Planning

It’s Sunday afternoon and I am doing a bunch of nothing to get ready for the upcoming week and while I am doing all of this nothing I am thinking about food. I want to keep the soups coming for at least 2 more days so we can have leftovers at the weekend because we are going to be too busy to cook. With this in mind I am going over ideas of things that can be two meals and what I know is on sale at the market and I have come up with Chicken Tortilla Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup. I can get a rotisserie chicken so I have even less to cook and I can make both with 1 protein saving dollars as well as time, 2 of my favorite things!!

I will use half the chicken for the tortilla soup and the other half and the bones for the chicken noodle soup. I will literally chop the chicken in half and take all the meat off the bones, I am not worried about a super clean carcass because I am going to boil it with some veggies and make stock from it so if there are meaty bits it’s ok.

The only things the 2 dishes have in common is the chicken as far as shopping goes but to only buy one protein will give you more dollars for the ingredients. I don’t really use fresh veg in soups, no particular reason other than time I suppose. Imagine the time to soak beans, peel, dice and seed tomatoes, taking the corn off the cob… now imagine the time to can opener some cans or open a bag of frozen bits, the taste ends up being the same so I cheat.* I am a lazy cook, if there is a short cut I will take it. Pulled pork? Pressure Cooker. Baked potatoes? Microwave. Kneading dough? Mixer with the dough hook. Mashed potatoes? Mixer with the whisk attachment.* I use packaged stock when I don’t have any homemade on hand but it is ridiculously priced, for the cost of 2 of those boxes I can make 4 times as much so I almost always have homemade on hand. We can talk about making stock later, it is so easy and cheap!

Since I have some stock on hand and will make more I should only need 1 of those boxes and  I will only need a few cans of veg but again this is something I just have on hand, stock up while they are on sale and save money buy not having to buy spur of the moment. I am going to follow this tip up with I don’t keep everything I ever use in the cupboard, it’s not that big, what I consider specialty things I suck up and pay whatever price. For the tortilla soup I want black beans, corn and lots of tomatoes, chicken stock, chicken and tortilla strips. I will only need to buy the beans and tortilla strips *yes I could make my own but we will talk later about things I just don’t make* and maybe 1 box of the chicken broth giving us a shopping list so far of: rotisserie chicken $5, can of black beans .99$, tortilla strips $4 and broth at $1.50. Now if the chickens are thin I might get 2 just because these are chicken soups and require chunks of chicken.

For the chicken noodle soup, I will make the stock and I  already have the noodles on hand because this is a stock up item. Should we talk about stocking the pantry? Maybe later! Anyway, The fam likes veg in their chicken noodle soup but I don’t but since I love them this time I will add baby carrots and shallots but I am going to roast them before I put them in the soup. Shopping list here: Carrots $2/$3, shallots $3. I happen to have leeks left over from the P.L. soup so instead of onions in the stock I will use what I already have and I also happen to have one sad shallot so I will throw that in as well but I will buy full size carrots for the stock so that flavor will carry thru. I also have that giant jar of Knorr chicken bullion powder and I will use a little of that in the broth just to kick it up a notch and save from buying the premade. We can have a chat about the premade stock later, it has it’s uses and there is nothing wrong with it.

Where are we with the list? Chicken $4-8, can of black beans $0.99, tortilla strips $4, chicken broth $1.50, carrots $5 and shallots $3. Handful of things, $23.00, two complete meals for 3 or 4 people with leftovers of each. Wait, I don’t have all of those on hands you say, add about $4 making it $27. Oh, hold on, I forgot the herbs. Cilantro for the one and Parsley for the other will add another $0.75 jacking our grocery total up to $28ish.  So what takeaway can you get for $28 that will feed 3-6 people two different meals?

Thanks ya’ll! Happy cooking!

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