes with juice (chopped) plus water to equal 10 cups total

Chicken/Turkey: 10 cups broth or 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups of water

Beef: 10 cups broth or 4 bouillon cubes dissolved in 10 cups of water

Protein (choose one -- 1 pound or 2 cups, cooked)

Ground beef, browned

Leftover meatballs or meatloaf, chopped

Cooked chicken or turkey (cut up)

Ham (cut up)

Lentils

Frankfurters, sliced (or any sausage or Kielbasa)

Pepperoni, sliced

Beans, cooked or canned (pintos, kidney, Great Northern, etc.)

Grain (choose 1 or 2 for a total of 2 cups)

Rice, cooked (any variety)

Barley, cooked

Pasta, raw

Corn

Dumplings (add near end of cooking time)

Vegetables (raw, cooked or canned, choose 2 or more for a total of 1 to 2 cups)

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Onion

Potatoes

Tomatoes

Green beans

Turnips

Parsnips

Broccoli

Peas or pea pods

Cauliflower

Bell pepper

Zucchini (add raw)

Seasonings (choose 2 to 4 spices, 1 to 2 teaspoons each)

Basil

Cayenne (dash)

Chives

Cumin

Garlic

Marjoram

Onion powder

Thyme

Rosemary

Parsley

Oregano

To Prepare Soup:

Bring the broth to a boil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add all of the ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat and simmer one hour.

Slow Cooker Prep:

Pour the boiling stock and other ingredients into a slow cooker and simmer for 8 to 12 hours or overnight on LOW setting.

Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Author:

Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the popular book Frugal Living For Dummies® and the bestselling Frozen Assets cookbook series. Visit Debi online at: www.Simplemom.com

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