One of the areas where we spend too much money is food. It is difficult feeding 4 growing boys (not to mention parents, too) with crazy schedules healthy, nutritious meals when you’re on a financial (and time) budget. Too many meals we’ve resorted to ordering out or throwing in pizzas simply because I was too worn out / worn thin to be able to whip up a satisfying meal. I’m not saying that the occasional pizza and salad is a terrible thing, but the times where I’ve looked back on my checkbook and saw that I spent $70 on two spur-of-the-moment dinners back-to-back? Yikes. Shudder. Embarrassing.
Because of that, one of my biggest goals is to intentionally put more thought into our dinner and meals. Not saying that I can avoid eating out (see yesterday), or that we won’t pick up or order in. But we need to do it with less frequency if we are going to climb out of debt. My lack of planning has not been helpful. I, personally, need to be more mindful of my time and the commitments I take on. It feels a bit selfish, but I think it is important for me to do. Discipline.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been spending more time planning and organizing what we will have for dinners and lunches. The internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to looking for cheap, healthy meals, crockpot recipes, tips and articles on frugal living. I have collected an array of recipes to try, and today I made this: Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup. The recipe is simple, calling for ingredients that are easy enough to get your hands on and probably already have (save the rotisserie chicken).
I had to pick up the celery, but had a HUGE bag of carrots from Costco, some broth, and egg noodles just waiting to be used. I followed the recipe pretty closely, making the following changes:
– did not saute the vegetables
– used 1 carton of broth, plus some of my bullion and water
– added about 1c. chopped onion
– did not use the cornstarch at the end
– added about 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I like a little kick to mine)
It was quick and delicious. I’ve made chicken soup a million times before, and have even with a rotisserie chickens (either plucking the meat off, or using leftover chicken for stock), but have not done it this way, throwing the entire chicken in the pot to heat. It streamlines the process, softening up the chicken, making it easier to pull of the bone while heating it, too, and flavoring the pot with the skin. It’s funny how you can make something using the same ingredients you’ve used before, but by shifting the process a little bit, come up with a new method. I’m glad I did, and will definitely be using this again. It took me very little time to whip up a nice, warm pot for lunch.
We ate this with some crusty bread and Amish butter. Mmm.