So this morning when I got up, I decided it was most definitely soup weather.
Nothing says winter like a big bowl of comforting, soulful soup don’t you think?
The aroma of a hearty soup bubbling away on the stove brings that cosy feeling of home and family on a chilly evening.
Soup is a brilliant low budget, nutrient dense meal that can satisfy hunger and feed a family without breaking the bank. One big pot can be packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre that keep hunger cravings at bay and provide a big daily serve of veggies.
The versatility of soup means you can tailor it to your taste and dietary requirements and starting with a home made nutrient packed stock/broth is one of my best low budget cost saving and health boosting tips.
Meat based stocks are rich in minerals, but so are beautiful vegan and vegetarian stocks that are full to the brim with nutrients also. I’ll share some of my stella stock tips below!
Soup really is a one pot wonder and can be the easiest, cheapest way to;
- add more vegetables into your diet – especially for kids
- enjoy a less meat or meat free meal
- hydrate your body
- soothe digestion
- soothe cold and flu symptoms
- build and support immunity
- and the best part – one pot!!
Let’s get a pot on now, shall we?
Homemade stocks/Broths- your best budget saving tip
I could go on and on about the health benefits of a good stock/broth, but today I want to share with you how amazingly cheap, easy and time effective they are to make.
While store bought stocks are handy when short on time, they can often contain high levels of salt and preservatives.
By making your own, in bulk, you can be store it in the freezer to always have on hand.
Tip no 1-
Using leftover bones from a roast or last night’s meal is a great way to reduce waste, and the nourishing golden liquid it creates is second to none. OR ask your butcher if he has any chicken carcass’s or beef bones? They are super cheap and can be stored in your freezer, for when you need them.
If you’re wanting a meat free vegetable stock throwing together all of the old veggie scraps and back of the fridge finds is a perfect base to a rich flavoursome broth.
I also keep a ziplock bag in my freezer and add in all the vegetable ‘cutoffs’ like the ends and skins of onions, carrots, zucchini, stems of broccoli and cauliflower and even the husks of a corn cob!
A bonus tip- for a vegetarian stock, keep eggshells, clean and add them to your stock for an extra boost of nutrients. Egg shells will add extra nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, sulphur, manganese, phosphorus, silicon, gelatin, collagen, and zinc
Shitake mushrooms ( dried is cheapest) are also a great flavour and nutrient addition, too.
I always use my slow cooker when I’m making stocks and broths, it’s as easy as throwing everything in, turning it on for hours and letting the magic happen.
Slow cookers are a great investment and time saver, but if you don’t have one a big pot can be used on a low simmer on the stove, but a little more care and a watchful eye needed for safety.
I divide up my cooked stock in sealed containers/jars and store in the freezer so its ready to grab, thaw and use when ever I have that yearning for a big bowl of soup ( like today!) or to make a stew or curry.
You can find my super easy chicken and vegetable stock recipes in my ‘Healthy on a Budget’ cookbook
You can grab your copy here now »
Checkout my Shitake Ramen Noodle Soup
Who says you have to go out for a tasty bowl of ramen noddle soup?
This low budget recipe I am going to share is in my new cookbook and its so simple, quick, delish and nutrish!
Like all my recipes, you can really make this your own by opting to use different vegetables and if you don’t like tofu swapping it out for a protein of your choice:
All 3 options work really well in this recipe.
Occasionally I add in 2 teaspoons of miso paste before serving for a little extra flavour and nutritional boost
Ingredients – Serves 4
• A packet of vermicelli or rice noodles (or any noodles of your choice)
• 1 litre of good quality stock – chicken or vegetable
• 2cm of grated fresh ginger
• 2 cloves of grated garlic
• 1/4 cup of tamari or soy sauce
• 1/4 cup of soaking liquid from mushrooms
• 1 packet of dried shitake mushrooms
• 300g of silken tofu (or bean curd)
• 1 bunch of bok choy or Chinese broccoli sliced
• 1 carrot cut into thin slices
• 3 spring onions, sliced
1. In a bowl, place your dried shitake mushrooms and pour boiling water over until they are fully covered
2. Put the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil
3. Add the grated ginger, garlic, and tamari/soy to the stock
4. Prepare your noodles according to packet instructions while you wait for the stock to boil and set aside
5. Add the soaked shitake mushrooms 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes
6. Add the chopped vegetables and simmer for another 3-4 minutes
7. In large soup bowls, portion out your noodles, then divide the soup into the bowls
8. Serve with sliced chilli or a sprinkle of dry chilli flakes and the miso if using
In my ‘Healthy on a Budget’ cookbook, I share my easy stella stock recipes, 5 other nourishing soup and many many more ‘healthy on a budget’ recipes and tips.
Until next time, stay happy, healthy and grounded,